There are countless ways in which you can stay in touch with your partner – SMS, email, Facebook and phone calls – but all of these have their limitations. Text messages are limited to text, social networks are too public and phone calls are not always practical.
Avocado provides couples with a means of staying connected, creating what is essentially a private network that can be used to send messages, photos and share lists. This is a simple but surprisingly versatile app and we take a look to put it through its paces.
You can create an Avocado account via the service web site or after downloading the app, and you’ll then be guided through the process of inviting your partner to join and setting up a shared password that you will use to access it. Quite why both users are required to use the same password is unclear; it would make more sense to allow each to set up their own as this offers greater privacy.
Once you’re up and running, the first screen of the app serves a dual purpose. From here you can send text and photo messages to your partner, but it also acts as an activity log so you can see at a glance what has been happening in your shared account.
The activity page shows you what’s been going on and can be used to send messages
When sending a photo you can choose between selecting an existing image from the gallery or taking a new shot, and there is also the interesting ability to create your own emoticons using photos of your own face. To speed up sending certain messages, you can set up ‘quick notes’, stock words and phrases that can be sent with a single tap.
Create your own emoticons and save typing with quick notes
Lists Photos and More
While the messaging side of Avocado is handy, the list making and management side of the app is likely to be the one that is used the most. A list can be anything from a shopping list, a set of instructions, a recipe, and anything else you can reduce to a series of bullet points.
You can create a new list and see how many entries are in existing lists
If you and you partner are out shopping together, the list can be used to prevent duplicate purchases. If you split up to head to different shops separately, you can tick off items as you buy them and this will be synced so that your partners can see the most up to date version of the shopping list.
A shared shopping list is a great way to get things done faster when you’re out
Moving to the next section of the app gives you the chance to work with photos. This gives you a way to keep a record of interesting things you see that you would like to remember but it is a shame to see that there are no options for organizing images, You are presented with what is essentially a single folder and no option to create additional sub-folders or albums, or the ability to tag images to make them easier to find.
Avocado’s image handling is a little disappointing due to the lack of options
Settings and Online
In terms of settings, there is little to concern yourself with in the app – the only options available to you are to sign out of your account and to select a profile picture… that’s it.
If there’s an accusation that could be levelled at Avocado, it is not that there are too many options to configure
From a cost point of view, it is somewhat annoying that an app that has been designed to be used on at least two devices has to be paid for more than once. You could get around this by installing one copy of the app on a phone or tablet and have your partner use the web based version of the service, but the app does make things easier from a mobile use point of view so you are encouraged into making an additional purchase.
The web side of things holds up well and look very similar to the Android app, and you may actually find that it is easier to set up longer lists online in this way rather than battle with a tiny keyboard. It is worth noting that there is also an iOS version of the app available for household that are not Android-only zones.
The Avocado web site makes it easier to type lengthy lists and manage your account
There are problems with the web site. While you will receive a notification on your phone when your partner sends you a message or does something else in your account, this is not the case online. While it some respects it might seem counter intuitive to have an email alert sent out as notification of a message being received, it would be a handy addition. After all, if you are not constantly checking the web site you would not know if your partner had tried to contact you via Avocado.
It is not really clear what Avocado wants to be. On the one hand it is a somewhat useful tool for collaboration, but there are plenty of better of alternative available that offers a greater level of control over what you are doing. On the other hand it is, as the developer’s description suggests, a way to build up an “archive of your relationship for walks down memory lane”.
Ultimately, Avocado is an app that’s worth taking a look at. It provides a helpful way to share a shopping list and a free alternative to text messaging if nothing else. For now this is one to watch as there is definite potential for this to improve.