These days, it seems like there is an app for even the most obscure need or interest. Apple in 2009 started using the phrase “There’s an app for that” in TV ads to show off the multitude of apps available for iOS devices through its popular App Store, which opened July 2008 and the slogan is so catchy that it’s endlessly parroted by the media, like we are doing right now.
For example, there’s an app out there that simulates drinking a cold glass of beer, and there’s an app that supposedly lets you understand what your baby’s crying means. One of the most interesting apps I’ve come across are apps that help expose infidelity. There is, for example, Slydial. This neat little affair is your way to get straight through to your illicit lover's voice mail without his or her current amour sniffing suspiciously.
The diversity of apps you’ll find in each app store shows one thing, apps are only limited by your creativity. If there is a need that can be addressed by an app, you can bet that it can be done.
I hadn't fully imbibed the app culture in Nigeria, at least for now, so let me share my experience from a visit to San Francisco in the summer of last year.
Anyone that knows me knows I love food, so obviously, the first thing I did upon arrival was to look for good food. A friend told me about Sprig, a startup that delivers gourmet meals to your door within about 15 minutes. Each day, there’s a limited menu of three or four dishes cooked up by the startup’s own executive chef. You tap what you want, enter your card information, and your food is on its way. I can’t remember exactly what I ordered but I know it was Chinese, and it was at my door 12 minutes later, much faster — and healthier — than ordering a pizza (Even though I eventually ate so much pizza on that trip). The delivery person handed me my order along with a free truffle for dessert and that was it. No need to exchange cash. The tip was included. And it was only $12.
Even though my hotel offered laundry services, I was on a mission to live off the apps on my phone. I tried Washio, a service that will pick up your dirty laundry and dry cleaning and have it back to you within 24 hours. Like Sprig, you manage Washio through a smartphone app to schedule your pickup and drop off times. Washio has an army of contractors — or, in startup parlance, “ninjas” — who swing by your place to get your dirty clothes.
There are others. I really wanted to use Handybook to hire someone to clean my place, but room service gave no room for that. I used Postmates to hire someone to pick up food for me when a certain place couldn’t deliver. And, of course, I frequently used Uber to call a car whenever I needed to go somewhere because San Francisco’s public transportation system is notoriously awful.
It all worked out so well. My laundry came in clean, ironed, and perfectly folded. The food was yummy. I never have to fumble with cash to pay a cab driver. Plus, many of these services are cheaper than or at cost with what I’d normally pay in Lagos (Weird yeah?). In many cases, using these services for the first time felt as transformative as using the iPhone for the first time. Everything just worked. “Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?” I thought as I ate my tasty Chinese food.
I don’t know that Slydial has an African or Nigerian equivalent…some should get on that; people will thank you.
But for others, here are the Nigerian apps for some of your needs:
The most popular Nigerian food apps would be Hellofood, EasyApetite and CityChop. They’re not many yet, but I hope there will be more. You know, when Nigerians subscribe fully to ordering food online.
If you're going to pay for laundry, they might as well come pick it up right? So for easy laundry services, Washlify and Washist readily come to mind.
The major transportation companies that also have apps are Rocket Internet’s EasyTaxi, new entrant, Uber and Tranzit.
There are a plethora of Nigerian themed games across the app stores. So much that they deserve their own post. Coming up!
We even have the Brideprice app, that allows you to find the true value of your bride price and that of your friends - and enemies. So, go through your app store, and you may find that for almost all your daily routines and task, there’s an app for that.
About the Author
Terry Kanu is a young tech entrepreneur. He is the Founder/Lead Designer at TeriumSolutions.com