Mobile phone ‘apps’

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Mobile phone apps for grey nomads
App, app and away!

At the forefront of the tech­nological revolution that has transformed the grey nomad experience has been the Smartphone, and the multitude of mobile ‘apps’ which it can access.

For the uninitiated, an ‘app’ or application is a software pro­gram that you download and access directly on your phone.

These days it seems that pretty much whatever you want to do, there will be an app that will help you do it. For exam­ple, apps can make use of a Smartphone’s GPS feature to offer guides to nearby natural attractions, suggest the best driving routes, or tell you where the next roadhouse is. They can also help you build shopping lists, track travelling expenses, or even – so legend has it – tell what song is playing on the radio just by holding up your mobile microphone.

There are apps for getting books onto your phone; for helping you when you’re out birdwatch­ing, fishing, hiking or visiting national parks; for finding camping spots, for playing games; and even ones that allow you to monitor your medical indicators.

Now, if ‘apps’ are beginning to sound to you like a “I’d-be-crazy-to-hitch-up-the-van-and- leave-my-driveway-without-a-stack-of-them-downloaded” sort of deal, there are many grey nomads who feel exactly the same way. Quite simply, apps can enhance the Big Lap experience by educating, guiding, entertaining and even warning travellers as they go. And they don’t cost an arm and a leg, either. Apps range in price from ‘free’ to around $15 or so. The free ones are generally free because develop­ers are either making money by selling adverts or they’re hoping to persuade you to buy one of their other products,

Finding an app is easy. You can use your phone to visit places such as Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store, and the Windows Phone Marketplace, and browse the thousands of options. As long as you’re at­tached to the internet, retriev­ing them is easy and fast.

Not all apps work on all mobile devices, however. Once you buy a device, you’re com­mitted to using the operating system and the type of apps that go with it. The Android, Apple, Microsoft and Black­Berry operating systems all have their own app stores.

So, the only question is … how on earth did the grey nomads of a few years ago ever manage without apps? It would be like hitting the road without a campchair, a fishing rod, or a spare tyre. Madness!

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