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The 3 best iOS and Android apps of winter 2014

The 3 best iOS and Android apps of winter 2014

These are keepers and don't face the dance of deletion

If you're an iPhone or iPad user, you probably know that iOS app icons dance around when you tap and hold a finger on them to move or remove one. They do a little jig, hoping to entertain you and thereby save themselves from deletion.

I review a lot of apps and I'm not usually swayed by the dance of desperation. My time is limited, as is my smartphone/tablet storage, so I send the vast majority of apps into the ether. The following three apps, however, are keepers - apps that I continue to use and enjoy after reviewing them.

OutSider (iOS); Free

OutSider, a clever, useful app that mixes weather information with exercise tracking, was developed by The Weather Channel.

Before starting a run, walk, or other outdoor activity, the app's current Run Weather Index gives you an idea of the weather conditions you can expect. The RWI, as it's called, uses a variety of weather data such as wind speed, temperature, air quality, humidity and precipitation chances to give you a number up to 10, with 10 representing ideal conditions.

I didn't switch to OutSider to track my runs and walks, because I've been using RunKeeper for a long time and want to continue building my database of stats in that app. But I now check OutSider before every outdoor run or walk to get a quick take on the weather "experience" to expect.

Songza (Android, iOS); Free

Google acquired streaming-music service Songza and plans to fold its playlist-making prowess into the $10-per-month Google Play Music All Access subscription service.

In the meantime, you can enjoy Songza's awesomeness for free. It's a sweet alternative to Pandora, Spotify and others thanks to its many curated music playlists. You can choose from playlists including, "Vintage Cocktail Hour Swing" and "Southern Soul Barbecue." For $3 a month, you can also remove the ads, but I honestly don't mind them.

Scout (Android, iOS); Free

Everyone has a go-to GPS navigation app. I've had various favourites over the past few years, but Telenav's Scout is my current favorite for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it's free. (A paid option lets you download offline maps for $25 a year, following a 30-day free trial).

No GPS app consistently provides perfect directions wherever I use it, but Scout comes closest. It has lots of cool extras, such as the ability to search for something while you've got an active route in progress. (Please pull off the road first if you're driving.) You can browse for coffee, food, gas and other points of interest and easily add them to your route. I also appreciate the "Share ETA" feature, which lets you share your expected arrival time with contacts. The free version has ads, but they're mostly unobtrusive.


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