Mike's NBC-TV stories

Who needs a watch?

Surveys show fewer and fewer people use watches and traditional clocks these days because more and more of us rely on our smartphones to tell us the time of day, remind us of appointments and wake us in the morning. I have some special apps may make the traditional alarm clock a thing of the past .

timeRise is a new app for the iPhone that is both simple to set and elegant to see. You just swipe, tap and set. The alarm display is sleek and minimal, perhaps the easiest one I’ve set up. Use music or sounds to wake you. Cost is $1.99 and it only works for the iPhone.

For Android and Apple, check out Wave Alarm. AT $2.99, this app uses your smartphone’s motion detection capabilities to shut the arm off. You don’t have to touch the screen to silence the alarm, just wave your hand. It also displays weather and lets you choose between alarm sounds and music.

If you have trouble getting up, try the Freaky Alarm. It won’t let you push the snooze control unless you first solve some puzzles and mind games, all designed, of course, to get you thinking…and wake your brain. It’s $1.99 for the iPhone.

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.