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Ting Staff Picks: Brad’s Top 5

Ting-HTCOneAs a product manager and overall techie, I surprisingly don’t venture too deep into the app world. I primarily use my phone for messaging, email, and of course, reddit.

I’m a big fan of minimalistic apps, as everything I need becomes only a tap or a gesture away. That being said, I spend much more of my efforts customizing my device so it’s simple and doesn’t get in my way. I’m currently using the the HTC One (M7), which cosmetically, I think is the best phone on the market.

Apart from just looks, the M7 has an amazing 1080p HD screen and some great front facing speakers. It lacks in the battery life category but other than that I couldn’t be happier.

Below is a list of five essential apps that I use on a regular basis.


Nova Launcher

I ditched the iPhone just over 3 years ago, as the customization of Android was a big seller for me. Nova Launcher gives me the flexibility to what I want to with my phone. I can:

  1. Hide the annoying default apps I don’t use.
  2. Add quick gestures such as double tab, pinch-in, pinch-out, two finger swipe to use for common utility apps like my flashlight, calculator, expense manager, etc.
  3. Change icon grids for more apps on one page, as well as the customization of icons.

Here’s a screenshot of my homepage and gesture settings. I only use one page on my device; everything I commonly use is either pinned as an icon or hidden as a gesture.

Nova Launcher is available for free on Android.

HomeScreen                                       NovaLauncher

Hello smshello 2

Hello sms is marketed as the first messaging app to use tabs. Not sure if this is entirely true, however, there is no doubting the great design and look of the app. You can select from a light or dark theme, I’ve currently set it to switch to the dark theme at night and light during the day.

I love the accessibility of searching for contacts simply by name via the tabs versus the traditional expanded way by scrolling through contact name + the latest message sent.

Hello sms is available for free on Android.

Mailbox 2


I get a lot of email, but then again, who doesn’t? In order to stay on top of everything, I find that staying at “inbox zero” is the easiest way to keep productive and focused.

Mailbox is by far the best email app I’ve seen for my needs. It’s simple, minimal and offers great to tools to achieve that empty inbox. By using a swipe-left or swipe-right function you can quickly archive, delete, save to list or resend any email.

The resend functionality is great. If you’re not ready to reply, simply schedule a time later to be re-sent the email. It takes zero effort and is super useful for staying on top of your tasks.

Mailbox is available for free on Android and iOS.


Rdio is my default music player. It easily syncs with my laptop, desktop, phone and is even compatible with my Chromecast! Making playlists is simple and is pretty much what you would expect from something like iTunes.

This app is more of a service than anything else. I’m paying $10.00 a month for ad-free web and mobile streaming. Since I won’t stream unless I’m connected to WiFi, the 10 bucks more importantly allows me to easily download my music right onto my device so I can listen offline and on the go.

Rdio offers both a free and paid app. It’s available on both Android and iOS.

Golf NowGolf Now

I play a lot of golf which is one sport that can quickly add up. Golf Now, while not the prettiest of apps, does exactly what I need it to by offering low price tee times. They look to have a monopoly on this service right now, as they’re connected with over 5,000 courses (and I’ve yet to come across a similar app).

Golf now allows you to select a price range, time, and amount of players you wish to book with. It then has the ability to detect your location and offer you courses based on proximity.

Golf Now is free to download and available on Android and iOS.


What are your essential smartphone apps? Let us know in the comments!