Every year, new flagship products are released onto the market for consumers to feast their eyes on. Whether it is the newly released Samsung Note 7 (R.I.P), the semi-modular LG G5, or the Apple iPhone 7, which itself promises to be an interesting step back for Apple. However, over the years consumers have become slightly informed about their purchases after noting that smartphones are only as good as the applications that support them. Hence the demise of Blackberry and Windows phones. Limited compatible applications led to a decline in sales, leading to our current state of affairs, where both companies have so little market share its almost negligible.
Which brings us to today’s review of two (2) applications that enhance the usability of our phones. It is often the case in Barbados, that after purchasing a new device, we install WhatsApp and Facebook and we call it a day not fully utilizing the power of our phones to help in our basic everyday life. So today I am here to change that, and hopefully open your eyes to some true gems of applications.
Inbox by Google Inc.
Most of us already use the Gmail client to take care of our email needs, but what about those who need more flexibility and pizazz- when it comes to our interactions with our emails. This is where Inbox by Google Inc. comes into play- a Gmail client that has been enhanced with several specific options to filter incoming emails, and deliver a cleaner, and arguably more productive interface.
As seen to the right, Inbox by Google Inc. is built first and foremost with ease of use in mind. The influx of emails are handled and sorted into tabs, which are easily found by swiping to the right in the application – making it easier to find exactly what is wanted, when it is wanted. Using colour specific icons for the tabs also add to the unique feel of the app, encouraging new users to feel more at ease with the slight learning curve required. It is also important to note that the application learns from user habits, thus in the short and long term, it becomes even more efficient with its handling of your email needs.
Tabs are called ‘Bundles’ and are by default, the ways in which the application chooses to deal with your emails. In my investigations, I found that the default setting for the bundles worked quite well. In some instances, there were emails that did not fit a particular area, however as mentioned earlier, the application learns from the user’s habits.
Returning to the main part of the app and swiping right on an email would mark it as ‘Done’, removing it from normal view. Swiping right however, brings us to another key area in Inbox- the ability to ‘Snooze’. This feature allows the user to set specific times and or locations, of which to receive select emails. For example, are there certain emails you only ever want to see when you reach work? Or don’t want to be disturbed after hours by annoying emails from promotions? These can now be set as options.
This application has been well made by Google. It is not perfect but can be used comfortably for those who want more for their emailing needs, and Inbox certainly delivers more in spades.
Periscope by Twitter Inc.
Periscope by Twitter Inc. would be the result of that “fateful” union between Snapchat and Twitter. Yes it is as simple as it sounds, however the application of the union is interesting. Unlike Snapchat and Twitter where there is a time limit and word limit respectively, Periscope has no such barriers to tangle with. It is a live streaming app developed by Twitter Inc. that broadcasts streams from the mundane, albeit “interesting” lives of some of its users, to more important streams that deal with specific topics that offer varying levels of interest. Like twitter you can follow your favourite users and be notified in an instant when new content is ready to be viewed.
Users interested in finding content can search by usernames or expand their horizons by searching the global map provided in the application for other broadcasters. After doing some brief broadcasts, I found this feature to be a pleasant experience, since having the choice to make broadcasts public or private was a welcomed addition.
Make no mistake though, as of August of 2015, Periscope has had over ten (10) million new accounts, and from that number approximately over two (2) million of those use the app daily. Social networking junkies and fans alike will have plenty to like with this fairly new broadcasting application. It easily reaches the world wide platform of which is important in this socially driven era.