Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back To School: 5 Apps You Must Have to Make the Best of Your Phone

We all know that apps are the life blood of a smartphone (besides electricity). Without certain apps inside your phone, it can be called dead to some extent. For a student, especially those college students, phone is one thing that they can't live without. Got a smartphone now? Then look at what I have prepared for you below.

As is the case as you get older, email (and life) only become more difficult. If you’re an incoming college freshman, you probably just got your new .edu email address, which you’ll now add to the list of email addresses you already had like Gmail, Facebook, iCloud, etc.
You need something better than iOS’s default Mail application, and chances are you need something better than Android’s too. That’s where Sparrow comes in. It’s Mail on steroids. It brings all your messages into a unified inbox, lets you swipe to reply, star, forward, delete, etc., and even brings in cute little profile pictures next to conversations (if you use Facebook Connect).
The only caveat is that it doesn’t offer push notifications on iOS, but Sparrow was just recently purchased by Google to improve Gmail so I’d expect the $2.99 app to only get better as time goes on.

Astrid Task/To-Do List
As much fun as the phone can be, it’s also an incredible tool for productivity and efficiency. Apps are what help you make the most of your time and energy, and perhaps the best service to help you stay organized, prioritized, and ready to ace your life is Astrid Task.
The app lets you create tasks, complete with due dates, priority levels, and an add to calendar button. Each task can also be filtered into various lists, including the default Home, Work, Personal, and Shopping.
Even better, you can include other people in on your tasks in case you’re working on a group project for school, have a shared grocery list with your roommate, etc. You can also create reusable checklists for things you do every week or every month, and keep from re-creating them over and over. The app is free, easy, and pretty.

College is all about trying new things. Sometimes that means using recreational drugs, and sometimes that means going goth for a month. Frequently, that means hooking up with the same sex. But how does a young, bi-curious new college student find the right “lab” partner for this type of experiment?
Well, if you’re a man, Grindr, and if you’re a brave lady, Blendr. As it stands now, Grindr is for men only while Blendr is for peeps of all genders and orientations. That means that girls seeking girls on Blendr are almost guaranteed to get hit on by men, so if you can shake that off than by all means, install and get your gay on.
The app/s work by pulling in everyone nearby, displaying who is online with a green dot by their profile picture. When you click on someone you can see their distance, a little bio information, and start a chat. With 4 million users globally on Grindr alone, you’re sure to find someone interesting. Plus, it’s free.
(College kids only — you must be 18 to download the app.)

Making friends, and even making time to hang out with them, can get difficult in college. On top of classes, you’ll likely involve yourself in other extra-curriculars like clubs, Greek life, sports, etc. Past that, we’ve become a progressively flaky generation, constantly cancelling at the last minute.
TheWhoot helps with these issues quite a bit. It lets you see what your friends are up to tonight as opposed to Facebook Events scheduled for the future (who knows how you’ll feel when the big night rolls around?). You start by giving an idea of what you’ll be up to tonight, within the bounds of four categories: Working, Staying In, Relaxing Out (as in hanging at a bar or something), or Partying.
You can choose to add context, like the location, name of the event, etc., or simply leave it as a category your general mood for the evening. After that, you’re given access to all your friends’ plans for the evening, and you can filter through categories to see whose mood matches yours.
For the new kid at school, this should keep your free nights busy and your busy nights busier, all for free.

Music is a part of every college kid’s life. And knowing the coolest, hottest music before it’s played over and over on the radio as the coolest, hottest music definitely wins cool points. There is, therefore, no better app than Songza. You can know everything or nothing about music and I guarantee you’ll love the app.
When you first open up Songza, Concierge (the app’s core feature) serves up various activities you might be doing based on the time, day, what type of device you’re on, and your music preferences. This could be Working Out or Studying on a weekday morning, or Getting High or Getting Naked late at night on a weekend. Once you choose an activity, you choose a filter for that activity, like Hype Rap, Heartfelt, Feel-Good Oldies, etc.
After those two clicks, you have a list of highly curated playlists (assembled by music experts — Rolling Stone authors, DJs, etc.) at your disposal. Click, listen, enjoy. Of course, Songza also lets you get to playlists by choosing an activity, mood or genre.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the great app suggestions, Stephen! I am sending my son a Nexus 7 tablet as a surprise back to school gift and I wanted to preload a few essential apps like Sparrow and the Astrid. I included a fun app called DISH Remote Access as well. He knows that I work for DISH and he came to me asking if I knew of a better way then cable to get TV service in his dorm. They won’t let him install a DISH so I gave her the next best thing… the use of my DISH. He can use the DISH app to watch his favorite channels AND DVR recordings right from our DVR at home. I think that is a better option for him then getting cable service; this way, he will even be able to take it outside to relax on the quad.