Smartphones have brought the internet to the pockets of close to 70 percent of Americans, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, and the majority of these smartphone owners download and use apps. These mobile apps take advantage of device features not available to traditional browsers, such as easy account login using fingerprint technology, GPS location for maps and zip code lookup and access to the built-in camera and microphone.
There’s no shortage of apps available to users: Google Play store and the Apple store both have around 2 million apps available to download, covering every conceivable lifestyle need.
Here are a few of our favorites.
1. Dining Out
Online reviews have changed the way Americans dine. While sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor can be great places to comb through restaurant reviews, OpenTable goes above and beyond by enabling users to view restaurants with open tables and book reservations in real-time directly through the app. OpenTable includes restaurant reviews, menus, photos and a blog. Bonus: OpenTable is an international app.
2. Streaming Music
There are many noteworthy apps for streaming music on your mobile device. Spotify and Pandora are two of the most well-known, but Deezer is quickly making its way to the top of the list. Users can search more than 40 million tracks for their favorite tunes and can use the app’s features to discover new artists. What makes Deezer unique is that the app customizes its sound catalog around personal taste. Its “Go with the Flow” feature suggests additional artists and songs based on your existing playlists. Bonus: Deezer playlists are ad free and work offline!
3. Road Trips
Have you ever gone on a road trip and found out later that you drove right by some of the best attractions on your route? Roadtrippers is an app designed to help travelers find amazing places and hidden treasures without missing a beat. Forget sifting through Trip Advisor recommendations – Roadtripper allows users to plan their driving route from point A to point B and can customize points of interest based on established categories, including attractions, natural wonders, historic sites and hotel and food accommodations. These destinations can all be conveniently saved for future reference. Bonus: Users can also view estimated fuel costs for their trips.
4. Home Security
Home security systems help protect your assets, and these systems have become more advanced with smart home technology. WardenCam360 is an app that allows users to convert old smartphones and tablets into tools for real-time video surveillance of your residence. App features include a motion detector that automatically triggers established cameras and night vision. Recordings are stored and saved to your Google Drive for free, and app users can opt to receive alerts and even have screenshots sent to their smartphone. Bonus: Two-way talk capabilities allow users to listen to what’s going on and even talk to your pets and children!
Our top pick for parenting apps is MamaBear, which advertises itself as “The Ultimate Parenting App.” MamaBear allows parents to track and monitor their children’s online activity beyond using a keylogger or Google search – the app is a catch-all social media monitoring tool. Parents receive alerts when their kids are tagged in photos, use foul language or are being cyberbullied. They can also monitor phone activities, such as text messaging, and set speeding alerts for teens with driver’s licenses. Bonus: Parents can use the app to send family messages and photos.