The Interactive portion of the festival cultivates more attendees than either music or film, so you can bet your nerdy butt that you’re going to run into someone excited to school you on so-and-so’s “breakthrough UI!” I would know; this will be my 6th year in attendance, but only my first with an iPhone. That being said, I’ve been working hard and doing my research to present my top five apps for SxSW 2012. (Please let there not be a repeat of the SxSW iPhone meltdown of 2009!)
1. SxSW GO: This is the official SxSW app and your ultimate guide to all events. You can browse, “favorite” or add each event to your calendar, complete with a reminder. You can file events by day, category (a must for those with platinum badges) and even proximity to current location. This year, you can share your favorite events via Twitter, Facebook, Email or SMS, but we’ve got other apps for that!
2. Path: Unfortunately, the days of pen and paper documentation are over. With Smartphones on the rise, point-and-shoot cameras are becoming obsolete as well. Path is a “smartjournal” app where you can quickly share thoughts, photos, videos, and locations with friends. Save and record concert footage, celebrity pictures, panel quotes and memorable locations; When the week is over, you and your friends will be able to re-live the “path” you took at SxSW in a more realistic way than ever before!
3. Instagram: Before this photo sharing app hit SxSW last year, it hit over 2 million users in less than six months. This year, Instagram will take Austin by storm with a larger variety of filters, a faster camera, a cleaner UI and a new enhancement option. Watch out for panels and events featuring Instaprint booths, where you can print your photos by tagging the panel name or location!
4. Foodspotting: It might just be me, but food comes to mind before live music and weirdness when I think about Austin. Rightfully so, because Austin has some of the tastiest and most diverse food you’ll find in Texas, and the best of it makes its way to Foodspotting. With this award-winning app at SxSW, you can find the yummiest food near you, and even get the low down on where you can get the noms for free! Once you download it, head over to the Foodspotting Street Food Fest, sponsored by Chow.com.
5. Plancast: Not that you’re ever going to run out of things to do during SxSW, but download Plancast and you’re guaranteed a plethora of options. Like Facebook events, but on steroids, it takes your location and lists upcoming events around the area. Shows, panels, improv movements – you name it – it’ll be on Plancast.
There you have it, my picks for this year’s top smart phone applications. Just remember, SxSW is a time for experiencing. As important as it is to give followers a play-by-play of your week, try not to keep your head down and fingers typing while you experience one of the best festivals Texas has to offer! If you’ve got more suggestions for apps essential for SxSW 2012, comment below or tweet me @Rochambeaux.