Photo cred - Johan Larsson
In a tech heavy world, everyone’s always looking for the next greatest app. From Shazam to 8tracks, MyFitnessPal to HabitBull, there’s always an app that’s being released to make our lives an easier place… unless you live in Montreal. With places like New York and Israel home to some of the coolest apps, smart-phone lovers are forced to wait patiently for these tech innovations to come their way. Six of these apps are so helpful, that we at MTL Blog can’t help but wonder how Montreal’s been able to survive this long without them.
Perhaps the most useful app for women on the go who need to look dolled-up, but are too busy with their lives to know how to work a curling iron or apply foundation. Glamsquad is an app that allows users to, at the click of a button, have a professional hair and makeup stylist sent to their door. And because your credit info is stored on the app you don’t even have to pay them when they leave. Better still, Glamsquad looks into all the stylists they employ, meaning you’ll get a trained professional. So if you’re thinking of going out clubbing with the girls, or have an early morning meeting but don’t have time to stop by a salon and can’t apply mascara without poking out your eye, you can leave it to them. For now Glamsquad only caters to LA, New York, and Miami, but they’re adding new locations and, hopefully, Montreal will be one of them.
If there’s one thing we can all agree sucks every month, it’s lining up in what feels like a never-ending queue to recharge an OPUS card. The STM's archaic bus pass system and too-few charging stations is exactly why the Israeli app HopOn needs to come to Montreal. Users can buy prepaid bus passes and tickets via their phone and then HopOn will use ultrasonic waves to communicate with software on the bus to validate your ticket. It can do multiple validations at once, meaning faster wait times, and the payment is done automatically through info stored on the app. In addition to buses HopOn can work with metros, trains, and even bike rentals, allowing one universal system in Montreal to pay for public transit, rather than having to negotiate the STM, AMT, and BIXI bike ones.
For people with respiratory conditions, small children, or people living in climates where the air quality is susceptible to rapid changes (we’re talking to you, Montreal), having the power to check your air quality is super useful. BreezoMeter gives users a real time view of their air quality, right down to street level, and will notify users if there’s air quality warnings. BreezoMeter also provides tips on what you can do with the information given to you, so if it’s humid (not that is ever gets humid in Montreal during the summer…) it may tell you to avoid outdoor activity, or (if you have asthma) that you can expect to use your inhaler a bit more today. Right now the app is only available for Israel and the U.S., although you can search select locations for air quality through their website.
Photo cred - Maciej Dakowicz
If you’re not great at meeting new people in one-on-one situations, then this might just be the app for you. Grouper allows you to look through a list of your fiends’ friends and choose the ones you’re interested in meeting. When you, and a match, mutually select each other, the app sets you up for drinks. But there's a catch: you, and your date, are each required to bring two friends. Everyone has to pay $17, but that also covers the first round of drinks, and you get to meet each other in a no-pressure setting. In a city like Montreal, where people’s idea of asking someone out is dancing against them at a club, this may be the face-to-face interaction app we all desperately need. Right now Grouper is only available for the iPhone and for select cities in the U.S., but they’ll be making it available to Android soon and, hopefully, other international locations too.
If you haven’t heard of Pandora online radio then, well, you’re probably Canadian. Although the app was available for Canadians to use, it’s since been restricted to American, New Zealand, and Australian citizens only. Pandora is an app which allows you to listen to your favourite songs and artists without having to purchase individual songs. For a flat fee of $3.99 (although the price for new Pandora users will be going up to $4.99 in May), you can listen to all your favourite musicians. With their Music Genome Project, which is where they've collected and analyzed insane amounts of music to find musically similar songs, they're able to make accurate music suggestions you'll actually like. With prices for purchasing music online ridiculously high, and people cracking down on illegal downloading, Pandora makes it hella affordable to get your groove on.
If you, like most Montrealers, drink somewhere between two and two hundred cups of coffee a day, then you’ll beg for this last app to make an appearance in Montreal. For students who can’t afford those $4 cups of artisanal coffee, and are stuck living off Tim Hortons or taking advantage of McDonald’s free coffee days, CUPS is the perfect solution. The app charges you a flat fee each month and in return you get a set number of either hot, or cold, coffees and teas. All you need to do is select the participating coffee house from the list, pick the drink you want, and flash your phone to the barista. That simple. You’re not restricted to one coffee house a month either, meaning you're free to try all participating locations. Although the packages look expensive at first glance, when you do the math it saves you more to use CUPS than it does to buy your coffees one at a time. Unfortunately, CUPS only services the New York area, but that doesn't mean we can’t hope for a Montreal expansion.