Last week I asked everyone from Econsultancy to nominate their favourite mobile apps from 2012.

Ideally I was looking for m-commerce suggestions, but really just wanted to find out what everyone’s favourite apps were from the past 12 months.

The result were quite revealing, as a majority of the apps weren’t actually released this year.

In fact, most people nominated apps that were several years old, which is either an indication that Econsultancy staff don’t use that many apps, or else it’s a sign that major brands haven’t launched that many great apps in 2012.

As you will see from the list, the BBC features prominently as do functional apps such as mobile banking and travel.

I’ve also included several that were launched pre-2012 to give an idea of the sort of apps we frequently use, which tend to be from big name brands.

Special mention should also go to the following apps: Paper by FiftyThree, Flipboard, Skyscanner, Pocket, Bitsy Spider (it keeps the kids quiet), Nike+, AR Maps, WeQ4U, Domino’s Pizza, and Nigella’s Quick Collection.

Apps from 2012


Launched this year, the Barclays Pingit app allows you to transfer funds to other users, even if you aren’t a Barclays customer.

It’s a great example of a simple app that solves a real problem.

BBC iPlayer Radio

Launched in October, the iPlayer Radio app allows you to listen to all the BBC’s radio stations live, as well as hosting all the previous week’s content.

The functionality is limited, but it’s very simple to use and is a great app for radio listeners.


Zillow is a useful app for anyone looking to rent a home in the US, hence its nomination from a member of our New York team.

Among other things, it gives access to rental listings, shows you what facilities are in the local area, compares properties on a side-by-side list and allows you to contact landlords and estate agents.

Barclays Mobile Banking

The Barclays Mobile Banking app does everything the customer needs – PINsentry, making payments, transferring between accounts and checking statements. 

The store locator and call functionality are also helpful, but above all the app is smooth and intuitive.


NatWest’s mobile app is very simple, but also incredibly useful. It allows you to check your bank balance, transfer money between accounts and pay people you have set up through online banking.

It’s protected using a six digit passcode and has quickly become one of my favourite apps.

National Rail Enquiries

This app is a must-have for train passengers. It gives you live travel information, a journey planner, and even an alarm to wake you up when you get to your station.


However one of the most useful features is the ‘Get Me Home’ button. It allows you to save your local station, then wherever you are in the country you just need to press this button and it tells you the quickest way to get home, including live travel times.


Available on iPad and Android, CloudOn allows you to edit Microsoft Office documents on your tablet, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

You can also view PDFs and fill out PDF forms, and view other file types such as PNGs, JPEGs and GIFs.

BBC Olympics app

Another app that received several nominations, the BBC had a huge advantage over its competitors as it had rights to all the footage from the Games.

But the app’s design was also excellent, allowing users to easily access live streams and highlights from almost every event.


Daily Show headlines

Only available in the US, this app lets you watch the latest clips from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, as well as archived footage and information on upcoming guests.


M&S’s iPhone app includes everything you would expect from an m-commerce app, including a store locator, product catalogue and secure login to speed up purchases.

But on top of that, it has some nifty additional tools such as a barcode scanner and an augmented reality feature.

Apps launched pre-2012


Hailo received several nominations as it solves the irritating problem of finding an available black cab in London.

Its popularity also owes a lot to the fact that it solves a problem both for passengers and drivers so everyone’s a winner.

I couldn’t find an exact launch date for Hailo, though I’m fairly sure it predates 2012 (correct me if I’m wrong).

Pizza Express

The IOS version of this app was launched in 2011, though a new Android version came out in September this year.

Customers can pay their bill within the app using a credit card or PayPal, order a takeaway, book a table or check the menu options.


It sets Pizza Express head and shoulders above the competition in terms of mobile payments, and should help it to gather a lot of customer data.


Available on iPhone, Blackberry and Android, PayByPhone allows you to pay for your parking in the app, then sends you text reminder to warn you when your ticket is about to expire.

It only works in certain car parks, but beats scrambling around for loose change under the car seat when it’s time to pay for your ticket.


Easily the most popular m-commerce app in the Econsultancy office.

To find out why we love it so much, check out this blog post on 12 reasons behinds Amazon’s massive mobile success.



Another m-commerce app that’s hugely popular in the Econsultancy office, eBay’s app is basically an easier-to-use version of the desktop site.

You can buy and sell items in the app, and it sends you alerts when auctions you’re watching are about to end or if you’ve been outbid on an item.

It even launched a new iPad version earlier this year which is great fun to use.


Evernote offers users the ability to store everything that’s important or personal to them within one app, which can then be accessed through almost any device.

It can be anything from webpages, images, videos, diary dates and documents.

And the beauty of it from Evernote’s point of view is that the longer you use it for, the more important it becomes to you.

ESPN Goals

One of my favourite apps, ESPN Goals is a free download that lets you watch the football highlights from all the previous weekend’s Premier League games.


Available on all the major operating systems, it’s perfect for people like me who follow football but can’t be bothered to spend the weekend watching live games.


Imagine you’re listening to a song at home on your Mac, and though it’s only halfway through you have to leave and go elsewhere.

Seamless allows you to transition the song from iTunes on your Mac to your iPhone without interrupting the flow.

Yet another simple app that solves one of life’s minor irritations.


Strava adds a social element to your workout by letting you share and compare your personal fitness data with other users.

It’s geared towards cyclists and runners, and as we’re all athletes in the Econsultancy office it obviously received a number of nominations.