I'm not one to download every mobile application under the sun. I don't want my iPhone or iPad cluttered with endless screens of rarely used apps, so I frequently find myself pruning my modest app collection. The bottom line: I'm always on the hunt for useful applications and technology in general, for personal and professional use. And sure, I'm human, so I gravitate to the ocassional game or 'candy' app that exists for pure entertainment or time passing purposes (great when you're growing moss in a doctor's waiting room).
On that note, I want to spotlight a couple of apps that I've recently discovered or began to use. If you're a regular Starbucks customer like I am, I strongly suggest using the Starbucks Card Mobile App. I've had it for a number of months, finding it useful to see how much money was available on the card account, and how many purchases I needed to make before a free drink coupon would come my way (every 15 purchases). But today, I used the app itself for the first time to pay for my triple espresso. It was a seamless experience, and had me wondering why I waited, since I knew the technology existed since first reading about it in January, and since reloading the card at the cashier - then making a purchase - had become something of a thorn in my side the past few months. Now, I'm going to set up auto-reload online, so every time my account hits zero, a certain amount is moved from my debit card to my Starbucks account. I no longer need to carry that extra physical card in my wallet. I can just pull out my iPhone, tap the app, choose 'Touch to Pay", and the barista/cashier will simply scan my onscreen barcode, and bingo, the transaction is complete. Clicking "Touch When Done" immediately shows you how much money remains in your account. The app keeps tally of how many transactions you've done, so you don't miss that freebie after each 15 (you also get a free drink coupon around your birthday). The only thing Starbucks needs to do now is take out the snail mail coupon process and make it all a seamless mobile experience. So when you hit that 15th transaction, or it's your birthday, the app should reflect that when scanned.
Another mobile app I wanted to bring to your attention is the Google Translate app for the iPhone. I stumbled on it recently, having found the Translate option at Google.com something of a wonder. Google released the Translate iPhone app on Feb. 8th. You can type some text in one language, English for instance, and have it quickly translated into another language, say Spanish. But the real mindblower is the audio capability. It recognizes voice input from 15 different languages when you click on the little microphone and speak into your phone. You can see a text tranlsation of up to 50 languages, or listen to one of your translations spoken out loud by the app in one of 23 languages. I tried it a few times, and depending on how clearly you speak, background noise, etc ... accuracy can be a little erratic. Might have also been my not-so-terrific Spanish speaking ability. But the potential here is vast. What if you come across someone in distress who speaks another language, and can't speak a lick of English. Just pull up the app and have the person talk into your phone. It's the kind of app that you may not use very often, but when needed, could literally save a life one day. Or at minimum help you figure out what the person at the drive thru is saying ....
Have you discovered any impactful or interesting mobile apps lately? For personal or business use? Please share!