1. Alarm Clock Extreme
The worst sound in the world is not the noise Jim Carrey makes in Dumb & Dumber — it’s the sound of your morning alarm, no matter what jingle it is. But it won’t be quite as obnoxious with Alarm Clock Extreme. You can set the app to to slowly increase the alarm’s volume to wake you up gently. If you’re a repeat snoozer, set up the large snooze button so that it prompts you to solve math problems to dismiss the alarm or snooze. Looking to cut down on your snoozing? You can set the snooze period to decrease after each alarm and set a maximum number of snoozes to ensure you’re out of bed in a timely manner. There is a free version with ads and a paid version, which goes for $1.99.
If you’re looking for more insights into your sleep patterns, you might want to try Sleep As Android.
Start your day off on the right foot with your daily email from Sunrise, the brainchild of Pierre Valade and Jeremy Le Van, who developed the app while doing UI design at Foursquare last year. Sunrise is a web app that integrates Facebook, Google Calendar, LinkedIn, Eventbrite and more into a gorgeous morning digest. Emails include weather information, your day’s events (from whichever Google calendars you’d like the email to include) with thumbnails and job details of the people involved. At the bottom of each email, you’ll find thumbnails of your friends who are celebrating their birthday that day. Need to reschedule or change the venue for one of your meetings? Just tap the arrow to send an email to all of the event participants.
The email subject tells you how many events and birthdays you have that day, and it hits your inbox by 7 a.m. so you never miss a beat.
If you’re not a morning person, you probably don’t have time for a full-on morning workout before hustling out the door. But you want to get your metabolism going strong and get your workout out of the way so it doesn’t get knocked off the agenda later in the day (been there). One elegant solution is Sworkit, which offers circuit training in chunks ranging from five to 60 minutes. At 8 a.m., we’re probably going to opt for a quick five-minute workout (though it’s nice to know we can go longer, if we want).
Workouts focus on strength training, yoga or cardio, all in circuits (hence the app’s name). Once you select the style, you can select a body area to focus on (or go for the full-body workout). For all of the exercises in Sworkit, the only equipment you need is your own body, and the app builds randomized circuit training workouts for you, so your muscles won’t get used to a certain routine.
“Anyone can do this in their bedroom, hotel, or anywhere you can imagine,” says Ryan Hanna, a former U.S. Army officer and the founder of Sworkit. Embedded videos in the app will show you the ropes for each move, making the app noob-proof.
Sworkit offers a free version and Sworkit Pro, which goes for $0.99.
TED talks are a great way to start your day. All less than 20 minutes in length, these videos impart quick wisdom from scientists, educators, researchers, entrepreneurs, tech luminaries musicians and more.
The free app has more than 1,200 talks, and more are always added, so you can start every day by learning something new.
Guide takes web content and transforms it into broadcast-style news, read by a robot. The app is currently in an invite-only alpha phase, but will launch in public beta in early March. Like in magazine-style newsreaders Flipboard and Pulse, you sync up your Facebook and Twitter feeds, and Guide will look for article links, ignoring text or photo updates. If you have Twitter lists, you can set them up as “channels” on Guide, and you can also import feeds from Google Reader and other RSS feeds. Guide also has curated lists that users can subscribe to. These bits of news are great for consuming while you’re in the shower, drinking your morning coffee or lying in bed for one last snooze interval.
“Guide aims to deliver on the future we’ve been promised in sci-fi movies, giving us a familiar and friendly technology with which to interact as we process information, gain knowledge and retrieve and catalog important life moments,” explains Leslie Bradshaw, COO of Guide. “We are starting with news reading, but ultimately we see Guide’s roadmap leading to the creation of a user interface and interaction model for everything. Our ambitions are part visual Siri, part HAL9000, part Total Recall, part Minority Report and part Iron Man’s JARVIS.”
If you’re like me, you need some tunes while you’re getting ready. Press play on a fun playlist to wake yourself up and prep to face the day. You can subscribe to playlists like the Billboard Hot 100, subscribe to your tastemaker friends or compile your own playlist for easy listening. The streaming service offers a free version (with ads), a $4.99 a month version (no ads) and a premium $9.99 a month version (offline and mobile streaming, no ads).
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