By: Michelle Sklar of Poynt Corporation
Whether your weekend begins with a hot cup of coffee and the New York Times, a walk in the dog park, or an early morning spin class, one thing we can all agree on is the need for a little leisure time to recharge one’s battery – generally this is the best part of all our weekends! For me, I like to discover new restaurants, see what’s playing at my local arthouse theatre or find a gallery opening or new museum exhibit to take in. With so much to discover these days, which guide, review or recommendation portal should I use to connect me with the dynamic activities of a vibrant city?
Mobile apps are generally a great way to discover what is local, or if you want to get away for the weekend, discover a place to go. And when you’re on the go, a mobile app is your best resource; it’s like having a personal assistant on your mobile phone or tablet. With over a million apps available for download across more than 100 different app stores, the choices can be overwhelming. But making the time to check out what is available and what suits your lifestyle is absolutely worth it!
In fact, this past holiday season, Venture Beat reported a record-breaking 1.2 billion iOS and Android apps were downloaded in a week, 242 million of which were activated on Christmas day alone. For many who received a new smartphone this past Christmas, it would appear that a little leisure time was a great way to browse and learn how to make their smartphone experience more useful and entertaining. Another interesting report issued by Flurry, looks at the amount of time spent on smartphone activities. As consumer behavior has shifted to a heavy adoption of smartphone and tablet devices, Flurry found that consumers are spending more time in their mobile applications than browsing the web. In fact the average person spends about 94 minutes a day on mobile application activity, such as checking the weather, social networks, news, playing games or local search.
The sheer number of available apps hasn’t discouraged people from taking the time to discover and engage in mobile experiences. Mobile users seem especially keen to take the time to browse apps, as they know there will be a benefit to them in what they find. For example, games to help you pass the time while waiting at the airport, or a local search app you use regularly to make dinner reservations, check movie listings or events nearby.
So, how do you start your journey of exploration? One only has so much leisure time after all…
A great place to start would be to dig right in and launch your device app store. Search by categories such as “Travel,” “Lifestyle,” “Entertainment,” “Local” or “City Guides.” Read the reviews and check out the ratings. From there you might want to search further through blogs, such as cnet.com , Pocket-lint, Appolicious,or Android Apps.
Or you may even want to check out what your social networks have to say! One thing is certain; word of mouth goes along way in the app world, as these recommendations come from real word experiences.
But finding out for yourself is often the best way to truly know if an app is for you! In the case of apps that help you discover what is local, try them out to see if the data, such as business listings, events nearby, restaurants or movie listings are current and compelling enough that “this” app will do the trick. Does the app integrate with your device allowing you to click-to-call to check store hours? Map directions to your destination with integrated maps Google Maps or Ovi Maps? Can you perhaps purchase movie or event tickets or even book dinner reservations? Maybe you will want to share your search results or location details with your social network. Overall, apps that provide reliable content and integrate with your smartphone’s features are often going to be the most used.
Games, News, Social Networking and Entertainment are all part of one’s portfolio of apps and it is easy to spend much of one’s precious leisure time on Angry Birds or TMZ.net, but I still enjoy connecting with my social network in person. Apps that help me find great places to meet up as well as provide reviews and recommendations to help me decide whether it’s Sushi or Thin Crust Pizza ensure that my leisure time is balanced between discovery and real-world experience.
Michelle Sklar is Vice President of Industry Relations for Poynt Corporation. In this role, she drives industry opportunities for thought leadership, B2B marketing and business development in the location based services, mobile applications and mobile advertising industries. Identifying key industry trends and working with Poynt’s senior leadership team, Michelle helps to position the company’s expertise in front of industry and media influencers, potential partners and business analysts globally.