Mobile phones and their applications are a matter of personal choice, and every user has his own needs and preferences. This makes it very difficult to come up with a recommendation list that can please everyone. However, we have picked applications based on their quality, ease of use, and reliability. Here is the list of the top five free mobile applications, irrespective of operating system.
Platforms: Android, iOS, Symbian.
Fring takes care of all your favourite messenger services single-handedly. Supported services include MSN, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, AIM, and ICQ. Free calling to messenger contacts is also possible. However, free video calling is what makes this application special. The video call quality is exceptionally good, and works well on a 256 kbps Wi-Fi connection, and even on 3G. Moreover, the developer Fringland has added a group video calling option that supports up to four participants. The user interface is neat, and the features are well integrated. Interestingly, Fring was offering video calling long before
FaceTalk FaceTime (Apple‘s app) made “magical” video calling a reality. The first video call between mobiles over the internet dates back to the year 2009, and yes, it was a Fring video call.
Platforms: Android, iOS, Symbian, BlackBerry
Everything is getting a social flavour these days, so a social music player was inevitable. Fortunately, WikiTunes actually delivers what has been promised. This player automatically grabs lyrics off the web and synchs them with the song in real time – ideal for karaoke sessions. The application offers lyrics translation, as well as support for local Indian languages. It’s fun to translate a Heavy Metal song into Hindi (you must try this). You can also add, edit, and synchronise lyrics; this justifies the “Wiki” part of the name. Additionally, you can see who else in the world is listening to music by using the Music Maps feature (supported by Google Maps). The player’s UI is clean and user-friendly, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t choose it over the default music player.
Platforms: Android, iOS, Symbian
Layar is the most practical use of augmented reality till date. As the name suggests, the application adds layers of information to the real world. It displays real-time digital information in your screen – this is based on your location, and integrates Wikipedia, Google Local Search, Flickr, and many more third-party services. Go in front of a building, see it through Layar, and you’ll start getting information about its surroundings, including nearby shops and theatres, as well as the number of apartments available for rent in that building. The application lets you choose from hundreds of layers, and the list is continuously growing. Some layers can give you a rough idea of the satellites over you, while others can even spawn a game character on the street. Augmented reality has endless possibilities, and Layar has potential to be the next big thing on mobiles.
Nokia Internet Radio
Platforms: Symbian, Series 40
Media streaming applications are available in plenty. However, most of them don’t work the way they should. YouTube is a good streaming app, but needs constant attention. Ideally, you want something to play in the background while continuing with your work. This is where Nokia Internet Radio tunes in. This app features more than 10,000 radio stations across the world, categorized by genre, language, and country/region. A quick search option is also available. The settings menu has an option to select the stream quality according to the type of connection, such as GPRS, 3G, and Wi-Fi. The interface is minimalistic, coupled with a dark colour scheme. Animated icons are only used where they are actually needed; this shows the developer’s substance-over-style approach. If you have your own radio station, you can add it to Nokia Internet Radio by visiting this link. Install this app on your mobile, then try listening to the channels from Nepal and Pakistan fun guaranteed!
Opera Mobile Browser
Platforms: Android, iOS, Symbian
No matter how populated the browser market is, Opera comes out as a winner with its useful features and a polished UI. Opera offers a desktop-like web experience on almost every mobile in this planet. Of course, the default Android browser on
2.1 2.2 (Froyo) and above beats Opera in Flash support. However, if you want to save up to 80% on wireless data charges, then Opera is the way to go. To achieve this, Opera servers compress the data to best suit your mobile screen, which also minimizes loading time. Other noteworthy features such as tabbed browsing, kinetic scrolling, gesture support, page save, Opera Link, and page share give you enough reasons to not look at any other browser. Those with not-so-smartphones need not feel left out, as its younger sibling Opera Mini is there to make your browsing experience better.