Smart apps for smartphone

By Kevin Kung

With only a limited amount of memory for the cool stuff, here are some suggestions to help your vital instrument operate at peak efficiency

By Kevin Kung |

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A smartphone claims to have 16GB of storage, but the user interface can occupy more than half of that memory. There are more than enough free apps on the market, but we don't have unlimited storage. If you can't give up your games and entertainment apps, you need to be picky when choosing apps to be installed. Here's a selection of essential apps to help you use your smartphone smartly.

StudioKUMA Call Filter

Junk calls must have interrupted your daily life ever since your parents bought you a phone. This call-filtering app is equipped with an online voluntary base of junk calls, which is always updated by internet users and the users of this app.

The app provides different options for handling junk calls. When the call comes in, it can help you mute the ringtone, end the call after answering it, or simply end the call after the first ring.

Comment: It is reliable and has helped me block dozens of junk calls. It also provides the names of the companies that own the numbers. If you update the database from time to time, or set an automatic update for the database, it should do a very accurate job.

Limitations: available only for Android phones.


Phone cameras are now usually as good as basic digital cameras. But you must have encountered taking a dark and unclear picture if you put the camera very close to a report card or a test paper for a snapshot.

This app can actually convert your phone camera into a scanner. It detects the word content and enhances the quality of pictures of documents with various effects. You can even convert them to PDF format, and it looks 90 per cent similar to an original computer file if you take the picture with stable hands. The app is available for iOS, Android and Windows phones.

Comment: I always need to make a record of the information provided onsite. But it's not practical for me to copy the whole background of an event, or the breakdown of the scoring in a sports event. Therefore, this app becomes my very own "secretary".

Limitations: Only the pro version detects words embedded in a picture.

Countdown Calendar Widget

This Android app shows your countdown under the widget part of your phone's interface. It's very simple to use: enter the date and title of the event, that's all.

Comment: This app is like an extension of the inbuilt calendar of your android phone. It serves well as a countdown to your HKDSE exams and project deadlines.

Limitations: Again, for Android only.

TuneIn Radio

Not much explanation needed. It provides live broadcasts of more than 70,000 radio stations round the world. It has iOS, Android and Windows versions.

Comment: A friendly tool for language learners. It was highly recommended by my German classmate. As a beginner in German, I usually connect and listen to some German children's channels with this app. The host and audience who make calls to the programmes speak more slowly, and I can hear every word they say.

Limitations: You can listen to the radio for hours, but mind your battery and data usage as this app uses internet streaming, not an antenna.

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