TEXAS, June 12th, 2012 — The iPhone started a trend that is still exploding today, however eight out of ten smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2012 are powered by the Android operating system and not the iOS. This Q2 increase gives Android 60% of the market as a whole and all indicators show that this will increase quickly. This defines the concept of grabbing the ball (from iPhone) and running with it. Kevin Restivo, a senior analyst for IDC’s Mobile Phone Tracker program said, “In order for operating system challengers to gain share, their creators and hardware partners need to secure developer loyalty”. Restivo attributes much of Android’s success to developer enthusiasm and the open source model. This is supported by Google’s claim that Android is climbing like a rocket due to its seamless user experience and a steady supply of apps.
So if the user experience is a given, what’s with all these great apps? Are users spending tons of money downloading tiny programs that tell them where the best hot dog stand is in their area? Is Google Play raking in millions from rabid Android users? The answer is yes big time, but there are so many high quality free apps for Android that a user can have a great smartphone experience without dropping a ton of cash outside of actually buying the phone. Here are a few of the top user rated free apps currently available on the Android OS.
Facebook for Android
Facebook is literally everywhere, and despite all the class action lawsuits lining up to hack away at the recent IPO it would seem this social media giant is here to stay. Now you can stay in the loop with all of your Facebook friends everywhere you go. Post photos, reply to friends, post status updates, and chat just as if you were at your computer. Jessica Dolcourt, a senior editor at CNET said, “The official Facebook for Android app is undoubtedly the best way to interact with Facebook on your Android smartphone.” The app has a 3.5 star user rating with over 3.4 million votes. This app is certainly loved by the people.
Video chat via High Speed Internet Providers has been available for years, but now you can do that as well as instant message and send photos to your friends from your phone. Creating an account is fast and easy and the interface is very user friendly. Quickly access Contacts, Recent Calls, and Profiles from the start screen. The Contacts menu will even show you who is available at a glance. To add a friend you can search by Skype Name, real name, or email address. Once found add them with a click and you are ready to make a call. Unfortunately Skype for Android doesn’t work on all Android phones yet. For a complete list of supported devices please visit the Skype Blog.
Yes Angry Birds. We are not done talking about this game apparently. With a 4.5 star user rating and over one billion downloads if you are reading this you probably have the game, so just play it while I chat for a second. This is the most successful mobile game of all time while simultaneously having one of the silliest premises ever thought up. It is a testament to the power of the gameplay that several hundred million users out there have probably forgotten that they are throwing birds at logs and rocks in an attempt to stop a pig infestation. Angry Birds is a pop culture phenomenon and is clearly the king…of something. Although there is a fee associated with the full game and its various sequels a free trial version is available as is a version paid for by advertising.
Music lovers love Pandora Internet Radio. For all intents and purposes users can create their own radio station and listen to it on the go. Although this free service does pay for itself by pushing advertising, the flexibility and power of Pandora greatly offsets the irritation of commercials. Select an artist to get started and Pandora will begin choosing similar artists for you to try out. This is a fantastic way to find new music in your favorite genre without searching the Internet endlessly.
These are just a few of the thousands of apps available on Android. Try these out then shop around. There is an app for whatever you are looking for.