Hip V-day app’s for the socially awkward

All you smart phone users out there will be happy to know that there are a bevy of apps to help you over come your social awkwardness and meet that special Valentine this year.  Whether you want to meet someone new with a location based matchmaking service like Grindr (I know, I couldn’t believe they would write about this either), or use a Love Finger Scanner to determine if you are compatible to your blind OKcupid date, or find a poem for that special someone – rest assure, there is an App for that.

Valentine’s Day? There are apps for that

by Patrick May


With Valentine’s Day bearing down on us, app developers have come up with smartphone tools that can do just about anything short of guaranteeing you’ll be head over heads in love by Tuesday.

There are apps for both the valentine-ready (digital flowers, anyone?) and the valentine-hungry, including every type of mobile-dating tool imaginable. These darts in Cupid’s digital quiver, whether they’re for iPhone or Android, free and fee-based, range from sophisticated to silly to downright stupid.

Let’s start with the valentine-challenged. Once you’ve gotten into the mood by downloading Valentine’s Day Fun Facts on your Android and learned about the meaning of the color of roses, it’s time to go find someone you can actually give them to. Got an iPhone? Love your iPhone? Then go straight to Cupidtino, a meet-up app that will put you in touch with other lovers of all things Apple (AAPL).

“We’ve definitely seen a spike in traffic this week because of Valentine’s Day approaching,” says Amol Kelkar, 35, co-founder of the Seattle-based site. “People love the app even more than our website because they’d rather do their date-searching on the go. Plus they’re all Apple fans, so they’ll have plenty to talk about.”

One app firmly focused on the fine art of flirting is San Francisco-based Skout.

“Our app,” says founder Christian Wiklund, “helps inject serendipity into people’s lives.”Use Skout to send virtual flowers, teddy bears or even diamonds. The app’s free, though you pay anywhere from 20 cents to $10 in real money to send those not-so-real roses. Wiklund calls virtual gifts “a great icebreaker. When you get virtual flowers, the recipient has the same feeling as getting a real gift, because someone has sent them something that costs money.”

Skout, which asks a few initial questions to find out what sort of person you’re seeking, is one of a growing number of location-based apps that let you know how far away other app users are from you at any given moment. But in an effort to avoid seeming stalker-like, Skout doesn’t provide exact distances if that person is within a half mile of you.

But Grindr sure does. Because this wildly popular dating app for the gay community tells you if your potential valentine is within feet of you, Grindr makes Skout seem downright tame. “Two feet away?” Just look down the bar. Click the guy’s picture, click ”chat,” and you’re good to go.

“We find that if Valentine’s Day rolls around and you don’t have a valentine then Grindr’s that kick in the butt to remind you that maybe you should find someone,” says Joel Simkhai, founder and CEO of the 3-year-old app, which has both free and fee versions available for the iPhone and Android phones. “So each year around this time, we find a lot of our users go back on the hunt.”

Once you do find a potential date, download Valentine Scanner on your Android or Love Finger Scan on your iPhone. By pressing your and your date’s fingertips to the screen, these apps mysteriously determine how compatible you really are. Don’t ask how they do it. Just believe.

For all of you lucky enough to be in a Valentine-worthy relationship, the app choices are practically endless. Beyond the obvious ones — Godiva Mobile and 1800Flowers to name just two — the romantically inclined could spend a thousand Valentine’s Days wading through this thicket of digital desire.

Kiss My Valentine’s a free Android-only app that lets you set reminders for Valentine gifts and send timed greetings throughout the day to your loved ones in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

Wayne Irving, CEO of the app’s maker, Iconosys, says Kiss “was the solution to my own problem. I have three daughters and roughly 20 nieces I feel very close to. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to have an app that automatically sent out Valentine’s Day cards for me, because that’s a lot of postage, plus I’d usually forget half of them.”

Next, download LaDiDa, a cool iPhone app that lets you record a love song karaoke-style, make it sound respectable even if you can’t carry a note, and then send it to the love of your life. For $2.99, you’re made over into a professional singer, thanks to artificial intelligence that corrects the pitch of your voice.

While she or he is enjoying your offering, you’ll be downloading the free Apple Cards app, choosing the “Love” category of course, then creating your own Valentine’s Day card compete with a photo of your awesome mug. With a couple of clicks and a bit of sales tax and shipping, your card will be heading through the U.S. mail by the time he or she is done listening to you croon.

And if that’s not enough saccharine sweetness for one Valentine’s Day, download iWrite: Love Poems and let your 99-cent iPhone app help you compose instant sonnets for your Valentine, or at least come up with computer-generated poems as a fallback.

But you may have to let the computer try several times to get something suitable. A recent test-drive came up with a little dittie that could easily blow up in your face come Tuesday. It goes something like this:

I wish

I could receive

A rare thigh

And place it

On my nectar.