Mobile applications are part of everyone’s life. Both Android and iOS platforms have richer collections of apps. I have picked some of the mobile apps that I very commonly used in 2018. All of these apps are meant to make your life easier and get the best out of your smartphones.
PS – The intent of this write-up is not to select the best app from hundreds of categories but to highlight some of the most frequently used categories.
Networking – Social networking like FB, IG are so common, however, I have not seen a better app other than LinkedIn for professional connects. Shapr is really sleek and provides you with the recommendation of the same minded folks or folks of your interest. The recommendation engine to connect with others is really powerful. One thing that I would like to improve in the app is to have the capability to chat with multiple folks at the same time as a group chat.
Productivity – If custom routines and the process can be automated, then that can increase productivity. IFTTT helps in automating some of the basic processes by combining actions. One of the recent example that I liked was turning on the pathway light when the Pizza will be delivered. This is possible by applets from Dominos and Hue. However, one of the drawbacks is that you can not automate complex routines as Zapier does. One drawback from Zapier is that they do not have a mobile app.
Healthcare – Apple Watche’s ECG app was the biggest healthcare app that drew everyone’s attention in the last year’s WWDC. As the app name suggests the app records the electrocardiogram of the user. App also notifies about the Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) which is useful. However, Apple claims that the monitoring happens only in intervals and the app can not be trusted all the times.
Maps – Google maps changed the way we all navigate now. They keep on bringing up new updates to the maps app. A year before Google announced VPS(Visual Positioning System) for indoor navigation. However, it didn’t materialize much. To everyone’s surprise, Google solved the very common problem in navigation while walking using the same technology. The only disadvantage that I see is that the technology is still in developing stages and Google is yet to roll out the announced feature for many locations.
Retail – I feel that the industry which is most supported by technology is retail. Amazon’s ecosystem in apps just not stops with mobile apps but is also highly pushed to voice assistants as well. The cohesiveness between the mobile app and echo is purely magic. Even though little immatured, utilizing AR to place the items in your home and then deciding to purchase is good. However, one thing I would want the mobile app to handle is the placement of multiple AR items in a camera view. Currently, the app supports placing only one item in a context.
Digital Wellness – The companies who promoted more to use smartphones are taking a step back and then promoting digital wellness now. Both Apple and Google launched their corresponding digital wellness app. I liked Google’s Digital wellbeing app more than Apple’s Screen Time app because of the rich features. But Google’s app is only for Pixel phones now, hence the usage of the app is very limited. But in the case of Apple, any iPhone with iOS 12 can get the Screen Time feature. As always Apple wins the adaptability battle.
Travel – Recently Uber announced Uber pass – A subscription service to lock the price even on peak time. This is good for folks who rely on Uber for a daily commute for work or for groceries and so on. I am assuming that Uber wanted to try something like Amazon prime membership. I see 2 drawbacks in their subscription.
- The subscription is limited to just economy class of vehicles and not for premium/extra seats class of vehicles.
- Also, the subscription is only for a city. It doesn’t guarantee a fixed price for multiple locations.
- Ride pass is yet to be rolled out to more locations.
Entertainment – Netflix is the most used app under the entertainment category in both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Technically, uninterrupted streaming through buffering and high quality streaming even in a very low bandwidth is the finest feature of the app. Recommendation engine in Netflix mostly matches the likeliness of what you would like to watch. One thing that I would like Netflix to add is more translate features in audio and captioning. Now that translate features are much advanced this shouldn’t be a bigger ask.
Feel free to share your thoughts on the apps which you used most and how you would like to improve things to better improve the existing apps.
Happy new year 2019!