2011 : Year of the App

[The audio version of this blogpost is here...]

2011 has been "The Year of The App" - the year when "smart" phones & tablets moved from being "toys for the boys" to being ordinary things many people have.

Most people you know who use Internet have iPhone, Android phone, iPad or some other mobile device.   They began with a mobile phone - now they have fast Internet access where ever they are. During 2011 people have been moving round with computers in their handbags & pockets.

It's happened so fast.

All this change made me think over Christmas...

This 'revolution', this huge change in communicating power, got me thinking

"I've an iPhone 3G ... bought iPad the first day they came out in Cork... got iPad 4s recently... I drink Apps every day for breakfast, lunch, dinner & bedtime... Apps are the new Abs...  Many gurus are writing blogposts -   names like "The greatest Apps ever invented", "50 Apps to make you succeed in business, life & love"... Why don't I write down my favourite Apps?"

Good advice came knocking... just in time:

As I was scrolling through Twitter on St Stephen's Day (Boxing Day, the day after turkey) advice arrived from Dan Zarrella:

Say less about yourself... Tweet more info that others value...

I got that message, let it sink in & influence what I did next.

On 27 December I reached out to others via Twitter with this Tweet:

"I'm going to write a blogpost #bestapp2011 - Your opinion counts & you'll get special delivery of the blogpost. Reply now."?

I sent  a series of requests (via Twitter) asking people to let me know their favourite Apps from 2011.  Also asked them to spread the search (please retweet).

It became an adventure - an exploration based on Twitter... A quest to gather intelligence from others... th find out the most popular Apps of 2011 - according to those I've had most Internet contact with.  This was seeking the view of a Circle you might say ( Google+ lingo).

The result of the research, 250 Tweets later:

(1) Time magazine have chosen their Top 40 Apps ( tweeted from Calgary Canada by @PlanegalRobbie O'Leary)

(2) Otterbox.com chose their "20 Best Apps of 2011"

(3)  Bernie Goldbach@topgold shared his blogpost "15 Apps I use the most"

Finding these rich links via others showed me how valuable it is to open a topic up  - rather than simply expressing or broadcasting a personal view.

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The Apps, the Apps, my Kingdom for an App...

2011 has indeed been "The Year of the App". Here's the full list of Apps loved by people in my Twitter sphere (Apples & Androids mixed together)

TuneIn Radio : loved by @DoneganGardens @nickysragtales @tnteacherTim @OConnorDg @carrigman @SundayTwist @ValerieMcDermot

Twitter : loved by @PembrokeTownhse @destaic @o7o759 @madoptom @thecreativepenn @ValerieMcDermot

Flipboard : loved by @clickcasestore @johnpeavoy @lesanto @GregCantyFuzion @thecreativepenn @OConnellCork

Hootsuite : loved by @JJ5000 @PiperHawk @CliffHouseHotel @SarahArrow @Pat_Whelan @MikeHaydon @nomnomFoodIrl

