Manage your workflow. Manage your money. Make your head a funny shape to amuse your pals. Smartphone treats for all ages.
The hottest app at Finovate, the trade fair for cutting-edge financial tech, last month, this is so new it’s not even officially available just yet. Nevertheless, the hype is building, and the proposition is clearly appealing, and it’s worth flagging up now.
Clinc promises to look through your income and spending, and automatically shake it for any loose change to help you save for whatever you most want or need, whether that’s a new toaster or a new car.
It sounds like a godsend – an app that automatically tracks your spending, and siphons off savings each month into a standalone account, underpinned by a real bank, so you can effectively save for that rainy days. It launches in Germany later in 2016, and will be available in the UK and other markets from early next year. Watch this space.
2. Microsoft Flow
Free on Android and iOS
This business app, currently available in beta, works on the same principles as the popular ‘if-this-then-that’ (IFTTT) web service, which enables you to set conditions around your web-based activity that, if met, will produce certain prescribed outcomes.
Thus, you can arrange automated responses to critical emails, say, or arrange notifications when shared files are uploaded or updated, or when a certain keyword was re-tweeted a number of times. The idea is to make your work-life – and your mess of incoming messages, files, actions and alerts – easier to manage.
An expanding library of pre-set templates, as well as the facility to create your own, is available to create ‘workflows’ between your web services, files and cloud data. It works for consumer ‘flows’ as well, so you can automatically save photos to the cloud whenever you post, or are tagged, on social media, say. There’s a bit of work involved at the start, but you save in the end.
Free on iOS
This app provides activities and advice for parents of children between two and six years old, as well as a feel-good online community to share ideas.
It takes the Montessori method – which works on the principle children are curious to learn, and don’t need to be forced to learn – and provides a “prepared environment” of parenting articles, activity ideas and daily tips based that encourage hands-off stimulation for little minds.
Whether you buy into the Montessori way or not, there’s good stuff on here, which can supplement daily routines and other online resources to help ease the pressure of providing constant on-tap entertainment to young ones. Beyond the free resources, weekly activity packs are available from within the app for an additional £7.99 per month.
Free on Android and iOS
This gets a mention because, firstly, it is new, and, secondly, it has been a riotous triumph in Asia, where it has been downloaded 30 million times, and counting, in its first few weeks.
Part of that success is the fact photo-sharing app Snapchat, which it rips off without mercy, is banned in China, one of its biggest markets. Snow certainly won’t succeed in the same way in Europe. But if you want new ways to distort and animate your selfies, then this is perhaps worth a look.
Certainly, image-mutation is its calling card, and it packs a wild selection of effects and filters to morph and make “hilarious” (?) self portraits, and animated GIFs (short videos), to send in messages to mates – available for 24 hours and then gone forever. It’s pitched squarely as disposable fun for teenagers; almost everyone else will scratch – and probably shake – their heads.
5. Splash 360 Video Camera
Free on iOS
This also takes its cues from the viral instantaneousness of social media app Snapchat, except it ups the ante by turning your 2D stills and videos into 360-degree video clips, with sometimes fantastical and sometimes just downright weird results, which can be posted and shared.
The catch is you’ll need a set of virtual reality goggles to view them. Mob-handed, the giants of tech (Facebook, Google, Samsung, et al) are placing bets on virtual reality, and lower-cost hardware, notably with the ready availability of Google Cardboard lenses, means the technology will catch on soon enough.
Even so, this represents an early, intriguing taste of what is to come, to be jumped on by early adopters in particular.