In June 2017, the number of apps in Google Play Store touched the 3 million mark. The Apple App Store ranks a close second – with more than 2.2 million applications at the start of the year. Revenues from mobile apps are witnessing a steady, steep rise, and is likely to hover around the $190 million mark by 2020. The cumulative app download figures have also been estimated to shoot up from 86 million in 2016 to a whopping 199 million in 2021 (in the US alone, the corresponding figures are 29 million and 75 million respectively). In such an immensely competitive and rapidly evolving domain, it is not always the easiest task to come up with fresh, engaging app ideas – that would actually deliver value to end users. Let us here go through some interesting new app ideas for 2018:
App for job-seekers
Nopes, we are not talking about creating a mobile job portal. Instead, there can be a customized application which will contain likely interview questions (and their answers), meanings and definitions of key items in different industries, and other such updated information. Fellow job-seekers will be able to interact with each other via real-time chat or messaging. All that a user will have to do is enter his/her field/discipline in the app – and the latter would throw up all the data that would increase his/her chances of bagging the right job. Apart from mobile, this app should ideally be made available on the web too.
App for finding walking companions
What does the Uber app do? That’s right – it helps you book cabs quickly, so that commutes become easy and safe. Now think of it this way…you need to walk over a fairly reasonable distance (say, to the local market, or to a relative’s house nearby) – but are not quite in the mood for trudging along alone. This app will help you find a ‘walking partner’/’walker’ who is also heading in the same general direction, and would like to accompany you. It won’t be a paid service, and the sole motive for signing up as a companion would be the fun of making new acquaintances. For elderly people, such a ‘walk buddy’ app would help from the security perspective too. The app will be powered by GPS technology, and every registered user will be verified on it.
Medical emergency app for doctors
For a patient in critical condition, every minute is crucial. It takes a fair bit of time to complete all the formalities of getting admitted to a nursing home – and then, the doctor(s) have to be brought up-to-date with the case histories, before a course of treatment can be decided. The whole process can be made more agile and streamlined if there was a dedicated app – on which medical interns/house physicians can enter patient details…as and when the latter are being admitted. Real-time notifications will be sent to doctors when new admissions are done and new case records are added. Going through the records will help the doctors to come prepared, so that the treatment can start at once. For an app like this, strong server-side support (BaaS) will be essential, particularly for maintaining and updating the case record databases.
Restaurant occupancy tracker app
Nothing is quite as frustrating as gearing up for a grand weekend lunch at a top restaurant – only to find that there are no tables available, and the waiting time is likely to run into hours. To avoid such inconveniences, there can be an iPhone app that would display the occupancy rates at all the leading restaurants in the city – both in figure, as well as in the form of graphical layout/floor map. Users will be able to book tables directly from the app as well – which would be mighty useful in case a particular eating joint is shown to be in ‘fast-filling’ mode. Calling the restaurant to know about seat availability will no longer be required.
Environment-protection app powered by augmented reality
With the arrival of ARKit in iOS 11, the horizon has really opened up for third-party app developers to integrate augmented reality in their new line of applications. Moving away from games like Pokemon Go for the moment, the concept of creating an information-rich customizable environment AR app seems interesting. With the app, professional eco-experts as well as general users will be able to get first-hand visual information on the various environmental parameters (for instance, degree of chemical contamination) in different facilities. The app will be targeted towards government officials and/or agents from environment agencies (interested citizens will also be able to sign up). It can be made available on both iOS and Android.
Body fat burner app
Once again, we are not proposing to add to the already long line of fitness and activity apps already available in stores. The way in which this app will work will be unique: before eating a savory item (a particularly sinful chocolate cream cake, for example!), the user will take a snap of it and upload it on the app. The software would instantaneously throw up the activity required to get rid of the extra calories that will be gained by enjoying the food item (like, ‘1.5km jogging and climbing 45 stairs’). In essence, the app will be like a cheat sheet for people who love to gastronomically indulge themselves – but do not wish to compromise upon…well…the size of their waistlines.
App for aquarium lovers
Many people love to have aquariums in their homes, but have precious little idea on a) how to hygienically maintain them, and b) how to set up the aquarium landscaping. This mobile application will come to the aid of such people. It will have built-in lists of the different kinds of aquarium plants, sand, gravel, lighting systems and even fish varieties. Users will be able to add their favourite elements – and check out detailed 3D views of their virtual aquariums. Information about the sustainability of each virtual aquarium will also be provided. With a tool like React Native, this idea can very well be transformed into a cross-platform app.
Real-time audio translation app
This idea can be worked upon as a IVR system as well as an iPad application. The user will be able to speak and record messages (seeking information about a particular service) in his/her local language – and the app would translate the message into another language and deliver it to the operator/service provider. Now, the latter will provide the response – which, once again, will be translated back to the language of the initial user. The translation software that will form the base of this app will have to be very high on both accuracy and promptitude (big lags between sending a message and receiving a response would defeat the purpose of the app). The app is likely to be very useful for people in a foreign country who need to urgently communicate with the locals, but do not know the language of the land.
