Find a date, grab a coffee on the go, book a fabulous vacation destination, breeze through airport check-in or unload some of the junk in your basement.
If you’re just tuning in, we’re in the midst of picking the winners in 13 categories — ranging from Startup of the Year to Innovation of the Year to Geek of the Year — as part of the annual GeekWire Awards, recognizing the top people, companies and innovations in Pacific Northwest technology.
We’re nearing the end of voting in each of 13 categories, with GeekWire readers choosing their top picks. To vote in each category, visit this page. All of the winners will be revealed at the GeekWire Awards — presented by Wave Broadband — on May 7 at EMP.
A big thanks to Tune, the presenting sponsor for the App of the Year category.
See below for descriptions of each finalist, and vote here.
Alaska Airlines: Let’s face it, no one likes getting stuck in airport lines. Alaska Airlines — a longtime innovator in online travel — wants to help travelers avoid those headaches and many others with its mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The Seattle-based company has overhauled its lineup of mobile apps, allowing geeky travelers to book trips straight from the app, manage their mileage balance, keep up with the details of the trips that they already have booked and choose open seats on flights.
Of course, one of the best ongoing features remains the ability to download a mobile boarding pass direct to your phone — skipping the kiosks at the airport and eliminating the need for a paper-based ticket.
While many airline apps struggle to keep their technology aloft, as it were, frequent Alaska Airlines traveler and GeekWire correspondent Blair Hanley Frank noted last summer that the Alaska Airlines app has yet to fail him.
Dwellable: Finding the perfect vacation destination is no easy chore, but Dwellable takes some of the pain out of the experience with its newly-updated travel app that includes more than 300,000 vacation listings. That may not be as many as rival VRBO, but Dwellable has taken a quality-over-quantity approach while at the same time focusing on the mobile and tablet experience.
Earlier this month, Dwellable — led by Urbanspoon co-founder Adam Doppelt, Snapvine co-founder Nathan Kriegeand former Mpire CEO Kirby Winfield — rolled out a new version of the iOS app that’s best described as “Tinder for travel.” Users of the app now can easily swipe and sort properties they love.
“We wanted an app that you could get lost in, that felt like a game; something that strived to deliver a similar emotional experience to actually going on vacation,” Dwellable wrote in a blog post. Users also can draw a circle on a map, searching just for properties in that selected area.
OfferUp: This classified listings provider is looking to take a bite out of CraigsList, focusing intently on the mobile experience. The iOS app, which boasts a healthy 4.5 star rating in the app store, allows individuals to buy or sell just about anything — handbags, bicycles, baby clothes — in a few seconds.
One app store reviewer bluntly notes that OfferUp is far better than CraigsList.
“It’s convenient, easy to use, and you can pick and choose how, when, with who you sell or buy something with that makes you comfortable,” the reviewer said.
OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar has kept a pretty low profile in recent years, but reports circulated earlier this year that the company was looking to raise between $60 million and $100 million from Andreessen Horowitz. Things must be going pretty well.
Siren: There’s no shortage of dating apps on the market. But Seattle-based contemporary digital artist and entrepreneur Susie Lee is taking a different approach with Siren, a mobile app that launched last summer and seeks to empower women by allowing them to make the first move.
Features of Siren include a “Question of the Day” designed to elicit responses that shed light on users’ personalities more effectively than filling out a profile page.
On most dating apps, Lee said that women appear almost like “pinned insects under a spotlight.”
“We’ve created the first mobile platform designed for unexpected and constructive flirting,” Lee told GeekWire at the time of the launch. “Think about the dynamic between a man and a woman when they first have chemistry … She can give you the signals that she’s actually interested in talking with you.” That’s what Siren is aiming to recreate in the app.
Starbucks Mobile Ordering: The coffee retailer launched Mobile Order and Pay in its hometown of Seattle last month, creating an easy way for latte lovers to get their morning jolt in a jiffy — bypassing the lines and the register.
The concept, which first launched in Portland last December, is pretty simple and straightforward, as GeekWire reporters Taylor Soper and Tricia Duryee described in their video report from the front lines of a Seattle-area Starbucks last month. Download the most recent version of the Starbucks app, click “Order” and then select the items you’d like for pick-up from a store in your vicinity.
A few minutes after the order is completed, the coffee is waiting for you on the counter. Does it get more Seattle than this?
Don’t forget to grab your tickets for the GeekWire Awards. This event usually sells out. And this year, things will be especially geeky as we open up the amazing Star Wars costume exhibit at EMP to all GeekWire Awards guests. What better way to get your geek on than go face-to-face with Chewbacca!