Evernote : loved by @dingadeal @carrigman @SteveMcDonnell

Shazam : loved by @carredenis @VivVivacious @SundayTwist

Wordpress : loved by @destaic @topgold @DoneganGardens

Angry Birds : @VinaySuper @techie_fan @SarahArrow

Instagram : @DoneganGardens @Chriskas100 @documentally

Dropbox : @mickobrien1 @winealliancemoz

Facebook : @PembrokeTownhse @destaic

Kindle : @MikeHaydon @thecreativepenn

Livescore: @OConnorDg @ValerieMcDermot

Snapseed: @unslugged @SteveMcDonnell

Sky+: @techie_fan @Tymonpark

WhatsApp: @sherqui @waresean

Audioboo: @DoneganGardens @documentally

Tweetdeck: @PembrokeTownhse @DoneganGardens

Camera+ : @LordHumphreys

Jetpack Joyride : @mb_ie

FreeSpirit - Spirit Level: @Planegal

iHandy Level: @BuckleyFineArt

Docs-to-go: @OConnellCork

BabyLog: @FreckledPast

First Aid by British Red Cross: @barbaraedwards1

PlayItYourself 4: @techie_fan

QuickOffice: @winealliancemoz

FilmOn: @waresean

Tweetbot: @winealliancemoz

CueBrainLite: @destaic

Autostitch: @MikeHaydon

Numbers: @OConnellCork

ProHDR: @MikeHaydon

SimpleMind+: @MikeHaydon

Simplenote: @MikeHaydon

NotetakerHD: @MikeHaydon

Pixlr-o-matic : @documentally

Mobile RSS: @MikeHaydon

GoodReader: @MikeHaydon

Wyse PocketCloud: @techie_fan

Roboform: @MikeHaydon

Sheet2 HD: @MikeHaydon

Twicca: @SundayTwist

Cabbage: @SundayTwist

Tunepal: @donal

Juice Defender: @carrigman

Tweetcaster: @carrigman

Sundroid: @carrigman

TPE: @carrigman

PlaneFinder: @carrigman

Safesync: @renatemurphy

iMapMyWalk: @OConnorDg

Newstalk: @tnteacherTim

RTEdocOnOne: @tnteacherTim

Pumps.ie: @tnteacherTim

MusicSheetWorkout: @destaic

RTEplayer: @waresean

Skygo: @waresean

IMDb: @SarahArrow

Medscape: @johnwflynn

Solitaire: @ValerieMcDermot

Instapaper: @AlphabeastApp

Alphabeast: @AlphabeastApp

Symbian: @topgold

Myfitnesspal: @pisreog

You Tube: @DoneganGardens

8mm Vintage Camera: @DoneganGardens

Accuweather: @DoneganGardens

Dublin Bus: @DoneganGardens

Vimeo: @DoneganGardens

iMessage: @sherqui

ApplePie: @carolmarybyrne

Remotix: @freckledpast

Grooveshark: @desmar

Skype: @PembrokeTownhse

FourSquare: @PembrokeTownhse

LeinsterRugby: @PembrokeTownhse

Visit Dublin: @PembrokeTownhse

Rachel Allen: @PembrokeTownhse

Philadelphia recipes: @PembrokeTownhse

Awesome Note: @PembrokeTownhse

Guardian: @thecreativepenn

Pages: @thecreativepenn

Runkeeper: @PembrokeTownhse

Amazon: @PembrokeTownhse

Geocaching:@barrydesignweb

Facegoo: @barrydesignweb

Trip Advisor: @discoveringCork

Talking Tom: @akd100

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Few of the Apps were picked out for special mention by more than one person.

How many Apps are there in Apple's App Store & Google's Android Market? 500,000+ iPhone + iPad Apps;   300,000+ Android Apps. Many Apps overlap -  but it's impossible for anyone to sample more than a tiny % of the whole field. (Just as it's impossible for anyone to try out all the hobbies that humans pursue.)

Personal recommendations have never been so essential. That's a great reason to reach out to others & try Apps they've loved. Searching alone is a sure way to a restricted life.  You can achieve more by depending on others to try out Apps for you.

Looking ahead into 2012... Maybe now's a good time to check out one of those Apps you've never even heard of.  Go for a mystery dip - like you did as a child when you plunged fingers into a bag of sweets, not knowing what was waiting for you...

The Apps I've loved most

In case you'd like to know the Apps I've loved most in 2012 - here they are [in no particular order]:

Audioboo: the one I use for rough & ready podcasting... almost every day & often twice a day. @MarkRock & the team in London welcomed me when I visited years ago - this is my Desert Island App.

Osfoora: the one I use for Twitter on iPhone & iPad...

Instagram: the one I use for sharing snaps taken on iPhone, seeing pics from others & commenting on them...

Path: the one I use on iphone as a personal diary & share with a few people I trust a lot...

BBC News: the one I use to keep in touch with the world & share stories via Twitter...

Flipboard: the one I turn to on iPad when I want Twitter & Facebook displayed with beauty... You could nearly say I bought iPad so I could use this App on it...

WeatherProHD: the one I rely on when I hope it'll be ok to play golf, tells me what time it'll rain & how much will fall...

Pages: the one I use for documents I have to write when the laptop isn't convenient & when I need to attach invoices to emails...

EyeWitness from Guardian: the one on iPad that gives me a wonderful pro photograph to admire & learn from every day...

Tweeps: the one I use on iPhone to see who's recently followed me on Twitter, who follows them, who they follow & how long they've all been using Twitter...

Google+: the one I use on iPad to keep in touch with what Google is doing next & experience it for myself...

iLoader: the one I use to upload short videos from iPhone 4s to Facebook...

Hitpad: the new kid on iPad - I use this to find information, inspiration & intelligence to use in blogposts... it promises so much

WolframAlpha: for when I want to learn something impractical that can be turned into numbers, statistics, formulae - the stuff I've forgotten from school...

There are others too - but it's good to operate within solid boundaries - so it's time to stop.

The thanks I feel I owe to everyone mentioned in this blogpost - developers, marketeers, users, retweeters, readers - is enormous.

Hopefully this blogpost will help you explore during 2012. Like every blogger, I crave your comments.  Please share your view - and if you'd like to add links to lists of great Apps that's gold dust too.

2011 The Year of the App indeed!

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PS Read this : by @topgold: It's Not Worth Getting Sucked into an Apps World bit.ly/s5Xdlm