App Focus: Best Apps 2013 Edition

As much as I hate preparing lists, especially the year-end ones, here's listing some of the best apps of 2013; the apps that 'just work' and make you drool with their gorgeous designs!

Duolingo: Android/iOS - Winner of Apple's App of the Year award, Duolingo offers the most convenient method to learn a foreign language; in fact I'm using it to catch up on my French that I left off during college! While the app is beautifully designed, the iPad version is much better and makes use of the screen estate really well.

Paper: iPad only - So many creativity apps have debuted on the Apple App Store, yet Fifty Three's Paper is one of the best apps around. Be it for random doodling or creating stunning artworks, Paper covers it all. Though an in-app-purchase is necessary to take full advantage of the app's features, I say they are worth every penny. Alternatives: Notability, Procreate (iOS only)

Quip: Android/iOS - Coming from Bret Taylor, the co-creator of Google Maps and later the CTO of Facebook, Quip is a collaborative word processor on the lines of Microsoft SharePoint that's very common in workplaces. It not only lets you to edit, modify and share documents with a group of people, but also offers integrated messaging without having the need to leave the app. What's more, there's a Web version too!

Google Drive: Android/iOS - Believe it or not, a cloud storage app is a given if you are using an iPhone or an iPad. And Google Drive, in addition to being this, also doubles up as a fine document viewer, but you would have to separately download their Docs, Sheets and Slides apps in order to create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Alternatives: SkyDrive, Dropbox (Android/ iOS)

IFTTT: Android/iOS - IF This Then That is a great productivity booster and a nifty task automation app that lets you set up new recipes, or make use of shared recipes created by the user community, to auto-save all your camera photos to Dropbox, or backup your contacts to a Google Drive spreadsheet, or even alert you with the weather conditions for the day through an SMS!

Mailbox: iOS only - Left with lot of emails to catch on? Don't worry, the gesture based app Mailbox (now owned by Dropbox) is here to make you achieve that elusive Inbox Zero by turning emails into tasks that can be archived, deleted or snoozed for a later date. The limitation is that it currently works only with Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. Alternatives: Boomerang (Android only)

Simplenote: Android/iOS - Want a cross-platform note taking app that isn't too feature-packed and bloated as Evernote? Then Simplenote is the app you are looking for. Too bad Google Keep is not available on Apple's iOS yet! Alternatives: Drafts (paid, iPhone only), Google Keep (Android only)

Feedly: Android/iOS - Google Reader may be long dead, but its alternative Feedly is clean, and just about the best way to manage your RSS feeds. Alternatives: Press (paid, Android only), Digg (Android/ iOS)

Fantastical: iPhone only (paid) - A fantastic calendar app for the iPhone, Fantastical lets you manage your events, reminders and many more all in one single place, while hooking up with your iCloud, Google Calendar, Yahoo! and Microsoft Exchange accounts. Alternatives: Sunrise, Horizon (iPhone only), Cal (Android/ iOS)

Pocket Casts: Android/iOS (paid) - A fully featured podcast app, Pocket Casts makes organizing and managing your podcast subscriptions dead simple. Alternatives: Podcasts (iOS only)

Pushbullet: Android/iOS - Remember Google's Chrome to Phone extension that let you share links, text, numbers and other stuff from Chrome browser on your desktop PC to your Android device? Pushbullet does the same, only that it's both ways. Installing the app on your smartphone makes it easy to send and receive anything - links, files, text etc. from your desktop browser (Chrome or Firefox) to your phone's notifications pane and vice-versa. No more of those unwarranted emails to self!

Code Academy: iPhone only - Want to learn the basics of computer programming in a fun, interactive manner? Code Academy's iPhone app has got you covered.

Vert: iOS only (paid) - Hands down the most gorgeously designed unit converter app, Vert offers over 1000 units across 34 categories. Alternatives: Amount, Convertible (paid, iOS only), Flib (Android only)

WWF Together: iPad only - Informative and beautiful in equal proportions, WWF Together is a great app for a wonderful cause and a testimony to the efforts World Wildlife Fund is putting to save the world's endangered species.

Also check out my previous compilation of the best apps for some of the obvious ones that have been left out.