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Student using a smart phone
Mark Lee enjoys playing 4 Pics 1 Word. Photo by Kimberlee Nguyen.

Apps, apps, apps, too many apps

Technology has been increasingly expanding over the last decade, especially in the cell phones department. If you look around in the classrooms or maybe in the hallways, you can see most teenagers' eyes focusing on either their Androids or iPhones. These two kinds of phones have dominated the markets for their use of apps which you can download and install onto your phones anytime.

With so many apps available literally in the palms of your hands, it can be a little difficult to decide which ones you should download. Here are some of the popular apps that have a craze in the eyes of cellphone fanatics or have been useful to their lives to help you decide (feel free to check them out beforehand):

4 Pics 1 Word: A puzzle game for both Androids and iPhones that makes your brain work to solve each puzzle. For each puzzle, it gives you four pictures and 12 scrambled letters. You have to construct a word amongst the letters that the four pictures have in common. When you are finally able to, you get three coins added to your little bank, move on to the next level and repeat the whole thinking process. Continue doing this until you have finished all the levels. Of course, there will be times when the puzzles are hard to decipher. You can spend your coins on either removing a couple of letters or receiving one of the letters from the word. Another alternative is simply asking one of your friends for their help. So can you guess the word? (Free)

Instagram: A fun and simple way to share wonderful pictures on both Android and iPhones. You capture a shot of anything you would like to show to your fellow followers and upload it on the app! There are a variety of filtered effects you can choose from to make your picture has some flavor if you want it. Along with your photos, you can also see your friends' photos in a photo stream. (Free)

Kingsoft Office: This app is like having an alternate version of Microsoft Office right in your pocket. It is a full-featured office suite that allows you to have a mobile word processor and document editor. It also allows you to edit common formats such as Word documents, spreadsheets, Powerpoint slideshows, .txt files, and read PDF documents. There are other features that it can do so go check this app out. Unfortunately, this app is only available for Android users. (Free)

Layar: For both Androids and iPhones, this app is an always-expanding universe of satellite apps, called layers, orbiting your phones' camera. It is an enhanced-reality program that gives you information about where you are and what you're looking at. You can also play games by leaving virtual clues for other Layar users and you can see the world populated by virtual aliens. (Free)

Pandora (Internet) Radio: Just like Pandora.com, this allows you to create personalized stations based on the music you love. Just enter the names of artists, songs, or composers, and then sit back as Pandora automatically creates a custom station based on similar music. This is a nice way to discover any new artists that have similar taste in music and a new song that you have never heard before! (Free)

Rage Comics: An efficient and probably the best way to read comics without the need to constantly zoom and drag the comics. With this app, you get the hottest, recently submitted and top rated comics from Reddit. Many of the comics will give you a laugh so it is a good mood-booster! Beware of the ads that may show up a number of times. (Free)

Relax and Sleep: This is a great app for anyone who has difficulty falling sleep at night. It provides you a list of 35+ ambient sounds that you can choose from. The sounds range from rain to crickets. All you have to do in order to get a wonderful night's sleep is create your own unique, relaxing melody and change the independent track volumes, if desired. Besides combining melodies, there is a stopwatch and an alarm as well! As of right now, this is only available for Androids but the app should be ready for iPhones anytime soon. Enjoy the beautiful sounds while you drift into slumber. (Free)

Ruzzle: Available on both Androids and iPhones, Ruzzle is a fun and fast-paced word game where you can challenge your friends or battle a random opponent somewhere in the world. Under two minutes, the objective is to find as many words as possible on a board by swiping your finger across the screen. The letters may form words as long as they are connected to each other. There is a set number of points on each letter and there are also bonus pieces to increase your score even more. The matches are played in three rounds and the highest total number of scores at the end wins. There are also achievements that you can slowly accomplish. Try to get them all! (Free)

Shazam: Ever randomly heard a good song and you were just dying to know what it was called? This convenient app helps you identify the song and the artist in a quick second. You just simply put the device near the unknown song, touch the 'Shazam' button, it listens to the song, and then it give you the identity of the song! You can also see streaming lyrics in time to the music! (Free)

Sketchbook Express: This app is great for anyone who is feeling creative! There is a quick tutorial that shows you everything you need to know about working with the brushes, color selection, and layer tools. The tools and interface are easy to work with as they are responsive to hand movements. You can work with layers and draw anything your mind desires. (Free)

There are all sorts of apps out there that you can choose from. It can be hard to find the right ones that fit what you need or want but it isn't impossible that they don't have it. There are some apps that you have to buy though, but usually, they are most likely free. And when you have encountered upon an app, read the reviews from other people and see if the app is good enough to be downloaded or not. Have fun perusing these apps and others in the 'store'!



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