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The Gilt Mobile Team's Favorite Apps of 2014

Gilt Mobile had so much to celebrate this year. We added an Android team to complement our iOS work; saw our fancy app appear in a Samsung commercial starring Iggy Azalea; relaunched our Gilt Japan iPhone app; and brought home the Webby Award for “best iPhone app” in the shopping category. We also went to WWDC, delivered mobile-centric tech talks to meetup groups from NYC to Miami to Dublin, and grew our presence in the open source community through the release of projects like Mockingbird Toolbox, Android-Proguard-Snippets, and BlueSteel.

We also checked out a lot of great new apps! Here are the team’s favorites from 2014:

Breather

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Breather is basically Airbnb for meeting or working space. Need a quiet space to work for a couple of hours? Take advantage of Breather’s simple and intuitive user interface and marvel at its high-quality photography. I’ve given it a try and the entire process was positive. –Louis Vera, Senior Software Engineer (Android)

Monument Valley

I’m sure you’re tired of hearing people rave about this game, but this is that extremely rare case where the hype is deserved. Everything about Monument Valley is incredible. The visuals are truly unique. Simple shapes are layered, combined with striking colors and smooth animations, to produce complex scenes that are truly a delight to see and interact with. Sound is ambient and unobtrusive, yet crucial to the experience. There is no dialog and so the storyline isn’t narrated–instead, the experience is similar to watching an old silent movie. It’s simple and straightforward, yet you’ll be sad when it’s over. Matt Isaacs, Senior Software Engineer (iOS)

Skitch

Skitch enables you to mark up screenshots easily. A simple enough task, but here’s a case where the tiny details make all the difference in the world. I have used Skitch to give directions, communicate with graphic designers, create content for conference presentations, and many other things. A picture (with arrows) is indeed worth a thousand words–especially when you are typing those words out on a mobile phone. And because Evernote created it, integration with their primary app is fantastic. Kevin Schultz, Senior Software Engineer (Android)

Emoji++/Swype (iOS)

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Third-party keyboard support in iOS 8 still feels a bit buggy, but already I’ve become hooked on Emoji++ and Swype. Emoji++ makes finding the perfect emoji much easier than the built-in iOS emoji keyboard does. And Swype captures what I’m trying to say much faster than the standard keyboard can—not to mention the fact that, by using Swype, I can actually tell when the shift key is engaged! But unless you’re prepared for the occasional frustration of keyboards not appearing (which requires force-quitting and relaunching the affected app), you might want to wait until a future version of iOS, and/or future versions of these keyboards, emerge with these kinks sorted out. I can hear my Android friends snickering now…Evan Coyne Maloney, Principal Software Engineer (iOS)

UltraVisual

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I must admit that I get a little lost navigating through UltraVisual: the Brooklyn-born, photo and video creation app acquired by Flipboard in September. I’m never quite sure where I am or what I should do next, but that is the whole point to me. I love losing myself in its beautiful imagery and immersive interface. The app provides an endless stream of gorgeousness and inspiration. Christopher Gonzalez, Director of Mobile Product

Ping

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From the creators of Secret comes this great push notification-based app, which gives you a steady stream of information about weather, fitspiration, curiosities, daily history and more. It’s usually fun and adds a little levity to your day. Ping excels in its simplicity and laser precise focus—no unnecessary bells and whistles.Christopher Barr, Senior Interactive Designer

Dasher

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Light and fun, Dasher enables your to message your friends with subtle animations, micro-payments, location coordination, and random gifs for all #things. (The # to animated gif sounds silly, but is actually very fun and quite addicting.) The app made its iOS debut earlier this year, and followed up in November with an Android version that–as noted in this Medium post by Dasher cofounder Jesse Boyes–led to a spike in iOS downloads. Interesting. Jesse happens to be Gilt’s former Director of Mobile Engineering, and Dasher’s other cofounders sharpened their skills at Foursquare and Jetsetter, so we can expect more great work and insightful observations from this team in 2015. –Louis Vera

Cord

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Cord Project brings voice back into our overtexted lives with the Cord app. Instead of typing out a quick request, wish, or tiding, simply record a 12-second telegram that you can share with as many or as few of your friends as you like. Phonetic spelling, syntactic formatting, and emoticons can only capture and convey so much, while tone, accent, and emphasis speak volumes and come pre-programmed with our speech. Cord’s been especially useful to me this winter by helping me to avoid shiver-induced typos and frostbite. On occasion, I reply to messages with soundbites from YouTube (TV and movie quotes just aren’t the same when expressed via text!). –Randy Gretz, Quality Assurance Analyst

TouchRetouch

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TouchRetouch is an essential app for editing life-event photos. It allows for removal of unwanted objects without any Photoshop involvement–saving you time and hassle. All you have to do is circle the item you want to remove and the TouchRetouch algorithm makes it magically disappear. It works very well and is so easy to use! Ruxy Levy, Senior Software Engineer (iOS)

Tunnel Vision

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Have you ever wanted to see a live visualization of people entering and exiting the New York City subway system’s nearly 470 stations? OK, maybe you never thought about it much–but once you see it, you will be mesmerized! Created as a graduate thesis project by students in New York University’s ITP program, Tunnel Vision is a simple app with little daily utility. But the beautiful visualizations it provides (based on publicly available MTA and U.S. Census data) made me think a little differently about my city. It’s an app I can look at for minutes on end, just wondering about the people and metropolis around me.–Christopher Gonzalez

1Password

1Password - No More Sticky Notes from AgileBits on Vimeo.

This year Agile Bits–creators of the password manager 1Password–published an official Android version that is well polished, easy to use, and keeps in sync with all the other devices in my life (iPhone, Mac, etc.). A solid password manager is a must for any developer, and this one is my go-to. –Louis Vera

Kitchen Stories

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Kitchen Stories creators Mengting Gao and Verena Hubertz have partnered up with some of the world’s top food and cooking brands–including KitchenAid, Bertolli and Le Creuset–to create this extremely useful app. Simple, straightforward and available in 12 languages, Kitchen Stories features recipes and tricks to make cooking super-enjoyable. The short videos are especially helpful. –Nikita Korchagin, iOS Engineer

Gilt 340 Gilt Groupe 282 Gilt Tech 287 gilttech 332 Gilt mobile 8 mobile apps 5 apps 8 iOS 22 Android 10 Monument Valley 1 Matt Isaacs 9 Kevin Schultz 6 Skitch 1 Christopher Gonzalez 7 UltraVisual 1 Flipboard 1 Christopher Barr 4 Louis Vera 1 Dasher Messenger 1 Dasher 1 Jesse Boyes 1 Cord 1 Cord Project 1 Randy Gretz 1 Breather 1 video 42 Ping 1 TouchRetouch 1 Ruxy Staicut 3 Ruxy Levy 1