The era of the modern mobile application began with the opening of the iTunes app store on July 10th, 2008, just over two years ago. That’s an entire geological era in interweb years, but to normal people it’s just two Christmases ago.
If you happen to be one of those stalwarts who thought the internet was overrated until you got a Facebook account and spent every waking hour spamming everyone you know with Vampire Wars invites, you’ll be pleased to know that the sales of smartphones will outpace PC sales by 2012.
In other words: you’ll find your mobile equivalent of gaming crack soon enough.
But for right now, we’re talking wine. Since I rock a Droid Incredible, here are five great wine apps for Android that each do a little something different in a special way:
Swirl’s design looks like your grandmother’s living room, but this is one of the easiest to use and most complete wine apps in the Android Market. You can save wines you find under several different categories: like it, dislike it, want it, have it. Once you select a category (you can also assign more than one category per wine) add notes, rate it, and even take a picture of the bottle. It also can sync with Google Maps to locate nearby wines stores for you. The upgrade allows you to add wines to the database. FREE, $3.99 upgrade
Wine Guru is a simple, but powerful wine searcher. You can search for individual wines, or you can customize searches by vintage, price, keywords, and even by your postal ZIP code. This is powered by Snooth, so the database is deep and also includes prices, tasting notes, and almost always a picture of the label or bottle. However, as is far too common in Android, the UI looks like it’s stock Windows 3.1. FREE
Wine Dictionary is actually a wine glossary, if you want to be technical. I guess either people don’t know what a glossary means, or the word just isn’t as sexy. The UI is butt ugly, so I can’t imagine that matters too much. But it does what it does, and it does it well.
Cara from Decant Chicago loves this app, “It’s a great on-the-go resource when I’m at work, in a shop, or teaching. I’m actually surprised by how thorough it is, even with obscure terms.” FREE
On the Horizon
The next couple apps will be making the jump to Android in the next few weeks, keep your eyes peeled:
Hello Vino is one of the most powerful apps for making wine suggestions. It makes specific suggestions of wines based on what you’re eating, or if you’re looking for a particular country or style. It also works in reverse, making suggestions if you already have a wine. They’ve already made over 600,000 suggestions in the last month on the iPhone, and after they join Android in the next couple weeks, that number will skyrocket. FREE
Corkbin is a really simple wine journal. Take a pic of what you’re drinking, jot down a note, publish it to your friends. Corkbin also geo-tags your photos, so you can see exactly where you were when you drank the wine, plus search for what people around you are drinking. Perfect for remembering that kick-ass wine you (maybe) drank last Tuesday-ish, or maybe Wednesday before last. This is another app that started on iPhone, but will be making the jump to Android within the next few weeks. $0.99
There are a lot of different wine apps available for Android, and most of them absolutely suck. The few listed here represent what I think are simple to use and have plenty of content. There’s an app called Wine Ph.D that has a beautiful, simple UI (which is so friggin’ rare) but it’s filled with outdated information, and lacks serious content in a variety of areas.
I don’t mean to sound like a bitch about graphics, but there’s a reason I paid for a phone with a 3.7-inch 480 X 800 WVGA screen, and it’s not be condemned to UI’s that look like they were programmed in QBasic.
I’m really excited to see Hello Vino and Corkbin make the Android jump, they are both very popular iPhone apps that have a lot to offer. The Android Market is certainly behind the App Store in a lot of ways, but I think we’re going to see some really great, well-designed options released in the coming months.
Do you think I left out a wine app you love, tell me about it!