Apptaura – the app development agency

Apps we relied on in 2020

Twelve Apps we relied on last year: Part 2

We took some time out to think back on the twelve apps we relied on in 2020, the apps that helped make the year bearable(ish). The apps that impressed us by delivering elegant solutions to complex problems. Apps we wished we’d come up with. The apps we relied on day in and day out. Or just once.

The box of Quality Streets is nearly finished. All that is left are those weird toffee finger things and a handful of coconut ones. I think I can probably go approximately 352 days before I next eat turkey. And I’m wondering if you can get Creme Eggs yet. We’ve played games. Done charades. Watched terrible TV. Watched the two greatest Christmas films in history (Die Hard and the Muppets Christmas Carol) and now we’re sat on our phones browsing. And thinking about apps. Obvs. In particular the apps that we wish we had come up with ourselves. The apps we relied on in 2020. We’ve already done a post counting down the first six apps that we relied on in 2020, now for the final six!

BT Sport App

I’m a huge football fan. As in I really love football. Not I’m a giant football fan. The BT Sport App allows me to watch all Champions League matches for free. Games I’d otherwise not be able to watch. And as I’m a Liverpool fan that means I can follow my team as they conquer Europe and get to have a mid-week break and relax watching some football. After the elation of last year, it’ll be interesting to see how the team fare this year! Especially with the grounds being empty it feels like I can still get behind the team. This was an app that I relied on in 2020. And one which I hope I’ll still be using in May!

Chosen by Gareth

Teach Your Monster

One of my favourite apps for kids! Teach Your Monster is a great phonics game that follows the national curriculum – letters and sounds program. It starts off easy, getting progressively harder as you add to your bank of sounds learned (and your monster’s crazy outfit) which gives children enough confidence and independence to have a go themselves. A super resource that literally teaches your “monster” to read. Given recent events I’ve found it to be a treasure trove of entertaining education. One for all the frazzled parents out there!

Chosen by Jenn

Crossy Road

Got five minutes to kill? Waiting for the kettle to boil? Stuck on a train (remember them?) I’m a huge fan of games that are easy to dip in and out of and can provide a short burst of entertainment without having to get deeply drawn into an intricate story, or complicated gameplay mechanics. The rise of mobile gaming in a way harks back to the earliest days of games development – where difficulty spikes and addictive but repetitive gameplay lured in players and encouraged them to keep on filling up the arcade cabinets with coins. Admittedly modern games have gone down the retro microtransactions route, but there are still some great games out there. Crossy Road is my go-to. Endless challenge, endlessly addictive. Like Frogger. Sorta. Look you’ve just got to try it out for yourself.

Chosen by Liam

Calm

More years ago than I’d care to remember I somehow wangled an invite to GDC in San Francisco. In between hanging around gawping at new tech and sneaking onto developers stands to play their latest games (as well as drinking vodka with some Ukranian developers…) I stumbled into a presentation that Michael Acton Smith ran, talking about scaling up the subscription base for Moshi Monsters. It was a fascinating talk.

A few years later I heard he’d left Moshi and had taken over at Calm.  Intrigued I downloaded the app. I dipped in and out from time to time. It usually got my attention when work was crazy or I was struggling to decompress. But I never really fully committed. Then 2020 rolled round. In early April, with my sleep cycle well and truly sporked I downloaded Calm again.

And fully went for it. Calm guided me through the struggles of lockdown, the balancing of work and family, keeping me on a relatively even keel. It’s not a cure all. But it really helped me. And bizarrely for me that all started thanks to a random presentation about colourful monsters nearly a decade earlier.
Chosen by Michael
 

Blank Map Quiz

We talk a great deal about changing the world here at Apptaura. We want to make the world a better place. But do we even know the world we live in? Do you know your Guinea from your Guinea Bissau from your Guyana? Where is the Democratic Republic of Congo. And where is the Republic of Congo. Know your Macedonia from your North Macedonia? No? Then the Blank Map Quiz might just be for you.  Challenge yourself and improve your geography as the app takes you round the world, with different levels to complete, challenges to take on and hundreds of countries to identify.
 
Whoever built this app is, simply put, brilliant. Oh… hang on. I built this app. Must be why I love it so much. 😉
The Sonos app is great too. As are the absorbing and challenging Rusty Lake games.
 
Chosen by Tom
 

 

Youtube

Initially I went with Trello for my app selection. We adopted Trello as we were plunged into our first lockdown and it helped the commercial arm of Apptaura track the plans of our development teams and vice versa. It’s not the first productivity and planning tool we’ve used, but it is the one we’ve stuck with the longest.
 
But we’ve already had enough lockdown app inspiration. Instead I’m focusing on that great golden age… so August through to November… where we were able to get together in the office and work, interact and get along like we used to. Which for us includes random music challenges where the first team member to guess the song and artist wins our respect. Or the clips from long-forgotten film classics. The film trailers. Cobra Kai. Videogame reviews. Podcasts. Business talks. Cobra Kai. Mike Winnet. Terrible song covers. Cobra Kai.
 
It delivered some light relief. Stopped us doomscrolling and soundtracked the last days of summer and the onset of autumn.
 
Chosen by Thom
 
So that’s the twelve apps we relied on in 2020. What were yours?