February 23, 2024

Best new apps for iOS, Android and Windows: DriveTribe, Cortana and more


Pre-Christmas shopping days may be running out, but it’s never too late to pay a visit to the app stores to bag yourself a digital bargain ahead of the main event on December 25.

Our apps round-up is the place to turn for Google Play goodies and App Store essentials, with this week’s highlights including the arrival of Microsoft’s Halo-themed assistant Cortana on Android and a car-centric social network from Clarkson, Hammond and May.


Available on: Android


Kudos to Microsoft for making the often painful process of copying and pasting on mobile completely straightforward.

The computing giant has reimagined the fiddly function with its new Clip Layer app, a nifty piece of software that leverages your home button to help you lift text.

Long press the home key and the app will scan the screen for text, boxing the copy off into sections that can be easily lifted and placed elsewhere. Of course, you’ll need to sacrifice whatever function is usually tied to your home button – sorry, Google Now.

Price: Free, Publisher: Microsoft, Release date: Out now


Available on: iOS, Android


The Beeb has released another app to tie in with its triumphant Planet Earth II series, and this one can be enjoyed by all the family.

BBC Earth Colouring is an all-ages digital colouring book which tasks you with the challenge of shading the kind of animals we could listen to Sir David Attenborough describe for days on end.

It’s all standard colouring book stuff with edutainment thrown in – and there’s the option to cheat if you’re having trouble staying in the lines, but we’ll definitely judge you for that.

Price: Free, Publisher: BBC, Release date: Out now


Available on: Android, iOS

As if a shiny new Amazon TV show wasn’t enough for Clarkson, Hammond and May, the former Top Gear trio have only gone and launched a social network.

DriveTribe is a platform dedicated to – yep, you guessed it – all things motor-related. Every aspect of car and bike culture is represented here.

The network is geared towards hardcore petrolheads and is already said to be frequented by thousands of the motoring world’s top writers, racers, photographers and filmmakers, although that producer Clarkson thumped probably isn’t among them.

Price: Free, Publisher: DriveTribe, Release date: Out now


Yeah, we know – this one’s a bit corny but it is the holiday season, after all.

If your annual Home Alone double bill and Buster the Boxer haven’t got you feeling festive, the latest version of Google’s Santa Tracker app should do the trick.

As usual, your kids can follow jolly Old Saint Nick’s progress as he makes his way across the globe on Christmas Eve, but this year’s edition also includes festive mini-games and Android TV support so the whole family can watch Santa’s sled approach on the big screen.

Price: Free, Publisher: Google, Release date: Out now


Available on: iOS


If data restrictions are the only thing keeping you from consuming video news on your commute, this app is right up your alley.

Hyper News downloads the latest video headlines from leading outlets in the background, whenever you’re connected to WiFi, so you can view them on the fly later on.

This is short-form video reports with no buffering, zero data demands and no adverts. What more could a newshound ask for?

Price: Free, Publisher: AntiHero, Release date: Out now


Available on: Android


Taking part in beta tests is a good way to sample your favourite programme’s upcoming features before your friends get their mitts on the latest version – and this app will flag up trial opportunities when they arise.

Beta Apps is a library of betas that you can join with a single tap. Although the trials on offer are not exclusive, having a portal where you can access them all has its benefits.

And we’re not just talking up-and-coming apps here – Beta Apps flags up tester opportunities for updates to Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram and more. You’d beta believe it.

Price: Free, Publisher: El Psy Congroo, Release date: Out now


Available on: iOS


Back when we were kids, a lot of things claimed to “make learning fun”, but that was mostly lies. However, times appear to have changed as TinyBop has nailed this concept and emerged as a master of edutainment.

Its latest app Space lets youngsters go hands-on with our solar system, get up close and personal with the planets and hurl meteors across the galaxy via a swipe of the touchscreen.

If we had this kind of thing on our side when we were at school, straight A’s wouldn’t have been out of the question.

Price: £2.29, Publisher: Tinybop, Release date: Out now


Available On: Windows


Text Swag exists purely so you can add fancy captions to your Instagram photos more easily.

You can apply stylish text to any image stored on your device before posting it out into the wild, or snap a new photo and carry out the edits in-app.

Text Swag includes tools, effects and dozens of different font styles – that’s pretty much all there is to it. File this one under “simple but effective”.

Price: Free, Publisher: Videopix, Release date: Out now


Available on: Android

You probably know all about Cortana by now. Microsoft’s Siri-rivalling assistant has been around on Windows for a while, and now she’s found her way to UK Android devices.

The Cortana mobile app does all of your standard virtual assistant tasks – like setting reminders and sending emails on your behalf, as well as provide you with things like news bulletins and weather updates.

Android users may have Google Now to handle those tasks, but Installing Cortana on your device will add some nifty cross-connectivity with your Windows 10 PC – missed calls will flash up on your desktop and reminders will be synced across platforms.

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