An app a day keeps the boredom away

3 Mar
The App of the Day keeps a running tally in the upper left corner of the value of all apps you’ve downloaded – for absolutely free.  (Screen grab)

The App of the Day keeps a running tally in the upper left corner of the value of all apps you’ve downloaded – for absolutely free. (Screen grab)

By Geoff Meeker

March 3, 2014 – I don’t spend a lot of time browsing and buying apps for my iPhone. While they add functionality and offer some great gameplay, apps can be major time sinks – just browsing them is time-consuming and I cringe at the number of hours squandered on Angry Birds.

Though cheap, generally .99 to 2.99, apps can also be a waste of money. It’s true: how many apps have you purchased but hardly ever used?

However, in the last few months I have found a way to stay in touch with apps new and old, and download what I like without having to purchase a single one.

It’s called App of the Day, a free download on iTunes. (The same app is also available for Android users.) Every day, it offers a new, often best-selling app for free download. If you like what you see, click the install button and away you go. It’s as simple as that. Just be sure to enable push notifications so that you are notified when the new app is available (otherwise, if you’re anything like me, you’ll likely forget to manually check it every day).

How do they do this? The App of the Day has 20 million users so developers are lining up to take advantage of its promotional reach and are only too willing to give their app away for one day. After all, several million new users are going to chat about the app to their friends – assuming they like it – resulting in more sales.

I have downloaded at least 30 apps through this service and will offer mini-reviews of the more notable ones here. They aren’t free anymore but are definitely worth the asking price.

Split Lens

Split Lens

How many times have you wanted to merge two photos into one, before posting to social media? It could be a before and after hairdo shot, a random bunch of party scenes or just two or three images that would work better fused into one. The Split Lens app will do this for you, with 57 photo templates that allow you to combine two, three and more photos, vertically, horizontally or a combination of both. And get this: you can merge video clips into split screens too, with 13 templates to choose from, plus a number of filters to change the look and feel of your collages. At just .99 cents, you can’t go wrong with Split Lens.

Tasty Tadpoles

Tasty Tadpoles

For me, a good handheld game is fun, easy to learn and immediately addictive. Tasty Tadpoles is such a game. You simply navigate your tadpole through the pond, picking up points while avoiding predators and other dangers. It’s easy at first but the difficulty ramps up fast. The interface requires you to navigate by plotting a series of angles, so it’s great mental exercise. The game is fun for adults and children and a decent buy for $2.99.

Node Beat

NodeBeat

This one brings out the musician in all of us.  NodeBeat allows you to start playing music as soon as you open the app – a new-age kind of sound where all notes sound good together – but you can change octave and rhythm, or let the app create its own music for you. You can save compositions and even output as MIDI files but, really, this is just a bit of fun – especially for children, who will love the interactivity of it. Recommended at 1.99.

Nighty Night

Nighty Night

My boys are too old for this, one of the top-selling children’s apps, but I had to download just to experience the graphics and user interface. I was not disappointed. Nighty Night is truly special and proves that children’s stories can be enhanced by the digital medium. The relaxing music and narration is perfect for bedtime and – like any good story – children will want to come back to it again and again. A fabulous buy at 1.99.

So what are you waiting for? Go now and download the App of the Day, enable push notifications, then prepare to explore a new app every 24 hours. If you don’t like it, don’t get it. If you’re not sure, download it anyway and delete at your leisure.

In the upper left corner of the screen, the App of the Day keeps a running tally of the value of your downloads. Thus far, I have saved more than $67 – and I’ve been selective in my choices. That’s pretty good for an App that’s free to download.

Trunx extension

I wrote in my last column about the Trunx cloud-based photo storage app, which offers free unlimited backup of all files uploaded by February 28th. And I have good news: the service is now available for Android devices, and the unlimited free storage offer has been extended to April 30, 2014. Search for the Trunx app in iTunes or Google Play and get the desktop uploader at trunx.me.

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