MANILA, Philippines – Smartphones would mean nothing without the plethora of apps and services that meet our everyday needs. The Philippine app scene has seen its share of growth this year as more local services extended their accessibility by way of mobile apps. Meanwhile, favorites like Instagram and Facebook have also released substantial updates that improve user experience.
Whether it’s for work or play, these new and updated apps are must-haves on your device. There are a lot of worthy candidates but we’ve narrowed it down to the most helpful and entertaining ones from 2016.
Waze is a city driver’s comrade. This community-powered navigation app aids users in determining the best route to their destinations. It’s one thing to have a GPS app, but Waze’s real-time information sourced from its user base makes all the difference in Metro Manila traffic. The celebrity navigation voices are especially entertaining.
Many people are averse to credit cards for lots of reasons but not having that piece of plastic pseudo-money limits their ability to purchase things online. PayMaya, provider of virtual credit cards and other payment services, has a smooth mobile app for your convenience. PayMaya has partnered with the usual service providers (Meralco, Globe, Smart) and the app allows you to view your virtual credit card information, send money, pay bills, and even reload your prepaid phone line.
That old augmented-reality game that allowed you to kill mosquitoes could only keep you interested for so long (a few hours). Pokemon Go had the complete formula to make a hit AR game. It’s mobile. You’re hunting. You love Pokemon. This is quite possibly the biggest and most addictive game of the year.
Sakay.PH fills the commuter gap in the transportation app scene. It contains very helpful information about public transportation routes for jeepneys, buses, LRT/MRT, and even tricycles, so you know the right places to get on and off. It estimates your fare and length of commute, as if a combination of Waze and Uber for public transport.
Snapchat really hit its stride in 2016. It is popular among millennials and a lot of big publishing outfits like MTV, CNN, and National Geographic have established their presence in the platform. Users are able to read their content in the fast-paced swiping manner that Snapchat popularized and brands are able to engage their followers in fun and quick ways.
Google Duo is a cross-platform video-calling app that thrives on simplicity. It only requires your mobile number to start calling contacts, and even has a Knock Knock feature in which you can preview your caller live before picking up.
The Philippine Red Cross delivers an app that is loaded with helpful information for medical emergencies. There are videos and illustrations demonstrating first aid scenarios step-by-step. The app is integrated with the local Red Cross hotline 143 so you can reach help when needed.
Government documents need not be a mystery, thanks to FormsPH. This treasure trove of valuable information is packaged as a neat app for everyone’s use. It is only available on Android at the moment, so iOS users are a little disadvantaged here.
Netflix rolling out in the Philippines has got to be one of the highlights of any Pinoy TV junkie’s life. It got even better when the company announced offline viewing as soon as the calendar hit December. You can now watch on the go without worrying about your data usage.
Speaking of data usage, it’s good to have an app that lets you have a handle on your data plan. SmartApp is one of the best looking data usage tracking apps on both Android and iOS. Track usage for wi-fi, mobile data, and roaming with this handy app that lets you set alerts for when you’re crossing some threshold.
Lonely Planet Guides
Whether you’re traveling or daydreaming at your workstation, a good visual guide would prove handy. This gorgeous app from Lonely Planet lets you download city guides complete with maps of what to see, eat, and where to stay.
They say using gadgets in the bedroom disrupt our natural sleep-wake cycle, so let your smartphone help you get back to a good sleep habit. Sleepbot tracks motions and sounds to chart your sleep pattern. After gathering a substantial amount of data, it will set the optimal time to wake you up.
Pocket Casts syncs your listening sessions across all of your devices. This feature-rich podcast player and manager was updated this year to make sure it’s easy to use, and even easier to discover new podcasts that might interest you. Little playback tweaks like volume boost (increase playback volume without affecting device volume) and silence trimming (skip long silences) are just some of the nifty things that make Pocket Casts a smartphone staple. – Rappler.com
Anne was an IT professional for 7 years before wading into the unpredictable pool of freelance writing (and parenthood). Her interests are reflected by her favorite apps: Evernote, Simplenote, and the native iOS camera.