Winter of 2012 is still plodding along, but with Valentine’s Day now right around the corner, old-fashioned love and romance are suddenly in the air. Thanks to the miracles of modern smartphone technology, you might be able to do a better job than anyone in history of wooing the one you love on and before that age-old Special Day. What you need is the right apps.
With that in mind, we’ve downloaded and played with a sweet selection of Valentine’s Day apps for both iPhones and Androids. Here are ten of the best. These apps will help you to create a card, choose a gift, plan the day, or just get you — and your significant other — in the right mood for romance.
While there are scores if not hundreds of paid Valentine-related apps vying for your attention, all but two of these ten are free. The paid ones cost a mere 99 cents each. Even in these economic times, that should leave you with enough money in your pocket for a wine and candlelight dinner, a touchie-feelie movie, and an intimate good night (or good morning!) smooch.
iPhone and Android
Don’t bother spending time, energy and money finding and downloading your favorite albums and song selections to your smartphone, when Valentine Radio provides you with an instant selection of national, international and Internet radio stations broadcasting love and romance.
The stations — which have nicely suggestive names like Radio Love Live, Todoexitos Romantico and Candelight Radio — list the types of tunes they play — Love Songs, Easy Listening, Valentine, etc. — as well as where they’re broadcasting from — Netherlands, Italy, Costa Rica, United States, and so on. Presently, our favorite Valentine’s Day radio station is M2 Love: Only Love Songs. Naturally, it’s broadcasting live from the love capital of the world: Paris, France.
Far more popular than candy or flowers — or jewelry or alcohol — is the ubiquitous Valentine’s Day card. Now, though, instead of sending and receiving canned Hallmark moment heart-encrusted paper cards via snail mail, it’s much more likely that you’ll be exchanging custom-designed electronic cards through Facebook or email.
Be Mine (Lite) provides even graphics-illiterate lovers with simple, easy-to-use tools to help create, assemble, polish and deliver custom, one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day cards. It has lots of fun elements — different shaped and colored hearts, lips, cupids, stamps, etc. — that you can size and place, embellish with text, and electronically zip to your lover’s smartphone.
Valentine Day Ringtones
This app gives you 35 free romantic ringtones that will pump the sounds of love into the air every time your significant other calls (or your favorite bookie, pizza delivery guy, dog walking service…)
You won’t get much of a clue what each ringtone sounds like just from the titles (catchy little names like valentine funny, very romantic piano, or Feb 14 gift). However, pressing the play buttons and then assigning contacts will let your hear and customize your phone rings.
There are some really nice tunes in here that will float your boat every time you hear them, but If you don’t preview the ringtones before installing them, you could end up listening to a truly annoying and repetitive Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks’ refrain: “like I luv you baaaby, mm waaa waaa waa waa!!!”
Valentine’s Day calls for some sort of special entertainment anyway, right? So O.K, how much do you really know about Valentine’s Day, anyway? Here’s a trivia game that you can play — alone or with that special someone — to find out.
For instance, in the 16th century, which of the following was considered an aphrodisiac by physicians: butter, sugar, chocolate, or tea leaves? (Answer: Same answer as the 21st century, and we like ours dark and bittersweet.) Or, was it Blake, Kipling, Byron or Chaucer who popularized sending cards on Valentine’s Day? (Answer: That happened centuries before the post office even got started!)
Unfortunately, there are only 20 questions in each Quizzle (but you’ll go on to the next Quizzle once you guess your 20). You’ll learn far, far more about St. Valentine’s Day than you may care to know. However, Quizzle is fun, and the app is free. Now we’ll help you crib some more. Question: how many boxes of candy are given worldwide on Valentine’s Day? Answer: 36 million!
It’s not an encyclopedia, and you can’t search for just the right word or phrase or passage, but somewhere in this large (700+) and eclectic collection you might discover a poem that will resonate in your lover’s heart.
Each poem is complete and beautifully formatted (though you can change the font and type size), with author attribution at the bottom, ready for emailing, tweeting, or Facebooking.
Alternatively, you can hold the poem surreptitiously in the palm of your hand and read it aloud (although whether or not you want to claim authorship depends upon your literary ability and hutzpah quotient).
You could tediously build a database of your lover’s favorite things, important dates and anniversaries, and personal traits, such as clothing sizes.
On the other hand, you could enter that same information into Helpful Romantic and quickly create a visually attractive composite that transforms facts and figures into playful suggestions, advice, and reminders that can make your Valentine’s Day (and every other special day) more interesting and meaningful.
The advice snippets are short and to the point, although we’d like to see more specifics — let’s say, the names of recommended romantic movies rather than simply a suggestion to take your girlfriend to a chick flick.
3D Roses Wallpaper
If you’ve installed those love ring tones from DreamRing on your Android phone, maybe it’s time to spiff up that touchscreen with stunningly gorgeous St. Valentine’s Day-themed wallpaper — if you like flowers, that is.
In this collection are two dozen of the most beautiful, eye-popping, highly stylized real, virtual, and artificial roses you have ever seen.
Besides the traditional red, pink and white roses, there are roses in computer-enhanced blue, purple, and lavender colors that nature would have been proud to propagate.
You can easily cycle among the collection in between calls or text messages, although your eye might linger so long that you forget what you want to say (and to whom!).
This confusingly named app turns out to be aimed at helping find the perfect Valentine’s gift for your girlfriend. Actually, it’s a fountainhead of ideas and suggestions to make this a particularly memorable St. Valentine’s Day for both of you.
Here are a few: do a massage with scented bath oil, cook a home-made meal, give her a teddy bear, recreate your first date, burn a CD full of her favorite music, take her to a day spa or a country inn weekend, and so on.
Some hints are only a few words or a sentence long, while others explain at greater length. Sorry, though, there’s no sure-fire guarantee that what you pick out and give is what your girlfriend really wants.
(If you’re looking to find the perfect gift for your boyfriend instead, spitwebsolution produces an equivalent app called — what else? — Gift Ideas for Boyfriend.)
Countdown (Valentine’s Day)
Tap your screen and the Valentine’s Day digital countdown displays against (a) a snowy heart-shaped cloud; (b) two bunnies kissing and holding paws as tiny purple hearts descend; (c) a shell-shocked looking teddy bear framed against a flower-and-shower background, holding an over-sized red heart.
Even if you don’t yet have a significant other to share The Day with when it finally arrives, there are changeable links at the bottom.
For instance, you can take an eHarmony dating quiz to help discover your future lover.
Countdown to Valentine’s Day
Here’s another countdown clock, but this one is for Android. The app will remind you of how many days, hours, minutes and seconds you have left to win your sweetheart with bribes, baubles, and/or other romantic gestures.
The angel wings and white clouds don’t make a lot of sense to us, nor does the book-like folder that doesn’t open, but the elongated red heart and digital countdown is sure to let you know when The Big Day has gotten here.
If you’ve tried out the other apps we’ve suggested, you should be very, very ready when it does.