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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

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Mobile apps showdown: the best of 2013
Sarthak Saraswat, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 31, 2013
First Published: 15:12 IST(31/12/2013)
Last Updated: 15:25 IST(31/12/2013)

Who would have ever thought that a phone could double up as a mosquito repellent?

Mobile apps have become an integral part of our lives like never before. From setting reminders for calls or meetings to keeping track of our health, these seemingly simple applications offer all of this and more.

The year 2013 saw many such cool apps flooding the market. After going through several of them, we have listed 10 refreshing ones that will add zing to your life.

Back in Touch for iOS/Keep in Touch - for Android
If you have a tough time keeping track of all the phone calls you have to make to your loved ones because of your hectic work schedule, these apps are just what you need.

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Back in Touch and Keep in Touch apps do exactly as their names suggest: help you stay in touch. The apps enable their users to set call reminders, frequency and follow-up.

It's an excellent way to stay connected to old friends and keep all the promises you made to call them back.

Duolingo: Learn Languages Free
If you're looking for an easy way to learn new languages but don't have the time or the patience to lug heavy books around, this app is just the thing. And the best deal is that its 100% free!

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Duolingo helps you learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian and English through an interactive method. It starts with two basic levels and then moves on to phrases. It also has a strength meter that indicates how good you have become at the language you have been practicing.

Sleep as Android
This app is a boon for those who want to keep a track of their sleep pattern.

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It offers various interesting features like sleep graph history, sleep deficit and deep sleep statistics, nature alarms with gradual volume up, alarm playlists from your music and lullabies for pleasant sleep.

You can use it to record details about the time you sleep comfortably and keep a tab on your restless state as well. And it can also track your snores and your sleep-talk!

Noom Weight Loss Coach
There are numerous weight loss apps in the Android market, but this one caught our attention because of its simple interface and effective tools.

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The app acts as a personalised coach that helps you form healthy habits through various options like daily tasks, meal logging and exercise tracking. You can keep track of your diet and the amount of calories you burn.

The app also has a forum where people share nutrition tips, recipes, coach task suggestions and also food confessions. It's the perfect motivation you need to pull up your socks and work on making yourself fitter.

Pixlr Express
In this age of photo sharing, all of us need a good photo editing app. After checking out several such apps, we zeroed in on Pixlr Express. We liked it for its neatness and wide range of editing options.

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It enables users to quickly crop, resize and fix any picture, remove red-eye and whiten teeth. It also provides options to adjust the mood, amplify the tone and add surreal shades to your pictures.

Music Maker Jam
Music maker jam is an app for all the aspiring AR Rahmans.

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It hasn't got very high high-end features, so don't expect it to create path breaking music. However, the app allows users to choose loops to create songs, make remixes, record and change the tempo.

It takes a while to get the hang of the functions, but once you get around it the app is a lot of fun.

Clean Master (Cleaner)
If your phone has become unbearably slow and keeps getting stuck every half an hour, this app is just what you need.

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It enables you to keep track of how much RAM is being used by the device, boost phone memory, kill unwanted tasks, delete junk files and manage installed applications.

The interface is simple and very appealing. However, it was the flashy home-screen widget that blew us away.

Poweramp Music Player
If you are bored with your regular music player and are looking for an alternate player to listen to your favourite songs, Poweramp is a good option.

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It supports all the regular formats, offers a 10 band optimised graphical equalizer and a separate powerful bass and treble adjustment. Other useful features include crossfade and support for lyrics.

The player can be customised using visual themes, including support for external and third party skins. You can also put a smart looking widget offered by the player on your home screen.

Simply Declare
Simply Declare is a great app for iOS users who travel abroad frequently.

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The app allows users to add, update and manage their travel purchases. It also enables users to manage shopping merchandise and make a record.

It helps to track the total expenditure and add new items for the trip so that you can keep a tab on declarable purchases. The currency exchange option allows users to keep abreast of the local exchange rate.

Microsoft Remote Desktop
Launched on December 19, this app helps users to connect to a remote PC and access files from almost anywhere.

It offers a multi-touch experience with remote desktop protocol (RDP) and RemoteFX supporting Windows gestures. It also enables access to remote resources through your Remote Desktop Gateway.

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Since the app has just been launched users may experience a few glitches. But worry not, the developers are working a way out to chisel the rough edges.

We hope these apps make your life easier in the new year. If you have any other useful apps to share, do post about them in the comment box below.


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