Maximise the opportunity your commute presents by using that time to play with the apps and tech that will add deeper meaning to your morning. From transport tracking to pure entertainment, here are some of the best apps and products to help get you from A to B.
Train, bus, and ferry travel
650,000 Australians catch the train to work every morning, which is bound to mean a few missed rides. If you’re a serial offender, apps like TripView (Sydney), Tramtracker (Melbourne) and Translink (QLD) give you real-time updates on upcoming trains, track delays, ETA’s, and the most efficient routes to get you to work and — more importantly — home faster.
Train time is still news time
Curated content apps like Pocket and Instapaper let you save the stories you want to read for when you really have the time. Syncing across your computer, phone, and tablet, the app allows you to read saved articles offline — especially perfect for business flights or underground travel.
Want to discover something new within your niche? Digg employs a crack team of editors who do the curatorial work for you: tell them your interests and welcome a fresh batch of content on your phone every day. Watchup is for those who slept through their morning show. It pulls together all your interests to create personalised video news feeds from partners like Sky News, The Wall St. Journal, and Gamespot.
If you need to be a little more productive on that morning Ferry ride, apps like Evernote and Awesome Note+ give you the tools to create effective to-do lists, with nifty business card/written note scanning functionality. For more intensive task-management, Flow allows you to manage your team and tasks via mobile, and pairs with Google Docs to make for a full suite of functionality wherever you are.
Early morning and long-distance commuters are covered from the home to the office. Check out Walk Me Up to send an alarm that can only be turned off after the app has sensed you’ve moved well out of bed. Fell asleep on the train? Using your preferred station and GPS tracking, Wake Me Up (for those in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane), will track your journey and send you an alert when it’s almost time to get off the train.
‘Hands Free’ are magic words for the 6 million Australians who drive to work every day. For bookworms, Audible is to audiobooks as Spotify is to music. Signing up for a subscription gets access to a mammoth library that’s perfect for Monday morning traffic jams. You can even crowd-source your route: Waze draws on its user base globally for traffic and navigation advice, including live reporting of traffic jams and accidents displayed on a live map of your city. Send your location and ETA to other users based on constantly updated GPS data, safeguarding against traffic-induced lateness (or at the very least providing a good excuse).
On your bike!
There’s apparently over 100,000 cycling commuters in Australia now, and a worldwide market of dedicated apps and products to help get from A to B (and even C to D). Aptly named BikeMapps is basically Google maps tailored to cyclists. Not only does it tell you how to get from your breakfast spot to the office on two wheels, it will also tell you whether the roads are paved, if there is heavy traffic, nearby rest stops and more. It’s available offline too: battery-efficient and tunnel-proofed. Strava combines navigation with ride-tracking and has a premium option providing tips for new routes and measuring your rides as you go. With the rise of wearables, your daily ride is probably as technologically advanced as commuting can get!
Puzzles and crime-fighting
For all the productivity apps on the market, there are times when all you need is pure escapism. For genuinely awe-inspiring gameplay and design, nothing comes close to Monument Valley. Constantly listed as one of the best mobile games ever made, its unique M.C Escher-esque puzzles and design is as much fine art as puzzle perfection. Stunning new levels are added periodically, so the experience stays fresh. Gemini Rue is a classic mystery-adventure set in a dystopian future. The game is operated by a simple point n’ click mechanic, and together with a pixel-art visual style, harks back to the golden-era of mystery gaming.
Middle Manager of Justice brings bureaucracy to crime-fighting, as you run a super-hero agency, micro-managing your heroes to be in top condition. Sharing a creator with the classic Sim Hospital, it tests time and costmanagement in a really entertaining and comic setting. For those who miss the cryptic crossword, Lumosity’s famous Brain Training will give you some hardcore exercise, prepping you for the day, and hopefully shaving a bit of boredom off that bus trip.
Battery = Life
‘Battery life’ is now as much a lifestyle comment as it is a product feature, and there are a tonne of options for those who tend to run out of juice on the commute. Have a read of our battery boosting tools and tips for a foolproof guide to juicing your device.
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