Smartphone Apps Everything You Need to Know

Smartphone apps are customized programs that allow you to perform specific tasks on your cell phone. They came into popularity with Apple's introduction of the original iPhone. Now every smartphone manufacturer is in an arms race to build up their app store to compete.

Smartphone applications are great because they are a combination of the internet, games and productivity. Basically, if you can think of it...there's an app for that.

Types of Apps Available

If you want to avoid paying for text messages there are lots of messaging apps available and many of them are actually free too. A top one that come to mind is WhatsApp that allows communication with others who are on different platforms. For instance you can talk to a Blackberry user if you're on an iPhone or Android without using your text messages.

These apps aren't limited to communication you can find ones for finance especially from the banks which allow you to check your bank account and even deposit checks from your phone. How about travel? Need to book a flight and hotel, you can do this while on the road.

We know the price of gas just doesn't seem to stop increasing and there are apps to help you find the cheapest gas available. Using an app like this can allow you to save upwards of $70 a year.

In a new city and looking to discover the nightlife or a great restaurant to try. You have options where you can plug in the type of cuisine you want and your price range and your phone will bring back all the restaurants and places that match your criteria.

Photos. Smartphones are equipped with cameras and there are a ton of photo sharing apps available. These apps are more than sharing photos you can photoshop them on the go, add cool colors, distort the picture and whatever else you can imagine doing to a photo.

News. Why go to a website and lookup the news when you can have the news pushed to your smartphone. With the likes of the New York Times, CNN, TechCrunch, TMZ, WSJ, Fox, ABC, and NBC all having apps you'll always know what is happening 24/7. What's great is that many of these are free apps.

Games. Have some time to kill or need something to occupy your time on your commute then you have a ton of games available at your disposal. The games come in many formats such as those you play by yourself like "Angry Birds" or those played amongst your friends like how elegantly put, "Words with Friends." So there's a game for every personality type.

Pricing Options Available

For most individuals free smartphone apps are going to be the main ones that they own. There's nothing wrong with this but there are still a lot of great apps available at a low cost.

Let's go and figure out the ways in which developers charge for their apps.

Many of the freebies are supported by having ads within the app. Others charge a one time nominal fee of $.99 to purchase. This is typically seen with the entertainment apps where the user will come back the app many times on a daily basis.

There's also in-app purchases usually found with the games. This is where you'd have the basic functionality of your game but to get ahead you can buy viritual goods to improve your ability to play the game.

Subscription model. Some of the news apps and those that offer focused content that is constantly changing will use a subscription model which means you are going to be charged a fee each month to continue to access the content.

We say use your better judgment when deciding if you want to purchase an app or not. There are pros and cons to making this decision. For example, it would not make sense to avoid paying $.99 for an app which can deliver over $50 in savings each year such as many of the budgeting and cost-saving apps available.

You have options and don't feel as though you need to gravitate towards the free Blackberry apps or free Android apps and not spend on the paid smartphone apps because it may actually cost you money in the long run.

App Store

The app store is where you actually go to get your smartphone apps. There are the official authorized stores:

  • Android Market
  • Apple App Store
  • Blackberry App World
  • Windows Marketplace.

This is where you would go to download the apps you want to your phone and we're confident each store is mobile friendly.

You did know that Apple is the leader in apps. Cupertino came on the scene in 2007 and absolutely overturned the smartphone industry and they are still the leaders for apps. Although, Android applications are definitely making a push to take the lead and based on the number of smartphone activations this very well may happen.

Our Blackberry friends are having a hard time to say the least. But they do have an excellent selection of free Blackberry apps.

Waterloo is trying to change their culture and keep up with the times so we applaud them for this but the pace of change needs to pick up. This may be news to you but Research in Motion will be implementing Android apps on their devices. This is probably the only way they can stay alive at this point because developers simply have not been building smartphone apps for this platform.

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