Since switching from the iPhone to the Samsung Galaxy S III, I have been missing a feature from iOS, iMessage. Though this feature isn’t enough to drive me back to the iPhone, it was still driving me crazy trying to figure out how to recreate it on Android; more specifically, why Google hasn’t implemented a unified messaging solution with Google Talk and SMS. After weeks of searching and trying many alternatives, I managed to find a solution to the answer with GO SMS Pro, but does it live up to the real deal?
Any.do (iOS, Android, Chrome, Web) has been around since 2010. Founded by Omer Perchik, Yoni Lindenfeld & Itay Kahana out of Omer’s frustration with forgetting to do things and the complexity of doing them once he remembered, the team set about creating a simple to-do app. What evolved was an app that learned from its past, while at the same time trying to make more than just a simple “to-do” app. Does Any.do do.Anything better than the rest of the reminder apps on the market? Is Any.do easy to use and, more importantly, worthy of a Gadget Gurus recommend?
Let’s find out!
What is Any.do?
In a similar vein as Todo?, To Do, Minimalist To Do List, Any.do is a reminders app. In much the same manner as, say, a daily planner, Any.do allows you to log events that you wish to do in the future and set reminders so that you don’t forget to do said events. With features such as folders, which allow the user to group events into similar types (Work, Personal, etc.), reminders, which allow the user to receive notifications, and a fluid, easy-to-use design, Any.do tries its hardest to be the end all, be all reminders app on your iOS device. One of the nicer features of Any.do is the inclusion of multiple views. Hold your device vertically, and you’re greeted with a daily view, similar to a checklist. Turn the device horizontally, and you’re given a calendar alongside the daily checklist. Another nice features is a simple drag-and-drop interface that makes for a very easy method of changing up the order of events.
How does it work?
It really could not be any easier to use Any.do. The instructions give you multiple options for adding events including a plus sign (+), drag-to-type, and even a drag-and-hold-to-speak that does a pretty darn good job of voice recognition. In many ways, I would imagine this is similar to the way iPhone 4s users add events via Siri. Sadly, I’m reviewing this on an iPhone 4 so there’s no way to compare. Once you’ve added an event, clicking on the event will allow you to modify its properties, including the time it’s due, and if and when you’d like a reminder. You can also set priority (which will leave a notification bubble on the icon if set to high) and make notes, share the event, and change the folder.
Swiping the event will allow you to delete it, and shaking the device will clear any deleted events. A neat added feature is some sort of scoring function that I haven’t quite figured out yet. But, hey, everytime I do something, I get a point, and I love points!
There is a small number of settings that can be changed, including the theme (light and dark), sounds, and modifications to the folders. Any.do’s creators seem to be big fans of the KISS method of design, and it’s reflected in this app. In my opinion, its simplicity is its biggest selling point. Often times to do apps are cluttered up with useless functions and additions, and Any.do does a great job of keeping things simple and easy to use.
Any.do is a simple, effective method of keeping track of the things that you have to do, and when they need to be done. With a fluid design and complete ease of use, Any.do stands a great chance at being one of the best, if not the best reminder apps on the market. For folks without Siri’s fantastic voice-to-reminder ability, Any.do makes up for the lack with excellent voice recognition additions and a simple user interface that should have users keeping this app on their front screen.
Guru Review Score:
Ease of Use: 10/10
Graphics/Design 9/10 (Sign-in with facebook seemed to be a bit broken when I reviewed it)
Today, we saw several leaked images of what appear to be Apple’s next iPhone. It could just be a prototype, or we are actually looking at pictures of body casings that are already pre-production models. The body appears to be a unibody design with metal wrapping around the back, and the device overall looks taller than the current iPhone 4/4S. That almost puts the rumors
With more and more people on the move, more and more web browsing is being done on the go. Every device has a built-in browser, but on all three major OSes, the browser just seems like it’s lacking something. With Yahoo! Axis (iPhone/iPad) Yahoo! hopes to make browsing a bit more intuitive and enjoyable, instead of just your run-of-the-mill searching. With a fancy GUI and a backend that stretches across mobile devices and pc and mac, does Yahoo! have what it takes to take over the mobile browsing market?
What is Axis?
Simply put, Axis is a mobile browser for iOS devices that attempts to turn search on its head. Instead of your standard “enter your search into the field” style browsing, Axis presents search results in real-time status, with predictive type and visual previews of each page. Before you’ve even entered a letter into the search field, Axis presents you with currently trending topics, previous searches, and anything you marked as “read later” so that you’re able to return to your article at a later time.
How does it work?
