Five mobile apps released this year that you must download

Jul 3, 2012
Tech

With half of 2012 already in the books, now is a good time to showcase the best apps and games released in 2012 so far. Whether you are a social butterfly or couch potato, shutterbug or drawing game fanatic, there are great new apps worth downloading right away. Below are five of our favorites. What […]

With half of 2012 already in the books, now is a good time to showcase the best apps and games released in 2012 so far. Whether you are a social butterfly or couch potato, shutterbug or drawing game fanatic, there are great new apps worth downloading right away.

Below are five of our favorites. What are yours? Tell us on Facebook (iOS and Android) and Twitter (iOS and Android). Better yet, share with us your lists of the best iOS and Android apps of 2012.

Camera Awesome (iPhone, iPod Touch: free)

Way more than just an incremental improvement over the pre-installed Camera app on the iPhone, Camera Awesome is so easy to use and has so many features that after using it, you may not buy another stand-alone digital camera ever again. Created by 10-year-old photo-sharing site SmugMug, Camera Awesome offers several ways to “awesomize” your pictures, including automatic levelization and color adjustment. Further, the interface is gorgeous. And while most casual photographers will have more than they need from Camera Awesome without ever paying a dime, there are several additional presets and filters that can be purchased for 99 cents a pop (or all at once for $9.99).

Highlight (iPhone, iPod Touch: free)

Highlight is one of several new and innovative apps that help users identify Facebook friends and others with similar interests who are in their physical proximity. The app works best when you are at an event or urban location where other users have Highlight downloaded to their devices. When you enable push notifications to allow the app to alert you when a Highlight contact is nearby, you might realize that your old high school buddy works in the building next to you, or that there is an attractive person in line at the Starbucks who shares your taste in music.

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Viggle (iPhone, iPod Touch, Android: free)

A childhood fantasy for many of us was an invention that would actually reward viewers for watching their favorite television shows. Thanks to Viggle, that dream is now a reality. Viggle lets users check-in and earn loyalty points from the likes of Amazon, Starbucks and the Gap for watching their favorite programs. Beyond earning credit for vegging, Viggle treats users to trivia questions, polls and tweets related to the programs they are viewing.

Instagram (iPhone, iPod Touch, Android: free)

It didn’t take long for Instagram to become a household name after it made its debut on the iPhone in late 2010. It did take a while, however, for the photo-sharing app to arrive on Android, which if finally did in April. It was worth the wait, both for the company and its community. Within a week, Instagram attracted more than 5 million downloads (enriching the experience for existing users of the service). Shortly thereafter, the 12-person company was acquired by Facebook for a then 10-figure valuation. Now that is a positive development you’d like to share with friends.

Draw Something (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android: free)

Modeled after Pictionary and adapted for touch-screen devices, Draw Something was downloaded more than 50 million times in its first 50 days of availability, making it the fastest growing app of all time. The collaborative game works well when played between Facebook friends or complete strangers. It’s accessible enough that young children and tech-illiterate adults can pick it up in a flash. Despite a slowdown in usage after it was acquired by Zynga in March, Draw Something remains a blast to play.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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