Text messages and phone calls are the base of smartphones, but utilizing your cell phone to make your life easier and more fun is really the best part of having a smartphone! There are so many incredible mobile apps on the market right now, and we know many of these by name like Instagram, Uber, or your bank’s online banking app. What about the lesser known smartphone apps that can impact our lives, but we never have a chance to discover? We previously created a blog on "10 Apps to Make Your Life Easier", and now I want to introduce some of the best, most fun apps we have come across since then!

Periscope

Periscope App

Periscope launched in March and has quickly become the number 1 livestreaming app. According to the description listed in the iTunes store, “Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the word”. It is similar to Snapchat except the videos can be longer and you can replay them later. It is pretty incredible to see live videos from around the world. Although there are many streaming apps out there already such as the well-known YouTube, Periscope allows watchers to leave real-time comments that can influence the broadcast. Users can chat through comments, and for example, ask the broadcaster to maybe show more of the concert, pan over to the sunset, or explain how they made the delicious meal that is being shown! We expect to see great success in the future for Periscope, especially since it is now owned by Twitter.

WhatsApp

whats app interface

WhatsApp is a semi-popular text message app that was purchased by Facebook in 2014.  WhatsApp offers fast and reliable SMS replacement, meaning you can send and receive text messages with no need for wireless internet. This app is extremely beneficial to travelers. It can also benefit users in countries where mobile broadband is too expensive and considered unaffordable; according to techcrunch 93% of the Brazilian internet population uses WhatsApp, which benefits the youth and poor who cannot afford the country’s expensive wireless internet. 

Shazam

Shazam Mobile App

Shazam is a music-identification app that relies on the iPhone’s built-in microphone and captures a 10-second clip of any song in order to identify the title and musician. Shazam is a known mobile app that is often forgotten, but is the best smartphone app when you are dying to know what song is playing on the radio or in a store or bar. The app can recognize songs, help you discover more about the song such as the music video or lyrics, share your songs, and even purchase the track from the Windows Store. Recently the mobile app has beenimproved to include more artists and songs making it easy to add your favorite songs to your ever-growing music library.

OpenTable

OpenTable App

OpenTable is an online real-time restaurant-reservation service. It provides online reservations for about 31,000 restaurants around the world and seats about 15 million diners each month. The app makes it easy to find a restaurant with availability and make a reservation, which can make eating out at the last minute infinitely easier. Users can even pay using the app through Apple Pay or by adding their credit card information to the smartphone app. When using the app, the restaurant employees never receive your credit card number or see your personal information. If users own an Apple Watch, they can choose to be notified of upcoming reservations and be given directions to the restaurant through the Apple Watch platform. Basically, if you are the kind of person that prefers limited social contact, especially over the phone with strangers, OpenTable may be one of the most useful apps.

Slice

Slice App Download

Slice is a wonderful app that pairs well with anyone who is an avid online shopper. The mobile app analyzes emails that you receive to hunt for order information and organizes your purchases into one place providing you with easy access to tracking information, purchase history, and it even has a price-drop tracking feature. The price-drop feature works by notifying you when an item you purchased drops in price or is recalled. This is especiallyuseful when ordering from companies that honor price adjustments for items that are marked down within a short time from your date of purchase.

Evernote Scannable

Evernote Scannable App

Evernote Scannable is the type of app that you would never think to download until you absolutely need it and come to realize its importance. This powerful app scans documents or images using your phone’s camera and turns them into legible, scanned items to store in your Evernote account or share with other people. The app focuses on speed and quality by digitizing documents at an impressive rate, which is increasingly useful as many companies and people choose a more green lifestyle and prefer email or digital copies over paper copies. This type of app seriously comes in handy when you have to send a scanned copy of your photo ID or signed documents.

PackPoint Packing List Travel Companion

PackPoint mobile app download

PackPoint Packing List Travel Companion may have a lengthy name, but it lives up to it. This little app is a superior travel companion because it makes packing and being prepared that much easier. Simply input your vacation or travel plans including the destination, duration, and activities. PackPoint will even check the weather to assist you in packing for your best trip yet! The app will not only assist you in packing everything for your trip, but also it helps you keep an organized list to reference before leaving or before heading home. The organized system will help you feel more at ease when packing for your next destination.  A seriously powerful addition to your road trip planner and vacations allowing you to focus on planning personal or family vacations without the anxiety of packing.

PepperPlate

Get PepperPlat app

Pepperplate is an incredibly easy-to-use app that makes meal planning and grocery shopping simple and fun! This app allows you to find recipes online or enter them manually, "Creating recipes is straightforward, with Pepperplate supplying all the right fields to fill in: title, yield, ingredients, instructions, active time, total time, source, and so forth. Adding a picture of your dish is as simple as uploading it from your iPad." (Heavy.com) I personally love the ability to find recipes online. By going through Pepperplate.com, you can search available recipes on many different cooking websites and instantly add them to your recipe book. Pepperplate does the work for you. Once you select the recipes you want to make that week, the app puts the ingredients into your shopping list and you can check them off one by one while at the grocery store. Be more adventurous with meals and never forget an important ingredient again!

Duolingo

Get Duolingo app

Duolingo is the app that makes learning a new language easier. The app uses different learning techniques mixing games, speaking, writing, and reading; using proven techniques, Duolingo makes learning and maintaining a new language less daunting. I took Spanish is high school and college, but cannot speak it fluently. Duolingo has been a great help refreshing my memory and keeping me active. The app is free and it will keep you coming back with reminders- if you forget to practice, the app will swiftly get you back on track. This language-learning app has become so popular that even billionaire Bill Gates decided to try the app versus hiring a private tutor. If you've ever wanted to learn a new language or brush up on one you already know, Duolingo is an easy and interactive way to improve those language skills!

Square Cash

Get Square Cash app

 Square Cash is a payment app that definitely comes in handy if you split rent, bills, or even just the check at your favorite restaurant. Similar to other payment apps, Square Cash uses a secure system and you won't worry about entering your credit card information. I love that using my iPhone 6 means that I can use my secure touch ID to access the app. The app isincredibly easy to use, "Users input an amount of money, press the send button, and enter the email address of the person they want to receive the cash." Square Cash has a few competitors, but my favorite part about using this app in particular is that the cash is immediately deposited into my account. I would hate having to wait 3-5 business days on a rent payment when the rent is due in 3 days! This convenient app has revolutionized payments.

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These apps are some of the best smartphone apps out there right now, and we want you to know about them! Many of the apps are accessible on iPhones and Andriod Phones and many are available for free.

Remember that many of these mobile apps (if not all) use data! So, whether or not you are running on 4g wireless or 3g, it is important to connect to cheap wireless internet or use yourmobile hotspot when spending an extended amount of time on the app. This is especially important to remember if wireless providers charge a fee if you go over your monthly data limit. Be sure to check how much data you need and find cheap wifi plans!