intro: Have you found your lobster? Want to keep tabs on your "Avocado"? Many people's desire to stay in contact with their better half throughout the day has created a market of apps for couples.
Staying connected to your partner, easily and privately, is something that Chris Wetherell, the co-creator and CEO of an app called Avocado, referred to as "surreptitious co-presence."
"It sounds horrible, but it is actually a good thing," Wetherell said. "The idea is you have this open mic channel to this other person and that you are keeping it open to that other person while other stuff is going on."
This experience is something apps targeted specifically at couples, like Avocado, are striving to give users, an interesting goal in a world currently focused on figuring out how to best communicate effectively with the largest number of people via platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
"All of those things don't have features which are perfect for couples. They just don't," Wetherell said. "You have to do all this work. You have to change the settings on your phone. Change the settings on your email. Go to a dozen different places. Set up a shared calendar. Make sure other people can't see it. And that is because communication behaves wildly different in a public atmosphere than how it behaves in a private one."
Wetherell said the idea for Avocado came through this frustration that many people have experienced when trying to force settings for email, calendars and other tools to work inside a social media network with a population of two.
"The world's most common social arrangement, crossing every social and ethnic boundaries ever, has no specific communication platform," Wetherell said.
Here are five apps, all free for IOS and Andriod, that are working to change that.
quicklist: 1 category: Apps for Couples title: Avocado, Free for iOS, Android, and Web url: media:20806712 text: The Avocado app offers private chat setting, the most basic necessity of an app meant for two, which lets users send pictures, texts and videos in one secure place. It also allows users to share lists and calendars in one place and gives them the ability to pinpoint their location through the GPS feature on their phone.
What makes Avocado different from other couples apps, aside from its artistic layout, are a few features that focus on promoting that "surreptitious co-presence" feeling, namely the ability to "hug" and "kiss" your "boo" from afar. The app asks you to hold the phone to your lips or your heart, and vibrates in reaction, letting the other person know you've made contact.
The app also allows users to "sketch" and put stickers on pictures and personalize emoticons with pictures of yourself in different moods.
And for those who don't get the reference in the app's name, the avocado fruit only grows in pairs.
quicklist: 2 category: Apps for Couples title: Couple, Free for iOS and Android url: media:20806337 text: Previously known as Pair, the app changed its name when it acquired its U.K. rival, Cupple, and merged the two under the new name, Couple.
Like Avocado, Couple also offers private chat, lists, calendar and GPS location features.
But it has its own version of hugs and kisses through its real-time "thumbkiss" feature, which allows you to see where your partner places his thumb on your screen, which vibrates and turns red when you "touch."
The Couple app's chat feature automatically groups all of its user's photos, videos and sketches into a "Moments" section, so you can easily see the things you have previously shared.
It also offers "Live Sketch," which lets you draw a picture together or play a game of tic-tac-toe.
Oleg Kostour, the co-founder and CEO of Couple, said he and his partners all have a personal connection to the app because it was originally developed as way for them to keep in contact with their long-distance partners when they moved from Canada to California to start TenthBit Inc.
Kostour stressed Couple's desire to keep a level of intimacy in their design. "When we were developing the newest version for iOS 7 there were a lot of app designers trying to put in this new header bar, and instead we opted to have a wallet photo of your partner," he said. "We want the whole experience to become more about the two of you and not us as a brand."
In the next few weeks, Kostour said Couple will be releasing a new web app that will "give users a much more intimate experience when chatting on the web than Facebook, and the other alternatives."
quicklist: 3 category: Apps for Couples title: Kahnoodle, Free for iOS (Coming Soon to Android) url: media:20806282 text: Kahnoodle makes a game out of your relationship, literally.
By allowing you to fill up a "love tank" as you earn "kudos" from your partner for the sweet things you do for them, you can accumulate points towards the "digital love coupons" your partner has created for you. The coupons can be selected from premade ones available in the app or customized by your partner.
The app reminds you to give your partner kudos for something he or she has done if you haven't a while, which is a nice feature if you want to keep up with the game.
The app also offers special deals on dates based on your location through Yipit, an online deal and coupon aggregator.
Currently, Kahnoodle is only available on iOS, but promises to be on Android soon.
quicklist: 4 category: Apps for Couples title: Tokii, Free for Amazon, Android, and iOS url: media:20806965 text: Would it make your life easier if you knew your partner's mood at all times? With the ability to "set your mood" in the Tokii app, users can be more aware of their partner's state even when they are apart.
If you like to talk about feelings, Tokii is the choice for you. Whether through updating your mood stats as they change throughout the day, or revealing how you feel through over 300 games and quizzes -- ranging from light hearted to the more serious, "Should We Move In Together?" -- the app encourages open communication.
However, one aspect of the app that users have complained about is that it doesn't have all the features of the Tokii website, like the TradingPost, a "bartering system" for couples.
quicklist: 5 category: Apps for Couples title: Between, Free for iOS and Android url: media:20806442 text: One of the "oldest" apps of the relatively young relationship app market is Between, which was founded in South Korea in 2011.
Unlike other apps for couples, Between is more focused on just hosting a private chatting platform, but it has an international presence and is most popular in Asia. The app accommodates 13 languages, including Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Indonesian, Thai, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and German.
In 2012, after Between's one millionth download, Forbes reported that Between's users accessed the app an average of 300 minutes per month, in comparison to Facebook users at 405 minutes per month and Twitter users at 21 minutes a month.