From finding a partner to getting a taxi in under 5 minutes, smartphone apps have played a huge role in how we live our lives. In fact, there are estimated to be over 2m apps available for download via the Apple store, and 2.2m for Android users.
But with so many apps in existence, how did these 10 apps stand out? That’s certainly the billion dollar question, but most will tell you they were different. They were innovative and offered something new. In many ways, they changed society for the better.
Here are 10 examples.
An online dating service which didn’t take itself serious was one of the primary thought processes that went into Tinder, an online dating app which now claims to match hundreds of millions of users a day. Devised by a handful of young Los Angeles natives, Tinder matches users by showing you profiles within a nearby radius. If you like what you see, you swipe right. If you don’t, you swipe left. Then, if two users both swiped right, it’s a match, and you can message in private. It’s a fun and novel way of meeting a partner, and many claim Tinder has taken the pressure off people having to rely on nights out to meet people. And while it has its critics, with many labelling it nothing more than a hook-up app, many still see Tinder as the go-to dating app, particularly the 18-30 crowd.
The prompt taxi service allows users to order a cab at much cheaper rates than those charged by traditional taxi services. Uber, which was conceived in 2009, now employs hundreds of thousands of drivers and most recently, launched ‘Uber Eats’ a spin-off service which allows users to order from any restaurant and have it delivered to their door.
When illegal download websites like Napster and Limewire threatened to all but kill traditional music sales, few companies thought of any monetized solution. Netflix had come along and offered a solution to movie and TV market, but the music industry had yet to diversify. So bad was it that many industry executives wondered if album and single sales would ever be revived. But in 2006, before the first iPhone had even gone on sale, along came the Swedish app, Spotify. According to the tech magazine Mashable, Spotify engineered a new kind of music economy and one which all but left behind physical sales.
Charging its user a small monthly fee, people can listen to most artists, with royalty payments calculated by the number of streams each artist receives. Because of this shift, many leading artists have opted to tour more, realising it is now more financially lucrative than to rely on streaming royalties. Because of this, many prominent artists, including Taylor Swift, have been highly vocal of the companies practices.
4. Red Lazer
With retail now accounting for a massive percentage of online transactions, shoppers have developed an exceptional eye when it comes to spotting a bargain. But in store, said information isn’t always available, and even if you have your smartphone on hand, it can take a while to sift through countless websites. But that’s where Red Lazer comes in. Users simply scan the barcode of the item with the apps scanner, and within seconds the app determines whether the item can be purchased elsewhere for a lower price.
There used to be a time when remembering the words to a catchy song could be the difference between listening to it more than once or never hearing it again. But those days are long gone thanks to this cool app. If you aren’t sure of the song, users simply open the app, press a button and seconds later the smart app detects the song’s title thanks to an acoustic fingerprint based on the sample which then scours its database for a match.
6. Pokemon Go
Perhaps pulling at the heartstrings of an older generation of millennials who grew up playing the popular card and video games, the innovative app, which allows users to catch Pokemon outside thanks to its augmented reality features proved that gaming is evolving every day. Indeed, the app was so popular among millions of fervent Pokemon fans that it shattered records and became the fastest selling app in history since its release in July.
While Snapchat has long been labelled a ‘sexting’ app, a study found that most users use it to send humorous messages and selfie shots. The app, which lets you send photos and videos that disappear in upwards of 10 seconds, is valued at around $20bn, with an estimated 700m snaps sent every day.
Viewed as the ‘Uber of B&Bs’. Airbnb’s straightforward interface and its ability to merge a strong bond between the buyer and seller has made this app a go-to service for those seeking a quick and easy accommodation bookings.
9. Angry Birds
Along with other gaming apps like Candy Crush, Angry Birds set the precedent for addictive gaming, and in the process made its owner incredibly wealthy. And while Angry Birds may not have been downloaded as rapidly as Pokemon Go, the series collective download sales, which currently stands at over 3 billion, suggests the gaming franchise hasn’t hasn’t done too badly.
One of the best things about the Internet has been its ability to make news more accessible. Because of the proliferation of online news, journalists and readers now have quicker access to events; thanks largely to Twitter. However, with a plethora of news apps and online publications, it can be hard to digest so much content in so little time.
But Flipboard detected such a first world problem, and since its inception, users have been creating their very own personalised magazines, with content sourced and saved to their feeds from all corners of the net.