Instead of linear search results, pages are returned to the user in a slide-to-preview style stream. Unfortunately (and this applies moreso to iPhone devices) this preview method only allows you to see one page at a time and leaves you with no idea of further search results. I have to say, it’s not the most ideal way to search for things if you don’t know what you’re looking for and, unless you’re really interested in seeing a visual preview, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find anything past the first few results without really putting forth some effort. How Yahoo! managed to take something that should be simple and make it more difficult is bewildering, but it’s a bit of a failure to have to do any real, hardcore searching on the browser.
Where Axis does shine, however, are searches that are likely to be found on the first hit. A simple search of “The Gadget Gurus”, for instance, loads up a preview of thegadgetgurus.net and tapping on the preview will load up the page. Another nice feature of Axis is the ability to share your viewing via email and twitter, so that others can enjoy whatever it is you’re browsing. Pages can be “stuck” to the homepage for easy access any time you bring up the browser.
The best feature of Axis, however, is its integration across multiple methods of viewing. Want to start reading a page on your iPhone and continue it on your PC when you get home? Axis allows you to do that with relative ease. By simply selecting “continue from iPad”, you’re able to pick right up on your PC where you left off on your iPad.
There’s nothing to do to get the devices to sync, rather Axis does it on its own, as you browse. It’s actually quite ingenious and definitely the selling feature Yahoo! should be going after the most. Axis isn’t even a separate browser if you’re a current Chrome or Firefox user, instead existing as an installable extension to the browser.
While at first coming off a bit rocky, Axis seems like one of those apps that could end up being a lot more useful than I first suspected. I don’t necessarily need a new browser, but that’s not to say that I wouldn’t be open to trying something new. Truth be told, the built-in safari on iOS really sucks. It’s slow and not very feature-rich, so something like Axis is a breath of fresh air. Visually, Axis is a great app, with a presentation that you’d never expect from a browser. Functionally, there’s a little bit left to be desired, but once you get over that, it has a lot of neat features that lend to its usefulness. I don’t know that I’d recommend this browser to everyone, and I would be willing to bet that 9 out of 10 apple fanboys wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, but for those readers who are willing to take a chance or two with a new method of looking for websites, Axis might just be up your alley and is definitely worth at least a look.
Guru Review Score:
Ease of Use: 7/10 (Thorough searches could be a little rough to achieve)
Arguably (one of) the toughest app on any device to get right is the application for Twitter. There are many reasons why it is so difficult to get it right: people being the biggest reason of all. Everyone uses Twitter in such a myriad of ways that it is difficult to find the client that suits how you use twitter. Speaking from experience I think I have downloaded nearly every notable Twitter client for the iPad and still I find them (the clients) lacking in one way or another.
Of all the Twitter clients I’ve tried Tweetbot is at the top of a very long list of Twitter clients. Tweetbot ranks among the top of all Twitter clients because it easy to use while still being robust enough to handle the most demanding of Twitter users. Among the more useful features are sliding a tweet right to view replies and sliding left for more detailed view of the tweet (scroll up for replies, if any exist). Most timelines include the ability to search the downloaded tweets (use search on the left navigation bar for a more powerful search).
What Tweetbot doesn’t do for you is make you fit into how the developer envisioned the application being used as the only way it can be used. Tweetbot offers quite a few options to help customize it to suit you. You can change the font size (tiny to huge), display name ( full name, user name or both), date format, navigation (hiding or displaying favorites, search, profile, lists, re-tweets and mute filters), streaming, quote format and much more.
Beyond the left and right sliding of tweets Tweetbot makes use of another gesture: triple tap. Triple tapping can cause one of the following user configurable actions: reply, re-tweet, favorite, translate, or view in Favstar. Translation occurs in the app in the form of a dialog box. In the few tweets I tried translating, it translated quick enough to be useful. Presumably translation translates tweets to the default language of the iPad, as this is one of the few features without any user customization. Given that the developer’s domain has DNS entries for Google Apps, translation is likely handled by Google. Having never heard of Favstar I found it to be an odd choice for the triple tap gesture however, users of the site might like it. Favstar allows users to get more detailed information about tweets; think analytics for tweets.
One feature I especially liked is the ability to import and export Twitter accounts into Twitter’s iOS application. This meant I didn’t have to re-type all my Twitter account information to start using Tweetbot. People with multiple Twitter accounts will particularly like the easy transition.
Tip: Leave your Twitter account setup in iOS and uninstall the Twitter app to retain Twitter integration in other applications yet save the space; this will also stop double data and Twitter polls from both Twitter applications.
Alerts in Tweetbot work as they should except for one simple oversight. Tweetbot doesn’t have the ability to run in the background and poll for new tweets in your Twitter stream. Tweetbot alerts for mentions and direct messages any time but the lack of background updating for Twitter stream as a whole feels like an oversight; for users that want or need such a feature. Tweetbot does allow for “streaming” of your Twitter stream but only when open and the active application.