With so many apps available, it can be hard to choose what to download. We’ve put together a handy list to make it easier to find new apps to play with.
The iOS App Store and the Google Play marketplace both have over 1 million apps available and according to statistics from 2013, there are over 20,000 apps released every single month. This means that the app release rate is rapidly increasing; faster than any of us can keep up with.
While this generally a good thing as we all appreciate having more apps to chisel away our free time it also poses significant problems. How do we keep track of all of these wondrous timesinks? How do we find out which ones are rubbish and which ones are worth our time?
Without help, both of those are impossible which is why we’ve put together this list of six essentials apps that you need to try in 2015. (All of them are available on iOS and Android).
1. Crossy Road
Why did the rubber chicken cross the road? She wanted to stretch her legs! We’re all familiar with those chicken/road jokes, they’re the epitome of cheesy humour. We pull them out at parties thinking we’ll be the next Jimmy Fallon.
Developers Hipster Whale have gone one step further though, having turned the joke into an app. In Crossy Road, your goal is to cross as many roads, paths and rivers as you can without being squashed by a vehicle, drowned in the river or being gobbled up by the eagle that swoops down if you take too long to cross.
There’s an entire range of kooky characters including Ol’ Man Ben who cackles as he moves, a hipster whale that takes photos as it flops across the road and, of course, a chicken. The game is free to play and it becomes addictive as you try and beat your high score and unlock all of the characters by collecting coins for a lucky dip.
Hola is a must download app for anybody who surfs the web. One familiar thing to those who use the Internet regularly is region locking. Region locking is when you visit a site only to find that certain content is either unavailable in your territory or you find yourself redirected to the local version of the site. Typically, you find this problem when you’re trying to watch videos on YouTube (where certain videos are blocked because of copyright) or Netflix (where the shows and movies offered in the US might be different to your local offerings).
Hola helps you to get around that though as they have a mobile version of their widely popular browser plug-in. Just fire up the Hola app on mobile and you can choose a server in a specific location and fire up another app or use the browser and access the region locked content. Oh, and Hola is free too!
Apple called Threes! the best iOS game of 2014 which is incredibly high (and much deserved) praise. In Threes! you have to slide numbered tiles to make multiples of three. 1s slide into 2s, 3s match up with 3s and so on and so forth until the 4×4 is filled with tiles and you can’t move anywhere else.
Threes! is deceptively simple to play but getting a high score (the higher the numbers on the board, the higher your score) will take patient and tactical thinking. The beautiful design and soothing music means that it’s an absolute delight to learn. Threes! costs just under $2.
B612 is the selfie master’s dream. Instagram has incredibly basic editing capabilities, with just a small selection of filters offered, but that’s where B612 comes in.
There are over 50 different filters available, each making your face look as lovely as possible and they’re incredibly varied too which means that your selfie will look good in any lighting. B612 also makes life easier by featuring various sizing options (you can also stitch multiple selfies into one) and a one touch shot so you no longer have to angle your hands weirdly to reach the camera button – in B612 you can just tap anywhere on the screen. And, once you’re done you can export your masterpieces to another social media site, including Twitter, Gmail and, of course, Instagram.
B612 is available for free.
If you are learning a language (or would like to) then you absolutely have to download Duolingo. Completely free, Duolingo will teach you a language for free with games, tests and personally tailored challenges to help you progress through your studies and to make sure that you aren’t learning and then forgetting your new vocabulary.
The only downside to Duolingo is that right now only European languages are available. However, if you want to learn French, Spanish, German or Portuguese (there are several other languages on offer, listed here) you must download this.
Just like apps, finding new music can be a bore or it can be frustrating as you cycle through playlist upon playlist looking for the perfect tunes to compliment your Finnish death metal interests. last.fm takes out all of the guesswork as it keeps track of which artists you listen to and compiles recommendations and radio stations based on your tastes.
It also helps you find out which artists are your favourites as it notes down plays. Handy for ‘I’m a better fan than you!’ arguments too.
last.fm is available for free.