Here's a little treat for all you iPhone/iPod Touch owners and potential buyers. We've scoured the App Store for the best free apps out there, and for today's On Shelves Special Edition, we're bringing you a list of the 20 best games and apps that we've seen. No 99-cent games on this list, if it ain't free, it ain't here!
Hold-up - this won't be your typical free iPhone/iPod Touch app list. We won't be including those apps that your iPhone browser can handle anyway. There won't be RSS newsers, no Wikipedia-specific readers, and definitely no Facebook or Twitter apps. Besides, if you wanted those, you'd have them by now. We'll also be excluding those free lite versions as well because we only want the free full apps.
Now let's get this freebie-fest started.
6500 Cool Facts
"Did you know that like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different?"
Whoever you are and whatever you do, there should always be room for useful little factoids. Apart from sounding like you're smart, the app should also dramatically reduce the likelihood of dead-boring dates and small talk. Let's face it dude, you need interesting stuff to say if you want to get her to bed go out with you again.
Shake your iPhone or iPod to move on to the next fact, or swipe to go back to the previous one.
Archie: Freshman Year #1
Archie Andrews and the rest of the Riverdale gang reminisce and tell their tale through this neat little app. Originally printed as Archie #587, the app lets you read through the first of five issues of the gang's walk down memory lane through their freshman year at Riverdale High, their misadventures, and their fateful meeting with Mr. Weatherbee.
If you'd like to read more, Freshman Year #2 is also available, but at US 0.99.
Another well-loved game of old made an appearance in a well-loved device of new. Thanks to Vavni, we can enjoy the classic "@# &! you sank my ship" fun on iPhones and iPod Touches. No more colored pegs and ships with holes this time, and best of all, no cheating ghost ships!
No fancy new gameplay twists here - just the grid and the axes. Guess the coordinates and sink the other guy's ships.
As the name implies, this is one challenging puzzle game that you shouldn't take lightly. In fact, it's so hard that some users say the app generates unsolvable puzzles - the developer maintains that there are no such instances. Well, it is called BrainTeaser, yes?
Rules are simple - there's a pattern on the lower-left portion of the scree, and you have to touch the tiles to make them change color. If you flip one, adjacent tiles will also flip, so you have to plan your flipping very carefully.
If it's a free iPhone note app you're looking for, look no further. Evernote is all the noting power you'll ever need - that is if you don't want to spend. But as it is, the app holds its own against even those that charge you a buck or two.
Ever struck with a fantastic idea for your blog or a creative new combo you wanna try later? Note it all down, complete with photo and audio features that you can auto-sync with your Mac, PC, or the Web.
- You can create text, photo and audio notes
- Auto-synchronizes your notes with Mac, PC, and Web
- Magically makes text in snapshots searchable
- Selected "Favorite" notes can be accessed quickly, even offline
- All notes include geo-location information for mapping and search
If you'd care to purchase, a premium file synchronization feature is for sale. This additional feature allows you to add, sync, access, and share files (PDF, Word, Excel, PPT, and more)
among the different versions of Evernote you use.
Andre dela Rocha
Here's another fun jewel-matching game, but this one packs its own unique features as opposed to resigning itself as just another Bejeweled clone. Finger swiping is all you need to do to swap them shiny rocks and the game counts L-shaped combinations to make fluking chains easier and more likely. You might want to keep the diagonal orientation in mind when planning your moves in advance.
Great-looking game. If you're looking for a staple time-killing puzzle game for your iPhone, here's a nice free one to try out.
Free Wi-Fi Finder
Here's a useful one. Use your iPhone's GPS and network triangulation capabilities to sniff out nearby free Wi-Fi hotspots wherever you are in the world. Apart from determining the location of the nearest Wi-Fi zone, the app can also identify if it's a library or a coffee shop so you don't have to look like some idiot walking around, figuring out where the Wi-Fi signal is coming from.
Conversely, the app can be used to scout for the nearest Starbucks, which is probably right behind you with two more in the next street.
Can't tear yourself away from your MMOs? Vurgood Apps comes up with a nice solution to keep your MMO characters at the palm of your hand as you go about your daily occupation.
