Posts Tagged ‘apps’

Cool jobs at Rogers: Building apps with Brian Coleman

Brian ColemanFrom broadcast news and magazine publishing to smartphones, internet and cable television, there’s always a lot going on at Rogers. All these products and projects also mean our employees have a wide variety of responsibilities – including some pretty cool jobs. As part of a new monthly series, we’re checking in with Rogers employees who love what they do. This week, we chatted with Brian Coleman, Manager, Mobile Development. Brian, who is based in Toronto, joined the Rogers team in July 2012.

What inspired you to join the Rogers team?

Rogers is one of the most recognized brands in Canada. I saw that they develop some of the best Canadian apps in the Apple App Store including City Video. I wanted to work with an experienced team that had released some top apps. What interested me about Digital Media was their diversity of work across broadcast, radio and publishing. There is nothing more rewarding as a developer than to work with top brands and have thousands of users see your work.

What do you do at Rogers?

During this last year with Rogers I have worked as an iOS Developer for the publishing team. We released more than six #1 apps to the Apple App Store including the new Chatelaine 10-Minute Fitness. I developed and enhanced the publishing framework to support over twenty replica magazines as well as iPhone versions of Macleans, Canadian Business and Hello! Canada. Just recently I was promoted to Manager, Mobile Development. This was an exciting move because now I get to be a part of every project my team is working on.

What’s challenging and exciting about your job? 

The challenging part about my job is to keep up to date with the latest and greatest technology. Mobile is changing so fast and there are so many more devices now. In the past I only focused on iOS but now I need to know all about Android, BlackBerry and Windows operating systems.

The most exciting part of my job is the process of taking an idea and growing it to a full functioning app that people enjoy. The surprise and delight of seeing someone use our app for the first time and getting their thoughts about what they liked and what they would do to improve it. Software is such an iterative process; we are always updating our apps based on the feedback we receive.

Tell us about an inspiring moment as a Mobile Development Manager at Rogers:

I think the most inspiring moments I’ve had recently is during interviews with iOS and Android developers. I get to talk with a lot of very passionate people. Developers love what they do, they live and breathe their language of choice. It’s fun to debate different topics, and during this I get to learn a lot about how other companies they have worked at operate, why they developed something the way they did and what they learned from their past experiences.

What advice would you give to someone who wants a job like yours?

  • You need to have a great sense of passion for mobile and the software development process; this passion will rub off on your team.
  • Learn as much as you can by developing many different apps. In development you learn by doing, making mistakes and learning how to fix them. This is invaluable to pass on to your team because those experiences help them progress as developers.
  • Work on your “people skills”, managing resources is a big part of the job. Many developers are pretty introverted so you need to be able to make them feel comfortable to come to you when they get stuck or have questions.

Did you know?

Last week, Rogers launched a new Career Zone through SuccessFactors that will help:

  • You to see and apply for roles across Rogers that match your skills and interests;
  • Managers to hire the best through a simplified, streamlined hiring process; and
  • Recruiters to attract and engage the right people for the right roles within the organization.

Check it out today at jobs.rogers.com to explore how you can build an exciting, rewarding career at Rogers!

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Weekend reading: Pedal, download, surf and snap your way through the weekend

Weekend Reading: LTE to launch in Manitoba, the wallet versus smartphone battle and a live chat about TV viewing habitsThis week we’re cycling with the pros in the Tour de France, celebrating a download milestone and recognizing moms as the most socially engaged group. We’re also buzzing about Instagram video, which can now be embedded in posts! All that and more in this week’s edition of the Weekend Reading.

Pedal the Tour de France

My Facebook stream is filled with friends posting finish line selfies and Endomodo bike commute updates, so I feel it’s pretty safe to say that fitness and technology go hand in hand. And now Google has made the Tour de France accessible to armchair athletes. In honour of the 100th edition of the race, the search engine giant has launched a tool called Your Tour, which lets you “cycle” through the course by scrolling with your mouse or trackpad. Race stages are added as the pack arrives, and include video from a bike and a map of the course.

While I may be a weekend warrior, I’m far from Tour-worthy, so I loved getting a peek into this world that could previously only be experienced by elite athletes.

Google has also mapped the Grand Canyon, the Musee D’Orsay and even Rogers retail locations. What sporting event or location would you like to click your way through?

