Awesome apps for work and play. FILE PHOTO
Smartphones are brilliant little gadgets computers in our pockets which open up so many new opportunities for work, family and play.

Whether you have an iPhone or one of the many Android phones on the market, with the right apps you can get a lot done, or just have a good play. Today, I’m covering a few of the apps I’ve been tinkering with lately.

Unless stated otherwise, you can search for and download these apps for either iPhone or Android, from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.

If you don’t know how to do this, take this column to a local cellphone shop and you’re sure to find a helpful person to show you how to install an app, especially if you remember them the next time you want a new phone.

Reader: Although I’m an advocate of all things hi-tech, even I was initially quite put off by the idea of e-books and the rise of the “e-reader”. Like many, I feel a tiny screen just can’t match the tactile and immersive experience of reading a “real” book.

Fortunately, it seems there’s ample room in the market for both paper and electronic books, and what I now appreciate is e-books allow you the opportunity to read, and read a LOT.

There are books you’d never think to buy or borrow, books that are long out of print, books that would be too heavy to pack on a flight, books you can download in an instant and start enjoying immediately.

And you don’t need a physical e-reader device like Amazon’s Kindle you can read just fine on your smartphone using the built-in iBooks (iPhone) or Google Play Books (Android) apps.

If you do happen to buy e-books from Amazon, their Kindle app is the easiest way to read and manage your purchases, and of course, you can buy titles directly within the app.

You don’t always have to pay, though there are thousands of free titles available for thrifty bookworms - browse for a review of the top free e-book sites.

Evernote: Always a favourite in any of its forms, Evernote is truly an organisation godsend. The Evernote app provides a one-stop solution for all your note-taking needs, no matter what they are.

You can create simple to-do lists or record voice reminders, or snap a photo and tag it to find it later. For staying organised, there’s nothing better.

Try their app for Windows or Mac computers too - Evernote’s free “Basic” plan allows you to sync notes across two different devices, such as your PC and your phone.

Pages: You probably don’t think of word processing as a top task for smartphones, but trust me, there are many times I’ve been sans laptop (or its battery has died) and I’ve be relieved to be able to make a few last-minute edits to a proposal before a meeting, or draft a quick outline for one of these columns.

Pages is an Apple iPhone-only app, but it’s one I’ve started to use more than the more well-known Microsoft Word app.

Although you’d expect some sort of restriction in a free app, Pages is actually a fully-fledged word processor program made by Apple for your iPhone or iPad.

It’s a beautifully designed app, too, and the templates for documents, posters, reports, cards or even CVs that Apple has included are some of the best I’ve seen - you can even create some pretty smart-looking business cards in a few easy steps.

Thanks to iCloud sync, whatever you create in Pages can be opened on a Mac computer or iPad, but if your iPhone is the only Apple product you use, Pages can export your work in a range of standard formats, including PDF and Microsoft Word.

Finally, if you have an Airprint-compatible printer (many of the newer wireless printers are), you can print directly from the app.

For Android phones, the closest you’ll come to the Pages app is the aforementioned Microsoft Word, which is certainly not bad.

What it lacks in prettiness, it makes up for in practicality and the ability to share and save documents to a variety of popular cloud services including Dropbox.

Canva: Canva is a graphic design tool for people who aren’t graphic designers.

It gives the average Joe a fighting chance of creating a poster, social media post or any other sort of graphic without looking like a total amateur.

I’m using Canva quite a bit lately, so next week I’ll be diving into more of its features - both on the app and the fully-fledged web-based version at

See you then!