Apps of the Week: SO.HO Takes on Facebook Home, Pandora on Windows Phone

sohoAndroid: SO.HO Launcher

Who needs Facebook Home, anyway? If you’re big into Facebook, you still might. But, maybe you don’t have a Facebook Home-friendly phone. SO.HO Launcher is a handy alternative, with the admission that it doesn’t quite measure up to Home itself.

SO.HO Launcher changes up your home screen into a launcher for Facebook and Twitter, bypassing the apps you would normally use, and essentially using the two services as alternating home screens, once you’ve signed into those accounts.

You can switch between Facebook and Twitter with a button press, which keeps things simple. Both screens provide you with your feeds in a clear way, and you can tweet or update your status from the launcher.

It’s not especially heavy on features, and you’re not going to see the kind of total chat integration you’ll get with Home, but if you’re a heavy social media user and you have one of the many Android phones that won’t be compatible with Home, it’s worth a look. You can get SO.HO Launcher now for free on Google Play.


Windows Phone: Pandora

Hope finally made it out of Pandora’s box for Windows Phone 8 users – the Pandora app for Microsoft’s new mobile operating system is finally here.

Functionally, it’s not much different from what you would find in any other Pandora app – plenty of streaming radio options, depending on what your level of subscription is. It also takes advantage of what makes Windows Phone 8 unique – Live Tiles. The Pandora Live Tile will display track information for the song currently playing, and you can pin individual stations as tiles on the home screen.

This app also works with Kids’ Corner, Windows Phone 8’s kid-friendly mode. If Pandora is run from there, explicit content will be automatically filtered out, in case your kids are going to be getting their hands on your mobile device, which is pretty much inevitable.

The best news for Windows Phone 8 owners is that they are getting ad-free, unlimited streaming Pandora music for the rest of the year, regardless of what their subscription level is.

Pandora is available now for free on the Windows Phone Store.



Windows 8: Pepperplate

Some cooking apps try to make you a serviceable chef. Pepperplate looks like it wants to help you start running a restaurant out of your kitchen.

The new Windows 8 app lets you upload recipes from a variety of sources before allowing you to tailor each one to your or your guests’ preferences. You can create shopping lists for each recipe, and create whole menus that your guests can peruse at their leisure. If you’re looking to be the host on the block, Pepperplate looks like a good place to start.

Regrettably, the app works along with their website, so you won’t be able to use it without creating an account with Pepperplate. The annoyance of having to create yet another new account aside, it’s a handy app to have for those interested in all things culinary.

If you still haven’t found a cooking app suited to your tastes, give Pepperplate a try. It’s available now for free on the Windows Store.


iPhone: Beauty Box Photo

Looking good? Maybe not, if all those new high-resolution cameras have anything to say about it.

That’s sort of the theory behind Beauty Box Photo, a photo editing app. High-resolution shots can expose things like wrinkles and blemishes that maybe you don’t want showing up in photos. Or, maybe the lighting was bad. Whatever the reason, you have a photo of yourself, and you don’t like it.

Beauty Box Photo is an app that makes it really easy to make that photo of yourself look very different. There are 37 one-touch effects you can use, which clear up blemishes and add a bit of glamorous flair to your skin in the process. Whatever your concept of beauty is, Beauty Box Photo probably has an effect that will approximate it.

Beauty Box Photo is available for free on the iTunes App Store. Initially, you’ll only have access to 17 effects. If you want the other 20, you’ll have to pay $1.99 as an in-app purchase.

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