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  • James Noblitt

Essentials from the App Store - Part 2

In 2016, Anvitha Vijay attended Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with the honor of being the youngest attendee. At 9, she already had two apps to her name, and is well on the way to developing more. This year, 82-year-old Masako Wakamiya attended the same conference, having only taught herself to code five months prior. Other than developing an original and popular idea, there are few barriers in front of those who have a desire to create an app. We, at Vark, want to continue our Essentials from the App Store with part 2. Here we will discuss lesser known apps, though, these are by no means unpopular apps.

First on the list:


Unlike the first apps mentioned, this app is still a startup and not as well known. This app encompasses a similar concept that Uber does by attempting to take the hassle out of chores that you have to run. This app involves taking a photo of what you want shipped and having a courier come pick the item up and take it to a facility nearby where it will be packaged. It also includes a built-in tracker that allows people to assure that their package is efficiently delivered to the correct place.

Tech Insider reports that “the startup is operational in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, and is seeing 20% growth in new customer every month.” Definitely one to keep your eye out for!

Figure 1 Provided by Tech Crunch

Google Photos

A common problem many smart phone users are facing is running out of storage, this is particularly frustrating for iPhone users, as there is not additional storage you can add to your phone, you’re just stuck frantically deleting photos and apps to free up enough storage to take the photo. Google Photos, along with other storage companies like Box and Dropbox, has solved this issue by allowing you to use their servers to store all of your photos. It automatically uploads all your new photos, as well as provides a well-organized system to find them. This app will even let you know when your storage is running low and offer to delete your photos for you after making sure they are backed up.

Figure 2 Provided from Google Play


This app incorporates chat rooms into a business setting, giving email a run for its money. It creates a database where all conversations regarding the business can take place, giving all the employees a place to communicate with each other. Tech Insider mentions that all you must do is “log in to communicate with your colleagues in public channels or private groups, share files, and more.”

Figure 4 Provided from Fast Company

Fast Company compared Twitter to Slack regarding how many of the employees from each of these companies use their respective apps, and they found that, with Slack, “the people who work at the company have almost everything in common with their most loyal users,” which gives them insight on how to improve the app and what features are most needed or helpful to their users.

Figure 5 Provided from Fast Company


John Brownlee from Co.Design describes this app as the “mobile-first investment app,” whose goal is to make buying and selling stocks easy. Similar to the popular dating app called Tinder, this app relies on swiping, tapping in to quick decisions and catering to the easily distracted generation. This app aims to make the public markets more accessible, and entertaining, than ever before. Taking out any unnecessary difficulties or costs, Robinhood acts like its namesake and gives the power and money to that of the ‘poor’: the masses. It takes away any difficulties and allows anyone with a smart phone to have the ability to trade stocks with the simple swipe up. Steven Richmond from Investopedia describes it as “a stock brokerage built with the needs of a new generation in mind.”

Many have argued that by not charging users per trade, this app will fail to turn profit. However, it has been successful thus far due to the investments venture capitalists have provided and the business itself is quite small and able to stay afloat with little profit. It also “generates interest off unused cash deposits from user accounts” according to the Federal Funds rate.

Figure 6 Provided by Business Insider

Class Dojo

This app is like Slack, but for schools. It is a network for classrooms, allowing parents to stay up to date on everything going on at the school and keep track of their kids during the day. It is run by teachers and allows the teachers to share photos and videos with the parents, as well as keep them up to date on important and upcoming events throughout the school year.

It allows all the information that the schools normally dole out through different forms, email, phone calls, etc., and centralizes it into one location. It also includes the ability to inform all the families in a school district in an instant when school is cancelled form weather related reasons, instead of having the parents monitoring the news to see if their school district rolls by on the list of those closed.


Starting in 2007 in Canada, this app did not launch until 2015. The rise of this app boiled down to two things: their push notification and the ability to buy flights within their app.

This app has tried to take the pain out of searching for a flight on your smartphone. It streamlines all your options in one place, as well as alerts users daily as to when a trip is at its cheapest and when tickets are about to rise in price. Its color-coded calendar clearly depicts when flights would be the cheapest. With the simple press of a button, this app allows you to purchase an airline ticket. It is geared to the mobile-user generation, and does not have a website. It is made to try and decipher confusing parts of fares and random additional charges, while also making finding flights less of a headache.

Hopper gets 90% of its revenue from the push notifications it sends you telling you “about how prices are changing and recommending when you should buy,” as Nathan McAlone from Business Insider describes. Though much of the predictive technology is based off years of tech developed to forecast, however most of the reason that users purchase flights is the language used within the push notifications. Regardless, this app is saving users a lot of money and creating a streamlined way to view flights.

In the future they will be expanding to different areas such as hotels or breaking down additional fees found in cheap airlines.

Figures Provided from Hopper

Goals in google calendars

As google keeps adding new innovative and helpful features to their current apps, it can be difficult to keep track of the best ones. Recently, goals in Google Calendar has become a way for people who have no time to find time to do things they love. Though this is not a separate app, we at Vark understand what it is like to have a busy lifestyle and how difficult it can be to keep track of everything going on and wanted to include this as an ‘innovative app’ that may help others with a busy lifestyle.

This addition to google calendars is helpful for people who are very busy. It allows for your events to be restructured based on priority. John Brownlee from Co.Design describes how it is “an always on digital assistant that manages your schedule in real time, and tries to fine appropriate time windows…” where you are able to include activities that tend to be shoved to the bottom of your busy schedule, such as running or working on your hobbies.

Figure 8 Provided from The Next Web

And saving the best for last…


We at Vark have designed an app that solves all the issues found within valet parking, from disorganization to long wait lines, even the difficulty of tipping when you don’t have cash. Our customer app allows customers to request their vehicle with the push of a button, and know ahead of time if there is any expected wait, therefore allowing them to request their vehicle in advance. It also notifies them upon their vehicles arrival to the front, and allows them to not only tip using the app, but rate the service immediately.

To learn more about how our app is changing the valet industry check out our previous blog!

If you have any apps you felt should have been included in our Essentials from the App Store series, please feel free to share with us! We will be coming out with a part 3 at the start of next year to let you know what apps you should keep an eye out for in 2018.

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