LONDON, England / The Guardian / Society / September 21, 2011
Clare Horton and Mark King
With iMutt you need never go out in the cold again to walk your dog.
Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
Pill Reminder Pro, 69p, iOS
Enter in the name of your pill, dosage, frequency, and what time(s) of day, and Pill Reminder sends a message via PUSH alert. Reviews on the Apple app store are mixed, but one user writes they "can't do without this".
VizWiz, free, iOS
This app, developed by a team from the University of Rochester, is targeted at partially sighted users. It allows users to take a picture with their phone, speak a question and receive multiple spoken answers. Find out more about the app on the University of Rochester site.
Read2Go, £13.99, iOS
This Daisy (digital talking books) book ereader allows users to browse, search, download and read books directly from Bookshare, as well as read Daisy books and publications from other sources. The app allows users to control visual choices for font size and colour, background and highlighting colour, and text-to-speech preferences, and was a recent app of the month recommendation by the RNIB.
Dragon Dictation, free, iOS
This voice-recognition application allows users to dictate text or email messages and see them instantly. Users can also dictate status updates for Facebook, tweets, or send themselves notes and reminders. A user on the Enabled by Design site says: "I've been using Dragon Naturally Speaking for about a year now for all emails, letters etc, as my hand mobility makes typing difficult. I have no complaints at all. Dragon constantly surprises me as it 'learns' so quickly."
Which? Your rights, free, iOS
The mobile guide to consumer rights that will arm you with all you need to know in your fight against retailers, from dealing with faulty goods to returning unwanted Christmas gifts. It offers sample letters you can send to retailers and two lengthy sections on the Consumer Credit Act and the Sale of Goods Act – making it useful for those wishing to pre-arm themselves by brushing up on their consumer knowledge, as well as those looking for a lightning-quick reference tool while shopping.
Vouchercloud, free, Windows Phone, Android, Blackberry
This app from one of the original money-saving coupon websites offers on-the-go discount vouchers, allowing cash-strapped consumers to search for nearby shops, restaurants, cinemas, leisure outlets, garden centres and other high street outlets offering discounts. They then download a voucher to obtain the discount and show it to the vendor without having to print anything out. Just watch out for the terms and conditions – few restaurant deals, for example, are available at the weekend.
DriveGain, £3.99, iOS
DriveGain is an app that helps you to save fuel as you drive by recommending what gear you should be in and how to save fuel as a result. Simply input what model of car you have and the app will use the iPhone's GPS and accelerator to compute how fast you are going, whether you are accelerating too quickly, how you are braking, and your average speed – offering "green zones" or areas you should try to keep within for the best fuel conservation. As long as drivers don't blindly follow the app's suggestions without first thinking what action is safe for them to perform, this could prove to be a money-saver.
idealo, free, iOS, Android
An app that allows cost-conscious shoppers to scan the barcode on a product and search for the cheapest place to buy it. The app will find price information on three million products, but unlike the Red Laser app, idealo only searches online shops, meaning that to get the bargains it finds you'll have to order and pay for goods online and wait for them to be delivered. Both these apps are also a little hit and miss, failing to find some commonplace products or taking you to pages on stores' websites that no longer exist. A useful guide for bargain-hunters, though.
FixMyStreet, free, iOS, Android, Nokia
An app to help people report problems in their local area, directly to the council, from their phone. So if you are walking past a pothole, an abandoned car or some graffiti, simply whip out your phone and create a report for your local authority. Similar to the My Council Services UK app, this should be catnip to consumers with a social conscience, as well as help to get that broken street light outside your house fixed.
iMutt, free, iOS
Animals provide great companionship for older people, but they also can be time-consuming and expensive to care for. The Dogs Trust has a game that allows users to feed, play, walk and interact with a virtual pooch, without the need to pay a vet's bill or trudge out in the rain. An Android version is expected soon.
© 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited
Credit: Reports and photographs are property of owners of intellectual rights.
Seniors World Chronicle, a not-for-profit, serves to chronicle and widen their reach.