Pet life care app
Ever wondered whether your four-legged buddy is getting the ideal amount of playing exercise (walking/playing)? Is the food you are giving your dog or cat actually nutritious for the animal? Is a visit to the vet needed? On a new pet care app that will offer end-to-end information, you will get all of these information – and then much more. The app will be compatible with third-party fitness trackers, to record the activity levels of your canine/feline friend. Pet-owners shall receive notifications and reminders, to go for appointments with vets. Including real-time chat feature will also be a great option for creating an active community of pet-owners/lovers in the app – facilitating information-sharing among the users. In case a pet animal passes on to the other side, the app will also inform its owner about the procedure to get its death certificate.
Design service app
Online classified ads and lengthy searches through job portals for graphic designers would take a backseat – with the launch of this application (ideally, on iOS first, and then on Android). People will be able to sign up and post their design requirements on the app. All interested designers will receive notifications about the new job posting, and they will be able to bid on the project (alternatively, only one of them will be able to ‘accept’ the project, with the posting becoming invisible after that). As is pretty much evident, users will be able to sign up in either ‘I need a designer’ or ‘I want to design’ modes. The core objective of the app will be the one-on-one matching of the members of these two groups, for getting the design jobs done.
App for senior citizens
With the advancement of age, every person needs that extra bit of care and attention. The breakneck speed of the modern society does not, however, always allow children to provide that type of attention to their elderly parents. We can conceive the idea of a new app that would help old people perform all the basic activities with ease – right from booking a health check-up session and planning the daily diets, to generating reminders for taking daily medicines, booking groceries, paying utility bills, and the like. Apart from making life easier for the aged users, the presence of the app will also help the working sons/daughter to worry less about their parents. There will be an emergency contact tab in the app, tapping which will ring up either a designated doctor, or the children of the senior citizens. Company of sons and daughters is still the best thing for parents – but it is not always possible, and this app can be the next best alternative.
Fitness app for smart cars
When it comes to personal health, there are literally hundreds of fitness and wellness apps out there. If we put the same attention on the ‘fitness of our automobiles’, we would definitely receive boosts in terms of both performance and longevity. An app can be created (supported by specific car APIs), that will be able to communicate with drivers as well as the dashboard/system of connected cars. The built-in GPS functionality of the app will help users track the miles-per-gallon (mpg) stats being maintained by drivers in the locality – and what the optimal ‘mpg’ for your vehicle model should be. Information will also be provided on driving best practices – for helping drivers attain their ‘target mpg’ levels. Again, social connectivity can be integrated – with a person getting the option to connect with owners of same/similar vehicles. The app will also double up as a navigation support tool.
The seasonal app
Seasons change, and it can be a tricky task to keep up with everything that changes with them. This app should prove to be handy in this regard. After auto-detecting the location of the user, the app would show all the information about the different seasons in that place – like temperature levels, dressing options and trends, recipes, places to visit nearby (say, within 150 kilometers). Health tips relevant to the different seasons can also be shared, along with season pictures (say, a snow-capped mountain peak or a frozen lake in winter, colorful flower gardens in summer, etc.). How about reliving one season when another one is on in full swing? The application will offer that opportunity too.
App for nurturing relationships
Delicacy is the name of the game when you nurture anything – from a houseplant to the relationship with a special someone. Instead of making yet another mobile relationship tracker (we had already worked on one such app – Rapport Card), it would be a cool idea to build a task-oriented relationship nurturing application. There will be a virtual plant, and a set of instructions generated at various times of the day (‘Wish good morning’, ‘Give a bear hug’, ‘Buy a present’, etc.). On completing a ‘task’, the user will tap on the concerned tab – and the plant will grow a little. In this manner, as the romantic attachment grows stronger, the plant will develop in a healthy manner (missing a task will cause it to wither a bit). The onus, of course, will be on the users to ensure that they do not end up spending more time on the app, and less with their partner. It will be, after all, only a support tool for your relationship.
Online debate app
On the various online forums, debates on a myriad of topics rage on. How about bringing such debates on the mobile platform, and making them more systematic? Different topics will be listed in the app, on which live debates are going on – and users can simply enter their names and information on whether they are for or against the motion – to join up. Upcoming debates can be listed as events, allowing people to join after doing the necessary preparation. There can be a ‘Help Me Out’ button, which will offer 1-2 information points, in case a debater is suddenly at a loss. For security reasons, the debate chats will be recorded and stored in the app database. Users will also be able to report others in cases of misconduct.
The IoT domain is really spreading wings, and there are possibilities galore to come with new apps for smart agriculture practices. Studies are going on for creating advanced applications powered by LoRa technology, for establishing connections for smart cities. As far as parenting apps are concerned, a piece of mobile software that serves as a countdown timer for different activities – time to study, time for meals, time to go to bed, etc – should be helpful. Apps with virtual pets (‘My Talking Tom’, anyone?) are also popular, and fresh new twists can be put on them as well.
At the end of the day, coming up with a new app idea is not about reinventing the wheel. In case your ideas are too unique, you will only end up alienating your users. If there is a good app concept – chances are that it has already been worked upon by someone, and the trick lies in coming up with improved versions – with greater features and functionalities. We are planning to work on some of the ideas in this list soon enough.
Any other new app idea that you feel will be worth investing time on in 2018?