I was recently looking for a new game to pass the time on my Android tablet; a quick browse through the Play Store yielded little of interest in terms of free titles. However, one game did catch my eye, but due to the situation (waiting in a local doctor’s surgery) I didn’t want to go through the rigmarole of buying a game only to find I didn’t like it.
Instead, I decided to have a browse of the web, and soon found myself in the Amazon Android – where I found the exact same game available for free!
This, naturally, got me thinking: just how else might one find free apps and games for mobile devices, and how easy is it to get them?
Let’s find out…
The Amazon App Store
Probably the most famous third party app store, Amazon’s attempt to encroach on the Android Marketplace (now Google Play) was met with some suspicion when it was first announced. While some pretty good titles were available at launch, however, this is something that only happens occasionally these days, with the majority of games and apps listed as free proving to be average at best.
Available as a free mobile app from Amazon the daily free app is usually listed alongside other titles that may or may not be of interest.
Sadly for iOS users, the Amazon App Store only provides software for Android devices – but as with any app, check the details to confirm that it works with your device and Android version.
Try the AppShopper
For iOS users, meanwhile, you can get hold of free apps that would normally cost a few dollars by visiting http://appshopper.com/free/, where any apps that have recently had a discount in iTunes are listed.
These can be from any genre of app, from games and entertainment to social networking, productivity and utilities. Purchases are made via iTunes, however, so AppShopper really sits as an alternative interface that offers a few additional (and quicker) filtering tools so that you can easily find what you are looking for. A search engine is also provided in this app.
Another website that aggregates and lists free apps for iOS devices is freeappaday.com [Discontinued], where games are promoted on the basis of a “free app of the day” for visitors to install. The website has an associated app for iPhone and iPad users to install, enabling faster access to the promoted title.
Other freebies are listed but note that this service deals almost exclusively with games. As such it might be preferable to AppShopper if your only requirement is for some mobile gaming. Once again, you will be diverted to iTunes from your computer in order to install the game.
Coffee and Apps
If you’re a regular user of the Starbucks coffee chain, you can bag yourself free iPhone apps on a regular basis. Simply pick up a “Picks of the Week” card when you pay for your coffee/latte/chocolate and enter the code printed on the card into the App Store on your phone.
Moments later you’ll be enjoying a free app, while the developer grins from ear to ear after being promoted within the world’s biggest chain of coffee houses!
Free Apps for Windows Phone?
Like Android and iOS, the Windows Phone mobile platform has its fair share of free apps as well, but these can be difficult to find.
While you can use the Windows Phone Marketplace to filter apps and check their star ratings based on price, this isn’t a process that stands up to daily scrutiny; it can become a bit tedious. Fortunately the AppDeals service provides a useful app that displays deals direct from developers and publishers, sent to your phone with push notifications so that you don’t miss any free app deals.
If you spot any deals (free or discounted apps) that your friends might enjoy, these can be shared, making this one of the most popular apps on the Windows Phone platform. Like app Windows Phone 7 apps, AppDeals is compatible with Windows Phone 8.
Wishlists and Sharing
There are other ways of acquiring free apps for your mobile device, however, methods that require only minimal input from yourself. Using iTunes, you can select items (apps and games, but also music and video) from the store and using the arrow to the right of the Buy button select Tell a Friend (don’t use Wish List as this cannot be shared). All you then need to do is cross your fingers that your friend is kind enough to buy the app for you – delivering it into your possession for free!
Five Ways to Get Free Apps!
So there you have it, five excellent ways to get free mobile apps and games for your smartphone or tablet.
You don’t need to spend a penny on any of these methods (unless you go in for some reciprocal buying with your app-happy buddy) and they all offer a good mix of titles and categories. While there is the question of relevance (how likely is it that you might actually, really, truly want the free app on offer?) if you get your timing right and shop around you should find (particularly on iOS devices) that useful free software will come your way!
Image Credit: Tablet, Coffee, Newspaper via Shutterstock