Posted 6th May 2014 | By ExtraMile

Switching it up a little from the usual web technology blogs, here's an insight into how I use my smartphone to keep on top of daily life.

In no particular order...

1. Evernote

evernote-app

A very handy note taking app that is not only available as a smartphone app, but also on desktops and there's a web version too. I use the Mac app religiously while at the studio to make lists, organise tasks and even write up my blogs (including this one). My favourite feature of the app is the syncing of data across all of your devices. Perfect for those moments where you've left the office and suddenly get a brilliant idea that you need to jot down and pick up the next day.

 

2. HSBC Mobile Banking

hsbc-app

Fairly new to the game, with Barclays and other banking apps having been around a lot longer, the incorporation of this app into my everyday life has changed the way I bank for good. I can do the obvious things such as checking my balance and viewing statements without having to log into a desktop, but most important to me is the ability to make instant payments to other accounts. Very useful when you're out at a restaurant and splitting the bill. I don't think I'll step foot into an actual bank for quite a while...

 

3. Twitter

twitter-app

Slightly social media obsessed (I'm also a regular user of Facebook and Instagram), I chose to include Twitter in this list as there's much more to it than just stalking friends/celebrities (which I'll admit to also doing). Occasionally scrolling through my feed keeps me up to date on the news in general as well as other interests of mine such as fashion and tech. I'm constantly 'favouriting' tweets about new skills and techniques that I'd like to learn and I often come back to them during this Technology Hour time. It's also great for real time traffic updates, crucial when you're travelling the M6 at rush hour daily. @thetomstokes and @highwaysagency are worth a follow!

 

4. Google Maps

google-maps-app

Following on nicely from the previous, this is one I'm sure we all can't live without. I pondered getting a standalone sat-nav device, but soon realised that once I'd found an in-car mobile phone holder that doesn't fall off every 30 seconds (this one I bought from the local Co-op for £5 is a-ma-zing), it was sufficient in navigating me to the unknown.

 

5. Whatsapp

whatsapp-app

Still an unbeatable messaging service and one I use a lot more than the built in iMessage app on my iPhone. Why? I can chat with Blackberry and Android users (within a group too), it looks prettier and the "last seen" timestamp gives you a good indication to whether to start a conversation or expect a reply anytime soon. This feature is also known to cause arguments if you're anything like me.

 

6. Chrome

chrome-app

I find the Chrome browser app a lot more intuitive than the built-in Safari browser on my iPhone. It's available to non iOS users too which means they're able to make use of the great syncing feature which mirrors your bookmarks, open tabs and browser history across desktop and mobile devices. Safari has this feature but doesn't execute it quite as well, in my opinion.

 

7. Shazam

shazam-app

If you're like me, you'll often find yourself in the situation where you hear a mystery song playing and are desperate to know who it's by. Shazam has the answer 98%* of the time.

 

*unofficial statistics, may not be accurate

8. Daily Ab Workout

daily-ab-workout-app

I try to keep fit and squeeze in workouts whenever I can and this app plays a part in that. Described as having "your own personal trainer", it really does feel that way. With an instructional video and timed voice-over guiding you through a set of 10 30-second exercises, it's short and easy to follow so there's no excuse for skipping. You even get a cheer when completing all of the exercises at the end! The paid version offers a couple more variations of 5-minute ab workouts that are just as useful.

 

9. ShopStyle

shopstyle-app

A simplified app version of the website ShopStyle.co.uk, which if you've not used before, is like a search engine tailored to retail fashion. It's great for comparing products and prices while shopping in-store as you're able to search by keyword then refine and sort by details such as category, brand, colour and price. I'm not generally a bargain hunter but I'll always check if I can get the same item for less!

 

10. Met Office

met-office-app

A whole lot better than the standard weather app your smartphone comes pre-installed with, I can guarantee you. View hourly forecasts and up to 5 days in the future. Your location is auto-detected and you can save up to 10 of your favourites too. I mostly use this in the mornings when picking out my work attire.

 

The above apps are available via the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Store and Blackberry World.

Written by Anita Mander, Studio Manager and Web Developer at ExtraMile Communications.

At ExtraMile we try to take an hour out each week to look around us at what others do and to gain inspiration and to admire people's creativity. Each post in this series is one staff member's take on the world of web, design and things online. We hope you enjoy it.

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