Must try mobile apps

The best free mobile applications

The app market is a place of huge supply and demand. Like any other booming industry, it’s turning around huge figures and by huge I mean billions. In 2015, the revenue generated through apps was around $41.1 billion with forecasts expecting the market to surpass the $100 billion mark by 2020. That’s nothing to be scoffed at.

On face value, it might seem a tad ridiculous that such a new industry could be pulling in so much cash. Apps are, after all, a base accessory of the smartphone and smartphones are, for all intents and purposes, a new development. When you think about how much we rely on apps, and how big a part they play when we use our smartphones, the figures don’t seem all that peculiar.

Consider: in 2015, the total number app downloads in the App store (iPhone) was 25 billion. Consider: in 2015, the total number of app downloads in Google’s Play Store (Android) was 50 billion. Consider: young people, between the ages of 18 and 24, spend 90.6 hours on smartphone apps and almost 35 hours on tablet apps per month.

Apps and the mobile platform go together like cheese and toast. You can have one without the other, sure; but put them together and what you’ve got is an excuse to not eat dinner. What I’m trying (and evidently failing) to say, is that the more popular mobile gets - the more that we come to rely on our smartphones to navigate our day-to-day existence - the bigger the market for apps grows.

So with all that said and done we decided to ask around here at SMSGlobal HQ to get our staff’s top app picks - balanced against a little combing through the Internet - to offer up a list of 6 apps that we think are pretty rad, because they’re practical, clever, or just plain awesome.

Find. Eat. Drink. (Free | iOS)

Find. Eat. Drink. is another bloody food app. The point of difference? It’s run not by marketing people, but rather, well-known chefs, bartenders, sommeliers and food professionals. An artisanal food app, if you will. According to the app’s description, there are over 5,000 destinations spanning over 200 cities and towns, with new ones being added all the time.

Over (Free | iOS)

There are a lot of photo editing apps out there, literally hundreds... but what inevitably happens is that we download one photo-editing app to do one specific thing, and download a different one to do something else. So what’s Over’s deal? Well it’s a photo-editing app designed for people who want to layer their snaps with beautiful typography. Simple. Easy. And if that’s your thing, super useful.

PackPoint (Free | Android and iOS)

Going on holidays is fun. But actually getting there can be stressful. Often nightmarish. And it all starts with the not-so-simple process of packing. Have I got my underwear? Toothbrush? Sweat fighting deodorant. Passport? Cards Against Humanity?! PackPoint a travel app to help get you get organised. There are a few other bells and whistles that come with it as well, like the ability to share your travel list with friends on social media. But its basic function is to keep a watchful eye over your packing process.

Signal (Free | Android and iOS)

Signal is a texting and calling app that’s simple to use. But more importantly - private. There are hundreds (dare I say thousands?) of chat apps on the market, like WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, etc. But Signal is one of the few that offers end-to-end encryption, and has been ‘painstakingly engineered in order to keep your communication safe’. The server can’t access your messages and doesn’t store your data. So if you’re looking to get in touch with some shady characters on Craig’s List, Signal might be your best bet.

Pacifica (Free to download | Android and iOS)

Health and wellness apps have been huge in recent years. The reason for this is, at least in part, to do with the onslaught of health-management mobile accessories like smart watches and bands. The other part is because that’s just the way things are nowadays. Kale smoothie, anyone? Bad jokes aside (a kale smoothie is the bad joke, to be clear), Pacifica is an app to help people manage stress and anxiety in day-to-day life.

To meet this end it uses CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) techniques. For instance, the app will ask you to rate how you’re feeling throughout the day; it will let you record your spoken thoughts and teach you how your distorted thinking patterns are contributing to your anxiety; it lets you set and track daily health goals. Alas, although it’s free to download, to get all these benefits you’ll need to sign up and regularly fork over some cash.

Last Message (Free | Android)

We’ve included this one because we, mere mortals, know the pain and suffering caused by a low mobile battery. Ah, a pain, it is. Especially when there’s that special someone who’s been waiting for your call all night; but now, she’s not going to get it. For all mum knows, ever the hypochondriac, you got kidnapped by a bunch of drunken Nans on the way home from a bingo bender. And we don’t want that! Last Message is an app that runs in the background of your phone, and sends out a predetermined message to the important people in your life when your battery’s about to croak it. Putting SOS first since 2015.

Anyway. That’s all from us on the cool-apps list for now. If you’ve got any others you think are pretty great (or if you’ve had a bad experience with the ones on our list), let us know in the comments.

Got any other awesome apps? We’d love to hear more from you.