Technology

5 Must-Have Mobile Apps for March

Apps these days are a dime a dozen, which makes it almost impossible to filter out the ones worth downloading. Have no fear: KCB’s trusty tech geeks are here!

By Lindsey Kennedy

1. Wunderlist

Some of us cannot fathom going a day without arranging our responsibilities and deadlines in perfect, pleasing order. Organizational mobile apps are plentiful, but true list-making pros know that simplicity and functionality are key. Wunderlist, a task-managing app from Berlin-based 6Wunderkinder, encompasses these features particularly well with a simple interface of lists, sub-lists and notes. It offers procrastinator-proof features like recurring task settings, a due-date calendar and programmable reminder tools.

Wunderlist continuously syncs to the cloud, as well as from desktop to mobile and every device in between. Lists can be printed easily, and updated through in-app, email and push-notifications. A collaborative feature allows you to share lists with coworkers or family members, keeping a whole group on task for a complex initiative at work or ensuring a potluck dinner with friends doesn’t end up comprised entirely of side dishes.

Wunderlist 2.0 is now available for iPhone, Mac, Android, Windows and the Web. Best of all, it’s free.

 

2. Weather 2020

Let’s face it. The Midwest is not exactly known for its predictable weather. Planning for outdoor events in the distant future can be a downright nerve-wrecking gamble. Enter Gary Lezak, Kansas City staple and chief meteorologist at NBC Action News, whose new app offers forecasting up to 12 weeks in advance.

Weather 2020 uses the “Lezak Recurring Cycle” (LRC), a theory Lezak has been developing since the ’80s that compiles long-term weather patterns into a repeating cycle. Available for iPhone and iPad, the free Weather 2020 app also features short-term forecasts and Lezak’s daily weather blog, which provides detailed images of emerging patterns and thoroughly explains upcoming forecasts. To quell anxiety over a specific date, Weather 2020 offers personalized weather balloons that relay real-time conditions and send email alerts of forecast changes for a specific area.

Users can launch unlimited weather balloons for one month ($.99), three months ($2.99) and one year ($8.99), to the great relief of vacationers and honeymooners alike.

 

3. Agent

Agent is an Android application that automates actions based on users’ lifestyles. For $1.99, it can automatically silence a phone in meeting spaces at work and pause updates to save a dwindling phone battery. It can sense when a user is driving (whether through Bluetooth connection or because the phone is moving more than 25 mph) and will read- aloud text messages or switch to an automated response.

When it senses you have parked, it marks your location, a feature that could prevent Seinfeld-like odysseys through parking garages and unfamiliar neighborhoods. The app also screens a user’s calls while they sleep, silencing the phone during designated hours while still allowing select important contacts to get through. Like any technology this individualized, there are many potential scenarios to consider and small customizable tweaks to make.

Still, Agent is promising as a user-friendly and uncomplicated lifestyle app, and its creators at Tagstand seem committed to staying one step ahead of lifestyle management technology.

 

4. Knoda

If you have a knack for making educated guesses or are looking to channel your inner Nate Silver, Knoda might be your next social media addiction. This prediction app enables users to make guesses about anything from the outcome of elections and major sporting events to when your friend will finally get that haircut. Predictions big and small are open for discussion, and if proven correct, the user has a third-party-verified form of “I told you so.”

Knoda originated right here in KC from a failed prediction made by co-founder and CEO Kyle Rogers. Upon seeing the impressive first performance of the 1999 KU Basketball team, Rogers declared to his mother that, within four years, it would win the National Championship. When the team indeed advanced to the championship game, Rogers’s mother had forgotten the prediction and no bragging rights were earned. As trite as it may seem, the fast-growing team at Knoda recognized something important: as the masses flock to social media to give their take on current events, they have yet to be provided with a platform on which to accumulate tangible bragging rights on correct forecasts. Knoda creators took note that an estimated 1 million tweets per month are predictions, and they have most of human history to back up the claim that people love to place bets.

Knoda combines current events, competition and social interaction while giving users the reigns, a recipe that might just be worth betting on.

 

5. Mobtify

Most small businesses would benefit from having a mobile app but actually building one is easier said than done, right? Wrong! Mobtify is an Android and iPhone mobile app builder that was created by KC-based BD Innovations in 2010. Aside from being a straightforward and user-friendly tool, Mobtify is a platform specifically designed with businesses in mind.

Potential app features include maps, driving directions and listings by GPS-determined proximity that help customers quickly locate a business and its services. Direct connections to social media pages and push notifications allow for continued promotional presence, and unlimited navigation tabs and customization options cater the app to a business’s specific needs. The platform requires no software downloads, and businesses can manage and update their profile content directly from the website’s secure login.

For business owners who lack the time, funding or technical know-how to create and manage apps from the ground-up, platforms like Mobtify can provide easy, effective apps to improve customer relationships.