44 Apps That Turn Your Smartphone Into a Productivity Powerhouse (Infographic)

In today’s mobile landscape, where unfocused pedestrians regularly walk into walls and a majority of Americans prize their beloved gadgets above sex, smartphones have come to serve for many as dangerous agents of distraction. But when optimally harnessed, they can serve as powerful productivity tools.

From to-do lists to time management to goal-tracking to file storage, here’s a look at 44 of the best apps to help entrepreneurs systematize the unwieldy process of building a business, as compiled by British IT company Conosco.

Among our favorites? HabitRPG, a task manger that gamifies your habits and accomplishments, and Focus@will, which combines background music and neuroscience to purportedly boost productivity by up to 400 percent.

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Snapchat Steps On Twitter’s Toes, Lets You Follow Remote Events Live

Snapchat has just updated its app with a brand new Live section that will incorporate Our Story into everyone’s feed, regardless of location. Our Story is a Snapchat product that lets users contribute snaps to a single Story (or, thread of snaps) from a single event.

The product first launched back at Electronic Daisy Carnival, and then went on to Rio, Outside Lands, and Lollapalooza. The reaction was great and users contributed over 350 hours of snaps over the course of those events.

Today, the feature is going Live (if you will) for all users, letting them “experience Stories contributed by the Snapchat community at all sorts of events [...] around the world,” according to the official blog post.

It’s unclear how events will be chosen to be a part of Snapchat’s new Live “Our Story” section, or whether or not this will one day act as a revenue stream for Snapchat. It’s not hard to imagine music festivals, sporting events, concert tours, colleges, or other ‘location-based communities’ paying for access to a marketing channel like Snapchat’s main feed page.

We’ve reached out to Snapchat for more clarity on just how the company plans to select various events, but for now you can update the app to take a look at the new “Live” section. It can be found under Recent Updates.

Courtesy: Techcrunch

Instagram’s New Hyperlapse App Makes Mobile Timelapse And Steady Video Capture Easy

Instagram is building new apps that aim to do more with mobile photography, and today they’re launching Hyperlapse, which allows you to make timelapse videos using standard video captured with your smartphone camera on the fly. The Hyperlapse app launch closely follows the international launch of Bolt, Instagram’s Snapchat-style photo sharing app, but this one looks like it has more of the ingredients that made Snapchat such a success.

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The app, which is due to be released at 10 AM PT today, offers iPhone users a way to make professional-looking timelapses without expensive photography equipment like pro cameras, steady-mounts or tripods, and takes advantage of image stabilization tech that makes use of movement data gathered by gyroscopes to mimic the effect of ultra-expensive motion stabilization software used by film studios, but using a fraction of the processor power to get it done.

One impulse at Instagram was to build it into its existing app, but doing so would’ve hidden the functionality too much for those really eager to try it, and made it virtually invisible to the average user who might not realize they even want it, per Wired. To me, this sounds like Instagram learned a lesson from Instagram Video and Direct, and wanted to give this cool new tech the attention it deserved as its own app, where it stands a good chance of going viral rather than being adopted by just some of Instagram’s existing user community.

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Instagram’s Hyperlapse is, like its original product, focused on       simplicity – the only thing that you can change about your captures is the speed of playback. You use a slider to control how fast the video you eventually share will play at, from standard 1x speed (i.e. the normal speed at which it was recorded) to 12x.

Even at 1x, you get to take advantage of the advanced image stabilization techniques, but the same video is bound to produce an extremely different final effect depending on what playback speed you combine with the automatic stabilization effects.

This looks to be one of the coolest new mobile apps released in a while, particularly from the Facebook/Instagram crowd. The app is live now for iPhone owners (Android users will have to wait for a later version, unfortunately), and we’ll soon post our impressions regarding this new stabilization tech and its effectiveness.

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

Which Apps Are Eating Your Battery? Normal Will Tell You.

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Somewhere, somehow, maybe less than a year after I got the latest version of my iPhone, its battery would mysteriously deplete in about half a day.

I wasn’t really sure why. But now I can find out.

There’s a new app called ‘Normal’ out from a pair of Stanford Ph.Ds in computer science named Adam Oliner and Jacob Leverich, who are turning some postdoctoral research into a company called Kuro Labs.

Their first project, Normal, is a battery diagnosis service that tracks and compares your app usage to other iOS device owners to see if there are any specific actions you can take to save battery life. The 99 cent app compares your phone’s battery usage over time with other people who have similar combinations of apps.

Hence, the name ‘Normal’ — is your phone’s battery life normal compared to other devices that are the exact same model?

“Battery is a pain point and there are not good solutions,” Oliner said. “The device doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. Why is it using so much energy? Is that normal or not? That’s what we’re trying to adjust.”

When you go inside Normal, you’ll see active apps, inactive battery hogs and other apps. For each app, there is a ring chart that will show you how much battery life you’ll save if you close a specific app.

normal-screenshotSo for instance, if I shut Facebook’s mobile app off, Normal estimates that I’ll save 26 minutes and 47 seconds of battery life. Or if I close inactive apps running in the background like Instagram, I’ll save an hour and seven minutes.

Certain apps can be re-configured to use up less battery. Oliner says Pinterest, for example, is not normally a battery hog but there are a few configurations that make it more energy intensive. There’s a screen inside the app that will tell you if a specific app is behaving normally compared to other identical apps on other smartphones.

