Tech Writers' Five Best Apps Of 2012

Five tech writers talk with All Things Considered hosts Audie Cornish and Robert Siegel about their favorite apps of 2012, from an activity tracker called Strava, an app that let's you remotely control lights and to the highly anticipated return of Google Maps to Apple's iOS platform.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Finally, we're going to take a step back to look at the best apps of 2012. And for help compiling that list, we asked five tech writers to share a few of their favorites.

MAT HONAN: My favorite app of 2012 is Strava.

CORNISH: That's Mat Honan. He's a senior writer at Wired. Strava is an activity tracker for cycling and running, though Honan says he uses it mostly for riding his bike around town.

HONAN: But the thing that's really great are the ways it motivates me to ride. It awards me little trophies for when I do segments of my rides in my fastest times. Lets me compete virtually against other riders. And it just sort of makes my daily bike commute a lot more interesting.

LAUREN GOODE: One of my favorite apps of 2012 is the Philips Hue app.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

That's Lauren Goode, reporter and columnist for All Things Digital.

GOODE: And, to be clear, this isn't just a mobile application. You do have to buy some hardware in order to get this app working properly.

SIEGEL: Specifically LED, Wi-Fi controlled light bulbs. The Philips Hue app lets you control those light bulbs wirelessly from your smartphone. You can even match the lighting hue of a favorite photo in your phone's camera roll.

GOODE: So, let's say you took a vacation and you saw a really great sunset. You can then pull in that photo into the Philips Hue app, and you can move around these little light bulbs within the app to tell it that you want your living room to reflect those colors.

CORNISH: Next up on our list...

JOE BROWN: Pocket is an app that I've really started to love this year.

CORNISH: That's Joe Brown, editor-in-chief at Gizmodo.

BROWN: Because - well, A: it's new this year. But it's the most pleasant way to save content to read later on your phone or your tablet.

SIEGEL: And we'll raise a glass to app number four.

MATT BUCHANAN: Bartender's Choice is my favorite app, because it's the first really great cocktail app for the iPhone.

SIEGEL: That's Matt Buchanan, editor of the tech site BuzzFeed Forward. In the mood for a drink but not sure what to make? Well, the app factors in what booze you have on hand.

BUCHANAN: Whether it's a dark rum or a bourbon or a whiskey.

SIEGEL: And takes into account the taste you're after.

BUCHANAN: Whether you want it to be sweet or sour, or boozy.

SIEGEL: To give you a list of cocktails to fit your needs.

CORNISH: And last but certainly not least...

ALEXIS MADRIGAL: My favorite app is the Google Maps app.

CORNISH: That's Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic. The reason for his pick is simple.

MADRIGAL: I like the Google Maps app because it works.

CORNISH: Which always helps. And that's our very quick round-up of the best apps of 2012.

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CORNISH: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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