Everybody has their favorite apps; but with several gazillion to choose from, it’s easy for great ones to be overlooked.
Recently, for example, I was telling my Geek Vs. Geek nemesis Dave Johnson about Cozi, and how my family couldn’t live without it. To my amazement, he’d never heard of the app, which proves my theory that he spends most of his time in a cave.
With that in mind, I’ve assembled this list of six apps I consider absolutely essential, but not many smartphone users know about. Unless otherwise noted, they’re available for both Android and iOS. And they’re all free! (Though some have premium options.)
Cozi If you have a family, you need Cozi. This remarkable app provides a shared calendar, to-do list, and grocery list, all color-coded so you can identify at-a-glance who’s supposed to do what and when. I honestly don’t know how my family ever functioned without it.
Evernote Food Hey, what was that awesome hand roll you had last time you went for sushi? And that brownie recipe you found online – was it any good? Evernote Food helps you keep tabs on the food you’ve tried and recipes you’ve made. (It has new recipes baked in as well.) It may sound a little silly, but trust me when I say you’ll find this kind of recall invaluable.
FastCustomer Everyone knows that the experience of calling a customer-support line typically stinks. FastCustomer makes it considerably better, automatically navigating the menu systems for over 3,000 companies, then ringing your phone once there’s a rep on the line. That’s right: No more waiting on hold for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or heaven-knows-how-long. A few taps and you can go about your business until there’s someone available.
Fooducate Confused by nutrition labels? Wondering if the sugar-free pudding is actually better for you than the fat-free pudding? No problem: Fire up Fooducate, point your phone at any food item in the grocery store, then get an instant letter-grade rating and lots of info about what makes the food good, bad, or somewhere in between. It’s like education, but for food. Get it?
Pocket You know that awesome online story you don’t have time to read? Just click the Pocket bookmarklet, which is available for any desktop Web browser. Then load up Pocket on your smartphone: You’ll find that story copied, downloaded, and perfectly formatted for mobile reading (meaning stripped of ads and other extraneous material). This is the ultimate tool for reading Web content on the go.
TripIt Good heavens, how did people manage their travel before this app? With TripIt, you merely forward all your travel-confirmation e-mails (hotels, flights, car rentals, etc.) to a special address. The service organizes everything into simple, yet detailed, itineraries. If you travel with only one app, make it this one.
Photo credit: Evernote Food, FastCustomer, Fooducate, Pocket