I do a lot of consultancy for companies reviewing their mobile apps and making recommendations for enhancing their mobile apps. I have been a smartphone user since the very first Nokia Communicator (9000) released in 1996. I have moved between devices as more and more features are released and having gone through all incarnations of the iPhone and Android I now find myself with a Samsung Galaxy S4. Am I happy with it? Well, no not really as the problem Android has over iOS is that it is often disjointed and cumbersome. Switching between apps is somewhat manual unlike iOS’s seamless experience. Anyway, that is not what this post is all about.
I test a lot of apps and have therefore, many redundant apps on my smartphone which gradually slows it down and leaves no room for the vast amounts of media I take around with me (ebooks, videos and music). So, I thought I would give my Galaxy a spring clean and clear down any apps I have not used in the past 4 months. It was liberating but left me with a select few key apps that I could not live without. Here’s what I call my essential top ten. I have excluded bundled apps so these are the ones I have downloaded:
Hailo – When in London (or one of the other 12 cities supported by the Hailo network) I use this app to hail a taxi cab. Not only does it show where your taxi is on a map, it also says how long it will be and who is driving it. The most useful thing about Hailo is the ability to create an account and lodge a credit card or debit card with it. This means no more fumbling for cash or panic visits to a cashpoint when out and about, just opt to pay with your account and add a tip – cashless cabs – sensational – the best most useful app out there when travelling in the big city. Every woman should use this app for trusted black cab drivers. It has saved my bacon so many times. https://hailocab.com/
Twitter – What is there to say about twitter? Its essential for commenting on the world as it passes you buy. As someone who comments on just about everything twitter is possibly the only social app you need? http://www.twitter.com
Facebook – Facebook is my way of keeping in touch with my kids (all four of them), friends and family – oh, and the odd group also. Essential app for keeping up to date and pasting piccies for those back home. http://www.facebook.com
LinkedIn – Business social media app – when you need a job you need this to keep in touch and network. LinkedIn is something that I use every single day. reading posts, networking with business colleagues and lining with new contacts. The business networking app to beat them all. http://www.linkedin.com
Instagram – So you want to post an image to your social posts and want to do it fast with some image edits? This has to be the app. The great thing about Instagram is that you can select one or more of your social feeds to upload an image to and fast. Currently instagram supports Facebook, tumblr, Flickr, Twitter and Foursquare which should be enough for everyone. I like the quick edit filters that you can apply to your pictures before uploading them – some real nice retro filters in there. You can also use instagram to keep up with and follow your friends and celebrities should you so wish. The great thing about Instagram is that you can just use it to take pictures – you don’t have to share them. It’s a great and easy way to keep a visual diary of your day. http://instagram.com
Flipboard – I started using Flipboard from the beginning – this app is essential and a great way to create your own magazines. The interface is one of the greatest user interfaces of all time allowing the user to flip over pages and deep dive into stories. With some great images on Flipboard you can keep in touch with worldnews, hobbies, music, photos almost anything within your own personalised social magazine. http://flipboard.com
Any.do – The web site says Any.do is here to help you manage life in a simple clever & fun way. Well it’s right! This is simply the best reminder and task manager on the planet. A seductive interface the any.do app works seamlessly across devices and looks awesome. Functionally it’s got a logical simple and effective interface letting you add, edit and complete any tasks or reminders. For me this is my PA. Great web site imagery also: http://www.any.do/
Poweramp – Now all of my music is in iTunes in Apple’s Lossless codec (the format I save my music in for those not in the know). The problem is iTunes only really works with Apple mobiles and so for me with an Android device it doesn’t work. I have been seeking a music playing app that plays apple lossless files (and indeed any other format) on my Galaxy – Poweramp does it. Just drag your music from the iTunes folder to your phone and it plays. Poweramp also has amazing controls, and great sounding EQ. It’s essential if you don’t use an iPhone. http://powerampapp.com/
Google Calendar – If any of you have used Samsungs calendar app (S Planner) you will probably hate the faux leatherette brown and yellow user interface, the cumbersome calendar appointment editor and the inability to sync with anything else. So, go to the Play store and download the stock Google Calendar app. It just works and also beats the iPhone calendar app for ease of use – hands down.
Google Chrome – Ditch the standard Android internet app or the iPhone Safari and grab the quickest most easy to use web browser, Google Chrome. Not only is it a doddle to use but its fast and syncs with your desktop so you can pick up where you left off. You can also read offline pages and do a host of other things with this outstanding mobile browser.