Once a Blackberry user, I converted to the iPhone last spring and haven’t regretted it. The Internet is easier to use, the screen is larger and it automatically syncs with my iTunes, iCalendar, iPhoto and address book on my MacBook. My favorite feature of the iPhone, however, is the applications. The Pew Internet Project released a new study that found 24 percent of adults use mobile applications. Here are a few my favorite free applications:
The Facebook mobile application enables users to be active and in touch with Facebook activity when away from their computers. My favorite feature of the application is the personalized push notifications, or text messages, that let you know when someone has written on your wall, tagged you in a photo or made a comment.
This way, cellphone users don’t waste their time or battery checking for updates. Images and videos take more time to load on the mobile application. It is easy, however, to update your status, search friends and read the newsfeed on the homepage of the application. “Places” is the newest feature of the mobile application; it allows you to check in wherever you are located and then tag friends who are with you.
The mobile application for Twitter gives people the ability to instantly tweet their status, news and pictures from wherever they are located. The mobile application allows users access to all Twitter’s functions, including retweeting, searching, mentioning, etc. It is designed, however, for you to update your own live status. Live-tweeting enhances Twitter’s organic user base and adds to its credibility as a real-time resource.
Foursquare has a website; however, it can only be used to sign up for the mobile application. The location-based service is designed solely to be a mobile application. The first page of the application prompts you to check in at your current location by listing venues near you. When you check in, you can see who else is there, who the mayor — the person who has checked in to a location the most — is and if there are any tips for that venue including menu critiques, discounts, etc. When you check in, you have the option of sharing your location with your friends on Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook.
This application is designed to help you make each day memorable by taking one photograph for every day of the year. The application is simply a blank calendar, and by selecting whatever day it is, you are transferred to the camera feature where you can take a picture, comment and upload it as the photo for that day.
It’s personalized radio anytime, anywhere and it could not be more genius. It allows you to create new stations, change stations and like songs. A song, artist or album can be the basis of a station, which will play similar music.
The New York Times
I used to receive The New York Times general headline updates via e-mail, but the mobile application is much better because it allows me to personalize the content, save stories on the application and read full articles. It also allows you to receive text message notifications for alerts and stories. For people who normally read the news every day, using this application is a natural transition. For people who don’t read the news every day, however, making it a daily routine can be a challenge. Most news organizations have mobile applications, so download the one you know you’ll actively use.
I use this application every time I go running. It times you, uses GPS to track and record the distance you run, gives you your average speed, allows you to create new routes and saves your workouts so that you can review your fitness progress.
The Yelp mobile application is a personalized, location-based database that helps you find stores and restaurants and read reviews. You can search for a specific business location, find the closest and get directions. You can also search for a keyword, such as “grocery,” to find the nearest grocery stores or “Thai food,” to find the nearest Thai restaurants.
Most of these applications are available for all smartphones.
Rebecca Lett is a junior majoring in print journalism and economics. Her column, “Staying Connected,” runs Thursdays.