The Hottest Apps of 2011, Week 13!

Hot apps is a weekly rundown of the most popular apps according to our sister site Tom's Guide, and suggestions by the Best of Media staff. Sometimes we’ll also include reader suggestions.

Unless otherwise specified, all featured apps are free, and run on Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, and XP.

On Tom's Guide

Firefox 4.0. The latest version of the major “alternative” browser promises even faster loading speeds, a more streamlined interface, and better reliability. In other words, improvements on what attracted fans in the first place, mixed with some new features.

VLC Media Player 1.1.8. Though worthy challengers threaten this app's status as the king of media playback, VLC remains popular with its comprehensive codec support and open-source nature.

LibreOffice 3.3.2. Mostly a rebranded fork with few modifications, LibreOffice was created out of fears that Oracle would discontinue Compared to that office suite, Libre is more or less the same, right down to the interface.

IE9 Tweaker 2.0. Peek under the hood of Internet Explorer 9 with this special utility. It provides more customization options for users. Want to disable the File menu? What about disabling full screen? No problem.

Firefox Mobile for Android 4 RC. Looks like Firefox love has spread even to the Android platform. This is the latest release candidate of the web browser designed for the Android OS.

Staff Picks

Light Image Resizer (VSO Image Resizer). This little app lets you resize multiple images at once, while retaining good picture quality. It can take advantage of multi-core CPUs, allowing for faster processing.

Wipe. Leave no footprints, clear your internet history and purge your cache. That's exactly what this utility promises. Hiding your deviant porn-surfing habits was never so easy!

SVDownloader. We've said that online video downloaders are a dime-a-dozne. But with its built-in video search, FLV player, and support for antivirus and conversion plugins, SVDownloader, may be worth a look.

CCleaner. Long popular with tweakers and speed-freaks, CCleaner helps users remove unnecessary files and registry entries from their Windows PC.

Opera Mini (Android) 6.0. Some of the more contrarian members of the Best of Media staff insist on trying out the latest version of the Opera web browser for the Android OS. So why shouldn't you?

See last week's list here. Got an app you can't live without? Or a better alternative to anything listed above? Share your wisdom in the comments below.

  • anonymous_user
    "Everytome you install K-Lite, God kills a small, cute, baby bunny."

    But on a serious note, I would opt for Combined Community Codec Pack or Shark007's Windows 7 Codecs instead. Or even forget about codecs altogether and just use VLC or SMPlayer.
  • slyphnier
    foobar with DarkOne ( interface mode... beat any other audio player
  • FlukieLukie
    Bleh VLC lags for HD videos as apposed to K-Lite with MPC
  • Snipergod87
    I'll stick with my K-lite Mega Codec pack, never liked VLC's UI.
  • i8cookiemonster
    Finally a list of programs that I can identify with...last several lists have seemed rather lacking in the overall quality/usefulness of programs (with only one or two noteworthy programs). This one appears to be much better (although I'd personally choose GIMP over Paint.NET, as it is a solid, free alternative to Photoshop, and is more robust than Paint.NET). Also 3 browsers seem a little bit much for one list, but I don't know anyone that DOESN'T use a browser so I can't say they don't fit the 'Hot App' description...
  • damianrobertjones
    App = Mobile phone
    Application = Desktop, full OS software

    Or should I finally accept that they are the very same thing? kind of like when we were ten and we shortened people's names?
  • house70
    kinda like WinRar, only better. Plus plugins for ace and other archives, plus multi-platform support.
  • Paint.NET is "ancient" ... ? It's only 6 months older than Firefox!
  • techseven
    K-Lite Standard edition is the "Stuff" for video...
  • slyphnier
    just for people haven't update yet VLC 1.1.8 released!
    also another chrome update to 10.0.648.204

    you can use custom UI on vlc
    there even wmp-like and itunes-like custom ^^