Magazine milestone

This week, Rogers magazine titles celebrated one million tablet app downloads, a milestone recognized by Masthead and the Canadian Magazines blog. We’re proud to be the first major magazine publisher to offer readers tablet versions of every one of our consumer publications, including Chatelaine, Sportsnet and HELLO! Canada. Rogers Media currently offers 22 publications  on iPad, Android and BlackBerry devices. Starting with the launch of the Maclean’s app in 2010, our “replica apps” offer enhanced versions of the print editions, adding photo galleries, audio tips, behind the scenes videos and more.

We should note that our one-million mark doesn’t include the more than 60 ebooks we’ve published or our standalone apps, like Chatelaine’s 10-Minute Fitness App for iPad, which reached the top spot in the health and fitness category in 31 countries.

Do you read magazines on your tablet?

Moms mad about social media

There’s tonnes of online buzz around the tech-savvy millennial generation, but according to a new eMarketer report, moms are actually the most socially engaged demographic in Canada. Overall, in March 2013, moms spent 18 per cent more time on social media – that’s more than 10 hours a month – than the average Canadian female social media user. A full 86 per cent of internet-using mothers go online every  single day, with visiting social networking sites the most common activity. Other top daily online habits include commenting on social networking activities, profile updates, reading forums or discussion groups and watching videos. Moms also dedicate more time to the internet than to watching television. And be sure to check out Clare Kumar’s tips on how technology can help moms.

Are you a social-savvy mom? How often are you online?

Ready, set, filter

A few weeks ago, Instagram announced it would be adding video capabilities to its photo-sharing social network. Users uploaded 5 million 15 second-videos, complete with carefully chosen filters, in the 24 hours following the app upgrade. Celebs are also hopping on board with the service, as James Franco used an Instagram video this week to announce he’ll be the lucky recipient of a Comedy Central roast.

Not even a month old, the service is already rolling out some changes, announcing this week that content would now be embeddable. And, if you want to share your photos in a more tangible way, be sure to check out these 10 gifts from your Instagram pics from Mashable.

What have you captured with Instagram video?

Jennifer is a regular RedBoard contributor.

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Weekend Reading: Speedy internet, soaring downloads and time to connect

Weekend Reading: LTE to launch in Manitoba, the wallet versus smartphone battle and a live chat about TV viewing habitsDid you ever stop to think just how many minutes you spend answering messages each day? According to a new survey, the average person spends nearly a full day each week connecting online! Plus, we learned that app downloads are expected to double by 2017 and an independent study confirmed that Rogers is consistently delivering high internet speeds to our customers. All in this week’s edition of the weekend reading!

Staying connected

I shudder to think of the number of hours each week I spend keeping up with email, social networks and text messages. I’m pretty sure I’m more connected than the average person, and a recent eMarketer survey found the average American spends a full 23 hours per week online and texting. That’s almost an entire day! Which means I’m probably approaching at least 40 hours a week. Minimum.

The survey focused on American web users who used at least two platforms to connect with others. For example, it found that 87 per cent of people were logging on to Facebook and email weekly, while 30 per cent tuned in to YouTube and Twitter. And these people weren’t just logging in – they were actively engaging. Email topped out at almost eight hours a week, while Facebook used an average of almost seven hours a week. That’s a lot of status updates.

How much time do you spend online connecting with friends and family each week? Which platforms top your list?

Downloads soar

Apps help us track our runs, prepare our meals, stay organized and connect with friends. They’ve become so integrated in our lives that no one was that surprised when Apple’s App Store hit its 50 billionth download back in May. New research in a report called Future App Stores: Discovery, Monetisation & Ecosystem Analysis 2013 – 2018 predicts global app downloads are just going to continue to soar, doubling from the 80 billion expected in 2013 to 160 billion by 2017. According to MediaBistro, this growth is fuelled by consumers in developing markets upgrading to smartphones. Games are expected to continue their domination of the download charts, at an estimated 40 per cent share. That said, the report predicts that by 2017 only 5 per cent of apps will be paid to download, a drop from 6.1 per cent this year.

I easily download one new app a month – I love trying out the latest chart toppers! My current obsession is the upgraded Instagram with video.

What new apps are topping your downloads?

Speed seekers

This week, Rogers was all about speed.  We rolled out our blazing fast LTE network in six new regions, including Truro, N.S., Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Chilliwack, B.C., Joliette, Que. Lennoxville, Que., and Spruce Grove/Stony Plain, Alta. We also expanded our coverage in the Greater Montreal Area.

