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Blog.

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Carl Fritjofsson

Last week I highlighted the products I use on my desktop, and this is yet another non-insightful post with the same love bombing for my favourite mobile apps. I use an iPhone 6 (gold) and here's my homescreen.

Just as with my desktop I try to keep my phone clean and organized. Page 1 of my phone are where I keep the apps I use most frequently. This is my most prestigious screen real estate, and I differentiate very little between the bottom dock and the first screen, as all of these apps are high frequency apps. My page 1 apps and their respective usage is as follows:

Sunrise - 📅. The best calender app out there and a perfect desktop-mobile experience.

Clock - 🕐. Alarms to wake up and timers to remember to dos.

Foursquare - Find places around me. So much better than Yelp due to superior product experience, but also thanks to a much smaller user base which is dominated by tech community (= similarities with myself). Used in connection with its check-in app Swarm it does an excellent job for telling me where to go. An >8.5 rating is always legit! I maintain a couple of lists in Foursquare where I put down my favorite bars, restaurants and brunch venues across various cities I know. Perfect and easy to share whenever someone asks about recommendations for what to do when they visit those cities. 

Google Maps - Maps/navigation. Never lost...as long as I'm near cell towers. Kind of bummed you can't change default navigation app for Siri since voice-initiated navigation is one of very few use cases I have for Siri, and the "via transit hack" requires screen tap. 

Spotify - Music. As mentioned in my previous post about my desktop apps, this is by far the best music app out there where I organize my music by genre and date. And I love the fact it's Swedish. 🙌🇸🇪

Pandora - Music discovery. An alternative to Spotify when I want to have more of a lean-back experience and discover new music. This app competes with Spotify's radio feature, which I also frequently use, and my perception is that the matching algorithms on Pandora works better. 

Podcasts - Pods. I listen to a lot of podcasts. One way I'm able to get through so many is because I listen to most of them in 2x speed. Because podcasting is an audio-only medium many casters are deliberately speaking very slow and well-articulated. This means your ability to listen and understand in 2x speed works very well and there are rarely any "Mickey Mouse high pitch effects". I've tried 2x speed on video material, which is much harder to comprehend, as I believe is due to the video medium having less well-expressed language and instead relies on a combination of visual cues. I subscribe to all podcasts I listen to and rarely use the discovery feature of the app. I don't listen to all episodes of all podcasts I subscribe to, but I pick and choose. My podcast subscriptions currently are: TedTalks (audio only), a16z, Bothsides TV, This Week In Startups, Foundation, Kleiner Perkins Podcast, Startup School Radio, How to Start a Startup, This American Life, WTF with Marc Maron Podcast, Invisibilia, Serial, The Nordic Web, Startuppodden, Framgångspodden, Ehandelspodden, eDokumentären, The Pitch, Sommar och Vinter i P1, Alex & Sigges podcast, The Filip & Fredrik podcast, Värvet, Värvet International, #Fallet and Spår. Some of these podcast series are already over, but I keep them in my subscribe feed to make sure I'm notified if new episodes ever come out. I have tried the Swedish app Acast, who enrich the content and has a visually much better looking app than the default Apple podcasting app, but for some reason I can't find all the shows I'm subscribing to in Acast which makes it tough for me to transition over to it.

Timehop - Social media throwback. Timehop shows me what I did on this exact same date all years back across my social media accounts. Facebook recently implemented a similar feature in the notification center, but that is limited to Facebook activities only. I especially enjoy Timehop showing me my Swarm check-ins, prompting me to recollect about time that has passed. 

Omni - News. The best news app I've found, that edits down all major news to short mobile-friendly snippets. Lightweight and easy to consume. Would really want them to pre-load and cache text articles (similar to what Smartnews does) to eliminate loading time from the feed. 

Inside - News. Since Omni is created in Sweden by the media giant Schibstedt most of the news they source are from Nordic sources, and I want to compliment that with US and world news. Smartnews as mentioned above is good, but since they don't have their own editors and only links to full length articles I find it too extensive to use on the go with a small mobile screen. My favorite product in this segment was Circa, and I was really bummed to see them shut down its service recently. Inside is currently my go to app for this use case, and works as a decent compliment to Omni. But I do feel the app has experienced feature creep and is a bit of a mess to navigate. Hence it is not my primary news source and I'd love to see new entrants in this space.

MyFitnessPal - Food logging. I'm into life logging in general and I care a lot about what I eat (which often comes down to a french fries dominated vegetarian diet). Using MyFitnessPal I log what I eat every day. The app's selling point seems to be their analytics component (see your aggregate nutritions consumed etc. and understand what food to avoid and not), but I rather simply log my food for the purpose of documenting my history although it's fascinating to also learn more about calories for different food items. 

Up - Sleep and activity tracker. I used to sport the Up24 band (and Nike Fuelband before that) but it recently broke (after being exchanged 3 times...shitty quality) but I realized I could automatically log the majority of my activities using this app only. The app logs time slept and number of steps per day using the phone's built in sensors. It clearly has much less precision in tracking this than a seperate fitness tracker device, but I find the rough tracking to be better than no tracking for the time being. I'm still in the market of finding myself a new subtle fitness tracker device with heartbeat tracking and smartphone notifications but haven't found it yet (Apple Watch is a watch and not a subtle bracelet, and Fitbit ChargeHR only supports call notifications on iPhone and not text and push). 

Slack - IM/chat. Mobile experience of the same setup I mentioned in my previous post about my desktop usage, where I communicate with the teams at HDWR, 500 Startups and Creandum. So good!

