Last week, I was listening to this interesting conversation on Red FM station where a person was trying to justify why moving to smartphones is dumb, will make people lazy, socially disconnected (offline) and that phones should only be used for calling.
While his other points may be right – not generalizing the case though – I couldn’t agree at all with his self-drawn boundaries of the instrument, i.e. mobile phones. Nowhere is it written that phones should only be used for calling. There are host of other things you can do with today’s smartphones, instead of just playing Candy Crush, which fulfills your needs of being – connected, informed, efficient and effective. All of the applications mentioned below are the ones that I use at least once in a week and NONE of these are games.
11 apps for everyday use:
- Watsapp [SIMPLE MESSAGING]
Besides the obvious reasons that everyone knows, Watsapp’s image, audio, video, location and contact sharing is what I use very often and has helped me a lot. When I want to guide someone to reach where I am, I can send the person my location through location sharing which he/she can use it in Google Maps. When I don’t want to type a number, I can simply share the contact in my phonebook to another person. When I am shopping and want someone’s opinion (mostly my sister or wife), I use image sharing to get an idea right there. So, if the person is not there physically present, he/she can still help me.
- Skype/Viber [CALLING AUDIO/VIDEO]
I have both on my phone but always prefer Skype over Viber due to better voice quality in the former. Plus, Skype allows video calling which is very good as you can see your near and dear ones while talking even if they are on the other side of the planet. However, I have felt the application is quite heavy compared to Viber. I came across Viber for the first time in US where it is quite famous. Initially, vary of having so many messengers on my phone, I avoided it. However, eventually my friends and family there compelled me to install it. Although I use it less, it is a good option to have as well besides Skype.
- Twitter/Facebook [ONLINE SOCIALIZING]
I don’t think I need to say much here as everyone knows these two biggies. Of the two, Twitter takes some time investment to develop the habit. However, it is the best source of real time news and updates on your favorite subjects of interest. It is also a very good source of knowledge when you follow the key people from your interest area and know what they are up to and their opinion about the current happenings in your interest area.
- Firstpost/TOI/ET [NEWS MEDIA]
Most of the leading news channels have an android app which you can install and get real time updates on current affairs. Since these media have push technology, you do not need to actively seek specific updates. These applications bring the world news to you and keep you well informed about current affairs.
- Gmail [EMAILING]
In cases of emergencies, having a Gmail account configured to your phone helps you access your mails even on the move and lets you reply to them without turning on your laptop. Gmail is also well integrated as one of the sharing options along with Bluetooth, Watsapp, Facebook, Twitter etc…
- Google Maps [DIRECTIONS, NAVIGATION]
I wonder how much time and money google maps save us in our day to day lives. When I moved to Mumbai, I used it extensively to move places without really needing to ask many people. Google maps have also saved me bucks when I am traveling to any new cities and use private transport like auto and taxi. Since I know the shortest route, the auto or taxiwala cannot take long route to charge me more.
- IMDB [MOVIE REVIEWS]
For movie crazy, IMDB is a perfect source of getting genuine movie reviews where thousands of users rate a movie out of 10. It is not so much popular in India where people still rely on media ratings to a movie, which is obviously biased because I can pay big money to a newspaper to write good about my movie. On IMDB, a movie gets about thousand user ratings within 3-4 days of release which is very good sample size. I would never waste my money on any less than 7/10 movie.
- Bookmyshow [ENTERTAINMENT BOOKING]
Remember the days when you have to stand in queue at a theatre to book the tickets. And if it is a blockbuster, most often you would get a “housefull” board by the time your chance arrives. If indeed you are able to get tickets, you would not get your preferred seats since they are already booked. BMS allows you to book tickets for movies, plays, cultural events, sports events and festivals while sitting at your home itself. Once I book the ticket on BMS I do not have to worry about reaching the hall early or standing in the queue for getting my tickets. I can utilize my time in better way instead of doing that.
- Burrp/Zomato [RESTAURANT REVIEWS]
For foodies like me, while dining out, I like to check out new places and try their specialties. Earlier I used to do it randomly, but now I also check out the reviews of the restaurants on these applications and see what the customers are saying about them. Reading reviews are specifically important if you are having a special occasion and you do not want to get spoiled.
- MMT/Goibibo/Redbus [TRAVEL BOOKING]
Booking bus/train/flight tickets was never so easy. The greatest benefit of booking it online is that you can quickly compare the fares for different buses/trains/flights at one go and even between these portals and get the best deal for your travel. So, you do not have to move around travel agencies to get your tickets done. Also for train tickets, you can download IRCTC Connect which is an android app for train tickets. I haven’t downloaded it yet but will definitely give it a shot after some reviews. But the crux of the matter is, you can save so much time instead of going to a railway station, standing in looooooooong queue and getting the tickets.
- Flipkart/Snapdeal/Amazon [SHOPPING]
Although Indians are still not so much used to shop on their cell phones, having these apps on phone gives a quick reference for price comparison when you are shopping at retail stores and know where you are getting the best deal. It also lets you compare products right away on multiple features to give you an idea on the best one for you. It has saved a lot of money to me when I am purchasing electronics.
Besides these, there are many good apps that can be very helpful some times, if not daily or weekly.
Since last few days I have been listening to the Star Sports commercial on local radio station which projects a student embarrassed in front of his girlfriend and an employee missing out on promotion as they did not have Star Sports at their homes and then they decide to have it so that they can watch matches on it and then gossip the next day with their friends and bosses respectively. As idiotic as it sounds in the era where you get amazingly detailed and informative commentary on Cricinfo. The commentary always reminds of the radio days when we used to imagine the delivery and the shot based on what we listen. The android application of the website keeps you updated with what’s happening in the greatest religion of India while on the move.
- Meru Cabs
The application is very handy when you need to book a cab quickly. With the cab tracking facility, the application lets you track your cab right from the time it is booked (even before you board in) till it drops you to the destination. I will be a little biased to the service as I haven’t tried others but so far, without a single negative incidence, Meru has been one of the most reliable cab service and comfortable cabs.
- Weather Channel
For travelers, this app gives you just what you want. I haven’t used it much. There may be other better apps as well but in case you are looking for weather updates on the go, you may just want to keep it handy on your phone. A simple google search will also yield accurate results.
Many times it happens that you are listening to a song somewhere and just can’t remember the details of it – like movie, singer, music director etc. This is one of its kinds of application which exactly helps you there. All you have to do it start this app while the song is playing. It will identify the song and provide you with details of the song. And if it is able to detect a song from “Pyaar Jhukta Nahin”, you can be guess how extensive, the database is 😉 Just in case you are wondering how it works, here it is.
Off late, in India, some of the restaurants have also created their android applications through which you can order food. Box8 is a start up by a group of IITians and serves variety of food – take away and home delivery. The application is very easy to use and lets you even track your order. Lot of times when you call up to order food, there can be miscommunication in case the person listens something else but through such means, there remains no chance. Although, for me, the biggest benefit is that they accept Sodexo 😀 😉
If you have noticed, the above list doesn’t include a single gaming application.
So, HAPPY SMARTPHONING!!!
Source: Wikipedia, Internet Retailer
Image Background Source: Clipartpanda