While we’re hitting high speeds on our smartphones – with the addition of 44 new LTE markets this spring – we want to make sure our customers are getting fast internet, too. This week, an independent study from SamKnows found  that Rogers Hi-Speed Internet customers regularly get speeds as fast or faster than advertised – helping you stream music and video quickly, even at peak times. If you do find your internet connection is feeling a little bit laggy, check out these trouble shooting tips.

Hitting the road

Summer is full of things I love: friends, family, ice cream, road trips and all the latest gadgets. Last week, we focussed on two of my favourite things, bringing you travel apps to help with your summer trips and a Google+ Hangout on Air highlighting some of the great new functions of the Samsung Galaxy S4. This week, we’re making it even better:  Rogers customers can get a week of free roaming internet with up to 350 MB to use on their next trip to the U.S.  when they buy any Samsung smartphone with select two or three-year plans. That’s a lot of photos, tweets and maps! For more details, click here.

Where will your summer holidays take you this year?

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Ready, set, go: Handy apps for the vacation bound

Smartphones on vacationVacations are great. Getting packed and organized? Not so much. Here are some great apps to help make that process easier.

Before  you go

TripIt (free), available on iOs, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone, is really helpful! Forward all your flights, train tickets and car reservation confirmation emails to TripIt and it will create your itinerary. You’ll be able to check it online and share it easily.

Checklists and more checklists

Do you ever get that nagging feeling you’re forgetting something when you pack your suitcase? I know I do. That’s where packing checklist apps come in handy. On Android, Pack the suitcase (free) is a good option with pre-populated lists and Luggage & Suitcase Checklist (free) lets you create different suitcases for every family member. Packing List is available for BlackBerry (free) and Windows Phone (free) users. On iOS, uPacking list (free) does the job as well!

You’re there  

There are plenty of GPS apps out there, starting with Google Maps (free on iOS, Android). Nokia Here (free), available on Windows Phone 8 only, lets you download maps for offline access, and not only can help you if you’re driving, cycling or walking but can also give you transit information and listings for local stores, restaurants and bars.

Discovering

I am personally a big fan of the new Discovery features from Foursquare (free, available on iOS, Android, BlackBerry) and love getting recommendations from locals who know their neighbourhood, rather than guides that might be outdated by the time they’ve gone to press. In the same spirit, TripAdvisor (free, on iOS, Android and Windows Phone) is always a go-to reference to find accommodation or things to do around me. LocalEats ($0.99 on iOS, $1 on Android) will also suggest restaurants based on your criteria for a good number of U.S. and international cities.

Interacting

Seated at a restaurant and want to order your steak rare? Make sure you don’t ask for well-done with Google Translate (free, available on iOS and Android). Even better, let your phone do the job with speech recognition apps such as Speak and Translate (free , Android) or SayHi Translate ($0.99 on iOS).

Shopping

What’s a trip without souvenirs? Convert clothes (free, iOS) will help you figure out clothing sizes, and XE currency conversion apps (free, on iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone) will help keep you on budget.

Staying safe

It’s important to be prepared for emergencies. For health issues, you can consult the American Red Cross First Aid app (free), available for iOS and Android, to get step by step instructions for coping with common issues. Before you leave, make sure you have downloaded the mobile app for your bank and the Rogers My Account app, available on all mobile platforms. Finally, make sure to store a list of your insurance, bank and other important phone numbers somewhere on your phone, either in your Contacts or within an app like EverNote (free, available across all platforms).

Smartphones make travelling so much smoother. Having an international roaming plan so you can access to all your information at all times? That’s the key for peace of mind for the vacation-bound. With our new worry-free roaming internet rate, customers can access to up to 50 MB of data for $7.99 per 24 hour period while in the U.S. For more on your roaming options, check out our tips for choosing between roaming rates and prepaid SIMs.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favourite app when you’re travelling?

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Rogers LTE Max powers speedy apps for runners

BlackBerry RunMarathon season is in full swing and runners are eating up the pavement across the country. While even the pros say all you need to run is a good pair of sneakers, a little bit of a technology boost never hurts in the race to the finish line.

And at Rogers, we’re all about speed. Rogers LTE Max is a premium wireless network that enables theoretical network speeds of up to 150 Mbps – the fastest available speeds for Canadians. It is mainly composed of dual frequency 2100 and 2600 MHz spectrum bands, which allow users to access faster, and more reliable speeds. Today, we’re rolling out our LTE Max spectrum to La Baie, Que.; Victoriaville, Que.; Saint John, N.B.; Parksville, B.C.; and expanding our offerings in Halifax, N.S.; Trois-Rivieres, Que.; Quebec City, Que. and Victoria, Que.,  all part of our expansion to 44 new markets this spring.

