Friday Dec 09 2011
The Technovore: Smartphone apps a life changer
By: Andrew DiLuccia
The Technovore remembers when his father got his first cellular phone — the installers practically destroyed his car’s center console while they were putting it in. Flash forward several years later and those phones got smaller and easier to use, and it seemed more and more people were getting them. The Technovore held out though, sticking to his trusty pager. But then one day he gave in, and he’s never looked back. Cell phones have been a phenomenon for some time, but they really didn’t start to completely assimilate into our lives until Apple’s Steve Jobs came up with one of his industry-changing moves and released the iPhone in 2007. Granted, there were versions of smartphones around before Apple’s — i.e. Research in Motion’s Blackberry — but Apple’s product made the smartphone platform accessible and fun to the masses. Whereas Blackberrys have mostly been looked at as the business professional’s phone, the iPhone made the smartphone a piece of technology that would become a vital part to many consumers’ everyday lives. And how did Apple do this you say? Simple, one word — applications. Applications, or apps as many of us refer to them as, are really what separated the iPhone from all other phones in The Technovore’s opinion (that is before Google’s Android smartphone platform took off). With applications, you can easily and quickly personalize your phone with features that you use everyday. Want to get all the day’s news? There’s an app for that. Want to get the weather? There’s an app for that. Want to know how many calories you’ve burned walking your dog? Yes, there’s an app for that. While the numbers are constantly changing, there are more than one million applications, both free and pay, that are available for smartphones. The Apple App Store alone boasts more than 500,000. And the uses for these applications still are amazing. From the clearly stupid, such as the fart sound app, to the ingenious, like the music recognizing application Shazam — there’s an app out there for almost anyone on any smartphone. The Technovore can be found many a night sitting on the couch shuffling through his Android smartphone while the TV is yammering on in the background — checking Facebook, looking at Twitter (a task that is done more often these days by consumers than checking email) or seeing how badly his fantasy football team is being beaten with his fantasy football app. And now, if you want to change the channel while playing on your smartphone, you can do that, too. BuddyTV has an app where you can turn your iPhone into a TV remote, allowing you to access your AT&T U-Verse cable box to watch your favorite shows. Speaking of favorites, here’s a few more apps that Technovore recommends. Oh, and they’re free. Shazam — This music recognition application allows you to find out who sings that song you’re hearing while you’re in the changing room at mall. All you need to do is hold up your phone to the speaker and activate the app. After a few moments Shazam will give the artist, title of the track and what album it’s off. From there you can listen to a sample of the song and you can even buy it right on your phone. You’ll also notice TV ads are starting to use the Shazam app. So when you see the symbol on a commercial hold your phone up to the TV and see what happens next. GasBuddy — They say gas prices are going down, but it’s still much higher than it was last year, and that’s where this app comes in handy. Put in your location, or turn on your phone’s global positioning system and touch the Find Gas Near Me button and this application will list all the cheapest gas in the area, and how close it is to your current position. The Technovore uses this one quite frequently and finds it very convenient and easy to use. If there’s an app out there that you like, and you want to share it with The Technovore, or you’re seeking more information on applications and smartphones, visit us or tweet us on Twitter at @TheTechnovore, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.