My father loved his computer. I know because he used to call me for tech support almost every day. He was the kind of guy who loved to try out new gadgets. I think a lot of us guys are that way. I know I'm certainly a chip off the ol' block.
In that spirit, it makes sense to round up some great apps you can add to dad's smartphone this year. Some of them are a little pricey for the father who has pretty much everything, while others are free, but you can install them for him and I'm sure he will be thrilled.
And, let's be honest, you might want to drop these onto your own phone as well.
11. Yahoo! Sportacular Let's just start right out front with the best sports app on the market. Whether your dad is an avid sports fan or a casual follower, this app will keep him up to date on news, scores and the like. Additionally, he can select his favorite teams and those receive priority within the app. In fact, I like this one so much, it was one of my 10 favorite apps of 2011. Best of all, it's FREE!
10. WeatherBug Elite My favorite weather app is WeatherBug Elite. It is fast-loading, accurate and has a terrific radar. There is a free version, but this no-ads option is so much better for dad and it's only $1.99. What guy doesn't love checking out the doppler radar? Okay, I might be the only one, but it's still really cool.
9. SugarSync For my money, this is the best simple storage option available, particularly if dad isn't using an iPhone and iCloud. SugarSync automatically syncs folders and files on multiple devices, from pads to computers to phones, and they are available anywhere you're connected to the Web. The app and the first 5GB of storage are free, but splurge and pick your father up 60GB for only $100 (for 12 months). He'll love it.
8. Slingbox If the big man in your life has one of these nifty little devices that allows him to watch his TV on any enabled computer connected to wi-fi, this app could be for him. For $29, you can see him thrill to the idea of watching his home TV on a wi-fi-enabled plane flight. Holy crap, that's cool. Get me one too!
7. Wood Whisperer If your dad is one of those guys that build antique cabinets in their spare time and scoff at the guy on The Yankee Workshop because his laser-guided saw is an older model, this free app is for him. It's the companion to the popular Web site of the same name, so now he can watch instructional videos in his workshop on his phone while he heaves lumber with the other hand...like a boss!
6. Navigon North America If your parents have the stereotypical fights because your father won't pull over and ask for directions, this could be a gift for both of them. Cheaper than most decent GPS options and built right into the phone, this $60 app can help navigate your folks through any road trip, even if it includes east St. Louis.
5. Echofon Pro Look, we know it embarrasses you that dad is on Facebook and Twitter, but if the guy is even part nerd, you are just going to have to live with it. At least he could have the best Twitter app available, and that is Echofon. The $5, ad-free version is as good as it gets, even if it means more of your pop on Twitter. #shootmenow
4. Cyclemeter If the old man rides a bike or if you just want him to ride with you on occasion, this will make him want to put on that goofy helmet and those lycra shorts more often -- ew, I know. Cyclemeter tracks time, distance, speed and a bunch of other stuff relating to your ride. It will store information on rides and allow users to store particular routes. If dad isn't into riding, you can use it on walks as well. Just tell him to take off the spandex and, for God's sake, put on some white socks.
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3. ProPublica When it comes to good reporting and quality news coverage, this is it. The full-featured freebie app will give your father access to all the news that's fit to pixelate. It's a very clean app and it's super easy to use as well.
2. Grill-It! Dads love to grill. It's something written into the DNA that makes men want to burn meat on a metal grate. It didn't kick in for me until I was an adult and now I own stupid-message aprons and discuss charcoal quality. It's a disease. But, if you want to help dad out, get him this slick app with tons of recipes and reference material for his grilling pleasure.
1. iGrill And if you are really feeling generous, go all the way and get him the holy grail of digital grilling gadgetry, the iGrill. The app may be free, but the equipment is 100 bucks of pure cooking magic. Think of this as the best, most awesomest, holy-crap-I-want-one digital remote thermometer ever invented. I'm sure he'd hug you in gratitude, but only after he raced out to the grill to test it out.