These blazing fast speeds deliver steady music streaming for your cardio soundtrack and quickly sync your workout data to your favourite online tracker. Whether you’re training for 42 kilometres or a run around the block, these free apps can help you reach your fitness goals.

For the explorer: MapMyRun

The MapMyRun, available free on iOS, Android and BlackBerry, uses your smartphone’s GPS to record the details of your latest sweat session, including the duration, distance, pace, speed, calorie burn and your route. All the details can be synced with mapmyrun.com for in-browser access. The site also boasts a solid mapping tool, where users can browse saved routes from other runners and measure out their own trails.

For the cardio fiend: Runtastic

Runtastic, available free on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows phones, also uses GPS to map your cardio workouts, including walking, running, jogging or cycling. It tracks your time, distance, speed, calories and more, and maintains a log of your training history. The app also syncs with a browser version. Athletes can also get “voice coach” feedback while they’re on the move.

For the competitor: Strava

Runners with a competitive edge can look into Strava, available free on iOS and Android. The GPS-based app encourages users to compete with friends, challenge personal bests and participate in app-wide challenges, such as logging a certain number of kilometres in a set time period.  The app also tracks your distance and offers an “explore” feature to suggest running routes.

For the number cruncher: Nike+ Running

The Nike + Running app, free for iOS and Android, tracks routes, distance, pace, time and calorie burn. The website interface also includes route tracking and calculates the distance climbed and NikeFuel, a movement-based points system that lets users earn badges. The app also has a motivation feature, where athletes can share their runs on their social networks and hear cheers, in real time, for likes and comments as they are received.

For the healthy eater: MyFitnessPal

Logging all those kilometres requires serious fuel. Calorie-tracking app MyFitnessPal, available free on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7, helps users maintain a food diary and log their workouts. The app boasts a database of more than 2,650,000 food and restaurant items, and syncs with an in-browser version so you can keep tabs from all your devices.

What apps help you reach your health and fitness goals?

For more on Canada’s fastest wireless internet, visit Rogers.com/LTE.

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Weekend Reading: Smartphones, lifestyle apps and Videotron and Rogers expand LTE network

Weekend Reading: Smartphones, lifestyle apps and Videotron and Rogers expand LTE networkHow much time do you spend on your smartphone daily? What are your favourite types of apps to use? And if you live in Quebec or Ottawa, we’ve got great news for you! All that and more in this week’s Weekend Reading!

Android vs. iPhone: Which users spend the most time on their devices?

According to a new study from CNET this week, iPhone users are logging the most minutes on their handsets.

iPhone users spend an average of 75 minutes a day on their devices, with 22 per cent of that time spent talking. Android users, however, only spend 49 minutes on their devices, with nearly a third of that time (28 per cent) spent talking.

What surprised me most in this article though were the two least-used features – GPS and device cameras. Having zero sense of direction, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled out my smartphone to get me on track! And I find having a camera on your device makes it so much easier to capture moments, because we tend to always have our smartphones on us. It sounds like I’m not in the majority though – does the same hold true for you? Do you rarely use your GPS or smartphone camera?

Lifestyle apps becoming more popular

Did you know it’s already possible to control your washing machines, refrigerators or lights right from an app on your smartphone?

Lifestyle apps go beyond household electronics though. Take for instance Rogers Smart Home Monitoring service and app, which allow you to monitor, protect and control various parts of your home, including adjusting your thermostat on the go. There are also numerous car apps that can now lock and unlock doors, start your engine remotely and even gauge your battery life.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts these kinds of apps will be in most households by 2022.

So what’s next for these apps? Making them business friendly. Midsize Insider recently looked at how businesses can use these apps to streamline their business by using them for conference calls and collaboration between employees, customers and partners. This article has some great tips and food for thought if you’re looking to improve your own business processes.

Rogers and Videotron build-out expanded LTE network

This week Rogers was happy to announce an agreement with Videotron to bring LTE to even more residents in Quebec and Ottawa.

The network and spectrum sharing agreement will help bring the blazing fast speeds of the LTE network to both businesses and consumers, and provide better mobile coverage in rural Quebec.

We also continue to roll out our LTE network to even more areas as part of our commitment to expand in 44 new markets this spring, so stay tuned.

Kelly is a regular RedBoard contributor. 

