An app for the computer

Nandagopal Rajan | Print Edition: May 2012

If you think of apps as a smartphone or tablet phenomenon, you are mistaken. Maybe inspired by their success on smaller devices, apps have started making inroads into the computers space too.

While widgets and docks, giving an app feel to programs, have been there for a couple of years, apps got their biggest push on larger machines with the launch of the Mac App store in early 2011 along with an update of Mac OS X Snow Leopard. In July, Apple released its Mac OS X Lion on the App store, ending the era of DVDs to vend new programmes.

Rs 25,000: Cost of the iElection Android app, which allows candidates to send emails and SMSes to supporters in constituencies about election information and procedures. Created by a Pune-base company, this cannot, however, be downloaded from Google Play.
Mac users no longer need to buy software physically, they just need to click the App Store icon in the dock to see the apps on offer. Download and installation is as easy as on tablets. A year after its launch with 1,000 apps, the Mac App Store has nearly 9,000 apps that have together logged 100 million downloads. But downloading an app does not mean it comes free. Yes, there are free apps on the store, but the average price of the top 50 paid apps is around $26.

But free seems to be the keyword for the other big app player in the computer space. The Chrome Web Store was released in late 2010 and allows you to download apps to your Chrome browser, not the PC. The Web Store works like the Mac App Store on the web-based Chromebook, which sadly is not yet available in India. Even without the Chromebook, the store can add some useful apps and utilities to your computer, provided you spend most of your time on the Chrome browser.

Some other browsers too give you app-like features through add-ons, but none of them have the feel of the Chrome browser. However, there is a drawback. Many of the apps, especially the games, downloaded from the store do not work offline. They can be sluggish, even if the Internet connection is slow. Some of the Chrome apps have paid versions, especially if you need more cloud space or the premium features.

There are many third party websites that let you install apps directly on to your PC. But we do not recommend them as there is the risk of them carrying malware.

Still, if you are in love with your Android apps and have always wondered how to play them on the PC, Bluestack.com is your answer. This startup has found a way to bring Android apps to the PC. It's is not a perfect technology as the apps are not intended for larger screens, but that does not mean they have lesser utility on the computer. However, you will have to install the Bluestack software to run the apps on your PC.



1. Jolicloud
A web-based OS to run from the browser. There are lots of apps inbuilt, and you can add more.

2. Zoho Writer
A full word editing software, the app understands most keyboard shortcuts used in MS Word.

3. SlideRocket
One of the best online apps for making presentations, this one is as easy as it gets.

4. Spark Chess
The fastest game online with different difficulty levels. Play with the computer or online players.

5. Aviary Image Editor
This app is like Photoshop, but on a browser. Just load the picture you want to edit.

6. Kindle Cloud Reader
This app lets you read your Kindle files on the PC. It can also download files for reading offline.

7. Springpad
There couldn't be an easier way to save notes and tasks online. Files can then be accessed from multiple devices as the app is cloud-based.


1. Compartments
This app lets you keep tab of everything you own. Create locations and add stuff you have there, complete with picture, price and purchase date.

2. Photo Filter
The easiest way to tweak you pictures. Select picture, click on the effect and you are done. No technical expertise needed. A little aesthetic sense will help though.

3. Producteev
An ideal app for people with too much on their hands. This app syncs with other devices and ensures that you workflow is smooth and up to date.

4. Alfred
As you keep adding apps, you will need Alfred to launch them in one step. The Alfred tab can also help search the web as the well the Mac.

5. Songbird
This app doubles up as a browser as well as music player and organiser. For those who need some help to put their large song collection in place.

6. Skitch for Mac
Use Skitch to annotate a picture, a text or a PDF file. It also works like a dream with screenshots, so that you can manipulate it the way you want.

7. VLC
Like on a PC, you can run VLC on the Mac too. This app will let you open almost all video formats as well as DVDs and audio CDs.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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