18 Nov 2012

Cool Apps for your Smart Phone

So, you have an iPhone. You’ve heard of all the amazing things it can do, but you don’t know how to harness its full potential. For that, you need apps, and with over 300,000 and counting apps in the App Store, finding the best ones is a Herculean task. Never fear, I’m here to help. This is a list of some apps that I think are highly useful, fun or just simply cool. And even better, they’re free, or most of them anyway.

Instagram: Launched in October 2010, and recently acquired by Facebook, Instagram is a free photo sharing app that allows users to take a photo, choose from various filters and upload to different social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and on Instagram itself. Sharing photos is a delight with this app, and its filters give a retro feel to pictures. Nigerians with Androids and iPhones favor this app, and love it because vanity is pretty much lauded on it. I mostly use it for the window seat view it offers into the lives of friends, family and random strangers, and because I’m a sucker for pretty pictures.

SoundHound: Ever heard a song playing somewhere and really liked it, but couldn’t identify it? SoundHound solves that problem with its audio recognition feature. Simply hold your phone to whatever’s playing, and SoundHound will record it and match it against the millions of songs in its database and pull up information about the song for you. Pretty cool? It gets better. You can sing or hum a tune and identify it. You also get links to its video if it has one, and lyrics, along with the option of buying it on iTunes. It also has LiveLyrics, which gives you real-time lyrics to whatever song you’re playing. One of my most handy apps, thanks to my interest in music that would be generally classified as weird. It’ll probably identity a Linkin Park song in a heartbeat, but a Davido song, not so much. Although this app is free, it has a pro version with added features.

TuneIn Radio: Although the iPhone does not come with a built-in radio, TuneIn Radio is a welcome alternative. Not only does it give access to local radio stations, it allows one listen to hundreds of stations around the world, using only an internet connection. This is another app that helps with my alternative music enthusiasm. It’ll be a while (or never) till The Beat or Cool FM starts playing anything that isn’t mainstream pop or African, so whenever I need a fix of indie rock or metal, I can head to Canada’s The Edge or GotRadio Indie Rock, amongst many others. All stations are categorized by preference, so finding stations is as easy as it can get. It’s free but has a pro version with extra features.

Temple Run: A simple yet engaging game by Imangi studios, this free app was once all the rage amidst iOs and recently, Android users. Play as an explorer who steals an idol from a temple and begins a never ending run, chased by demon monkeys. Dodge obstacles and collect gold coins as you attempt to complete the achievements. Hours of my life have been wasted thanks to this game, which brings me to the next app.

Angry Birds: Arguably the most addictive game ever, and a favorite amongst iOs users, this strategy game tests your ability to knock down barriers protecting snorting green pigs. Your only weapon is a couple of flightless birds launched by catapults. This game can get extremely frustrating, but you’ll always find yourself coming back for more. This game is free, but has scenes that are unlocked by purchasing the full version.

iBooks: Apple’s free eBook reader, iBooks is a necessary companion for the literary enthusiast. Its simplicity and functionality make it a pleasure to use. Opens books in various formats ranging from epub to pdf, and books can be purchased from Apple’s book store, which is stocked with a wide assortment of novels and even educational material.

Holy Bible/Quran: Necessary app for the modern day believer. Gain some vanity points when you pull out a super sleek iPhone or iPad at church/mosque, and your device probably weighs less than the average Bible/Quran anyway. Plus you can make notes; use a detailed concordance, among various features. With loads of religious apps out there, it’s no wonder pastors are becoming even more friendly with their devices.

Whatsapp Messenger: Nokia’s answer to the ubiquitous BBM, Whatsapp is a cross platform (meaning it’s also available for almost every device) chat application that works using nothing but your phone number. Once registered, you can send messages to your contacts that have the app as well. It seems pretty easy, but the real task lies in convincing your friends who use Blackberries to download it as well. This app costs $1 (about N100) on the App Store, but totally worth it. If you’ve got a GTB Mastercard you can pay for this easily, but if you’ve jailbroken your device (which is the smart thing to do anyway), you can download Installous from Cydia. Download Whatsapp with Installous, and install it and you’re good to go.

There you have it, some of the most useful apps you’ll ever find. Over time, you will discover many more, giving you the ability to do even more with your iPhone.

[Editor's note: Outside of Apple's iBook reader, these apps should be available for download on Andriod as well. Blackberry users? Get a better smart phone]

2012 9JEducation.org work study

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