Where to Start With Apps
By EssentialsMAG tech contributor DAVID HUGHES
It’s only in the last ten years or so that the term ‘apps’ has entered our vernacular. Before the smartphone revolution of the late noughties, an app was known better as software and it came on a disk, distributed in boxes via actual shops, which you then had to install on your computer.
Well, no longer. It’s now more true than ever that (to quote the Apple advert of 2009): “There’s an app for that!” With around 1.8 million apps in the App Store for iOS and over two million in the Google Play Store for Android, a whole new world of digital experiences are just a tap (and perhaps a few pounds) away. But with all this choice comes a new issue. The app stores are a little overwhelming, even with their clever algorithms pointing you to the most popular, most downloaded, or even ‘highest grossing’ in a certain category.
So where do you start?
The best place to start is in the real world. With the exception of the gaming category, apps are primarily designed to support us in our day-to-day lives; to make things easier. So start by identifying something that you find problematic or time consuming.
You might want to take electronic files with you, without having to use a USB drive or memory stick. There are a few applications that can help with this. My favourite is Dropbox (www.dropbox.com). This is not just an app, but an online service that allows you to keep your files synchronised across multiple devices - your computer, tablet and phone - meaning you always have access to them. No external drive required. A more everyday example might be remembering tasks or to-dos. Phones tend to include a built-in reminders app, but they can be quite basic. The app stores have a huge number to choose from. Evernote (www.evernote.com) is a particular favourite of mine, with its combination of to-do list functionality and longer note taking.
So how do you actually find these apps?
You can certainly use the app stores themselves, and they are getting better at serving up relevant results, but I still find the best place to start is the internet. A Google search like “The best apps for…” will return articles from tech journalists and real users, who have done the hard work for you in testing the apps, finding their strengths and weaknesses, and providing clear guidance on their particular uses.
And if you’re struggling to find that perfect app, get in touch via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or Twitter (@davidhughesco): I’d be happy to help!
EssentialsMAG tech contributor is David Hughes a freelance web developer
Tel: 07595 303418, www.davidhughes.co