StumbleUpon!, VEVO and more Free Apps of the Month

Aug 31, 2010

Wow, I feel like I owe an apology to all the free app fans out there – it’s been weeks since I’ve talked about the best apps of all, the ones that don’t cost money. But here I am ready to expound the virtues of not simply the best free apps of the week, but […]

Wow, I feel like I owe an apology to all the free app fans out there – it’s been weeks since I’ve talked about the best apps of all, the ones that don’t cost money.

But here I am ready to expound the virtues of not simply the best free apps of the week, but the best free apps of August. I’ll understand if you’re unable to forgive me, though hopefully these free beauties will quell your anger.

StumbleUpon! is a site that shows you web content based on your selected categories and is a fantastic way to waste a few hours online – basically, it’s all that’s right with the Internet. As you might have surmised from me mentioning it in this space, there’s now a free StumbleUpon! app that allows you to do the same thing on your iPhone. The self-described “discovery engine” has you pick as many or few interests as you like, and asks you to vote thumbs up or thumbs down on various sites. This is an important part of Stumbling, as this is how things get recommended. The app is incredibly easy to use, and allows you to share content via email, Facebook or Twitter from within the app. Regardless of what your interests are, if you are into web surfing, then you’ll be into StumbleUpon! Just be warned, it can be quite addictive.


Rather than going the oft-used online radio route, VEVO is a music app that brings music videos to your mobile device. You can view top videos or search through the newest ones, while the app’s Artists section allows you to watch videos from those who are currently on tour. Like StumbleUpon!, you can share videos from within the app. Possibly the best feature of VEVO is that it allows you to create playlists and share them with others. The iTunes page boasts the app has more than 20,000 videos from 7,000 artists, and while I wasn’t exactly blown away at the selection the video quality was topnotch in the time I’ve spent with the app. Music app lovers shouldn’t hesitate to download VEVO, and here’s hoping we get some snazzy updates in the near future.

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GloSnake by PlayMesh

I remember when snake games on cell phones where incredibly cool. No offense to snake games, but I’m glad we’ve moved past that time. Still, the snake game is one that can easily still work as long as the conditions are right, look no further than GloSnake by PlayMesh for a perfect example. You know the gist of this one: You control a snake, and eat dots by avoiding walls and yourself. PlayMesh has put some effort into modernizing the game, with techno music and a brighter, more colorful display, but the main thing you’ll be interested in is the multiplayer options offered in GloSnake. You can play against friends or random opponents, or, of course, just play the single-player training mode. While I’m not a fan of the controls – which are too close together for their own good – there’s certainly something fresh about GloSnake, even if it is a dated idea.

Dubbed as “TVGuide for Internet television,” is a channel guide with a social networking twist. Not only does the app allow you to track information and even watch shows, you can create playlists to share with friends, or just get an idea of what everyone else is watching. Better yet, the app isn’t limited to television shows; that means if you want the world to know you just watched the latest web episode of “Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis,” then, by all means, log into, and let the world know. There are some pretty smart features included as well, such as limiting searches to free content, and providing links to the iTunes store to purchase shows if they’re not free. So to summarize: great idea, easy to use and free. It doesn’t get much better than that, and I would recommend to just about anyone.

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City Story

If I’ve learned one thing from City Story, it’s that I’m much more accepting of the in-app purchase policy than many other iPhone users. This TeamLava app challenges you to create the ultimate city using buildings, businesses, factories, parks and more – more than 50 in all. The highlight of this release is its wonderful look, featuring cartoonish graphics that look very smooth and professional. It’s also simple to use, with just a few touches allowing you to build anything. This can be a downside, though, as those hoping for a free version of SimCity will quickly realize it’s nowhere near as in-depth. Furthermore, to purchase more advanced buildings, you have to buy “city cash” with your real cash, so while it’s very much free, there are limitations if you’re not willing to spend money. As long as you know that going in, I think you’ll be impressed with City Story, a fun app for casual gamers.

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