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Lift

I mentioned in the previous post that this month I'm working to build a new habit by writing 500 words each day. To track the progress for this habit, as well as others I am working on, I am using an app called Lift. Lift has been around for awhile now, but when I looked at it in the past it did not offer an Android version. Using the iPhone version on my iPad was less than an optimal experience, but with the Android app available, it's a great choice for me.

Overview

Lift is designed to make creating, finding and tracking goals or habits simple. You can browse what habits have already been created by other users and see how many participants they have. You can add your own habits if the one you are looking for does not already exist. You can even mark a habit private so that other Lift users cannot see that you are a participant.

Social Features

I'm not using the app for the social features that it offers, however, they seem to be helpful to those that do. From simple positive feedback/reinforcement to the ability to ask questions of other habit participants, Lift gives you the ability to interact with other users to motivate you to succeed. Some goals are even sponsored by experts that then make themselves available for question and answer sessions in the app. I have noticed that this is typically also tied to a chance for the expert to market themselves or their services, but I can understand why they see the opportunity as a good one for both parties.

Design

A big part of what makes me want to use an app is the design and user experience. Many Android apps feel out of place when the iOS version came first. Lift is an exception. The Android app is great and feels like it was developed with the Android platform in mind. The user interface is very clean and minimal, yet informative and clear as to the progress on each goal or habit.

Don't Break the Chain

The value in having an app like Lift is that it gives you a very visual and material way to measure how you are executing on your goals. It adds the achievement of checking a box each day. The idea of not "breaking the chain" is a large component in building any habit. You don't want to kill the streak, and having an app that shows you that really does seem to have a motivating effect.

19 apps that already look perfect for iOS 7

But Apple certainly didn’t invent a completely new aesthetic on its own. Rather, designers seeking to differentiate themselves from the outdated Apple-defined aesthetic have been slowly moving towards a new global aesthetic consensus for some time. Here are 19 apps that were fully there before Apple showed iOS 7 to the world.

 

A Little iEnvy

I <3 Android

I really do enjoy Android as a mobile OS. Android offers a world of choice and customization that is painful to implement (at best) on the iOS platform. I started my affair with Android almost two years ago with the Nexus One, and have recently upgraded to a Nexus S. I had an iPod Touch (2nd Gen) when I used a BlackBerry Bold as my phone, but have since gone to just my Android phone and gave the Touch to my son. I am running Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) on my Nexus S, and think that it is a great upgrade from Gingerbread. I also picked up a HP TouchPad during the "fire sale" and have it running ICS as well. ICS made that $150 tablet feel as nice to me as my wife's 1st generation iPad.

I respect iOS

I enjoyed iOS when I used it on the iPod Touch and when I borrow my wife's iPad. The app ecosystem that Apple offers is truly unmatched. Not only are the apps on iOS more plentiful for the types of use cases I am concerned with, but they are certainly more beautiful as well. Reeder on the iPad is probably the app I miss most when using my Android tablet, but there are several examples on the phone. I should mention here that I run an iMac as my primary home computer and am in no way an exclusive "fanboy" for any one company or platform. I use what I feel best fits my situation and my preferences. Several factors can play into those criteria. Cost (I wouldn't have an iPad of my own if I hadn't gotten the TouchPad for such a steal), workplace restrictions (I am not able to place my work issues SIM card into an iPhone due to carrier billing differences) and variety all play into my choices. My wife uses an iPhone 4 and the 1st generation iPad, so anytime I'd like to play around with a new app or sync my Jawbone UP band, I borrow her devices.

My Current iEnvy

My current "iEnvy" is fueled by two primary factors. First, my wife never worries about her phone's battery life. I constantly worry about mine. This is the same case with our tablets, however, I don't use my TouchPad nearly as much as I do my phone. Battery life should be Android's number one focus with it's next Nexus device and future operating system decisions. I haven't talked to any Android lovers who are not taking steps to conserve battery life with apps like Tasker or JuiceDefender. My wife is not as heavy a user of her phone as I am, but she leaves Wifi on always, and her screen timeout is set to some ridiculous value on the high end. I'd have to actually carry an iPhone 4 or 4S for a few days to know if I would be in a better position with it vs. my Nexus S, but I'm 99% sure that I would be based on talking to others that use those devices.

The second driver of my iEnvy is that both the iPhone and iPad now sport Retina displays. Simply put, no one has better mobile device displays than Apple. I read a lot of text on my phone and tablet and know just from helping my wife with things on her iPhone 4 that the experience of a Retina display is unmatched to anything else. I'm in a position now where I question whether I need to have two Android mobile devices, or if I would be getting the best of both worlds by having either an iPhone and my TouchPad or my Nexus S and an iPad. This brings back the criteria limitations I brought up above, but I'm working to determine if either move would be feasible. I think it would change my use patterns a bit. I'd read less on my phone and more on my tablet if I had an iPad. I'd still enjoy the customization and freedom that comes with Android on my more heavily used device... but I'd still have shitty battery life.

Envy is a Deadly Sin

I'm not really thinking along the lines of Ten Commandments... but more the "geek law" variety. So many people are in one camp or the other when it comes to Android vs. iOS (both hardware and software). I find myself looking over the fence and saying, "I should really tear down this fence and eat any colored grass I like."