Life Tech Revealed: The must-have apps of 2014
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Revealed: The must-have apps of 2014

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The future is now! More than ever, portable computing and mobile devices are becoming an indispensable part of our lives. As more companies put the power of choice and flexibility in the hands of the end user, we’re in a prime position to improve many areas of our lives.

Entertainment, improved health, easy travel and the meaning of life can all now be found in app form (maybe not that last one). So, relax and take a look at our top picks to help you get the best out of 2014.

Google Play Movies & TV
Free

Google_Play_Music_and_Movies-02With media streaming finally becoming more accessible in Australia, Google’s perfectly timed Google Play Movies & TV app has finally crossed platforms and is now available on both Android and iOS.

Imagine the pleasure of relaxing in the bath, pool or toilet, the latest Hollywood blockbuster movie streaming directly to the mobile device held in your paws. Now THIS is modern living.

Like most things Google, this app really is quite simple. Browse Google Play’s massive online library via your web browser and select your viewing material, which is then accessible on your tablet or phone, just like magic.

Hotel Tonight
Free

Hotel-Tonight-02While the staycation was the holiday of choice for 2013, this year it’s all about getting out of the country (insert political motivation here). With the ease of online communication and booking, you could plan an entire trip abroad without ever speaking to a human. This is where apps like Hotel Tonight come in.

Featuring a large list of many international capital cities, Hotel Tonight allows you to browse a list of the best hotel deals in your area and book directly through your phone. Navigation links, photos and hotel amenities are all provided, so you could literally spend an entire trip getting the best deals as you go.

An added bonus is it’s also one of the best looking apps of 2014. Available on Android and iOS.

Spark Camera
$2.49

spark2Taking and sharing photos is soooo 2013. Taking video, on the other hand? Now that is exciting! With mobile social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all featuring video sharing to various degree, capturing exactly what you want to express on video is more important than ever. Enter: Spark Camera.

The extremely user-friendly interface allows you to swiftly capture HD (720p) video, pulling cuts and takes together like a Hollywood pro. Add a colour treatment and you’re ready to upload and start reeling in the LIKEs faster than you can say, ‘This video will impact my employability until the day I retire.’ Available for iOS only.

Yoga.com Studio
$10

Yoga.com-Studio-01Mindfulness is a word thrown about with wild abandon these days. A component on the path to enlightenment – in Buddhist teaching – it’s now commonly used to discuss ideas for building resilience and managing stress.

Yoga.com Studio provides you with a gateway to this most serene of human states, built for both iPhone and iPad. Browse a selection of over 300 videos on the fly, or start a program to concentrate on a particular area of practice. It’s a great entry to the world of being mindful and coping with life’s occasionally hectic pace. Available on iOS, or try the Android version, All-in Yoga.

Plants vs. Zombies™ 2: It’s All About Time
Free

Plants-vs-Zombies-2-01Speaking of stress relief, there’s nothing more relaxing than killing zombies. This millennium’s antagonist du jour, the second instalment in the zombie-infested Plants vs. Zombies saga is as addictive as the multi-award-winning original.

Travel to ancient Egypt, the pirate seas and the Wild West to defeat the zombie scourge, saving humanity in the process. It’s an old chestnut, but an enjoyable one.

Fire it up on a public transport commute or power through a few levels before bed; we guarantee it’s better than an office seminar stress ball and less taxing on your phalanges. Available on Android and iOS.

Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop
$5.49

Splashtop-2Do you enjoy the freedom of a tablet, but long for the functionality of your desktop or laptop computer? Well long no more, now that Splashtop 2 is on the scene (screen?).

A highly featured remote desktop app, Splashtop 2 connects directly to your computer, allowing you to take control of most programs, documents or system elements. It will even stream content from your desktop to your mobile device, all in glorious, bandwidth-devouring HD.

With both trackpad (multi-touch gesture support) and pointer (click, drag etc) input options, it’s flexible enough to please most tablet fans. There’s also a business version to support commercial and enterprise users, so there’s really no excuse for not finishing those spreadsheet macros, now is there? Available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Kindle Fire.

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