Apps are those brilliant things that we fill our smartphones up with, bringing countless unimaginable capabilities to the powerful devices we own. They range from simple games that are great for killing a few minutes to extensive software suites that can edit photos, add effects to videos and share it all online.
The app stores of smartphone platforms are packed full of many different creations, with several of the biggest players boasting in the region of one million different apps available to users. Across the different operating systems that are available, a number of apps have risen to the top of the ‘Most Downloaded’ lists, proving incredibly popular. Here we take a look at some of the apps that have proved to be hugely successful amongst smartphone users.
Possibly the most popular smartphone app ever, Facebook is available for a multitude of platforms and is used by hundreds of millions of people. While the social network’s other attempts at bringing its services to mobile, such as Facebook Home, may not have been so successful, the basic Facebook app is commonplace on many smartphones across the world.
A recent success, and now one that Facebook can claim after buying the app from its creators for $1bn. Instagram heralded a new era in social networking that took a mobile-first approach which trimmed down the experience for the simplified nature of smartphone software. It proved enormously popular, and now has over 150 million users worldwide.
While not originally developed for smartphones, Twitter’s short messaging nature has proved ideally suited for the mobile space. While there are many third party apps such as Tweetbot and Echofon, the official Twitter app has proved just as popular as its competitors.
Google’s video service has proved hugely popular on mobiles, with the large, high-res screens now seen on many smartphones being perfect vehicles for watching short video clips. Tying into Google’s wider network, the app is a strong part of a larger software ecosystem that includes the Chrome browser and Gmail app as well. Boasting over one billion unique users each month, YouTube is one of the most high-profile services online.
One of the biggest names in online video streaming, Netflix has proved almost as popular on smartphones as it has in the living room. With leading titles such as House of Cards and The Inbetweeners on its roster, the well-designed mobile app delivers some of the best TV shows and films around.
The mobile arm of web-based film ratings site Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster offers quick reviews and information about countless movies. A must for both hardcore film buffs and casual viewers alike.
A franchise that has spawned a million merchandising opportunities, the Angry Birds empire now spans around eight separate games along with the Bad Piggies spin off title. Created by Finnish software house Rovio, the game has inspired many others, with a slew of mobile games now involving firing something at a big pile of something else, in order to knock it down. Across all platforms and iterations, Angry Birds games have been downloaded in the region of two billion times.
The social networking version of Scrabble saw an enormous uptake amongst mobile users and was widely enjoyed by many people. As with many of the other most successful smartphone games, Words with Friends allows quick gaming sessions, perfect for when you have just a few minutes to spare.
Temple Run is one of the most successful mobile games ever, and has since spawned an imaginatively-titled sequel, Temple Run 2. One of the game’s most brilliant features is that its simple controls, based on swiping up and down, left and right, are ideal for a smartphone’s touchscreen. The sequel was downloaded over 50 million times within its first two weeks of availability.
Many smartphone users perform countless Google searches, with their handsets delivering information quickly when they’re on the move. Google’s Search app is an ideal way of doing this, giving you a simplified entrance to the World Wide Web.
Now owned by Microsoft, the online calling service uses the internet instead of traditional phone lines to allow for free calls. According to telecoms research firm TeleGeography, Skype accounted for one third of all international calls made during 2012.
Building on the free messaging idea that BlackBerry has been using for years, WhatsApp is one of the most high-profile names amongst a slew of such apps that have gained popularity recently. Using your smartphone’s data connection or Wi-Fi, the app gets around the regular text message fees charged by your network, opening up a new, cheaper way for people to communicate.