There’s a general feeling among the masses that smartphone technologies are plateauing. This is mostly because smartphones are no longer bringing anything new or revolutionary to the table in terms of form factors. We’re just getting tinier bezels, bigger screens and faster processors. But these bigger screens and faster processors are allowing developers more breathing space. That has resulted in a lot of ‘new’ and ‘revolutionary’ apps. Some are solving a decade old problems, while others are just bringing in new, innovative solutions to collaboration, communication and entertainment. No matter if you’re a business user or a consumer, among these new mobile apps you’ll probably find something to make your life that much easier. Some of them are iOS-exclusive, others Android-exclusive, while some are available on all platforms, so make sure to check them out!
Microsoft Teams | iOS | Android | Windows Phone
There’s a huge battle among large app developers in the ‘collaboration & communication’ space. A new and serious contender for the best app is Microsoft’s new Teams app. It’s chat-based, allows on-the-go document creation and editing, and comes with Microsoft’s privacy standards, which are, as expected, quite high. Teams aims to be the all-round teamwork hub. Full customization, including different privacy settings, are available for each individual chat group. Also Skype is, according to Microsoft, ‘deeply integrated’. It became available late last year, for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows.
Be advised before downloading – the app is not free. It is, in fact, part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite and requires a subscription. Still, for enterprise users, Microsoft Teams is a definite must.
Gaming, especially among the youngest audience, has always been a controversial topic. Things like spending too much time in front of the screen, or kids becoming asocial are constantly being debated. Now, as Nintendo releases its new console, it wants to tackle these issues head-on.
With Nintendo Switch Parental Controls, parents can keep an eye out on their kids. They can keep them from spending too much time at the console, and protect them from harmful content or trolls in the chat. It’s a very useful app that is a breeze to setup, and comes with an easy to control, intuitive UI. Also, don’t forget to watch the totally adorable presentation video here.
Smart Drawer | Android
Smart Drawer is a utility app for Android-powered devices, and with the current state of the mobile industry, this one has the potential of becoming one of the essentials. When we say ‘current state’ – we mean mostly size of the devices, and size of the app universe. The devices are huge, and for many people, hard to use with just one hand. On top of that, with so many apps available, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track on all of them.
The app automatically organizes other apps on the phone, allowing faster access and simpler user control. For example, the app offers custom gestures to bring up certain apps, a vertical app drawer on the side for a faster, simpler access to other applications, as well as using PIN or fingerprints to hide sensitive apps.
Summary Scanner | Android
This app has the potential of becoming revolutionary and we firmly believe this is not an overstatement. Summary Scanner allows users to scan any hard copy document and transform it into a digital version that can be searched through, summarized, translated, revised or exported in another format. It ticks all the boxes necessary for an amazing app in 2017: It’s super useful. It’s fast. It’s intuitive. Be warned, though – this one is fresh from the developers’ oven – some ironing out is still necessary.
Sound Off Reborn | Android
Finally, someone has given smartphone notifications management a much needed 2017 facelift. The Sound Off Reborn is basically a mute scheduler, allowing users to preconfigure when their smartphone should go into silent mode. The best thing about this app is its interface, based around the schedule preview. With its graphical preview mode, it allows users to visualize when their phone will be muted. This mode is paired with checkbox-oriented features which make organizing a schedule as simple as making a few taps. Ideal for students and businesspeople who keep forgetting to turn their phones off.
Ultraweather | iOS
One thing weather apps usually get wrong is that they try to offer information that interest very few people. Atmospheric pressure? Exact time of sunrise and sunset? Humidity? Really? People just want to know if they should wear a sweater or a polo shirt, and if they’ll need sunglasses or an umbrella in the afternoon. But the idea of offering a ‘complete package’ has app pros squeezing in as much data as possible, and they end up not seeing the forest for the trees. Ultraweather for iOS does things differently. It offers a minimalist approach and it’s beautiful – you get to see the temperature, the ‘feel’ of the air, and a forecast for up to ten days. Simple, fast, delightful.
Food Genie | iOS
We honestly don’t know what took us so long to get an app like this. There are so many people in the world that simply can’t decide what to eat each and every day. This is particularly true for working people who usually have to choose between bringing something to work each day, or going to one of the local restaurants or cafes for a sandwich or a quick meal. Food Genie takes away the ‘horrid’ process of choosing where to go and what to eat. It pulls data online about nearby places to eat using geolocation and sorts them in a wheel-of-fortune type of interface. After that, users need only flick their thumb to see where the app will take them, and what they get to eat that day. Obviously, there are a bunch of customization options, like choosing the type of food, or the distance of restaurants, but in essence, it’s very straightforward. When they pull the app up, they’re shown a huge, easy to read wheel. All they need to do is flick it and they get the destination.
Finance management apps are always a tough one to pull off. People find it hard to log everything and constantly update an app with new figures, multiple times a day. That makes Squeeze app’s success even bigger. This newly released app offers a couple of nifty features, like the ‘Bill Comparison Engine’, which helps you find better deals, or ‘Financial Insights’, a beautifully-designed statistics to help users better understand their financial posture. The app’s features are all packed in beautiful visuals, and rounded off with the promise of “banking level security”. This one is definitely one to try out.
Clip Layer | Android
Selecting, copying and pasting content in different apps can sometimes be a pain in the neck. This is a very familiar annoyance for people with smaller displays, larger fingers, or both. Sometimes, it’s almost impossible to position the cursor right where you want it. Even though it’s 2017, this is a problem we’re only solving now, and Microsoft is the one to tackle it. Its Clip Layer app allows users to select, copy and paste snippets of information from virtually any app, by simply long-pressing the home button. The interface is simple, clean, and the app does what it was built to do with ease. All those having problems sharing snippets of data from their apps should definitely give this one a try.
Posture | Android
A smartphone is a great tool for developing bad habits, like texting while driving, or taking photos of your food in front of your visibly disappointed parents. But luckily for the app junkies among us, there are also apps that help us shake off these bad habits. One of such apps is Posture, a simple yet effective app which reminds you if you’re holding your phone is a neck-straining position. Everything about this app is solid, from its onboarding, to color choice, to the interface, to the way it shows data and allows sharing. Like Clip Layer, this is also an overlay app, so make sure to permit Posture to write over other apps, otherwise it won’t work.