James Bond and Batman did not just rely on their wits to get them out of near-death situations. They also relied on the benefit of gadgets and “wonderful toys.” It was not luck that these fictitious heroes always managed to have the perfect tool or device for any situation—it was the magic of a Hollywood script. In life unscripted, it takes effort to be prepared for any situation.
Smartphones and tablets function the same way as Bond’s attaché case and Batman’s utility belt—a fine fashion statement until equipped with the right tools. Some apps help you stay organized, others offer assistance with social media, and a vast majority simply provide entertainment. Then there are the miscellaneous “junk-drawer” apps that have value, but are not necessarily used every day. Why keep them around? You never know when they might save the day.
Read on about five apps that offer great function in less-than-conventional situations.
Situation: “I need a flashlight, a level, a stop watch and currency converter—right now!”
Solution: AppBox Pro
Available for iOS
AppBox Pro is the quintessential Swiss Army knife for tablets and smartphones. It has a secure wallet, alarm clock, currency calculator, flashlight, mirror, ruler, translator, carpenter toolkit, date calculator, unit converter and more. You’re probably thinking this app has way too many bells and whistles, and you’re free to think that, but there will come a day when you use your device to level a picture and convert dineros to Deutsche Marks.
Situation: “I’m at the store and I need to check customer reviews and compare prices—right now!”
Solution: ScanLife Barcode Reader
Your smart device’s camera is capable of reading product barcodes. Versatile apps can read barcodes and QR codes without flinching. ScanLife Barcode Reader can do both and more. It can save your scan histories, share the content of your scans to social media pages and create a personalized QR code to share your contact information with others. It will also gather prices from more than 25 different online retailers to help you find the best deal.
Situation: “I just heard the greatest song ever on the radio/TV/movie/live concert and I need to know what it is—right now!”
The developers of Shazam claim that you can call up the app on your device, hit the listen button and it can identify the song in as little as one second. Once the song is identified, Shazam gives you several options, including buying the track from iTunes, watch the music video on YouTube and stream the track’s lyrics.
Situation: “I’m at the Grand Canyon and I need to properly capture every detail I can see from this spot—right now!”
Solution: 360 Panorama
We’ve all tried to capture captivating scenery by taking incremental snapshots with our handheld cameras. The result often looks like something from a Salvador Dali painting. 360 Panorama provides a grid to help you lineup the shot in between pictures, but you don’t have to be absolutely spot-on. The app will find the points where each picture overlaps and digitally cut and stitch them together. And just to add to the experience, hold your device in front of you while viewing a completed picture and the on-screen picture will rotate as you turn your body—as if you were right back at the original spot.
Situation: “I have to deliver a speech, but I always lose my place on my notecards—help!”
Price: $0.99 – $1.99
Speaking in front of an audience can be nerve-wracking. In a flustered state, it’s quite easy to lose track of your place if you’re reading off of notes. Well, upload your talk to Prompterous and it will guide you as you read by isolating and highlighting the line you’re on. As an added bonus, you can make edits on-the-fly after the document is uploaded to the app.