Most everyone owns a cell phone, but hardly anyone uses it just for a phone. With the advent of smart phones, there are literally thousands of applications, or “Apps” to make life easier and more fun. Apps are used for everything from entertainment, weather, shopping, directions, socializing, travel to business.
Some of the more popular apps for social media include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. For music, there is Pandora, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Sound Cloud, and Shazam. Popular weather apps include The Weather Channel, Accuweather, Weatherbug and Weather Underground.
There are apps for cooks too, such as Food Network, Grub Hub, Yum, and All Recipes. There are also many shopping discount apps now like Wish, Retail Me Not, and Overstock which can save you money.
Of course the most popular apps are games. They are a great way to relax and kill some time while keeping your mind sharp. Some of the more popular phone games are still Angry Birds, Candy Crush and Game of War.
Some charge for their apps, but there are a lot out there that don’t cost anything at all to download and enjoy. Here are a few of my favorite apps that cost nothing at all to download and use:
When it comes to music, I think that Shazam offers the most variety for your overall music needs. If you hear a song playing on the TV or radio, just turn on Shazam and it will listen to what’s playing. It will not only tell you the name of the song, but will give you the song lyrics, the name of the band, their other songs and other related information. You can also do manual searches of songs on Shazam and listen to anything or any type of music you want.
Coming in a close second is Pandora. This is like finding the perfect radio station to listen to because you tell it what you want to hear. Put in the name of your favorite artist or group, and it will start a channel of that kind of music. All the songs that play may not be by the artist you select, but their songs play as well as other artists who sound similar. The station will play until you decide to change it. You can make and save as many channels as you want, switching between them all at any given time.
A game is a game, and they are what they are. I enjoy playing the various games offered out there, but I have found an app that can entertain me for hours on end – and it’s not a game. It’s called StumbleUpon. I think the reason some people settle for playing a game is because they feel they have just exhausted their time on Facebook and Pinterest and can’t find anything else interesting to do.
When you start using StumbleUpon you mark some items that interest you from a given list. From there, you start “stumbling.” From your list of interests, the app will find websites out there with topics that you might like. Every time you hit, or swipe the screen, the website changes to another item of interest. You can stay there and look at it, or stumble to a completely different one. Stumble, or swipe, over and over again.
My other favorite non-game entertainment site is Flipboard. It is similar to Pinterest, a site that gathers items of interest for you. But unlike Pinterest, you can gather items for your own boards and then other people subscribe to your boards, just as you subscribe to theirs. Topics could include humor, photography, odd news and animals. As a participant on Flipboard myself, I follow 25 different boards, but I have 42 boards of my own with over 10,000 followers. I add to most of these boards daily. I enjoy finding items to share on Flipboard and I like reading the comments from my followers.
A great app I have on my phone is called S Health. This app is a lifestyle companion that tracks your fitness, weight, diet, food and sleep – which are all connected to your health. The more you interact with it, the more it can do for you in helping to keep you healthy. It also has a built-in pedometer. Keeping my phone in my pocket helps the S Health app keep track of how much walking I do. If I’ve been at my desk for too long, the app will alert and suggest a walk. Throughout the day it will tell me how much I’ve walked and will suggest some activity. Using it with the particular phone I have, it can also check my heart rate and other information. This is a great tool for anyone looking to improve and stay on top of their health issues.
So, as much as we pay for those phones, we might as well get as much use out of them as possible. Try out some of the apps mentioned here, or go to PlayStore or whatever app locator you have on your phone and search out some more options. It’s a big world out there with lots of fun and useful apps – go exploring on your phone today!
Reach Michael Bush at [email protected]