The app is based on a project Oliner led at UC Berkeley that eventually became an app called Carat. The concept seems almost identical. That older app would quietly take measurements from your device, combine that data it with other people’s anonymized usage metrics, and then send back tips on whether to update your OS or kill or restart apps.

Now that Oliner is finished with postdoc work, he decided to start a new bootstrapped company with Leverich called Kuro Labs that may spin out more similar concepts. He hinted at looking at laptops or tablets.

“The closest analogous company is something like Bugsense, which diagnoses crashes,” he said. “But we’re doing energy instead.”

 

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

Flappy Bird Returns As A Multiplayer Game… But Only For Amazon’s Fire TV

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NOBODY PANIC! FLAPPY BIRD IS BACK. Kind of.

Back in February, Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen pulled his game from the store, citing his guilt for making what he considered an “addictive product”.

He later promised that the game would return in August, but with a few tweaks. It’d intentionally be “less addictive”, and would have a new multiplayer element added into the mix.

It’s August — and sure enough, it’s back. But it turns out there was another twist he didn’t mention before: at least for now, it’s exclusive to Amazon’s Fire TV box.

Now rebranded as “Flappy Birds Family“, the game tries to focus on a two-player mode that pits players against each other in a race to a pre-set finish line. In a strange move, Dong has opted to complicate the game a bit — instead of only having to worry about pipes, the game now has roaming enemies (like the little ghost dude pictured below) that try to get in your way and wreck your progress.

The decision to go exclusive to the Fire TV is also a strange one. Unless Amazon kicked down a small mountain of cash for the exclusivity, tying your game to a weird psuedo-console that not many people own doesn’t really make it less addictive — it just makes it less likely anyone will care. So did Amazon shell out? If so, how much? We’re asking around — shoot us a tip if you know anything.

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-Courtesy: Techcrunch

This app exchanges your free time for mobile credits, and it just raised $2.5M

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Indian startup Pokkt (Pocket) has come up with a unique way to enable mobile payments in emerging markets, where credit card penetrations are low.

Essentially, it has created a marketplace for consumers to get apps, games, and other digital content without paying a single cent. Instead, they pay with their time by consuming content from some 100 advertisers, who pay to plug into the platform.

Pokkt wants to achieve two things: besides giving consumers easier access to digital content, it also provides developers a way to monetize from users who use their apps for free.

To do that, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone developers get access to Pokkt’s software development kits (SDKs) which allow easy integration between their apps and Pokkt. Part of the money coming from advertisers goes to developers.

Now, the Mumbai-based startup is kicking its operations into a higher gear. It has just raised a US$2.5 million series A round led by JAFCO Asia, a Singapore-headquartered venture capital firm, along with SingTel Innov8, Jungle Ventures, and serial entrepreneur Ganesh Krishnan.

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It also launched a new product this month: Pocket Money, a consumer-facing Android app in which users consume advertisers’ content in exchange for credits. They can then use the money to redeem mobile recharges on India’s major telcos like Aircel, Airtel, and Tata Docomo.

Pocket Money differs from Pokkt’s current products by offering users a dedicated app to consume and redeem items. In the past, consumers could only receive content by using specific apps made by Pokkt’s developer network.

The startup has seen increased usage. It now has between 8,000 to 10,000 transactions a day – defined as completed redemptions – up from 500 a day in the first quarter after it launched in October last year, says Pokkt founder and CEO Rohit Sharma. It aims to grow to 100,000 transactions a day within the year.

Sharma will use the new cash infusion to push further into Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Thailand. Right now, most of Pokkt’s consumers live in India. He also plans to add between five to 10 developers to the platform a week.

Pocket Money is a stepping stone to the startup’s vision of fluid digital payments in developing countries. While users can only redeem mobile credits for now, the status quo won’t stay for long.

“Now it’s just mobile top-ups. Eventually, we’ll let users redeem games, movies, and even stuff that’s offline,” says Sharma. For instance, consumers could eventually get cash on Pocket Money, paid for by advertisers, and use that to redeem a special item in his favorite Pokkt-integrated mobile game.

-Courtesy: Techinasia

Pakistan startup hopes for a global win with 2014 World Cup scoring and text commentary app

2014 Football Cup Companion app for World Cup scores and live text commentary

One Pakistan startup believes that since people can’t get enough of the World Cup, they want more apps related to it. And so Pantera Engineering has come out with 2014 Football Cup Companion, which it touts as the most useful and comprehensive scoring, tables, and text commentary app for the 2014 World Cup. It’s available in English and around the world.

Yes, the app’s name isn’t sexy, which is due to the inevitable legal issues in using words like FIFA or World Cup.

2014 Football Cup Companion app for World Cup scores and live text commentary

Pantera Engineering specializes in mobile app development. The team was part of the second batch of startups that graduated from the Plan 9 incubator in Lahore. Farooq Saeed, the co-founder Pantera Engineering, explains his motives behind building the free – and ad-free – app despite there being a number of others, including one from FIFA, already out there.

We noticed that a lot of things were missing in those apps and there was no single comprehensive app which provided all the information in one single interface. Especially the live feed during the match was either non existent or was not up to the mark.

The team was further motivated by the news that the official football for the World Cup, the ‘Brazuca’ was made in Pakistan. They wanted to make an app which would not only be the best available but would also help in building a better image of their country.

Saeed tells us that the app is seeing healthy traffic from Europe and South America, as well as interest from at home.

2014 Football Cup Companion is free for Android and iPhone.

2014 Football Cup Companion app for World Cup scores and live text commentary

-Courtesy: Techinasia