“In my opinion, the future of mobile is the future of everything.” Matt Galligan
We now live in a mobile world, it’s a fact. Just look around you wherever you are and people are on their phones, people bump into you in the street while texting and we document everything with our camera phones (guilty). We text, whatsapp and message rather than calling (guilty again), I fear the art of actual communication is dying. So what are we all doing on our phones and how have we got to this point? The fact that there are literally millions of apps (actually 2.2 million as of May 2017) available for download from the app store might be an indication. Fast fact, those apps have been downloaded a massive 130 billion times since the launch of the App Store in 2008!
Which apps to choose can be a minefield as well as a device memory stealer, so how do you find apps that work for you? It’s time to filter out those selfie enhancers and time-consuming games and keep/or download the apps that work for you. Here’s 5 apps that will change your life in Abu Dhabi, not life changing like winning the lottery or finding the man or woman of your dreams, but they will certainly enhance your daily life as well as saving you time and money.
The Entertainer – This has to be my all time favourite app and it saves you money too. Straightforward to use and easy to share with friends and family I have used the app to try out different dining experiences, discover new places and keep frequenting those I love the most while saving all the time. Family, friends and visitors have all benefitted from the abundance of buy one get one free offers and got to enjoy many fantastic meals, brunches and activities including desert safaris, spa treatments, waterparks and even rounds of golf on top courses.
Location software shows you the offers available nearby and a savings tracker keeps a running total of just how much you are saving. The app is a fantastic savings companion and a must have for all expats in my opinion especially as you have instant access to your offers on your smartphone (as long as you have battery left of course). Redeeming a voucher is really quick, easy and efficient using a pin number, additional monthly offers pop-up on your phone including brunch and selected deals that are really good. The app search function allows you to search offers by category, area, outlet, cuisine, location or even by attributes such as whether the venue has halal, shisha, valet parking and even Wi-Fi. World-class hotel chains, restaurants and car rental companies are just some of the categories that are available with the Entertainer App.
The Entertainer is continually evolving and now alongside all the fabulous dine-in options you can even enjoy some of your favourite food delivered straight to your door using the new Delivery tab. Monthly offers are continually updated and new partners come on board all the time. The app pays for itself very quickly and is now available in fifteen countries worldwide and still growing.
All Entertainer 2017 products for the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Jeddah and Riyadh), Africa (Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg & Pretoria), Europe (Athens, Cyprus, London and Malta) and Asia (Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore) are all available to purchase at well known retailers and online via The Entertainer website www.theentertainerme.com
Washmen – This is the new on demand laundry and dry cleaning service from one of the guys previously with Uber in Dubai. The Washmen service picks up the laundry from your doorstep, washes or dry cleans it as instructed, press and folds it to your requirements and then delivers it back, simples. The service is available daily from 9am until 11pm, you can select your drop off/pick up location. There’s even a ‘Happy Hour’, don’t get too excited it’s not two for one cocktails, but in fact an ‘All-You-Can-Wash-Bag’ for just AED 79 (average of 40 items per bag).
Other bonuses include the cashless payment system (you enter your credit card details when you sign-up), itemised receipts that are sent straight to your account and even an in-app chat facility for any queries. There are always new promo codes for extra savings too. The app is easy to use and you don’t even need to be at home for collection, you select the pickup and drop off times, you are notified once the driver is on his way, it even gives you the opportunity to reschedule should you need too.
Too good to be true? I found it easy to use and efficient. You have to read the small print to avoid surprise extra charges. A classic order has a AED 5 delivery fee (no delivery fee with Insta orders) but you can be smart and save using Happy Hour time slots. There is a minimum amount per order of AED 45 so even if you have less laundry you will always be charged this amount. Next day deliveries will incur a hefty surcharge of 50% so you need to be organised.
Guava Pass – This app might actually be a bona fide life saver as it gives subscribers the chance to exercise and keep healthy. The monthly online membership is revolutionising how and where you choose to work out and now the online pass, that has been a resounding success in Dubai, has been recently introduced to the capital.
Everything from yoga to parkour, cycling to pole dancing, kangoo jumps to rock climbing is included and pretty much everything in between. If you want to add extra choice and versatility to your existing fitness regime then GuavaPass is the perfect companion, it gives you the option to work out exactly where and when you want in one easy monthly membership.
GuavaPass isn’t just for fitness enthusiasts either but also for people who want to increase or change-up their normal routines and for those who cannot commit to a regular training regime due to a busy work schedule. Membership also extends beyond fitness classes with perks such as healthy food, fitness and beauty brands to encourage members to live an all round healthier lifestyle. Interested in changing up your fitness routine? Give GuavaPass a try.
Careem – I’m a big fan of Uber when I’m in the UK but with it’s disappearance from the capital’s roads, Careem is the next best thing. No more standing in the ridiculous heat and humidity trying to hail a passing cab or ringing the call centre, just fire up your app and enter your location and destination and you are good to go. Fares are outlined before you ride (do check carefully as I got caught out with an expensive ride in a posh car) and you can track and communicate with the driver and follow your route once riding.
Again it’s super easy to use, simply download the Careem App, create your account and book your first ride. There are always promo codes popping up that give you discounted rides and you can even earn Etihad guest miles. The downside for Abu Dhabi folk is that only the ‘Mini Van’ (for larger groups) of the premium ‘Limo’ option is available and while being transported in a swanky Lexus is cool it’s costly, whereas in Dubai there are more budget friendly vehicle options. On a side-note, I recently got an Uber from Dubai (where it’s still operational) to my home in Abu Dhabi. It was cheaper than I’ve paid for a regular taxi in the past and bonus, it was a big swanky Lexus!
Fetchr – Fetchr has transformed the world of shipment and delivery in the Middle East with this easy to use app. This was a recent discovery for me when I ordered a dress from a Dubai based business and it arrived super fast and stress free via the app. Whether it’s clothes, a pair of sneakers, that lusted after handbag or even a document, Fetchr will pick up almost anything and everything and deliver it to you. The service is flexible, sending and receiving parcels is really simple and they can even collect cash from the customer and deliver it back, or pay for something you order and bring the goods to you.
You just download the app, create an account, set the pickup and delivery location and time, leave any special request for the driver if needed and then confirm your order. Once the order is placed you can track it from its original location to the final destination. Communication can be made via the chat function. Your mobile phone is your address, the app uses your GPS to tell the driver where you are located and where your package is going. Fetchr is integrated with Google Maps to provide the most accurate location and estimated delivery times.
Just before I finish this post I have to mention Apple Music (sorry all those dedicated Spotify users) and how brilliant it actually is, ok it may not change your life hence why it’s not in my top five but it will certainly improve it.
What’s your favourite app? If you can only keep one app what would it be?
All views are my own based on my own personal experiences and working with some of these companies. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved. Additional photos used with courtesy of the respective companies.