Tech Review: Photo apps for your smartphone

Apps that help users stay connected. Apps that help users stay connected. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images

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If you need a spur to go outside and shoot some photos with your smartphone, peak time for fall foliage colors in New York State starts now and runs through Oct. 28, according to the Farmers' Almanac. These apps will help you snap, crop, retouch, tweak and share photos of nature's most colorful season, or of any other image you're proud to have taken.

Photo Grid -- Collage Maker (iOS, Android; free)

After you've snapped your photos, this app makes it a snap to combine them into a collage and share them. Photo Grid has numerous predefined layouts where you can place your photos to give them a professional look. You can add text or spice them up with emoticons. Once you're satisfied, it is easy to upload them to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites.

Adobe Photoshop Express (iOS, Android; free)

Users of the popular Photoshop software on their PCs may be disappointed by the lack of features in Adobe's free mobile app. But Photoshop Express can do basic photo editing such as cropping, rotating and adjusting color. It can also add a limited number of artistic effects to your photos. Adobe offers a more robust Photoshop for Android tablets and iPads for $9.99, but the paid app still doesn't have the full functionality of the desktop version.

Pixlr Express (iOS, Android; free)

This popular photo editor may not have the pedigree of Adobe Photoshop Express, but it does have more features. In addition to the basics (cropping, resizing, straightening and rotating images), Pixlr Express can lighten photos that are too dark or correct overexposed images. It can also remove the dreaded redeye and even do some retouching, such as whitening teeth.

Camera Zoom FX (Android; $2.99)

The stock camera apps included in Android devices differ radically because of the plethora of manufacturers and models available. Camera Zoom FX adds features and functionality to any Android camera. The app allows for "burst" shooting (up to 10 shots per second), and its zoom feature is an improvement over most stock Android camera apps. While most iOS users are happy with Apple's stock camera app, Camera Plus ($1.99) provides some additional features.


TECH BYTES

Apple, not Coke, is it

Apple has overtaken Coca-Cola as the world's No. 1 brand according to Interbrand's 14th annual Best Global Brands report. Coke, which had been the No. 1 brand since Interbrand began the report in 2000, fell to No. 3. In the No. 2 spot is another tech giant, Google. Interbrand ranks brands based on a company's financial performance and the role the brand plays in influencing consumer behavior.

Punting the football

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Electronic Arts says it will not publish its popular NCAA Football game next year after settling several lawsuits brought by former college players who claimed EA used their likenesses without permission or payment. EA said additional ongoing legal issues make it difficult "to deliver an authentic sports experience," and it is evaluating whether the series will return after a one-year hiatus or be permanently canceled.

Slow going

If your PC is taking a long time to boot up, it may be because of your antivirus software. Computer management service Soluto timed several antivirus programs and found that Norton AntiVirus booted the fastest at 12.2 seconds. Slowest to boot was the freeware program Avira, at 61.8 seconds. Soluto says the average PC takes about three minutes to boot, not including the antivirus program.

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