Guild Life keeps track of all the aspects of all your MMO characters - the games they're in, equipment, guilds, level, class info, stats, and what-have-you. You can also keep track of your raids and your guildmates by logging it into the app. Guild Life also makes internet upload easier so you can update your buddies online when you log back-in.
- Input and store unlimited Character Data
- Character data includes Name, Game, Server, Level, Class, Guild, Equipment, Photos, etc.
- Input and store unlimited Guild Members and thier photos
- Guild Member data includes Name, Game, Server, Level, Class, Guild, Equipment, DKP, Real-Life (RL), Contact info, RL Name.
- Call Guild Members directly from the app itself!
- Add unlimited Raids and sort them by date
- Raid info includes Raid Location, Boss attempts/kills, loot items, attendees, etc.
iWrecked - Auto Accident Assistant
Here's a great app, but let's hope you'll never need to use it. It's a full-featured accident resource for logging all details and info should you ever be involved in a vehicular accident. The photos you take and the details you note will be used to create a PDF accident report which you can send directly to your insurance company.
- Fully detailed Accident log and history
- Take unlimited photos with the camera or import from photo library
- Preview/Send Accident Report with images (PDF format)
- Find nearby taxi and/or towing companies to assist you
- Call emergency numbers (911) with the press of a button
- Vehicle Information log (unlimited vehicles and images supported)
- Call buttons to make direct calls (like insurance company, other driver and more)
Pretend that you and your iPhone are strong with the Force with this novelty app. It doesn't help you save the world, but it does help you forget about it for a while. The app makes the distinct Star Wars Lightsaber noises - from the moment you turn it on, including the classic humming noises when you wave it around.
Choose your Lightsaber colors - Padawan blue, Jedi Master green, Sith red, Mace Windu purple, or I-dunno-why-it's-there yellow. Just for kicks, the developer also added some Star Wars dueling music, just in case you really want to get into the act.
Lose It! has received plenty of great feedback from its users for its simple functionality and ease-to-use. This app aids its users keep track of calorie intake using a searchable database. You could set goals on how many calories you allow yourself to take in a day or a specific meal, note them all down so you can check if you've been doing it right or cheating your fat ass off on.
And to those who may be concerned, Lose It! doesn't collect, distribute, or sell personal information.
Mapquest 4 Mobile
There are lots of mapps out there, but Mapquest 4 Mobile shines as one of the best free map apps available in the App Store. The detailed maps not only show directions and locations, but even go as far as warning for difficult turns and landscape mode orientations. Many more features to this app, so check it out.
- Save Maps and Routes on MapQuest.com and retrieve on your iPhone.
- More useful driving directions featuring an oversized display as well as landscape mode orientation.
- New MapQuest place carousel allows you to easily display locations for hotels, movie theatres, gas stations, and more with a single tap.
- "Find Me" feature that utilizes iPhone GPS to plot your approximate location on a map as well as display your position in relation to a route.
- Follow your route in either map or list mode.
- Negotiate difficult turns or sets of turns with the help of orientation arrows when viewing directions in map mode.
- Free-form search for businesses and places.
- Create your own my position icon that represents YOU on the map using the iPhone's built in camera or choose from a variety of existing my position icons.
Inspired by the boredom of stewing in your office cubicle and zero productivity, graphically smooth Paper Toss is a first-person paper-tosser with surprisingly hooking gameplay. You get to throw crumpled sheets of paper into different wastebins, in increasing difficulties and obstacles, and to the annoyance of your virtual officemates.
Paper Toss makes use of the iPhone's intuitive controls to give your paper-throwing more versatile flicks. The emphasis on realism is impressive for a free iPhone game, with realistic office noises, officemate verbal abuse, and varying windspeeds and directions that affect your toss. And if you're interested, there's a global online scoreboard to see who has the most time on his/her hands.
Who could forget this App Store mainstay? Remote turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into just that - remote controls. Use your handhelds to control your iTunes in your desktop or your Apple TV. This Wi-Fi compatible app turns your iPhone and iPod Touch into the one-stop Apple access to your devices at home.
It's an old app, but it's still free and it's always worthy of inclusion into the free app tops.
