We have more information at our disposal than any one person can keep up with. Yet, because we are willing to try to digest the endless buffet served up by Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc, technology has answered our desperate cry for more, and the free market has delivered to us the smartphone.
These amazing phones afford us the ability to be in contact with the world and current events almost anywhere at any time. As if that weren’t enough we now have the option of thousands of applications to enhance and perhaps complicate our everyday communication.
My husband just got one of the new droid phones – the HTC Hero, to be precise. Up until a few weeks ago he wanted to throw it up against a wall. His frustration, approaching insanity, stemmed from his inability to maneuver the tiny touch screen with his clumsy fingers. He was just about ready to call it quits and go back to his Palm Centro, that is, until he found himself stuck in a hotel room for a day, alone with the phone. Here he was forced to settle the matter once and for all.
What precipitated this cease-fire was the discovery of some very cools apps. Listed below are the top five my husband encountered on his peacemaking mission and a late entry by me.
The first app to catch his attention was Shazaam. Apparently Shazaam has been around since 2002 and is, quite frankly, awesome. This application is a music discovery engine which gives your phone the ability to listen to just about any piece of music and provide the artist, album and date of recording immediately. Now when you’re walking through the grocery store and you hear the amazing muzak version of an 80s one hit wonder you can find out within seconds the artist who recorded that song. There really is an app for that.
The second obscure but amazing app is Google Sky Map. The Sky Map allows you to browse the night sky just by pointing your phone to space. The phone’s GPS, accelerometer, and compass detect planets, stars, and constellations and then proceed to map them out before your very eyes.
Third and extremely useful is ShopSavvy. This app allows you to use your phone’s camera to scan barcodes to find the best prices for online and local items. This is good for the environment too (wink) in that it will help you save gas and unwanted mileage on your car while keeping you from making those hasty purchases.
Fourth on our list but possibly our favorite is Pandora Radio. This app provides you with your own free personalized radio which streams music from your phone. Create a station by naming your favorite artists or songs. Pandora chooses more music in line with your unique tastes. Give each song a thumbs up or down and move on to the next song.
Joining our watch list at number five is Froogloid. Froogloid allows you to store the barcodes of any keycard or club card you might have. “At the point of sale, simply launch the Key Ring application, select your saved card from the home screen and have the retail associate scan the barcode from the screen.” Lighten your key ring and your wallet with one easy addition to your phone. This will, however, mean removing the phone from your ear at checkout. Wow, a win-win!
The Amazon Kindle turns your phone into an e-book reader and lets you flip through the pages of your electronic books by swiping your finger across the screen. It features the ability to resize the text and works with Whispersync technology so that if you close the app and then restart, it will take you the last page you were reading.
These are fabulous and to some degree frivolous additions to the marketplace which I couldn’t have imagined a year ago. Still, I must admit I am glad for their arrival not to mention the following features becoming standard on most new phones including cameras, access to email & web, and fabulous turn by turn GPS – perfect for any man or woman who loathes stopping to ask for directions.
This list is miniscule among the seemingly unlimited range of apps, and I’m curious to know which apps you love and which ones you hate. Leave your comment here, and maybe we’ll all find some new favorites.