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Published : Dec 27, 2015, 9:15 pm IST
Updated : Dec 27, 2015, 9:15 pm IST

The best free apps that will make life easier in 2016

Mobile and App.jpg
 Mobile and App.jpg

The best free apps that will make life easier in 2016

Three tipping points in the year gone by, told us why the mobile phone has now become for Indians, their biggest tool for empowerment — a potent combo of pizzazz and productivity. One: In June, the number of mobile phone subscriptions crossed 1 billion. Two: In October, 4G-ready smartphones outsold 3G devices for the first time. And last week, the number of Internet users in India crossed 400 million, overtaking the US. Together, they explain why the net-connected handphone has morphed into an agni asthra in our hands — thanks to a vast array of Android, iOS and Windows apps and solutions. Ironically, the best of these are not priced tools — and as we head for 2016, let me share some favourite free apps, that will make life a little easier, cooler in the new year. Remember, the apps are all free, but some offer some services that you would expect to pay for.

Voice as SMS Why text when you can talk InstaVoice is the brainchild of Dr Inderpal Singh Mumick and his South African company, Kirusa.com. It lets you send an instant Voice SMS to anyone in the world, even while you manage your voicemails and missed calls.

Lifestyle chat The world’s most popular mix of chat and messaging, n-gage is now available in India with various fun and interactive features like ‘n-Cards’, ‘n-Stickers’ and ‘Doodle Plus’. Users can create groups with up to 300 participants and language is no constraint as n-gage enables communication in over 45 languages with a ‘Translate’ feature.

Health & safety Of the many health aggregation services, I have found Practo to be one of the most comprehensive, with a nationwide spread. The app helps you find doctors in your city. You can also use Practo to book instant appointments, looking up details like qualifications and consultation fees. With some 200,000 verified doctors, labs and clinic profiles, you have a good choice. Another recent app, Doctor Insta lets you consult a doctor from the privacy of one’s home — through video and audio. Doctors look, listen, and engage with the patients to diagnose and to offer effective treatment in 15-30 minutes (cost around `400) Safesavaari, is a first of its kind safety mobile Android app for passengers commuting by cabs and other privately hired vehicles, which lets users send a live video of the journey over 3G Network/WIFI., after verifying the driver’s antecedents by capturing his biometric finger scan. There is also an SOS mode. It is available in major cities but needs the co-operation of the taxi agencies to work.

Free calls for the rest of us A free call app, increasingly popular in emerging markets has recently beefed up its Android version and launched an edition for iOS. The app called nanu from Singapore, promises free calls to everyone, everywhere, even on 2G, and works where other Voice over Internet calls demand more bandwidth.

Parenting: Family app India’s first family organiser app mycity4kids.com, is an online platform that helps parents search for activities and content related to kids with features like upcoming events, kids resources etc.

Messaging without Internet or data plan India’s own messaging app scored a world-first in 2015 when it launched Hike Direct, which allows users to chat, transfer photos and heavy files of any type, without the Internet and without incurring data charges. It allows mobile phones to connect with one another directly within a 100 metre radius completely by passing the telecom networks. Currently only on Android and available in eight Indian languages, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu.

Job hunting on mobile Two innovative Indian apps have extended the boundaries of job search by harnessing the hand phone: ePoise calls itself the world’s first job interview app. You can directly give a video interview for jobs, on your smartphone, at your convenience, irrespective of location. Companies like Infosys, mPhasis, Flipkart, Housing.com, Snapdeal, Inmobi and Vizury arf hiring via ePoise. Veuon Technologies makes canny use of the smartphone’s GPS positioning to help job seekers meet job providers within a restricted area that could be as circle of 50, 30, 20 even 5 kms in radius. With the Android app, job seekers’ phone will list all the prospective job providers in their preferred region. They can send their CVs to the employers they select. Alerts or notifications are provided when a match is found. The service is free for candidates.