Shazam Entertainment Ltd.
Definitely one of the most popular free apps out there, Shazam is one amazing piece of technology all packed in less than a megabyte. If you hear a song you like in the radio but you don't know the words and the title, hold it up to the speaker and it will identify the song for you. Skeptical? This app is very accurate, with an impressive database of songs and tags that help it name even the obscure and generally unheard of.
- Identify music anywhere: from the radio, TV, film, or in a store by simply holding your iPhone
- towards the music and tapping "Tag".
- Buy music you hear: your tags link directly to iTunes to give you one-touch access to the music you love.
- Share the experience: send your tags to friends who share your musical taste so they can add the tag to their own collection in Shazam.
- Watch the video: view related videos and other music content on YouTube.
- Personalize your tags: capture the moment by taking and adding a photo or attach an existing picture.
- See your shots seamlessly added to your iPhone photo album.
- Learn more about the music: in the tag result you can view the lyrics, read track and album reviews and artist biographies, plus see other music from the artist.
- Sort your tags: as your Shazam collection grows you can take control and organize by artist, title, or date - making it easy to find the tag you want.
- Store pending tags: for when you don't have data connection, you can still capture the music moment.
- The untagged track can be sent later when you are back in WiFi or data coverage.
Here's an interesting one - Stealth Grenade is an app that produces a special sound that most people above 20 years of age cannot hear. For those above the age line, play this one in your parties to keep the minors from crashing your party.
The developers do warn that you shouldn't overamplify the app since it may damage hearing - both those who could hear it and those who can't, although the process would be much more agonizing for the 20 and below group.
Tap Tap Revenge
Gogo Apps, Inc.
Anyone who enjoys Guitar Hero or Rock Band should get a kick our of Tap Tap Revenge. With over 50 free songs, the rhythmic game should be worth a lot of gameplay hours, and if you really get into it, there are tournaments and contests to test your tap-tapping skills in.
Tap Tap Revenge also gets free featured tracks every week, with artists including Daft Punk, The Offspring, Katy Perry, Senses Fail, and many more.
Virtual Zippo Lighter
While the app is basically useless, this is one eye-catching app that should amuse you and your buddies for a while. Just like a real Zippo Lighter, the Virtual Zippo Lighter ignites with a flick of a finger, the flame sways when you move or blow on your iPhone but it doesn't go out. There are many Zippo designs and images to choose from too.
Want to join the lighter-swaying during slow songs in a concert? You can out-light the rest of the crowd with this app, minus the risk of the skin-peeling burn from holding a real lighter up for too long.
What Would You Choose? Party Game
Perfect for gatherings and get-to-know-each-other encounters, this party quiz game asks you all sorts of fun questions to amuse yourselves with. Ever wonder why people would prefer magic carpets to teleportation? What Would You Choose? Party Game will help you get those answers, plus a lot of laughs along the way.
- Life Events - large category, full of general stuff.
- Special Super Powers - which super power would you rather have?
- Animals and Small Critters - show your NatGeo and Discovery Channel knowledge
- Disgusting Stuff - always gets a reaction
- Food and Edible - don't think the two are always the same thing
- Love and Relationships - universal clich but always a strong topic
- Careers - where you and the guy from the next cubicle differ from occupation
- Travel - teleportation or magic carpets?
WebMD Health Corporation
In a time where the world is facing a pandemic and sickness is literally just a breath away, you might want to check this one out. WebMD Mobile gives you basic medical information in the absence of a practitioner. You can't have a doctor in your pocket, right? And it would be insensitive of you to call your doc for every little health question you have. For that, this app comes in very handy.
With the Symptom Checker, you can select parts of your body to determine possible issues that you may have. The Drugs and Treatments feature will help you find pharmaceutical information, usage, side effects and other drug-related information that you may need. And if the unthinkable should happen, WebMD also gives you medically-reviewed first aid info as well as a quick guide (with visuals) on how to administer first aid for various cases.
Of course, this app is just a substitute for when a medical practitioner cannot be reached. Nothing beats the advice and diagnosis of a legit M.D. - stuff that this app does not offer.