My Favorite Apps
Apple trademarked “There’s an app for that” in 2010, although Google has edged ahead with its Android operating system. An app (short for application) is a program that runs on a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device. Apple and Google each have well over half a million apps to download.
I have an Android smartphone, but they all have apps that let your phone do things other than make telephone calls. I’ve used it many times at work, from scanning barcodes to receiving pages to asking it questions about unit conversions.
Here are my favorite apps (this week):
- Google Now. This is an integrated “push” service that personalizes searches, weather reports, television listings, books, apps, and anything else I’m interested in. If I’m traveling, for example, Now pops up messages about places I might want to visit. I can ask it questions (similar to Apple Siri), and it answers in a pleasant voice.
- Umano. This is a feed of articles and blogs read aloud by real actors (instead of a robotic computer-generated voice), each a few minutes long, categorized by topic. I often listen while working out.
- Feedly. When Google discontinued Reader I switched to Feedly that allows me to read RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. Using RSS almost anything can be pushed to your phone from Facebook posts to the latest bargains to blogs (such as this one).
Generally, we access any data by “push” or “pull” technology. The above are mostly the former, feeding me stuff I’ve asked for ahead of time. They also suggest new stuff I might be interested in, a truly cool feature. Google Now does this to an almost creepy degree. This is quite different from the latter, in which I “pull” information from the Web through searches and other queries. Push technology is a smartphone’s raison d’etre.
Push technology will also transform healthcare. Imagine a doctor not having to search or call for lab results as they are pushed to his screen and while examining a patient having suggested orders created by a mobile application.
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