If you follow me on Twitter, you may have gathered from the backlog of tweets that I like to live up to my ‘Girl Geek’ status, with my iPhone and iPad always close to hand.
Following a tweet last week asking fellow tech crunchers for their thoughts on Apple TV, it didn’t take much convincing for me to purchase the latest gadget and ensure I scheduled time on the sofa for the bank holiday weekend!
It’s fair to say that my rather, erm, frequent use of my smartphone has led to what seems like a never-ending supply of pages storing all the weird and wonderful apps that come in handy when you need them most.
Apps, shortened slang for applications, are stylishly displayed on Apple’s iconic grid typeface to perform all sorts of specific tasks, from a quick calculation to displaying the local weather forecast or reviewing train timetables.
The beauty of apps is that they are quite literally at your fingertips, and with this in mind, I thought I would share my top 20 apps (compatible for Apple and Android smartphones) with you.
And best of all, they’re all free to download!
HootSuite is a great social media management tool, and it’s my preference for keeping on top of Twitter activity. The dashboard layout allows me to simply monitor my main feed, @mentions, and sent tweets. It is particularly useful for managing multiple client accounts, and you can schedule updates, track how many clicks your links received, and set up lists to monitor keywords or particular topics through the hashtag (#).
This app claims most of my time when I’m on my iPad and I can’t recommend it highly enough for consuming your daily news. You select the news you want to read from various categories including business, sport, and travel, and the beauty of this app is that you swipe your way through the pages in the same way that you would with a physical magazine.
It’s always great to see the person that you’re speaking to on the phone, and that’s the great thing about Skype – you can video call anyone else on Skype for free. It’s also of advantage for business when making international calls, video conferencing or when you’re in area with strong Wi-Fi connection but poor mobile reception.
This is a great little app for watching live TV or listening to live radio. You can also scroll through the app to find the most popular programmes and add them to your favourites, or simply browse through the schedule to see what’s on TV.
Most High Street banks, including Lloyds TSB, Halifax and HSBC, are releasing mobile banking apps to let you check your balance, make payments and transfers and search for local branches or an ATM machine whilst on-the-go. It certainly allows me to keep on top of my finances.
This is a handy app to have when you find yourself in unfamiliar territory as the app quickly identifies your position to allow you to search for local amenities such as petrol stations, hotels, cinema, supermarket or taxi rank.
Whether you love them or hate them, QR codes can be intriguing and you can feel obliged to scan them. Make sure you have a scanning app to hand, and I’d recommend Red Laser as it’s slick and simple to use to find out what lies behind the code!
WhatsApp Messenger is a free equivalent to text messaging and it can be used across multiple platforms e.g. iPhone, BlackBerry, Android etc. As well as basic messaging, I find it really useful for creating groups to have collective conversations with friends when arranging a catch up. Oh and you can send images, video content and audio media messages – all for free!
This app is great if you regularly watch a film and recognise the actor/actress but can’t think for the life of you what film you have seen them in before. That’s where Internet Movie Database (IMDb) comes in. Download it and wait for the penny to drop.
Ted (Technology, Education, Design) is devoted to ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’ and it certainly lives up to its promise. The app allows you to browse and watch TEDTalks, covering a range of compelling topics from design, to medicine, to how women are reshaping the world (one which I particularly enjoyed!).
I love the ‘Inspire Me’ tab too where you select a category and input how much time you have for them to then curate the perfect video content for you to watch.
I very rarely use my camera app now, because Instagram allows me to take a picture and select a filter to transform the look of my photo in a range of styles similar to Polaroid images. You can then share your image on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, and with Facebook’s recent acquisition of Instagram for a whopping $1bn, I’m sure there will be more to come from the stylish photo sharing platform soon.
This is a nifty little app if you are struggling to decide where to eat out. You can select location, cuisine, and budget, before physically shaking your smartphone to activate the Urbanspoon slot machine to suggest a restaurant. Best of all, once your decision is made you can then make your reservation, and hey presto!
I do love Trip Advisor, so this app is handy to have on-the-go to find hotels, read reviews, and plan my trips based on the recommendations from the people who have ‘been there, done that’. Who better to get the first hand information from?
It’s always good to know what’s on the box. I’d recommend this app as it shows what is on now and next, and it even gives a rating out of ten for each programme to help you make up your mind whether it is worth a watch.
If you are a frequent flyer with BA, this app is a must. You can check-in for your flight, download a mobile boarding pass, view latest arrival and departure information, and even book your next flight if you’re that keen!
Listen to all your favourite music thanks to Spotify. The free account lets you listen to new songs before you commit to buy them. You can also create playlists, search new releases and find top tracks through the ‘What’s New’ feature. You can even share what you’ve listened to with friends on Facebook (but only if you want to!).
We all know that the M8 is prone to road works so if you regularly commute on Scotland’s roads, you may want to download this app to get direct access to Traffic Scotland information on incidents, planned events, weather and live camera views for the motorway network.
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