Smartphones saw a slew of upgrades and changes throughout 2012. From additional features to increased processing power, these mobile devices have truly become a shaping force in technology. With these newfound capabilities, apps are becoming more powerful as well. These eight apps feature some of the best features, improvements and innovations to help you get the most from your smartphone in 2013.
1. Whitepages Current Caller ID
With all the improvements to smartphones, one area that has seen little change is the calling interface. Current Caller ID connects your dialer and caller ID screens with the wealth of information in your phone. When placing or receiving a call, you are shown a brief summary of all activity from the caller across social media, email and more. This makes it easy to stay up to date on events and finally makes calling a smart feature of your phone.
2. Pixlr Express
The convenience of smartphone cameras are undeniable. However, unless you simply want to upload your shots or share them, the stock offerings for many smartphones leave a little to be desired. Pixlr Express recently updated to add a wealth of editing and customization options for your smartphone images. Best of all, with just a few taps, you can share these edited images with contacts, across social networks or through email.
WhatsApp allows users of virtually any smartphone device to cut ties with the limitations of their monthly billing plan and text, share video and chat using Wi-Fi or wireless data. Recent updates to the app improved security by encrypting message contents and improving account security. With cross-platform support and a low price, this app is carving a significant niche in the messaging market.
GPS navigation has plenty of benefits. However, it is often limited to the data available within map files or transmitted over the air. Waze combines social networking and GPS to provide a navigation solution that is smarter than the competition. From speed cameras and road construction to accidents and roadside attractions, millions of users are sharing what is happening on the roads around them in real time. This takes GPS navigation to a truly smart level.
Using a smartphone as an organizer, planner and to-do list is popular. However, in most cases, the default apps for these tasks are less than efficient. Fantastical for iOS provides a simple, intuitive way to stay on top of your meetings, errands, birthdates and any other things you might want to track. Voice inputs, numerous display options and an abundance of configuration options makes the app one of the most powerful calendar apps for iOS.
Mobile gaming has improved rapidly in 2012. However, mobile devices simply cannot compete in raw performance with many dedicated gaming consoles and devices. Onlive helps to bridge the performance gap by allowing you to stream your favorite games over any 4G or Wi-Fi connection. With access to a huge library of games and the ability to play games on nearly any smart device, OnLive is leading the mobile gaming revolution for 2013.
7. SwiftKey 3
Though the stock keyboards on many smartphones are simple enough to use, they are not always efficient. Whether you are frequently tapping the wrong key or would just like more formatting options, SwiftKey’s latest update is taking the Android world by storm. The advanced text prediction engine improves accuracy and increases typing speed to allow you to get more done with your smart device.
Near field communication was one of the most highly touted features added to smartphones in 2012. Phone manufacturers claimed that it would revolutionize the way that users interacted with their surroundings. While it has certainly offered many improvements, app developers and businesses have been slow to add features for this new technology. Bump allows you to transfer files, contacts and a wealth of other information with other NFC-enabled phones with a simple tap. As one of the newest smartphone technologies, this feature will likely shape app development and smartphone use for 2013. With Bump, you do not have to wait for your favorite app to catch up to the trend. Simply install, tap and enjoy.
Published on behalf of Steven Burrell-a business consultant and father of two. He reviews phone, internet and other tools to maximize the success of small businesses. See this page to learn more about the products he recommends.