Stuff Gadget Awards 2014: Uber is the App of the Year

Public relations hiccups aside, the ride-sharing service tops our list of the year's finest phone software
Stuff Gadget Awards 2014: Uber is the best app of the year

Your smartphone might be a metal-and-glass slab of gorgeousness, but it's only as good as the apps you put on it.

Really, what good is that supercharged processor and 2K screen if you're not doing anything with it? We fill our phones with apps, but only a few of them are truly life-enhancing pieces of wonder software that will join the list of must-have staples. 

We've sifted through the clutter and picked out the year's finest efforts; but there can be only one winner, and it is...

READ MORE: All of our Gadget Awards 2014 winners

Winner: Uber

These are the 8 best apps of the year

Uber's been in the news lately for a number of reasons – not all of them positive. But we're not here to judge them on their corporate ethos; just on the product they've produced.

The fact is, as apps go Uber is excellent. Just open it up and it'll use GPS to find you. Not long after that, there'll be a driver along to pick you up. It's cheap too. And with more places being added all the time, it means an end to aimless wandering of foreign streets looking for a taxi rank, or getting ripped off by 'tourist tax'. If only they could launch an Uber for bacon baps, we'd be at peak humanity.

READ MORE: Spotify and Uber link up to enable in-car music streaming

Runner-up: Hyperlapse

These are the 8 best apps of the year

Instagram's new app lets you warp time more efficiently than Christopher Nolan; condensing your moving footage into a timelapse video that lasts mere seconds. It's undeniably impressive; particularly when you factor in the amazing image stabilisation that makes it look like you've shot the whole thing with a Steadicam rig.

READ MORE: Instagram's got a new standalone app – and it's called Hyperlapse 

Runner-up: Dice

These are the 8 best apps of the year

Want the hottest ticket in town? You need to give Dice a roll; it's a curated ticketing app that picks out the best gigs in London, and lets you book tickets without paying exorbitant booking fees. There's everything from upcoming bands playing shows in pubs for a fiver, to superstars at the O2 – take your pick.

Runner-up: Dark Sky

These are the 8 best apps of the year

How we scoff at the nebulous forecasts of weathermen and barometers – after all, there's no way it could rain later when the sky is cloudless and blue. But Dark Sky's eerlily specific weather predictions are not to be ignored – not when it can tell you that yes, it will rain, and for precisely seven minutes at 6:45pm. Fire up this app and you need never fret about whether you need that brolly again.

READ MORE: Try this right now: Dark Sky

Runner-up: Jinn

These are the 8 best apps of the year

The problem with online shopping is that you don't get that hit of instant gratification; you want your stuff now, not tomorrow or Thursday between the hours of 8am and 7pm. Enter Jinn: a courier delivery service that'll pick up whatever you want and deliver it right into your eager clutches. It's London-only for the moment, but should be rolling out nationwide soon.

READ MORE: Six of the best time-saving apps

Runner-up: Pixelmator

These are the 8 best apps of the year

Tablets are great, but their image editing apps have always felt like toys compared to the full-fat versions found on desktop computers; fine for tweaking snaps, but hobbled by limited feature sets. Pixelmator is different; this iPad app is a fully-featured image editor, with layers, filters and retouching tools enabling you to tinker with your pics to your heart's content.

READ MORE: Pixelmator review

Runner-up: Google Cardboard

These are the 8 best apps of the year

Google has gone all Blue Peter with its latest innovation – a DIY virtual reality kit that you make with old boxes and sticky-backed plastic (ask a grown-up to help you cut out the cardboard). Once you've put it together, fire up the app and you can turn your smartphone into a fully-fledged VR headset for browsing Google Earth and watching YouTube.

READ MORE: How to make Google Cardboard from scratch

Runner-up: AppyParking

These are the 8 best apps of the year

Don't fancy paying through the nose for a space in a multi-storey car park?  AppyParking will save you the trouble of scouring the backstreets, telling your where all the paid-for (and free) parking zones are, and when restrictions apply. Green zones are currently free, red zones are off-limits; it'll even point you towards available driveways using ParkatmyHouse.

READ MORE: AppyParking will give you hours of your life back

READ MORE: All of our Gadget Awards 2014 winners