There are few words that grab your attention like “free”! If you can get your hands on something without spending your hard earned money, it feels like Christmas. Since I purchased my iPhone, I’ve found that there are a lot of excellent apps available for free; you just have to do a little digging to find them.
Some of my favorite applications are found in the Entertainment category. I love spending my spare time listening to music, watching movies, and playing games. In this article, I look at some of the best free apps I’ve found. They keep me entertained and help keep money in my wallet.
When I’m tired of listing to music I’ve purchased from iTunes or ripped from my CDs, I listen to streaming music on my iPhone. Almost all radio stations “stream” their music through their Web sites so that you can listen to the station while at your computer. The following apps allow you to receive these streams through your iPhone or iPod touch. If you are using an iPod touch, you need to be connected to Wi-Fi.
Whatever your music fancy is, you’re going to find it with Slacker Radio’s easy-to-use interface. The first time you open the app, you create a login. Then you’re presented with a cornucopia of genres (including non-traditional ones like comedy). Once you select a genre, you can refine your criteria to fine-tune your playlist. Album artwork is displayed while a song is playing for those who like the visual.
The Imeem Mobile interface is simpler than Slacker’s. Create a login when you first open the app, and you receive a handy e-mail outlining the features that are available. The app doesn’t list as many genres as Slacker, so you do have to do some searching to find the artists that interest you. For example, I listen to Top 40 music, and the closest match for me was the Imeem’s Top 100 listing. There were quite a few songs I didn’t recognize.
Almost everyone enjoys spending a few hours in a dark theater exploring the world through someone else’s eyes. You’ll still have to plunk down $5-$10 to see the movies, but these free apps will help you find out about them.
Flixster is the “mac daddy” of the movie apps. This was one of the very first apps recommended to me when I purchased my iPhone. From the home page, you can search for movies by categories such as “Popular,” “Ranking,” or “Title.” The average rating is readily displayed, as are the actors, movie length, and other ratings. Once you find the movie you are interested in, you can see the trailer, read reviews, and find local show times. Some of these apps even allow you to purchase tickets.
Fandango and Moviefone
Fandango and Moviefone deserve honorable mentions for their free offerings in this category. Both offer similar information to Flixster, but I didn’t find either interface was as nicely packaged because more clicks were required to see information that is available on Flixster’s main page. I also didn’t think Fandango’s rating was as clear as Flixster’s straightforward, overall percentage rating.
PhoneFlicks is the mobile version of NetFlix. Once you enter your account information, you can access your NetFlix queue (both DVD and instant). You can browse and add new movies to your queue, as well as move your choices up and down in the queue as desired.
Find the best games
Most of the best games will cost you a few bucks, but there are so many games available that it’s hard to distinguish among them. This app will help you.
IGN Game Reviews
IGN Game Reviews offers information for gamers using the iPhone, iPod touch, and most other popular gaming platforms. You’ll find game reviews, guides, tips and tricks, and information on which platforms the games will run. It’s a gamer’s delight!
Michael Jackson’s death was in the news when I wrote this review, and many of us wanted to find out more about his life. I found two free apps that will help keep you up-to-date on the latest Hollywood news.
The mobile version of E!’s Web site, E! Online gives you the rundown on daily show biz news complete with articles, pictures, and video clips. It also offers snippets from the channel’s television shows like The Soup, Chelsea Lately, and Denise Richards-Its Complicated. Rounding out the goodies are pictures of current Hollywood fashions and feeds from E!’s popular columnists.
TMZ keeps you up-to-date on everything that E! Online misses. For anyone familiar with the two celebrity gossip sources, you know that TMZ prides itself on being just a bit more in your face and trashy. This app doesn’t disappoint.
Plenty of free entertainment
No matter what you fancy, there are plenty of decent entertainment apps out there. Most are inexpensive, but if you do a little digging, you’ll be rewarded with hours of free entertainment!