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Weekend Reading: App milestones, LTE rollouts, Google Play and coffee with Tim Cook

Weekend Reading: App milestones, LTE rollouts, Google Play and coffee with Tim CookHappy Victoria Day weekend everyone! We’ve got your cottage reading right here to help you catch up on all the latest tech news, including more LTE rollouts, the price of coffee with Tim Cook, app domination and Google updates. All coming up in this week’s edition of Weekend Reading.

There’s an app for everything

Apple and BlackBerry both released reports on their respective app stores this week, and the figures were pretty mind blowing. In the short time since BlackBerry 10 launched, 120,000 apps have already become available for the platform in the Blackberry World store. There were 70,000 apps available when the Z10 and Q10 launched, so another 50,000 were created in a mere four months. BlackBerry president and CEO Thorsten Heins shared his excitement and future plans with BlackBerry Live here.

Apple also hit a milestone this week, reaching the 50 billionth download mark! The App Store first opened in 2008 with only 500 apps. Now almost five years later, the store is seeing downloads at a rate of 800 apps per second! Apple commemorated the occasion by awarding the 50 billionth downloader a $10,000 App Store gift card. Read more from the official press release from Apple here. I’m personally responsible for hundreds of those downloads myself! What are some of your faves? Let’s compare top picks in the comments below!

Rogers LTE rolls out in more markets this week!

Fantastic news announced today that we couldn’t wait to share with our RedBoard readers – our LTE Max network has launched in a number of new markets, including Brooks, Cochrane and Canmore, Alta. and Sault Ste. Marie and Muskoka, Ont. We also expanded our LTE network to Saint-Georges, Que.; Sydney, N.S.; Bathurst, N.B and expanded our coverage in the Moncton, N.B. area.

With these new cities launched, we’re still right on track to deliver with our commitment to launch our LTE network in 44 new markets this spring. With the LTE network expansion to cottage country, who’s going to take advantage in Muskoka this long weekend?

Google Play for Education

This week was huge for Google. Among their many announcements came news of an Android app being launched to aid in children’s education. Already piloted in select schools, the app enables teachers to search for educational apps for their subjects and grade levels. Teachers can then add the selected apps to Nexus tablets – all the students need is a Google account to access it.

Be sure to visit the official Google blog to keep up on all their latest developments on Google Play for Education and so much more.

Treat Tim Cook to a cup of Joe … for $610,000

Yes, you read that correctly, there are no typos where the numbers of zeros are concerned. In an auction on CharityBuzz, a bidder paid $610,000 for a 30 to 60 minute coffee break with the Apple CEO. Although it was a hefty price tag for a java jolt, proceeds will be going towards the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. 

So what do you think they will talk about over their coffee? I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation!

Kelly is a regular RedBoard contributor.

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Weekend Reading: Smartphone user dating habits, coding for kids and LTE in seven new markets this week

Ever wonder what your smartphone reveals about dating frequency? Or what apps are available to teach your kids about coding? We cover these plus unveil more exciting LTE news – all in this week’s edition of Weekend Reading.

Who has more first dates? iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows users?

If you’re single and wondering which device will score you better odds of a first date, Mashable has the answer in a survey uncovered by Match.com this week.

Of 5,000 people surveyed in the U.S., 49 per cent of single iPhone users went on at least one date in 2012. In a close second was Windows with 46 per cent, then Android at 44 per cent and Blackberry at 42 per cent.

So what does this say about smartphone owners and their dating styles? Check out the full article and survey on Mashable here. Has your smartphone affected your dating life? If so, how?

Coding apps for kids

When I was in school, elective courses included things like music and art. While these are still considered optional, much of today’s curriculum is changing to reflect the needs of our current economy. Coding may not be a widely offered course yet, but you can give your kid a head start on learning one of the most in-demand skills for today’s job market.

This week, Read Write Web highlighted some great apps to teach your kids coding for programming. The six apps are designed for a variety of ages, starting as young as 5 years old. As Read Write Web points out, if you start them off young enough, you could end up raising the next Mark Zuckerberg!

Rogers LTE lights up in seven new markets this week

On Monday, Rogers was proud to announce that only four months into 2013, we have launched LTE in an additional seven markets. As part of our commitment to roll out LTE in 44 new markets this spring, Monday’s new markets include:

  • Airdrie, Alberta
  • Langley, B.C
  • Keswick, Ont.
  • Hamilton, including Grimsby, Ont.
  • Orillia, Ont.
  • Stratford, Ont.
  • Ottawa, including Kanata, Nepean, Gloucester, Stittsville and Cumberland, Ont.

