So you’ve got a brand-new smartphone or tablet. Its gleaming screen is hypnotic. It feels like the future as it nestles, or perhaps just perches, in your hand. But until you download some apps, all its amazing 21st-century potential is unrealised. Yet there are millions of apps to choose from. Where to start?
Don’t panic. Here’s a selection of great, basic apps to get you going.
Let’s start with some games. Sky Gamblers: Cold War from Atypical Games has 3D graphics so impressive that it is almost as if you had a game console in a device you can put in your pocket. This $5 iPhone or iPad game puts you in the cockpit of aircraft from the Cold War era. You steer by turning your device in the air, and control various systems and weapons by tapping on icons or swiping on the screen. The game has dramatic missions and is great fun. It’s also an ideal app to show off the power of your new device to a friend.
On Android a similar game is Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy, from the makers Namco-Bandai. It also has good graphics and the same sort of complex gameplay. It’s free, although it costs up to $3 to unlock missions and aircraft. There is also Air Supremacy on iOS for $1, but I feel the Cold War version is better.
For an alternative to a war-themed game, try Infinity Blade 3 on iOS and Dragonslayer on Android. These are fantasy games with amazing 3D graphics that place you on an adventure in a mystical land with just your wits and sword skills to save you. Infinity Blade 3, which is also perhaps the most graphically wonderful game you’ll see on an iOS device, costs $3. Dragonslayer is free on Android.
You probably have heard of Angry Birds, a wonderfully odd puzzle game where you catapult moody avians to destroy buildings made by evil pigs. The latest, Angry Birds Star Wars 2, is free on iOS and Android and is hilarious to play. Its puzzles and hidden levels have kept me amused for too many hours to count. There is a Windows 8 version too that will cost you a dollar.
For a different puzzler, check out Candy Crush Saga, which has been downloaded half a billion times. It’s a bit like the classic Tetris, with cute graphics and simple but addictive gameplay. It’s free for iOS and Android.
With social networking apps you can experience the thrill of sharing news or photos or even video about what you’re up to with the world in real time. Twitter (free on iOS, Android, Windows Phone), Facebook (free on iOS, Android and Windows) and Instagram (free on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8) are all worth checking out. Again, these apps come with a warning – you may use them much more than you expected.
But don’t forget that smartphones and tablets have more uses than merely to gossip or play games. How about using them to get you from A to B? Waze is a powerful GPS app to try. It replaces that old device that you used to suction onto your car’s windshield with a modern mapping system that is constantly improved by its community of users.
As well as the usual tricks of showing a map and speaking turn-by-turn directions, Waze offers real-time traffic data and alerts for incidents such as traffic jams or accidents. The app has some quirks, like requiring a network connection for live data, thus eating up your mobile data allowance, and its cutesy graphics may not tickle your fancy. But it is free, and available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
For more real-time data for the world around you, download Layar or Junaio to tap into some of the same “augmented reality” vibe that Google’s Glass headset is championing. These apps turn your device into a digital window.
You hold your device up and the screen will show a view through the camera’s lens. Superimposed on top of this view is all sorts of additional data you select from a library of different “layers,” including information like the identity of boats you can see on the ocean, or photos that Twitter users nearby have shared.
Layar (iOS, Android) and Junaio (iOS, Android) are free and may amaze you with the amount of information you can find within moments. But this technology is quite new, so be prepared for a bit of a learning curve with the apps and occasionally unreliable performance.
Finally, check out the amazing power of Shazam. This app listens to music you hear in public, as you sit in a coffee shop, for example, and automatically identifies the tune for you. It’s magical to see in action, and it even offers links to buy the music if you really like it. Shazam is free on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
These, of course, are just the beginning. There are many thousands more out there – many free. Do some of your own exploring, and you’ll find apps for everything. Just be careful about spending surprising amounts of money on in-app purchases, particularly in games.
Source : smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/the-best-apps-for-your-new-tablet-or-smartphone-20131226-2zxn7.html#ixzz2oYEKH5IH