So many apps, so little time
Rosie Siman is a recent addition to our integrated planning team and our resident social & emerging media strategist. When she’s not writing for H/H, you can find her on Twitter (@rosiesiman) & Tumblr.
Scrolling through my phone on the way to work this morning, I realized that after a mere 10 days in Austin, my phone was full of new apps (I never drunk dial, but I am guilty of drinking and downloading). And while some of the new additions won’t stick around indefinitely, I’m realizing that many of them are far too useful to go. A summary of my favorite apps from SXSW 2011:
GroupMe is a group messaging app that you can use via the app itself or via SMS. Think of it like a private chat room- You add the people you want to be a part of the group and GroupMe sends you an individual number. When you text that number, everyone who is a part of your group receives a text back. GroupMe also has a conference call service whereby you can call the number to call everyone in your group at once.
Bottom Line: When keeping up with a group of friends at a conference, especially at a tech conference where data service isn’t up to par, GroupMe is the way to go.
Keep/Delete: Keep. I’m not sure how exactly I’ll use this outside of the conference circuit, but it’s been too helpful to delete.
Available for iPhone, Android & Blackberry.
Uber lets you request & pay for a ride through their app. You can text them your address or use the iPhone/Android app to set your pickup location on a map. Right now, they’re only running in San Francisco, but they brought pedicabs to SXSW, which was super helpful. With pedicabs, I was able to negotiate the rate directly with the driver, but if you use their car service in SF, your rate is automatically calculated ($8 base + $4.90/mile + $1.25/idle minute.) Even though tip is included, it seems a bit pricey for a car service. For example, if Uber were running in NYC, it would cost me $101.10 to get from my office to the airport whereas a car service is usually closer to $55, a cab $45.
Bottom Line: Great for pedicabs. And if you’re in a pinch for a car (in SF), Uber could save the day.
Keep/Delete: I’m going to delete Uber for now, but I’ll download the second it’s available for use with NYC pedicabs.
Available via web, iPhone & Android
The magic of Oysterpedia is in the name. For the one night I didn’t eat tacos in Austin, I hit up Perla’s for some delicious oysters. The menu had so many to choose from and I wasn’t sure where to begin, until I remembered that Mermaid Inn released an oyster app, just for occasions like this. The app asks you to select East Coast or West Coast before giving you encyclopedic knowledge on oysters from those regions. Until this app, I never knew that each oyster was so different! Besides telling you the salinity, texture and size, the Oysterpedia app also offers a glossary of “good to know” oyster terminology, defining exactly what “beach cultured” or “rack and bag” actually mean.
Bottom Line: If you love oysters, you’ll love this app.
Keep/Delete: Keep. And use often.
Available via web or iPhone
Instagram. I know, I know – I’m a little late to the game on this one. I already had 9 photo apps on my phone before succumbing to the pressure and downloading Instagram. If you’re not familiar, Instagram is a free app which lets you take, modify and share pictures. There are 10+ filters that all transform your pictures from being meh to awesome. You can connect Instagram with Flickr, Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. In fact, at one party I attended at SXSW, there were Instaprinters, which printed out every picture that was tagged with the location of the party. The printers were wireless and used ink-less film (a la polaroid), which made for some rad party favors.
Bottom Line: Delete all your other photo apps, but keep Instagram
Keep/Delete: Keep, share, create.
Available for iPhone
Tiny Wings was the perfect solution for the panels you wish you hadn’t chosen, Tiny Wings is a game where you race daylight to travel to different islands merely by sliding down & jumping over hills. It’s simple and addictive with great graphics.
Bottom Line: If you love Angry Birds, you’ll probably dig Tiny Wings
Keep/Delete: Keep. But hide from yourself while working
Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
OLDIES BUT GOODIES
I joined Foursquare back in March of 09, just before Dens & Naveen headed to SXSW to tell the world about their app. I was excited about the app back then, but the the new Foursquare has blown me away. The guys have taken it to a whole new level with the “Explore” feature and partners now include Instagram, Picplz, Foodspotting, Groupme, Hashable, Tweetdeck, EightbitMe, Venmo & Hootsuite. For SXSW 2011, they hooked up with Sched, to get data on all official and unofficial SXSW activities, meaning every time you checked in, Foursquare knew why you were at a given location. For example, when I checked in to the Dirty Dog Bar to see Eisely perform, my tweet from Foursquare said “@ Dirty Dog Bar for Eisley,” without me adding any extra information. Foursquare has also amped up their specials creating additional incentives for non-mayors. If you want to read more about Foursquare 3.0, check out their blog.
Bottom Line: Even Foursquare haters are doing it.
Available for iPhone, Android & Blackberry
Foodspotting is an app based on one simple human insight: We like to take pictures of our food. With the rise of foodie culture, Foodspotting has become a visual guide of trends within the food world: Not just where to go, but what to eat (Might I recommend the cheese dip at Torchy’s?) Foodspotting was launched in January 2010, and already 400k+ foods around the world have been “spotted” on their app.
Bottom Line: Download, capture and nom!
Available for the iPhone
Starbucks Mobile Card
Pay for Starbucks on-the-go using your mobile phone. I try not to carry anything besides my phone, debit card and ID when I’m out and about for the whole day (purses are heavy!) so I love that I get the discounts from my registered Starbucks card without having to add that to the mix. You can’t yet add money to your card via the mobile app (you have to go online or in-store), but you can set your account to automatically re-load if your balance gets below a certain limit.
Bottom Line: A must for Starbucks lovers
Available for the iPhone