LinkedIn - Professional networking. Mobile experience of the same setup I mentioned in my previous desktop post, where I try to add people I have professionally been involved with.

Whatsapp - Messaging. Mostly used for messaging with a small part of my social graph. I used to be much more active on Whatsapp, but have seen Messenger steal much of the thunder. I still haven't really figured out Whatsapp's design as I more or less only use the navigation tab called Chats. 

Messenger - Messaging. My primary messaging app for both mobile and desktop as mentioned in my previous desktop post, where I'm a big fan of the gif extensions. Really understand why David Marcus left PayPal to run a "small" division of Facebook. And kudos to him considering how much better the Messenger platform has become since he took over it.

Twitter - Consumption of news and other real time content. I rarely use Twitter on mobile to browse the feed, but rather gravitate to only open the mobile experience to read DMs, @-mentions and from time to time tweet something myself.

Facebook - Personal networking. As mentioned in my previous desktop post, there's still a lot of stuff happening on Facebook for my graph and me.

Instagram - Personal networking. Another repetition of my desktop post, this is my primary go to network. So easy to consume the feed, and the visual experience is way more intimate than text based networking.

Swarm - Location check-ins. The original check-in app that spun out from Foursquare that I use to document where I go in life (on the theme of life logging). Swarm is especially powerful when travelling to document and remember where you went and what you did. I have turned off all notifications from friends' check-ins and do not at all use the app for the social component, but rather solely for the logging component (hence the integration with my Sunrise calender mentioned above).

Chrome - Browse. The best mobile browser. I often open tabs in the browser for articles that are too heavy to read on the mobile display and use the "sync with desktop" feature to open them on my laptop. Thanks to mobile deep-linking the whole Google suite of apps works very well these days, e.g. open a Google Docs link from the Gmail app in Chrome, which used to be a pain in the a*s with additional logins back in the days.

Gmail - Email. Because of my setup using Gmail on desktop with Chrome extensions, labels and the "tabbed" inboxes (as explained in my previous post) I never got into other mobile email clients such as Mailbox or and my mobile Gmail experience works fairly well. I do however miss the Streak for Gmail extension on mobile, meaning I often find myself reading an email and leaving it in the inbox to snooze or correctly archive it once I'm on the desktop experience.

Messages - Messaging. iMessage in Messages is probably my second most used messaging app, but sending actual SMS messages happens very rarely these days (often only when no access to data). Seems like few of the people I message use Android. However, plenty of services use SMS as a communication means with me (e.g. Lyft, Uber, Instacart, Sprig, etc.) so the volume of incoming SMS is comparably much higher. 

Phone - Calling. Not much to say, except that I'm curious to see when we stop calling this device a "phone" as it clearly is a pretty bad description of what it's used for.

Page 2 on my phone's home screen is where I keep all other apps, categorized in folders. 

Social - Other networking and messaging apps, such as. Vine (turns out a 6s video can be hilarious), Google Hangouts, WeChat and Snapchat.

Photo + Video - Streaming video services such as Netflix, Youtube, SVT Play, and photo storage (Google Photos FTW) and editing (Layout, iMovie).

Audio - Sound related apps; mostly music apps such as Soundcloud and Shazaam but also +StudioShare for guitar tuning and Audible for audio books.

Media - A broad and generic category mostly related to miscellaneous apps for browsing, such as Pocket, Truecaller, Yahoo Sports, IMDB, Kindle and Mattermark.

Tools - Another broad category with apps which rather than browse online content they solve a specific problem, such as Lockitron (unlock door), WeMo (control lights), 1Password, Trello, Evernote, Dropbox, Swiftkey, Google Translate and Units Plus (for unit conversion...the metric system rules!).

Travel - Apps related to movement such as Uber, Lyft, Waze and TripIt.

Sports - My suite of apps used when working out in different forms such as Vint, Runkeeper, Ski Tracks and Golfshot.

Games - A pretty obvious category where I spend little time as I have completed Angry Birds Star Wars. Most used app in this category is probably 4 in a Row.

Shopping - All transactional-related apps such as Wrapp, Amazon, AliExpress, Sprig, Postmates, Instacart, Hemnet and Gametime.

Start Apps - I test out a lot of new services and products and this is the broad category where I temporarily store all apps I'm trying out. Once I've played around with the app for a while I decide whether or not to keep it permanently, by moving it to the appropriate folder or delete it. Some apps tend to stay in here for a long time if I'm uncertain of it. Some of the current apps in here include Brigade, You-app, Meerkat and Humin.

HDWR - This folder is designated for any apps which may relate to my own skateboard community HDWR. Many of these apps are other vertical networks like Fishbrain and PumpUp, as well as skateboard specific app such as Nike SB, Krak and OnFlow.

Admin - This is the folder where I keep miscellaneous apps related to "phone house keeping" such as Settings, AppStore, Google Authenticator, Testflight and some other less frequently used apps like Sync.ME and Contacts (have anyone ever used that app rather than the contacts tab inside the Phone app?).

At the bottom of page 2 under the folders I keep my HDWR apps. HDWR Dev is our internal testing app, which is distributed and downloaded through Crashlytics and HDWR is the real production app. 

The final app on the screen, Note by Squarespace, is a super simple app I use to send myself short notes and/or reminders to my inbox (since I use my inbox as part of my to do workflow). Just one field where I add the text and then swipe up to send. Quick and simple with no need to find the right address or add a subject line. Highly recommended, and can be configured with Dropbox instead if preferred. 

That wraps up my "phone". Can't live without it. 👊📲