Mobile App Standouts at SXSW 2012
Instagram has been around for a while, but SXSW puts it in a new light. Instagram is finally coming to Android, though we don’t have a specific date. Co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger spoke in a fireside chat on Sunday, announcing that an Android app will be out “very soon.” They also showed a prototype on stage but said it’s not yet ready for a full demo. Such teases.
At a crowded festival like SXSW, most people can be seen on their phones coordinating meet-ups and reporting on their whereabouts. Highlight—undoubtedly the big winner of this year’s festival—makes both those actions automatic.
Sign in to the app through Facebook and you’ll be notified when your friends or friends of friends are in your vicinity. Mobile information can then translate to a mobile interaction (you message them) or face-to-face contact. But what if, in a city like New York where the buildings are close together, a friend is “nearby” but actually in a different building? No doubt the app will solve that problem with fresh funding from its newfound SXSW success. A similar location-based discovery app called Kismet solves that problem by allowing users to share their location on Foursquare as well.
All Other SoLoMo apps
While Highlight is the clear “Solomo” (social, mobile, local) winner of this year’s SXSW, you never know if a similar app will swoop in and take its place after the initial buzz has worn off. We mentioned Kismet earlier. Sonar, Glancee, and Banjo are just a few of the other location-based personal-discovery app contenders. It will be interesting to see if Highlight stays relevant after SXSW, or if another app will rise to steal its coveted app throne. Find out more about this popular app category from Jenna Wortham’s report in The New York Times.
Isis is a new mobile wallet app that allows you to pay by tapping your phone on a sensor (at a register, on a vending machine, etc). Visa, MasterCard and American Express partnered with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to make this modern concept a reality.
In addition to carrying your credit cards, Isis also incorporates membership discount cards and coupons. You can apply your discounts in-app, and they’ll automatically deduct from your total payment. Isis will go live beginning in Austin and Salt Lake City this summer. When enough locations get their sensors, we’ll all be tapping away! Talk about easy money. See Laptop Mag’s demo video for more specific information on Isis.
Desktop search is constantly evolving—Google makes sure of that. However, they’ve neglected to make comparable progress in the mobile realm. Everything.me founders thought they could make an app that would make mobile search easy, beautiful and relevant.
Instead of rendering a search in Google’s typical blue link style, Everything.me turns search-term results into icons, resting on a background photo relevant to your query. More popular items will rise to the top, and what you’re shown will change depending on the latest news. For example, show times for Jennifer Lawrence’s latest movie, The Hunger Games, will be in the top items if you’re searching her name this week. Currently, you access the HTML5-based app by typing “everything.me” into your mobile browser, but native apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7 will arrive in the next few weeks. Courtney Boyd Myers has an in-depth report at The Next Web.
Follow @TheRecapp on Twitter for more SXSW app coverage.