Sometimes watching the news for exciting new mobile apps is as fun as watching a good TV show. You laugh, you cry, and there are all sorts of twists and turns along the way (especially when you begin to follow the ups and downs of start-up companies). Silicon Valley drama aside, the following five new apps are deserving of their 15 minutes of fame (at least):
1. Be My Eyes
Hans Hilberg of Denmark wanted to create an app that would help blind people see. If that sounds a bit ambitious, it's actually simpler than you think. Hilberg designed the app to smoothly facilitate a live video interaction between a blind person's iPhone and a sighted person's iPhone.
A blind person simply activates the app, and the app's server connects with a volunteer. This comes in handy for all sorts of situations where a pair of eyes goes a long way.
This report tells the story of a blind woman named Roseanne as an example. Roseanne was shopping, and she needed to know about the products on the shelf. She activated the app, and within seconds a sighted person appeared in a live video feed. The randomly picked volunteer, named Katie, looked at the shelf for Roseanne and kindly gave her the information she needed to complete her shopping trip.
Although Katie will likely never speak with Roseanne again, she became a crucial part of Roseanne's life in that moment, and she did something tangible to make another person's day easier.
And with 219,000 volunteers signed up to "be my eyes" for the blind, the app has no shortage of Good Samaritan helpers.
An app that solves math problems by simply pointing your phone's camera at the math problem on paper?
Yes, that is exactly what PhotoMath does. To be clear, it is meant for educational purposes. It doesn't just spit quick answers out at you so that you can try to cheat on a test. It analyzes your problem, and then methodically takes you step-by-step through the solution so that you can learn how to do it.
Have you ever heard someone say that if you wait until a certain time of day or day of the week to buy plane tickets, they will be cheaper? (Or perhaps a certain day of the month or month of the year?) Hoppertakes all of the guesstimations of that inexact science and turns it into an exact science. It monitors ticket prices from all airlines and analyzes fluctuation patterns of prices and tells you exactly when to "fly and buy" -- down to the exact month, day, and time -- to ensure you get the best deal possible.
Time Magazine's quote on this app probably sums it up the best: "If electronic mail had been invented in 2014, it would probably look a lot like this."
Hop is billed as the "first ever app to turn your existing email into fast, multimedia mobile messaging, focused on the people and groups that matter most to you," according to its site, with these features:
- You connect with your existing email account and Hop converts old and new email messages into a natural flowing chat conversations
- It allows "real-time messaging, document and photo sharing, voice and video calls, and more, eliminating the need to use multiple apps to stay in touch."
- The best part, perhaps, is that it's something you can use immediately to communicate with anyone. You don't have to wait for your friends to download Hop too (which is perhaps the most annoying aspect of trying to transition into a new communication app or social media platform).
And if you need a laugh, this app that Wired Magazine called "dope" turns your text messages into auto-tuned songs and sends them to your friends. Check out Ditty here.
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