What's Your Smart Phone App-titude?
Once — it now seems a time long, long ago in a place far, far away — you picked up a phone, dialed a number and actually spoke to someone. How naïve we were. Then came texting. How quaint! Today, it is all about that “app,” those programs that bring your smart phone to life and have made good old telephony all but redundant.
From social phenomena like Four Square (essentially a homing beacon that screams “I’m over here!”) to mobile GPS to help you get to that Four Square friend; from apps to run your business to iFart (yes, one app will let out unsociable sounds and now even smells from your phone — set it on your friend’s phone and watch the fun), there are more apps than you will ever get to try. It is estimated there are about 150,000 iPhone apps and at least 15,000 Droid apps (Droid is Google’s answer to the iPhone operating system).
So we thought it would be interesting to see what Washington’s media community uses or, as we found out, doesn’t use.
Blogger, K Street Kate
I use Twitter for many reasons: to help tell people what is going and where I am, and to share information that is useful to my followers.
Interesting that you should ask. I'm just back from a spring break getaway with my son and the iPhone saved our you-know-whats in two critical instances, both having to do with traffic … Special mention to the WTOP "Glass-Enclosed Nerve” app.
I love the Google maps app. Whenever I take road trips, I am obsessed with watching the blue blinking light as the car moves. And because I am obsessed with the Food Network shows about the little diners with weird fried food, I'm always searching for them on Google maps when I'm driving in the middle of nowhere thinking I may come across one.
I can barely handle my cell phone. I haven't progressed to smart phone apps yet. Give me another five years.
Marketing consultant, author
[My favorite] would have to be the Facebook app for my Blackberry. It makes it easy to keep up with friends and family when I am traveling. The interface is clean and intuitive — it's a great example of how to “boil down” a website for viewing on a mobile device.
A smartphone what? I don't even have a cell phone.
ABC News correspondent
Google maps on Droid allows me to speak in a request while driving and it finds the route and starts speaking back directions. It has built-in GPS navigation that fills a gap that I had of wanting: not to have to stop and pull to the side of road and enter an address. And it gets you there.
Talk radio host
I'm fairly new on iPhone and don't have any apps but the most basic ones. Someday, but not yet!
Why, the Politico iPhone app, of course! Second is the Apple Remote app, because I can run the house stereo, which is hooked up to iTunes. Other than that, I use a Blackberry. Not exactly sexy answers, but they are very honest. I'm all about functionality. I am very excited about the new "Metro" project app we are working on for local news in the D.C. area, but it is unreleased.
Publisher, The Georgetowner and The Downtowner
My favorite is the Google Mobile app. The best feature is the voice search, which lets you find whatever location you’re looking for — in the car, on the street or elsewhere — just by talking into the phone. It also plugs in with Google maps, giving you exact directions to what you searched for from wherever you are.
Amos Gelb is the director for the George Washington University’s Semester in Washington Journalism program. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claire Sanders Swift is a former broadcast producer turned national media specialist. Contact her at email@example.com.