Apps are revolutionizing the way we function in everyday life. Is there anything we can’t do our learn from our smartphone these days? As someone who uses apps for business and personal use, I can’t imagine life without a smartphone. Renowned tech expert and Today show contributor, Mario Armstrong was kind enough to join me on Friday to dish on his favorite summer apps for chat messaging, tutoring kids/students in math, apps for managing passwords, a great app for those of us with cracked screens that we want fixed, a fab real estate app for those of us looking to buy homes, and two great apps that will allow you to save money on warehouse items without having a club membership, as well as one that helps you find the best deals in your area, whether you’re home or traveling! There are so many great apps to choose from, I think I need them all.
Candace Rose: What’s new and fun in chat messaging?
Mario Armstrong: “Intel has come out with a great new app that’s called Pocket Avatars. If you don’t know what an avatar is, it’s kind of an opportunity to use a funny image that represents you. What’s different about this is that the device through the app uses the camera and the microphone from the device to capture and record your message – your audio, your head movements, your facial expressions, so it actually knows if you’re smiling or frowning or if your head is moving left to right. When you finish your message, it saves it as a little video. You send that video off to your friends, but it’s not you and your face, it’s the actual avatar’s face using your voice and all of your facial expressions, so it’s hilarious, a lot of fun and it’s addictive because you can choose a lot of different avatars ranging from a funny looking onion – imagine your face being on an onion to being the president. There are a lot of cool avatars you can choose from.”
Candace Rose: What’s a new way for kids to keep up with their math over the summer?
Mario Armstrong: “Something that’s really cool and useful is an app that’s called TenMarks Math for Students Kindle app. It’s a Kindle app that also can be used on the Kindle, can be used on the browser and can be used on your iPad. Basically it’s going to help kids improve their math skills over the summer. The lessons are great, they have step by step instructions, they have video lessons, they have rewards that they give to kids and certificates to keep them excited and motivated, and if a kid uses it, say, two to three times a week for about 20 to 30 minutes, that’s going to be all they really need to keep their brain sharp before they head back to school. This thing normally costs $39 but they’re doing it for free for the summer, so people should really take advantage of that.”
Candace Rose: How do you recommend managing passwords and other important information?
Mario Armstrong: “It’s a bit much, because with our passwords today, we’re logging into Facebook, Amazon, to email, and to Netflix, and we’re shopping online. We have usernames for all that and passwords and credit cards so you want to have an app that’s going to manage all that for you and do it securely. My pick for that is called Dashlane. Dashlane secures all the data and it encrypts it on the actual device, so your information is not being stored on the internet out in the cloud, it’s actually being stored in the device which is another level security. But for all those different things you have passwords for, this is a great password manager so you don’t have to remember all of those passwords. You log into this and this will help you access anything you need to get to.”
Candace Rose: Do you have a solution for broken screens? I really need to know this one!
Mario Armstrong: “Yes! Broken screens and cracked screens happen to the best of us. I’m actually getting mine repaired from the company I’m about to tell you about. This is an app, but it’s also a service…it’s called iCracked. On the app you can either say I want to sell this device and they’ll make an offer for you and come and get it, but if you want to get it repaired, you hit the repair button on the app, go through the steps in the app and they will send someone out. They’ll send someone out to your studio, they’ll send someone out to your home office or to your favorite coffee shop, they’ll meet with you in person and fix your cracked screen typically in less than an hour, which is an amazing. They send the experts to you so that you don’t have to worry about it. You can get it fixed from $90 to about $110 depending on the damage, and it gets done in about 60 minutes and you’re back doing what you wanted to do with yourself.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other apps that you like?
Mario Armstrong: “Yes, we have some great ones. We have some that will save you some money on some everyday purchases as well as the big purchases.
Let me start with Boxed. It’s a great app for those that love to buy bulk items- they like to buy bulk household goods or beauty items, but they don’t want to spend money on those membership fees. If you don’t want to be a member to a club, but you want to buy those big bulk size goods like you were a club member, you can do this right from this app, the items will come to you in like two days or less. We’re talking about non-perishable grocery, household items, health and beauty supplies. The whole idea is not having to get in a car, drive to a big club store, have membership fees and sit in line…you can do all of that right from the Boxed app.
The next one I have is something called Redfin. I use Redfin right now because I’m actually looking at buying a new home and moving. Redfin is a great app, it’s the best app I’ve found for real estate. It’s not only an app, it’s a national real estate brokerage, so their agents don’t get paid by commission, they get paid by client satisfaction. The app is amazing, you can zoom in and see homes that are for sale in and around your area, you can zoom into those homes and look at pictures of those homes. You can get alerts via email or on your phone. You can schedule a tour with an agent right from the ap as well, and the app looks absolutely gorgeous, plus they have a new feature that is called hot homes. These are homes that are likely to sell fast. To me it’s just really reduced the amount of stress for me searching for a home. Now all I’m doing is ‘Hey, honey look at this home, what do you think?’ And if we like it, then we go to the app, schedule a tour and meet up with a Redfin agent. It’s superb.
Last but not least is one for all of you that love to not miss out on deals on your clothing or just shopping. I love buying at discount and not at retail price. This app is called Find&Save, and Find&Save is going to help you discover discounts that are around you. It knows the location of your GPS and it’s like ‘Hey, you’re near this Macy’s and they’re offering 25% off’. It has over 400 retailers, so Macy’s, Target, BestBuy, Safeway, Home Depot, Staples, all these places that could notify you so that you don’t miss out on a deal. I think it’s a great idea too for the summer because a lot of us will be traveling and when we travel we don’t really know the areas or we don’t know the stores, so when we’re visiting family and friends we can be alerted while we’re out and about to see if there’s a good deal that we should take advantage of.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Mario Armstrong: “I covered a lot – like seven apps! These are really good apps, I really stand behind all of these apps, so people should download them and check them out. Head over to our website to find more about them at ThunkNews.com/SummerApps.”