According to the latest Pew study, 44 percent of African-American adults are the proud owners of a smartphone, a number almost 10 percent higher than American adults overall. So with all these black folks walking around with iPhones and Android devices, where are the apps that cater specifically to our demographic? Since you just got that upgrade, here are a few apps that no smartphone should be without.
If you live in a major metropolitan area or ever plan on visiting one, having HopStop at your fingertips is a must. Named one of the 50 Best iPhone Apps of 2011 by Time magazine, HopStop gives you everything you need to know about navigating a city. You get door-to-door directions whether you're walking, biking, taking a taxi or using public transit.
Developed by Chinedu Echeruo, a former Wall Street analyst from Nigeria, the app boasts info for dozens of major cities in the United States, Canada and Europe. You can also find links on the website for restaurants and events in the area. HopStop is free and available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones.
In these tough economic times, anyone who's not Mitt Romney is working harder than ever to keep track of finances and stick to a budget. Mint.com is easily one of the slickest ways to get it done. The interface is super user-friendly, and it tracks all of your spending in detail.
Categorize all of your purchases, set up a budget and get alerts when you go over that budget or to higher-than-usual expenditures from your account. Best of all, it's free, and that's about as easy on your wallet as you can get. Mint.com is available for iPhone, iPad and Android.
For all of my fellow HBCU alums out there (any Rattlers in the house?), HBCU Homecoming is the app that keeps track of all the homecoming festivities at your alma mater. Game schedule? Check! Hot parties? You know it! Even travel deals are covered to get you there at a discount.
Selected games are live-streamed for your listening pleasure, and in-app chat rooms let you stay in touch and maybe talk a little trash. The only downside? It's currently available only for iPhone.
Whether or not you're still willing to admit it, most of us have some sort of spades-playing history in our backgrounds. To this day, I have no problem setting someone and running them up off my table, which is exactly what I did with an app launched this year by Kandi Burruss of The Real Housewives of Atlanta fame.
Kandi Koated Spades is available for iPhone or iPad and brings an old-school card game into the future by making it mobile. You can play with whoever is online or against the computer, and all of the traditional rules for spades are in effect. Each game goes to 250 points, and overall I thought that it was well above average, considering the complexities of bringing this type of game to a mobile device.
So whether you're trying to save a little money or spend a little on tailgating, mobile apps can make your life easier in myriad ways. And with a bit of research, you can find lots of options out there that speak more closely to our particular tastes and experiences. Happy downloading!