Bonus: both the upcoming Blackberry Q10 and Samsung Galaxy S4 are compatible on the LTE network! Learn more about the LTE network and what devices are currently on the market here.

For more details on our latest LTE expansion, check out some great coverage from our friends at The Cellular Guru, iPhone in Canada, Android Central, Android in Canada, IT Nerd, and Brief Mobile.

Kelly is a regular RedBoard contributor.

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Earth Day apps help you do your part to save the planet

Earth DayToday is Earth Day, a day when we celebrate the Earth and try to be even more eco-conscious. So along with turning out lights when you leave a room, turning down the thermostat and recycling all you can, here are four mobile apps that will help you live greener every day of the year.

Tips for going green If you’re looking for how to start embracing more environmentally-friendly habits, you might want to check the Go Green mobile app (iOS, free). A new tip pops up each time you launch the app. For example, “When you’re in the market for a new computer, consider a laptop. It saves space, goes anywhere and uses five times less energy than desktop models.” Each tip is then stored in “The Green List,” which you can reference at any time.

Recycling how-tos If you’re wondering where you can drop off empty paint cans or batteries in your area, you might want to check out 1-800 Recycling’s mobile app (iOS and Android, free). Available for “parts of Canada,” the app allows you to search nearby recycling centres based on the item you want to recycle. It then lists all the centres near you that accept it, includingthe location’s address, hours and phone number. You can even call the centre direct from the app.

Maintaining your green lifestyle Want to know just how Earth-friendly that package of peanut butter you’re about to pick up is? Good Guide (iOS and Android, free), scans product barcodes and rates them for health, environment and society. It also lists the  ingredients, nutritional information and alternative products. And you can add in your personal standards to see how your favourite products stack up. The app lists more than 120,000 food, personal care and household products.

Make your commute a little greener Commute Greener (iOS, Android and Facebook) gives you points and badges as you improve the method of your daily commute. For example, I take the subway every day, so the app suggests I work from home one day a week or get a bike in order to make my commute a little better. You also get points and badges for recruiting friends, and can create challenges for your group to take part in.

What mobile apps do you use to help you live greener?

Sarah is a regular RedBoard contributor

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Rogers roundup: Android apps to celebrate spring

Samsung Galaxy phone taking a photo of daisies.Blooming buds, chirping birds and sweet, sweet sunshine: Canadians are already eagerly watching for the first signs of spring, which officially begins Wednesday. In honour of the start of patio and BBQ season, we’re sharing some of our favourite Android apps for spring entertaining from the Google PLAY store.

Barbequing done right

A warm evening just begs for dinner to be thrown on the grill. The iGrill helps you cook burgers and steaks to perfection. This thermometer, which costs $80, communicates via Bluetooth with a free app from the Google PLAY store (it’s also available for iOS), to help you track cooking times and even serves up recipes.

Bored with burgers? Cooking apps such as Big Oven (free), which features more than 250,000 recipes, Epicurious (free), which boasts more than 28,000 meal ideas, and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s 20-minute meals app ($3.80) will help spice up your menus to take advantage of all that fresh produce.

Entertaining made easy

If you’re serving dinner for a group, you can manage your party prep and planning with Pepperplate (free). This app lets users share recipes, create menus and shopping lists and run multiple cooking timers to make sure that pot on the stove doesn’t boil over while you’re mixing mojitos.

A night in the backyard or balcony also calls for a great soundtrack. Music-streaming concierge Songza (free) lets you choose playlists based on activity or mood, while the subscription-based Rdio (free) offers more than 18 million songs on demand.

Shoot like a pro

In this “Pictures or it didn’t happen” society, it doesn’t hurt to upgrade your phone’s editing software to make sure your home-cooked meals,  hand-picked bouquets and perfect pedicures look their best on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and beyond. Adobe PhotoShop Touch ($3.99) brings Adobe’s popular photo-editing features, including layers, filters, tone and colour adjustment to your phone.

And if you’re looking for a new phone or tablet to go with your fresh spring wardrobe, you can get a $35 voucher – only available in Canada through Rogers – to spend on great apps in the Google PLAY store when you activate a Samsung Galaxy S III, Note 2 or another eligible Samsung Galaxy device with a two or three year plan before April 1.

Did we miss any of your favourite apps? Share your must-haves in the comments.

Jennifer is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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