Book of Tens: Mobile Apps Pete Blackshaw Wants to See in 2011
An app that arms us to fight the good fight on excessive fees and charges. Upon prompting, the Fee Ninja cranks our rebuttals or copy language for fighting excessive fees -- airline, credit-card, rental-car late fees. It even provides personal sound-bites (e.g., threats from my mother) that can be played on demand.
An app that automatically navigates phone trees to get you to the right and most effective customer-service rep. This might even include a bypass around the phone directly to a faster-response social-media help desk via Twitter or Facebook.
An app designed for consumers (especially marketing professionals) that meters how often our heads are down (vs. up) while using our mobile phones. Calculates a daily "Social Isolation" index and offers real-time suggestions for social basics such as how to perform a handshake, high-five or initiate a chat with the person sitting next to you on a plane.
A GPS app that makes it easier for less-savvy grocery shoppers (i.e., me) to find specific grocery products on shelf based on a given shopping list. Looking for Saran Wrap? Food Finder will map the course. And not unlike the latest Nike GPS, this app will also calculate and map the efficiency of your shopping trip.
Alas, pure serendipity has consequences. This iPad or iPhone app sets and sequences permission for kids to use certain apps. A parent might require, for instance, that a kid has to complete three paintings on the iPad "Draw Program," then win a game in electronic chess before proceeding to Angry Bird or Cut the Rope. It would also provide parents with a daily log. (I'm serious. We need this.)
Augmented-Reality Food Scrambler
This app -- a sneaky one with a health objective -- would use augmented-reality protocols to make any mix of veggies or health food look better and more tempting than, say, a Happy Meal. Just aim the app over your meal, and Brussels sprouts suddenly look like chicken nuggets.
An app that we can use when marketers penetrate our "do not call" protocols. We simply pick an angry (snarling) personality on the "Talking Snarl" list and play it live on the phone. The app also includes an augmented-reality scanner that recognizes what's in a piece of junk mail before you open it up. This aspect can also act as a voice-activated marketing-buzzword detector.
A travel app that helps travelers -- especially families -- select fast-food restaurants based on the cleanliness of the bathrooms. The app would also reward GPS-powered ratings /reviews of bathrooms and wash facilities.
A device that sends a benign shock to the user when it determines that we're overusing tools like Twitter, Facebook or other social devices. My prediction is that this will make most of the "must have" lists for 2011.
An app that awards folks who "check-in" at designated green locations, from recycling bins to organic green gardens. "Green" and "Earth" badges would be part of the mix. The mobile app would sit on the kitchen garbage and scan trash UPC or QR codes and then immediately replenish shopping lists and calculate waste levels.
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Contributing: Josh Hammond and Bryan Bartlett