Survivor: My Mobile Phone. Why apps need to start “surviving” your mobile device. And here’s the ones that survived mine.

Posted by on Dec 16, 2012

Let’s face it, with over 1 million apps on the Apple App Store alone, the novelty of downloading and collecting apps with giddy, reckless abandon is quickly fading. This year, as I’m doing a lot of work in the mobile development and user experience for mobile for firms, I’ve downloaded a lot of apps to help me evaluate and refine best practices. In the process, my actions have been nothing short of a digital gluttony that has taken a toll on my mobile device storage. When my app storage in iTunes started forcing me to remove songs like (Everybody Wang Chung Tonight and Gangnam Style to reclaim iPhone drive space, my vice hit me directly in the face.

Kidding about the Wang Chung (maybe), yet truthfully, and like most of you, the space of my phone, my time and my patience to sift through a hundred-plus apps to find what I want is now extremely limited. Plus I’m tired of treating the choice of downloading of mobile apps like the lottery for usefulness (Please let this app be something I can really use).

A pain to be sure. Then it hit me. Survivor. Yes, the TV show. The reality show where people are dropped on an island and have to work together or struggle against each other to survive and stay on the island. Those that don’t work out, get voted off the island.

“You know what,” I thought. “My phone is that island.” And for apps that either don’t work, are inefficient or provide no additional value to the data and apps on my phone, it’s time to say, “The Tribe has spoken. You have to leave the island.”

So I made my apps compete and prove their worth. The rest are no longer on my mobile phone. Here are the app survivors:

Best Calendar: CalenMob

CalenMob links with iCal, Google Calendar and my Outlook so my entire schedule and meetings are coordinated on every device and with every client track I’m managing. Changing from day view to week view is as simple as turning my phone sideways. It delivers all your calendar alerts to boot.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Best To Do List Manager: Walker

I love this app. Developed through Kickstarter, it has the to-do list features like the Clear app that I kicked off my phone, but as it also uses David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) time management system so it forces me to take a next step by attaching and scheduling an action to a list item instead of leaving it to die in a to-do list graveyard. It also transfers the scheduled events I take actions on to my calendar plus I can input items through Siri. Sweet.

Best Writing App: iA Writer

I have the app on all my devices (cell, iPad, iPhone, laptop). It’s not for writing the great American novel. It its really for first-stage idea development and quick, ubiquitous access to your thoughts during that phase. iA writer is a writing app that syncs and access all the documents you create in it through the cloud so any idea is as close and up to date as your nearest device.iPhone text editor without keyboard

Best Social Media Manager App: Hootsuite

I manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts in addition to my own. Hootsuite is a great app for writing, scheduling and monitoring social media activity. Its analytical tools are pretty robust, too.

Best LinkedIn Enhancement App: Intro

Part of the rise of apps that mine your own social networks. Intro analyzes your LinkedIn contacts and recommends who you might want to introduce yourself to.

Best Restaurant App: OpenTable

It works so well, for me, calling to make reservations is now a last resort.

Best Airport App: GateGuru

Like Tripit–without having to tell everyone where you’re traveling to. So it’s preferred by me and maybe, Al Queda. It also integrates car rentals, airport facilities information and crowd-sourced comments about airports for a more 3D experience during my adventures through airports.

Best News App: Circa

What’s great about this news app is that 1) it gives you an overview of news, 2) will build upon a story if you are interested and 3) will track changes and updates in the story for you if you favorite it.

Best News Article App: Umano
Voiceovers read top and popular news analysis and magazine articles to you. Great when you don’t want to squint at a long news story on a mobile phone or not in the mood for carnival barker news stories.

Best Music App: Ecoute
The music app Apple’s music app should be. Much more intuitive and includes access to lyrics from the app.

iPhone Screenshot 2

Best Password Management App: 1Password

1Password not only stores passwords but integrates them directly with your web browser to automatically log you into websites, enter credit card information, fill registration forms, and easily generate strong passwords. And it syncs your passwords between your mobile devices.

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