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app of the year

We’re living in a mobile world, and some of the top apps for smartphones and tablets are developed right here in the Pacific Northwest. This is your chance to help pick the best of the best. We’re opening up the public voting today for the App of the Year category in the GeekWire Awards.

Awards 2016The competition is steep. Our finalists include breakthrough apps and novel concepts from some of the region’s top entrepreneurial minds, as well as new and innovative apps from corporate giants.

App of the Year is presented by Salesforce. As with all GeekWire Awards categories, the five finalists were selected by our panel of industry judges, after our community nomination process earlier this month.

For the next two weeks, we’re opening voting in each of 13 GeekWire Awards categories, with GeekWire readers choosing their top picks from finalists selected by our panel of judges from community nominations. Check back on GeekWire each day to cast your ballots, or visit here to see the other categories). All of the winners will be revealed at the GeekWire Awards — presented by Wave — on May 12 at EMP.

Last year’s App of the Year was Siren, the mobile dating app made with women in mind. Vote here for your favorite, grab your tickets below, and continue reading for details on the finalists.

dollyDolly: Founded in 2014 and led by former Wetpaint executive Mike Howell, Dolly is like an “Uber for deliveries” that connects smartphone owners needing to move big, bulky items with vetted contractors who have large enough trucks to do the job.

Those with something to move can use Dolly’s app to answer questions about their items, connect with a driver, and get a price. The user can then set up a 30-minute pickup window and track their delivery with real-time GPS. Price is determined by distance, item count, and specific details about an item, while payment is made through the app.

Dolly is available for iOS and Android.

spare5Spare5: The first startup born out of the Madrona Venture Labs incubator, Spare5 enables everyday people to perform short tasks on their smartphone — like photo tagging, price guessing, and simple surveys — in exchange for payment.

The company makes money by charging one-time or monthly fees to e-commerce companies who use the platform to have work completed by screened candidates who must take a questionnaire and are graded by an algorithm after each task.

Customers of Spare5 come from a wide variety of industries and use cases. For example, Getty Images uses the platform to improve subjective descriptions, relevant keywords, and SEO for its photos. Groupon asks Spare5 users to help update metadata on merchant listings. Other customers include United Way, which uses Spare5 to improve its data on King County demographics.

Spare 5 is available for iOS and web, and an Android version is planned.

offerupOfferUp: This app from the Bellevue, Wash.-based company connects buyers and sellers looking to unload or purchase everything from sewing machines to sofa beds.

Yes, it’s a challenger to Craigslist, but built from the ground up for the mobile world, with easy browsing and posting of items, and the ability for buyers and sellers to quickly message each other from inside the app. OfferUp is testing mobile payments in Seattle, as well.

OfferUp recently announced that it’s on pace for more than $14 billion worth of transactions this year. That’s 13 times the number of transactions in the marketplace as this time last year — major progress toward the critical mass required to build an effective marketplace.

OfferUp is available for Android and iOS.

outlookOutlook for iOS and Android: Microsoft has made huge strides with its mobile apps for iOS and Android, through a combination of internal development work and acquisitions.

Exhibit A: Outlook for iOS and Android, based upon the Acompli mobile email technology acquired by Microsoft last year.

The app stands out for features including seamless file management and calendar integration. For people who get a lot of email, the killer feature in Outlook is the app’s built in message filtering. Outlook only displays push notifications for messages that it deems important, rather than inundating people with the full firehose of all the email they receive. The Verge calls Outlook the best mobile email app for iPhone.

Outlook is available for iOS and Android.

starbucksStarbucks with Postmates delivery: This partnership between the coffee giant and delivery startup lets Starbucks mobile app users order food and drink for delivery within an hour, but the company says most orders will arrive in 30 minutes or less. The service is being tested in the Seattle region for now, via the Starbucks app for iOS.

The delivery service, available between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., is an extension of the Mobile Order & Pay feature that already lets Starbucks customers place and pay for their order before they arrive at the coffee shop. It uses the same behind-the-scenes technology infrastructure and the process is much the same for the baristas who make the order. But under Starbucks’ partnership with Postmates, a courier instead picks up the customer’s order.

Vote for your favorite app above. The winner will be announced May 12 at the GeekWire Awards at EMP. Grab your tickets here or below, and see you there!

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