Fun fact: 70% of us use our smart phones in the bathroom…
We can not get enough of our phones can we? These days we use them for all we can think of. I use my phone as my daily alarm clock and as my shopping list for the grocery store. I use an app to track how much I ran. I also use my iPhone to listen to music at the gym and to send off an email or two. More and more, we are getting many things done on our mobile devices. With the help of some awesome apps we can do anything. Here is a list of some apps that I’ve been checking out lately.
Rewards and Stuff: Squiryl, Shopkick and Belly
I can say without hesitation that most shoppers love a coupon or a kickback. There are many ways to get coupons or loyalty rewards whether from print outs in newspapers to those punch cards you get at the local ice cream shop. Now it’s moving into the digital space and most importantly to mobile. It seems that every company is putting up a rewards program of some sort, so maybe it’s good to have one place to keep them all. There are a few that caught my eye and I’ve been playing around with lately.
Squiryl is a semi-basic rewards program. But for me, they have a lot of appeal in terms of just pure design. I love it. The idea of collecting “nuts” rather than points is cute. You make a purchase, earn nuts and eventually turn the nuts in for “free stuff”. The big problem though, is you have a very limited selection of merchants that are participating in the program. They probably just need to kick up their user base before this can be more useful. Nevertheless, look at how amazing their design aesthetic is. Great branding, feel good illustrations and memorable. Check out this Pinterest pin board showcasing their entire UI.
Shop Kick is awesome because they have a better selection of participating merchants. I walked into Macy’s the other day and I got 35 “kicks” for that. Of course, you get more kicks for making actual purchases. So far, it’s a simple and straight forward way of handling the collecting of “points” that add up to certain rewards (i.e., free stuff or discounts).
Belly is also very cute. I love the little dog that comprises their logo. The way this app operates is that you use your smart phone to scan a QR code at the point of purchase when you are shopping. Ideally, I am thinking the register would have a stand with the printed code that you can scan to gain points and free stuff.
These are all cool in different ways and have their cons, no doubt. One issue I’d like to see tackled is a way to keep all my store cards, loyalty stamp cards, discount cards, what have you in one place. I’m just not sure you can have every single deal, coupon, and discount card from every store on Earth in one place. So, I guess I’ll have to find a compromise.
Anyhow, moving on.
Social Media: Path
Path is a social media app worth checking out. It combines the quick messaging of Twitter with the status update of Facebook. It doesn’t forget how much we love sharing our photos and our music. So, you can update your status in a very clean way that’s easy on the eyes.
You can update your location with a quick photo, “thoughts” (i.e., text) or even a song! You can set your mode to awake or asleep. You can also make your own status update by clicking the big red button with the plus (+) symbol in the lower-left corner. This launches a semicircle of icons where you can select which way to update. Your status and that of your friends are posted as simple icon, avatar and text snippets along a vertical timeline or “path”. Anyone’s update can easily be touched and expanded. In this view, you can see any comments that might have been left or to leave one yourself. It’s all very easy on the eyes and I love what they’ve done there.
Vine, from their description on the iTunes store, “is the best way to see and share life in motion. Create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way for your friends and family to see.”
This could very well be the Instagram of video. I think the world is on the cusp of going crazy for video (if it isn’t already). It’s getting more mobile and more accessible. Appearing as a long, elegant scroll of videos, it makes for a really cool experience on your phone. Each video that comes into the viewable spaces starts to play, so there is no play or stop button to clutter the UI or video space. You can, of course, tap the video to start and stop it.
To-Do Lists: Clear
There must be hundreds of productivity apps in the market place. But Clear stands above the rest with its fantastically simple and elegant UI. Its use of gestures rather than a bunch of clunky elements gets you straight to the point. See the list, then open, view, edit, and most importantly, check off your items. What could be simpler?
So, there is my round up of the apps I’ve been exploring and still need to explore some more. Let me know what your favorites apps are for rewards, video, social media or productivity. I’d love to hear about them! Ta ta for now, I gotta run!
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