What’s not to love about free apps? Plenty, if they’re buggy and useless. Believe it or not though, not all free apps are cheesy or useless. Some of them are actually pretty cool. Here’s five that you should probably not be without.
Vuze is one of the most well known bittorent clients out there. But, if you haven’t been keeping your eye on it, you probably missed the release of the Vuze Android app. It’s a mobile version of the desktop client. It’s a full-featured one too. You can search for, and download torrents, transfer files to different folders and even save them to your desktop or laptop – a must-have if you’re into the whole P2P file sharing thing. Just make sure you don’t infringe on copyright.
If you love movies, then you’ll probably love Flixter. It’s one of the best preview apps in the app store. Fire this puppy up and you can search for movies near you or by zip code. Explore all of your local theaters, check show times, and read reviews. You can even watch movie previews.
But, the app does more than just show you what’s currently playing. You can even see upcoming movies, check whether a movie is out on DVD or Netflix, and create a custom profile of movies you love or want to see.
Pandora was the first app to promise unlimited free music – and it’s legal. You do have to sign up for a membership, but it’s a free one. From there, just choose a genre or choose seed songs and the app will learn your preferences. Don’t like a song? No problem. Hit the “thumbs down” button and Pandora won’t play that song again. Like a song? Use the “thumbs up” button to show your approval and the app will try to find other similar songs.
It’s algorithm is pretty slick, and it does a great job of selecting songs according to the genre you specify. The only annoying part is the commercials, but it’s not nearly as bad as FM radio.
Need more laughs in your life? Try 9GAG. It’s an app that plugs you into a world of funny images that you can share on Facebook, Twitter, or directly with friends. This one is purely for fun, and it’s beed the source of many a meme. Check it out.
FireChat is a revolutionary chat app that’s been making the rounds. What’s so special about it? For starters, it uses the Multipeer Connectivity Framework instead of the standard chat protocols. It means that you can chat with other users without having to access the Internet – handy if you don’t have signal where you are. But, because it’s a P2P chat client, it also bypasses the official Internet, encrypts all messages, and makes it virtually impossible for something like, say, the NSA, to spy on you.
While the app could use a few improvements and advanced features (like one-to-one chatting), the underlying technology is cool, and it does what it says on the box. This is probably the killer app of 2014 for its P2P-style interface alone.
Bert Bruton loves putting technology to the test. With a joy for finding new useful and entertaining devices and apps, he enjoys blogging about the ins and outs of making the most of today’s tech.