Our weekly app picks
It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.
Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!
1. Andrew Martonik — MLB At Bat
I'm barely a baseball fan, but I do like to follow what my local team the Seattle Mariners are up to. And in order to do that, I keep MLB At Bat installed on my phone. It gives me that little extra bit of information on games I care about that I don't get from simply having the team plugged into Google Now, and having it all in one place means I don't have to go searching for it.
I get access to the $19.99 full-season premium subscription by being a T-Mobile customer, which certainly influences my decision to use the app. But if you're a bigger baseball fan (and there is a lot in this app if you are), that's not too big of a price to pay even if you use another carrier.
2. Russell Holly — Hitman: Sniper
First-person shooters on mobile interfaces are, more often than not, a sad joke. As a fan of the Hitman franchise, seeing a new mobile game based on the series made me seriously question some of my life choices as I hit the buy button. It turns out Hitman: Sniper is the exception that proves the rule, as the game only works because you get to enjoy the first-person antics from a stationary position. As a fixed sniper, the majority of the game happens through the scope, and while the gameplay feels a little limiting at first you are quickly exposed to a series of timing challenges and marksman achievements that will have you shouting with excitement at your ability to put down three targets in 12 seconds without alerting the guards.
On an unrelated note, I wouldn't recommend playing this in public.
3. Phil Nickinson — OpenTable
It's been a long time since we've looked at OpenTable in this space. And if you've never experienced the sheer joy of making a reservation without actually talking to a human being — this is 2015, after all, and ain't nobody got time for that — then take a look. You've got a Materialtastic app that's extremely easy to use. Sign in, see a place you like, tap the time and you're done.
That's just the start of things, of course. You also get star ratings and a generalization of price, plus there are menus and customer reviews as well. This one's always one of the first apps that ends up on my phone, so give it a go.
4. Justin Duino — AnyTAG NFC Launcher
Now that almost every flagship device ships with NFC technology, we are starting to see NFC tags show up all around us. Most NFC tags are programed to trigger different apps to open on your phone but what if you want the NFC tags around you to launch different functions within your phone. Enter AnyTAG NFC Launcher. Using this application you can scan any NFC tag — previously programmed or not — and give it a task to send to your phone when scanned.
One of the down sides with programming NFC tags is that you normally cannot reprogram them later. When you use AnyTag, the app is only using the NFC tag's digital signature to identify the tag while the application is then responsible to tell the phone what to do — like turn bluetooth or WiFi on or off. There are many more actions that can be programmed into AnyTag NFC Launcher so if you have any NFC tags laying around make sure to go give this a try.
5. Jared DiPane — Dunkin' Donuts
I'm not a big coffee drinker, but my wife loves some iced coffee in the warmer weather. Here in New Jersey there is practically a Dunkin' Donuts on every street corner, so we tend to end up there often. With the Dunkin' Donuts app we can load money onto a virtual gift card to pay in-store, and with this we earn points. For every 200 points earned, you get a free drink, which is pretty awesome because it can be any size.
In addition to just paying for the drinks, sometimes the app brings some additional coupons or perks. Last summer they offered any size iced coffee for just $0.99 when paying with the app, and sometimes you get a free donut or something extra. The app also lets you find the closest store to you, view the menu, and even send a gift card to a friend if you want. You've got to pay for the coffee anyways, so why not load the money through the app and earn some free stuff while at it, right?
6. Jerry Hildenbrand — Lyft
Trying to flag down a cab is the worst thing ever. The greater your need for a ride, the worse it seems to get — stand in the rain with a couple of bags and try it if you don't believe me. This is why apps and services like Lyft exist — they make getting a ride easy.
I'll not go into the politics of ride services versus traditional cabs here, nor will I delve into the animosity between ride services and lawyers. I'll just say I finally caved and gave Lyft a try (I was using that other popular service) and I'm glad I did. Prompt service and courteous drivers (on both coasts), competitive prices and an easy to use Android app make Lyft a service I'll keep using. Even paying is easy with credit card, PayPal and Google Wallet integration.
Don't be that guy waving at a cab, only for him or her to pretend they didn't see you. Give Lyft a try.