Favorite Things of 2012: Apps

It should come as no surprise to past and current readers of Techvolo that I am head over heels in love with apps. This love affair started when I traded in my chunky flip phone for a thinner and more technologically in-tune smartphone. It was definitely love at first sight. The minute I brought my smartphone home, I ran upstairs and started downloading apps in droves. I browsed the app store as if my life depended on it.

Here we are, about a year later. I think back to when I had my old phone and wonder at how I was able to maintain friendships and keep up with the news. So this post goes out to my smartphone, the world of apps and the advances made in technology thus far. Because even though anxieties regarding technology seem to be brought up more frequently than ever, technology is also helping us more than ever as well. Which brings me to introduce:

Best of… apps!

Google+

It’s no secret that Google+ has been the butt of a ton of social media jokes lately. The fake Mark Zuckerberg account, @notzuckerberg, tweeted on Christmas day, “This morning, good kids got presents, naughty kids got lumps of coal, and very naughty kids got Google+ accounts.” Sure, it’s harsh. But Google+ is going to have the last laugh. With a newly revamped interface, Google+’s mobile presence has never been more beautiful or easy to use. As more and more people hop on board the Google+ train, they are going to stick with it, especially for its great UI.

VSCO CAM

VSCO CAM is easily my photo app of choice. Instead of opening Instagram or the native camera app on my smartphone, I go straight to VSCO CAM when I see the perfect photo opportunity. The filters are professional-looking and editing a photo is as simple or even simpler than editing on  Instagram. Not to mention, VSCO CAM is any UI enthusiast’s dream come true, with its swipe-friendly menus and nav bars.

ScoutMob

Undoubtedly one of the quirkiest foodie apps out there, ScoutMob offers nearly too-good-to-be-true deals to its registered users. Though the restaurants in Los Angeles are just starting to get into the whole “ScoutMob” trend, long-established epicurean cities like Manhattan have many, many places at which to use a ScoutMob deal. Useful and full of personality, the ScoutMob app is definitely the way to go for tech-minded foodies on a budget!

SpellTower

SpellTower is hands-down one of the most gorgeous games I have downloaded thus far. From a marketing perspective, SpellTower isn’t all that great. Its only source of revenue is from downloads ($1.99 per download). But from a UI/UX approach, SpellTower is exceptional. No superfluous in-game currencies, complex rules or necessary internet connection. Just spell the words, score points and stay in the game all while admiring the beauty of the layout.

Minù Timer

It might sound a bit silly to put a kitchen timer app on this list, but the Minù Timer is not your ordinary timer. It’s probably one of the best designed apps I have ever seen. This app requires no instructions because a user’s intuition is usually correct. Even though you may not be one to use timers, it’s definitely an app to have on your phone.

Over

Made with just the one purpose of adding typography to photos, Over does it in style and in the most marketable way possible. It’s sleek, easy to use and gives photos a personality that photos without text can’t quite exude. What I love most about Over is that it feel likes a community. Follow Over’s Instagram @madewithover and see all the user submissions that have been made with over! Want to see your own photos on the Over Instagram? Tag your Instagram and Over masterpieces with #madewithover. You get it all with the over app: a great community, a great app and a great design.

Pandora

This app does not need very much lauding, since the name already implies quality. Started back in 2000 as the Music Genome Project, today Pandora has taken over the realm of online and mobile music-streaming. Users are able to create 100 unique “stations” and enjoy each and every one. The app itself is just as easy to use as the online version. Sure, there are advertisements, but I think it’s fair trade if you are not paying for an ad-free subscription.

Instead

Whenever I discuss mobile interfaces with other app enthusiasts, I always bring up the Instead app. Though the app still has not quite caught on, Instead has so much potential to be a big hitter in the philanthropic app category (is there such a thing yet?). It’s swift interface and “easy-to-donate” design will make it a successful app in the near future.

Figure

Figure may be one of the most creative music-making apps out there. With a colorful interface, intuitive design, great sound and much more, this app makes creating rhythms and beats as easy as 1-2-3.  It’s fun and simple and well worth the 99 cent investment.

Have I missed any great apps on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Next up… Techvolo’s favorite websites of 2012!

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