Continuing with the theme that it is just as important to play as it is to work, this week I’m looking at two apps that have more to do with relaxation than productivity: Rdio and Brancott Estate’s ‘The World’s Most Curious Bottle’.
To be honest there is not a lot I can say about Rdio in its mobile form, other than to wonder idly why I would use it. As a concept I found Rdio great, especially in terms of presenting competition to the ever dominant iTunes: as outlined in last week’s desktop/browser review, you simply sign up to the Rdio site or download the app and then you have access to millions of songs – 12 million in fact – for free.
Beyond that – and to be fair, that’s a fairly strong argument – I didn’t think it offered anything new to my music experience. All my musical tastes were present and accounted for, from Springsteen to Johnny Cash, but the problem was there was nothing in Rdio that I didn’t already have on my iPhone, my laptop, or on CD (or, in the case of Springsteen, all three).
As far as I can see, regardless of whether you use the desktop or mobile app, the biggest advantage is the engagement with other music lovers, and perhaps I am just not the right age group for that particular hook. I’m old enough for my music taste to be set in concrete (I still remember saving up for vinyl) and to not really be too bothered about whether anyone else shares my taste or not, especially when it’s going to cost me around $20 a month to listen to music I already own. Of course, if you have varied taste and/or a limited budget, that $20 price tag gives you access to a lot of music, which reinforces my suspicion that my teenagers would probably get a lot more from Rdio than I do.
Despite being a bit fiddly to install and operate, Rdio is a nice looking app and delivers a good quality sound. Sadly, it simply, for me, didn’t deliver much else.
The Brancott Estate app was a bit different. The marketing smartypants who came up with this idea certainly earned their paycheck that week: simply scan the QR (Quick Response) code from the new Brancott Estate packaging and you’ll be able to download the World’s Most Curious Bottle app. Available on both iOS and Android, the app is free and allows you, in Brancott’s own words, to interact with the bottle.
Yes, I did say interact with the bottle. The app prompts you to take part in 14 different experiences that can be accessed either by scanning QR codes or simply pointing your phone in the right direction. Oh yes, this is a smart little app – it will get you turning in circles until your phone is pointing in the right direction to bring up a virtual tour of the Brancott Vineyard in Marlborough. You won’t care that everyone in the office – or on the bus – is wondering what on earth you are doing. You’ll be far too busy trying to get your phone to match that road sign. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.
For those a little less inclined to look ridiculous, you can simply select the option to match your wine with the right dish – great if you’re a wine buff, or want to impress the boss when he or she comes to dinner.
The app is nice and clean and simple to use; and for something that serves little real purpose, it’s highly entertaining. There are worse ways to kill time waiting for the bus.
Are Rdio and Brancott’s Most Curious Bottle going to add something more to your work experience? Probably not – but they will make you smile and relax a little and that, friends and neighbours, is good for business.