New Smartphone? How To Rock It Like A Boss, Part Five – Get an app for that
A great way to start finding apps that can make your phone more useful: think about what things you do over and over and find an app that can help make you more efficient. Many of the Web sites you visit often for news or other information also have mobile apps you can load-up. Apps that help you check news, weather, sports or your finances while mobile are the most popular categories of apps. Maybe a health tracker can help you log your exercise or calorie intake (read about my favorite healthy apps HERE).
Maybe a dictionary app will help your writing. Take a look at which areas of your life could use a little jolt. This way you are most likely to download apps you will want to use, instead of picking apps everyone is talking about but do little to make your life better. Avoid the popular time wasters/battery drainers like games because they often tempt you with ‘in-app purchases’ – spend more money and get rewards like higher game scores, etc.. But if you must get some entertainment value out of your phone, check out the apps based on your favorite TV shows, which often deliver extra content you can’t find on the Web via your desktop.
How to stay safe when shopping for apps
Apps make a lot of money for developers. Apps are also a hacker’s best tool for doing typical bad guy things to steal from us, like stealing personal information or credit card numbers. With the plethora of apps out there, it is getting more difficult to know which apps are legit, and which apps are tools for the ‘black hat’ guys to rip us off. Here’s a good article with tips on how to be a careful app downloader:
What’s on the Bearphone
Some of the apps most used on my iPhone: a restaurant tip calculator, reference apps like Dictionary, Wikipedia, and IMDB. Apple Maps is my favorite navigation app because of the super-cool way it speaks directions while driving the Bearmobile around in a new area (super-hot: Bluetooth-connecting my phone in the car so the directions come over the radio speakers!). Google Maps and MapQuest are the worst, but I still keep them on my phone for some reason. My favorite ‘nerd fun’ apps are Google Earth, Sky Guide, and Moon. My favorite music app is the TuneIn app because that’s where you can listen to The Remix Channel! The XFINITY Remote app lets me program the X1 DVR while away from the Bear Cave, and if I’m feeling really lazy when sitting in the Bear Chair the app lets my phone or iPad work as a remote control!
And, the MyFitnessPal and Runtastic apps – find out how they helped me lose a ton of weight HERE!
As you become a power user of your phone or tablet, go ahead and load up apps that improve how your device works. You can download specialized apps that take to another level some built-in functions like waking you up, taking photos or checking the weather. Maybe you need more detailed info because you travel a lot or want to keep tabs on the weather where you have relatives or friends. Or, you want the ability to tweak-or-freak-out your pictures with special effects. Set an alarm with your favorite song. As you go deeper with the device and your experience hits the glass ceiling, you will get a feel for what apps to get next.
As your experience and confidence with your device grows take care how you use it. Avoid becoming so enthralled that the device becomes TOO important or worse! Read my article on how to live with technology:
Feel free to post in the comments below: how does using your smartphone or tablet make your life easier – or more complicated?