Whether it’s for gaming, lifestyle, social networking or the useful elements they offer, apps have become an integral part of everyday life for many people. Latterly in 2013, there were more than 1 million apps in both the iTunes App Store and Google Play with estimates suggesting 102 billion app downloads took place in 2013.

If an app adds convenience to the life of the user, offers unique value, provides social functionalities, offers incentives and/or entertains, then it’s likely to be a winner. Of course all apps are not required to fulfil all criteria, the more the app offers, the greater chance of success. Some great apps were developed in 2013, have a read about some that we really liked:

Waze - Saving you 10 minutes a day

After a visit to their HQ in San Francisco, our Head of Marketing, Cat Leaver, has introduced us to a new app on the market - Waze. We have to say we are definitely impressed with what this app has to offer. With more than 10 million downloads on Google Play alone and an award for the Best Overall Mobile App of 2013, this is certainly one of the most effective apps we have come across adding real value to the lives of it’s users.

The purpose: connect drivers to each other and their local driving community striving to improve the quality and save time on daily driving. When a destination is entered and the journey begins, drivers can passively contribute to the driving community alerting of any hazards along the way. Also, if they so wish, a more active role can be adopted afterwards by submitting reports of road accidents, hazards and traffic jams. As a result of real-time updates from the driving community, alerts are sent to other drivers before approaching any mishaps, ultimately avoiding additional back-ups and potential accidents and bringing convenience to users’ lives. Waze also offers social functionality whereby co-ordination of arrival can be made between friends, providing each user has connected their Facebook account.

This app is beneficial to the user’s everyday life helping to make their commute easier and via a fairly simple idea offers very unique value. So unique, the app was used by the Brazilian government during the World Cup to prevent gridlock on the roads as a large amount of tourists flocked to its cities. This app is well on the way to transforming traffic control helping drivers to manoeuvre around events impacting upon congestion and although relatively new to the UK, it will be exciting to see how it develops and grows in this market.

Google Drive and Docs

We are continually impressed with what Google has to offer and as users of Google Docs; it is fair to say we were happy to see the introduction of an app for Google’s drive. Whether you are a student, industry professional or anyone else for that matter, the Google Drive app is one you will love, evident with 100 million+ downloads. As this is cloud-based, it is a convenient place to store all files and as of late, Google have introduced additional apps for Docs and Sheets to add convenience to the lives of it’s users. Both Google Drive and the additional apps offer an excellent service providing the ability to create, edit and view files whilst offline.

What we love most is that after download, this app (and anything stored on it), can be accessed remotely without connection meaning files will never be lost or inaccessible. Nowadays, cloud based software is growing and Google have added extra value to their offering. Wonder what extra features will be next?

Team Viewer

Left your office for that huge business meeting without your presentation file? Heading to university to hand in the report you have left at home? If only you could access your desktop computer on the go to find the file you need…well with the Team Viewer app, that’s exactly what you can do.

This application fills a real user need, allowing you to access your home computer remotely and it’s absolutely free. Of course you don’t want to access huge files via a mobile device which is why Team Viewer allows you to access your home computer remotely and then send your files to an email address or to an online cloud for access from another location. Team Viewer facilitates key daily functions in a user’s life, and as such adds value to its proposition.

Umano

For all the information-hungry busy bees out there this is one you will love! Umano selects some of the best picks of news from the Internet each day and recreates them as an audiobook read to you by professionals. This is a great way to consume bite-sized information from the day and is great for those on the go from morning through evening. This app has been found to be popular amongst gym users, commuters, those with busy morning schedules and when winding down in the evening. Offering a convenient alternative to trawling the news and Internet every day, this app is an excellent addition to the lives of an increasingly time-poor society.

Successful mobile applications such as news apps, banking apps and social networking apps (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest) can all add perceived value to the user’s everyday life, providing social or functional facilities, speed of access, loyalty benefits or offering entertainment. If considering developing an app, you must consider how your app will serve the users’ needs or make their life better/easier. We have been wowed by the offerings of Waze, Google Drive, Team Viewer and Umano (also check out Burner and Rent My Doggy just for a little fun) and know they will continue to add value to our everyday lives and yours too!

Let us know what apps from the past year have impressed you!