At TNW, we are fans of simple, well-designed apps that focus on a single task and do them really well. It’s no surprise therefore that we are impressed by Web app Apps & Oranges by UX designer Brian Morykon and developer Matt Pantana.
If you’ve ever logged on to Twitter and asked your followers to recommend the best cooking recipes app for your iPad or the best time-tracking Web app in the business, you know that it’s always tough to make your choice from among the many disparate responses you get. And that’s if you have a lot of followers; if not, you may not get any responses at all, which is an even worse problem to have.
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Apps & Oranges seeks to fix that by helping you discover the best Android, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows and Web apps for any need you may have. Once you sign up to the service, the homepage lists the categories that people have been talking about during that week, each of which displays an icon or screenshot of the top-voted app within that category.
The Web app allows you to sort the categories view by the most popular apps in the week or month, the most recent ones added and by the lack of recommendations (i.e. questions that have not been answered yet). You can log onto the site to recommend new apps, vote for or comment on existing ones, ask for new recommendations or just browse through the existing ones.
You can also follow your Facebook and Twitter friends on the site and keep track of their activity on it, but that feature is currently only half-baked, with no option to fetch your list of friends from those social networking websites and follow them automatically.
The other problem with the site is that, as it is new, the selections are pretty thin as it currently stands, so you are going to be doing a lot more recommending yourself and much less finding out about interesting new apps if you go and sign up on it right now.
But you know what? This service has what it takes to be successful. For an app in private beta, it is super polished and very well-implemented. And best of all, in this world of application stores with hundreds of thousands of apps and multiple mobile platforms and the proliferations of Web apps, it helps solve a problem that needs solving and joins the likes of AlternativeTo and iUseThis in attempting to do it.
Here’s the best part: you can be a part of it today! We have arranged for a hundred invite codes to become members of site (thanks to the developers) and are going to give them away to our readers. All you have to do is leave a comment on our FB page naming your favorite app of 2011, be it on any platform, and leave your email address here for us to send the invite to.
Once you’ve signed up, you get ten invites to invite your own friends as well, so the circle will keep expanding outwards.