There are approximately 1.3 million apps available for our smartphones and tablets. Many are simply a bad idea. Most are average in use or scope. Fortunately, some very innovative developers have changed the way we used to do things for the better. Here are five mind-boggling apps that I know you’re going to want.
1. Preserve old photos
You probably have photo albums and shoeboxes full of old print photos. If you take care of them they should last for decades, but during a move, house fire or natural disaster they might get damaged or destroyed. Plus, if they’re sitting in a box or on the shelf, no one else can enjoy them.
That’s why so many people spend hours scanning photos into a computer to preserve and share them. Unfortunately, scanning is a slow process.
You have to take the photo out of the photobook, put it on a scanner and wait for a while. Once you’ve scanned it, there’s still a lot of work you have to do. You need to crop it, straighten it, color correct and clean up any scanning artifacts.
Now there’s an app that makes preserving print photos a snap, literally. It’s calledHeirloom (Free; iOS, Android). You simply take a picture of a photo and it does the cropping and color correcting automatically. You can even leave photos in their albums, so you don’t risk damaging or losing them.
Once the photo is ready, you can upload it to Facebook, Twitter or another site, or upload it to Heirloom’s own social network. You can upload as many photos as you want. So, what are you waiting for?
2. Get better customer service
How many hours of your life have you spent on hold waiting for customer service? It’s probably more than a few. You could be doing much better things with your time.
That’s what makes the FastCustomer app (Free; iOS, Android) such a must-have. Once you call customer service, it waits on hold for you. When the customer service agent picks up, FastCustomer rings you so you can talk to them. How neat is that?
3. Record your sleep
Plenty of people talk in their sleep, but unless there’s someone else listening, you never know what you said. Fire up Sleep Talk Recorder (Free; iOS, Android) before hitting the hay and it will start recording when you start talking, or snoring.
The next day, you can listen to everything. It’s also good for detecting potential health problems like sleep apnea.
4. See more of the world around you
In sci-fi movies with robots, there’s often a scene where you see the world from the robot’s point of view. It usually shows that the robot has a fancy overlay showing extra information about everything it’s seeing.
You can do the same thing, and you don’t even need fancy new technology like Google Glass or Oculus Rift. Just grab an augmented reality app like Tagwhat(Free; iOS, Android).
Using the app, point your smartphone or tablet camera at a business to look up its information on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other social sites. You can even see comments and reviews from other people.
Point the app at landmarks to get more information, or just cruise around town and let the app tell you about deals and events near you, or even just cool stories.
5. Measure distance without a ruler
Have you ever needed to take a measurement, but didn’t have a ruler or tape measure handy? Perhaps the object was too big or too far away to measure by hand? With this clever app, you can measure nearly anything from small items inside your home to objects like buildings and more.
EasyMeasure (Free; iOS, Android) lets you point your smartphone or tablet’s camera at any object and see its dimensions on the screen. Now it does take a little work from you, unless you have a phone or tablet with Intel’s RealSense camera like the Dell Venue 8 7000. Still, once you get the hang of it, you’ll find plenty of ways to use it.
If you liked these apps, be sure to click here for my last roundup of apps that make you say “Wow!”