Developing

The best starter apps to download on your smartphone

One of the best things about smartphones and tablets is the range of things you can do with it. While there are practically millions of apps out there, if you’re starting off, it’s better to keep it simple and start off with the essential apps.

To help get you started, here are thirty apps that everyone should have on their smartphones.

For those of you already familiar with the apps below, we’ve also compiled a short list of the best apps from this year for you to consider.

Facebook
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

Considering that it’s used by more than one billion people, chances are you already have a Facebook account, making this an essential download.

Twitter
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

Handy for keeping up to date with news, sports, current affairs and anything else that interests you. Its snappy and bite-sized nature means it’s perfect for mobile.

Shazam
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

If you’ve ever heard a song on TV or radio, but didn’t know who the artist was, Shazam listens to it and tells you the artist behind it.

Instagram
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

The app that started the filter craze is is still going strong and has a vibrant photo community for those wanting to show off their snaps.

Google+
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

Not only is it a decent social site, it also has one of the best photo editing suite around. Worth taking a look at if you’re regularly snapping photos.

Communication

Mailbox
For: iOS
Cost: Free

Based entirely on swipe gestures, Mailbox is one of the most intuitive email apps out there. Deleting and archiving emails is a breeze and makes the majority of email clients seem rigid by comparison.

WhatsApp
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

The popular web messaging app is essential downloading for those who want to keep in touch, but don’t want to rack up a large bill through SMS (i.e: everyone).

Viber
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

Much like WhatsApp, Viber lets you send messages through 3G/WiFi and allows you to make voice calls to anyone.

Skype
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

The video calling service works just as well, if not better, on mobile as it does on desktop. The quality of front facing cameras means that you may never return to the desktop version again.

Media

TuneIn Radio
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free, €0.89 (iOS) and €5.31 (Android) for pro version

Listen to any radio station from Ireland or across the globe through your phone. The pro version allows you to record segments as well, which is always handy to have available.

Spotify
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free (€9.99 for premium)

The popular music site has recently released a free version, which allows you to listen to a limited amount of songs and playlists, although those who sign up to the premium version will get a lot more out of it.

Podcasts/ Pocket Casts
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free (iOS & Windows Phone), €3.13 (Android)

Because there’s no universal podcast app out there, the version you download will depend on what type of phone you’re using.

For iOS and Windows Phone, both have an app called Podcasts, one made by Apple (logo above) and another made by Melting Bot Software for Windows Phone. While there a number of free podcast apps on Android, users are better off using Pocket Casts. While it’s a paid app, it’s nicely designed and well worth the price if you’re a regular listener.

YouTube
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

Considering the amount of videos we watch every day on desktop, it’s the perfect time killer wherever you are.

Kindle
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

Essential for those who are heavy readers. It’s more suited for tablets, but smartphone users can sync up their accounts so they can pick up where they left off.

StumbleUpon
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

Presents a number of interesting sites and pages that are based upon your interests. A brilliant timewaster should you ever find yourself at a loose end.

SoundCloud
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

A lot of music artists, podcasts and other audio clips are uploaded here which you can listen to for free. Handy for discovering new artists or listening to podcasts.

Flipboard
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

A visual news reader designed in the format of a magazine. Brings content from all major news sites as well as your Facebook and Twitter feed so you stay up to date.

Netflix
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free (Pay for subscription)

Netflix has put together an impressive collection of shows and movies to watch when you’re bored. Handy if you don’t want to watch on your laptop or can’t access it through your TV.

Cloud and organisation apps

Evernote
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

As the name suggests, Evernote lets you save all your notes, photos and web pages for reference later. Handy for taking notes, and keeping yourself organised.

Cal
For: iOSAndroid
Cost: Free

If the regular calendar apps aren’t to your tastes, Cal design and layout ensures that you will stay on top of your schedule.

Any.DO
For: iOS, Android
Cost:Free

There are numerous organisation apps out there, but Any.DO’s simplicity and versatility puts it a step above the rest. One nice feature is to set reminders when you arrive at a particular destination, acknowledging that not every task can be set to a specific time.

Dropbox
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

The most popular cloud saving service out there, anything you can save on your smartphone, you can save here.

Google Drive
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

For those regularly using Google products such as Docs, Drive is an incredibly useful app to have since it saves both documents and files.

Skydrive
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

Considering it’s offering an extra 20GB of storage space – on top of its usual 7GB – it would be crazy not to consider using Microsoft’s online service.

Miscellaneous

Google Maps
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone (unofficial app)
Cost: Free

The best and most comprehensive maps product out there, you will never get lost again once you’ve downloaded it.

Nokia Maps
For: Windows Phone
Cost: Free

Comes a close second to Google’s effort, it’s better to use Nokia’s version if you want a more intuitive experience on Windows Phone.

Yahoo Weather
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

There are numerous weather apps out there, but Yahoo’s version is one of the nicer versions out there. It takes photos of the location you’re in from Flickr and displays it as a background while you find out the forecast.

Chrome
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

One of the best browsers out there, Chrome allows you to sync the app with your desktop browser so you can continue your web activity and load up your bookmarks while you’re on the go.

Google Search
For: iOSAndroidWindows Phone
Cost: Free

The only reason you should download it, apart from having search easily available, is for Google Now. The feature provides cards relating to what you do and your interests and is one of the more impressive context sensitive apps out there.

Dictionary.com
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

As well as being handy for when you need it, the word of the day notifications will keep your vocabulary fresh.

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