12 outstanding apps for the 12 Days of Christmas

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Posted by George Gabriel on 09 Dec, 2014

As we approach the end of the calendar year and begin preparing for some much-needed time away from the office, we asked our team of developers, designers and strategists to think about their favourite mobile apps for work and fun. ‘Tis the season of giving, so we’re sharing 12 suggestions for apps we love using and know you will too. Many these apps you will have encountered before, something we think is indicative of the consolidation of the app market. As we use our devices more we establish what we like, downloading fewer apps in the process. Nonetheless, if you’re searching for something new or different to add to your home screen during the 12 days of Christmas, look no further.

1. Wunderlist
Price: free (pro version available)
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8.1 , Kindle, OS X, Windows 7, Web

Put forward by our Managing Director Adam Croxen, he’s certainly not the only one in our office who uses Wunderlist to stay on top of his tasks and to-do lists. You can create and sort to-do lists by a number of parameters, and keep separate lists for different task groups – meaning it’s just as suitable for your shopping list as it is your work agenda. It also syncs in real time across all your devices, and lists can be made collaborative for group tasks. Organise your start to the new year with Wunderlist and you’ll be set.

2. Yahoo Weather
Price: free
Available on: iOS, Android

Suggested by Marketing Executive George Gabriel, Yahoo Weather manages to get weather correct where so many others have failed. The crisp, refined interface presents weather information such as wind speed, sunrise/set times and chance of precipitation in cards that can be reordered to your preferences. Yahoo Weather goes further by layering the information over beautiful Flickr photography, which changes based on location, time of day and current conditions. You’ll also see animated fog, mist, rain and snow on your screen, so it’s perfect for checking the Christmas morning snow without getting out of bed.

3. Duolingo
Price: free
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Web

Developer Kassim Maguire recommended Duolingo, which was named Apple’s 2013 App of the Year. A free language-learning app, he loves it for its fresh and straightforward user interface. You can start with the basics before moving into phrases, food, animals and more, and Duolingo lets you earn points and compete against your friends and family. It’s a fun and refreshing to way learn languages such as French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese, and with offline capabilities it’s great for the commute too.

4. Twickets
Price: free
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Web

Set up by our owner Richard Davies, Twickets is a free fan-to-fan ticket exchange app that lets tickets change hands between buyers and sellers for face value or less. The festive period features a high concentration of live events across sport, comedy, music and theatre. It’s a busy time of year and tickets are always in high demand, but things often come up at the last minute. With Twickets you can make sure a ticket you no longer need goes to a genuine buyer at an honest price, or secure seats for sold-out events at the last minute; without paying over the odds to touts.

5. Feed.ly
Price: free
Available on: iOS, Android, Web

Recommended by Technical Director Ben Strawson, Feedly is a powerful RSS reader and news aggregator. Able to accommodate any RSS feed, Feedly is perfect for staying connected with all the latest blogs and news regarding everything from baking to back-end development. Quick, functional, and well-designed with an undistracting design, Feedly is a brilliant way to curate and consume the information that matters to you.

6. Timehop
Price: free
Available on: iOS, Android

Suggested by Technical Lead Robert Wiltshire,  Timehop is a modern-day scrapbook with a twist. We often use the holiday period as a marker for time, wondering “how many Christmases ago” something was, and Timehop can tell you just that. By using your camera roll and logins from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, and Flickr, it uses a simple UI to show just what you were up to on the current day any number of years ago. Why not look at it on the big day to see what you put on Facebook for Christmas three years ago?

7. VLC Streamer
Price: £1.49
Available on: iOS, Android

Another favourite of Robert’s, VLC Streamer is a powerful video playback app for mobile devices. It can remotely connect to any computer in your home and access its media content for playback. With a sleek design and an intuitive gesture-controlled playback experience, you can save space on your smaller devices while enjoying high quality video playback from anywhere in the home.

8. Moovit
Price: free
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows Phone

Offered by Junior UX Designer Marzia Battaglia, Moovit is a comprehensive public transportation app and trip planner. With live arrivals, journey planners, and step-by-step navigation it’s similar to Citymapper, but takes accuracy a step further by capturing real-time data from user journeys to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information possible. “I know everybody is in love with Citymapper, but I love Moovit from a UI perspective,” says Marzia. Supporting the entirety of the UK and Ireland and over 400 metros worldwide, why not follow Marzia’s advice and give it a try during your holiday travels?

9. Ulmon City Maps 2Go
Price: free (pro version also available)
Available on: iOS, Android

Continuing in her travel-themed suggestions, Marzia is also a big fan of City Maps 2Go, a global travel companion. Described as having a clean interface and being easy to use, it’s trusted by over 13 million travelers across the world. Powered by Wikipedia’s content and map infrastructures, users can drop a pin on their chosen location, download that area’s guide and then enjoy full use of it while offline or abroad, including navigation, attractions, bars and restaurants. Powered by user reviews and recommendations, the app gets richer and deeper in content as more travellers use it.

10. LinkedIn
Price: free
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows Phone

Chosen by Operations Director Sarie Copplestone for the fact it boasts all the features and functionality of the desktop, the LinkedIn app is a vital networking tool. With a polished design that allows you to easily manage your connections and status updates on the move, Sarie believes the app is in fact more enjoyable to use than the desktop site. The latest version of the app for iOS 8 also features a handy Today widget for Notification Centre, allowing you a quick glance at profile views and contact requests.

11. RunKeeper
Price: free
Availble on: iOS, Android

Nominated by Junior Developer Jon Cox, RunKeeper is a powerful fitness app that lets you track your walks, runs, and cycle rides. Its detailed GPS tracking mechanism detects your pace, distance and path, and the audio coaching feature allows runners to receive in-ear updates on their progress. Calorie burn and elevation are also calculated in real-time, and the app offers a number of pre-made workout plans from health and fitness experts around the world. Social integration keeps everything competitive, and RunKeeper syncs with a number of wearables including the Pebble, FitBit and UP24 devices. Perfect for helping you stay in shape over the Christmas period!

12. BBC News
Price: free
Available on: iOS, Android

Senior Project Manager Charu Jalota has recommended the BBC News app, and while many opt for an aggregation app, BBC News makes a convincing case to have its very own place on the homescreen. Sections such as sport, lifestyle, business and technology are horizontally organised and can be arranged by priority, while you can swipe through the headlines of each section from the main dashboard with great ease. The intuitive design means you can glance at around 10 different stories in a matter of seconds, before delving into the stories of greatest interest. With breaking news push notifications and live streaming of the BBC News channel included in-app, it’s a great way to consume news.


We hope to have shed some light on the apps we love using on a day-to-day basis to make things easier, streamline our productivity and have fun. As always, it’s hard to just pick 12, and also with the stamp of approval from our team are The Guardian, Google Now, IFTTT, Natwest, Barclays PingIt, Moves, 2048 and Sky Record. Be sure to let us know if you’ve tried out any of our recommended apps, or if there’s something great out there you think we’ve missed. You can find us on Twitter – we’re @futureplatforms. From all of us at Future Platforms, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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