When the dinner table conversation turns to entertainment, you may be keen to learn a thing or two from the statistician within your party. If they know their stuff, and cite the likes of a reputable source such as Statista, you’ll learn that TikTok was the most downloaded entertainment platform in the US, as of July 2021, with more than 6.8 million downloads.
Just behind TikTok, your friend will inform you, was HBO Max Stream TV & Movies, with approximately 1.8 million downloads from the US users on whom the research was carried out. You may then politely point out that another leaderboard, published on SimilarWeb and updated this month, ranks Netflix in position number two (but doesn’t share the exact download figure). While insignificant, neither Netflix nor HBO Max is free to stream, but instead, each charges a small monthly subscription, which is why they don’t appear in our top 10 free apps list below.
Either way, what’s evident is that whether you use an iPhone, or prefer Android, the trends in entertainment via your mobile device of choice include the likes of social video taking off; show an increased number of streaming platforms being launched; cloud going mainstream; millions of individuals around the world turning to podcasts for educational purposes; and see people loving the ability to exercise at home, or play games on the go, via an app. If the basic, bells-and-whistles-free version of that app doesn’t cost anything, all the better.
Here is a top 6 list of apps to consider adding to your entertainment portfolio.
Quest For Knowledge
The TED app gets a rating of four out of five from the Educational App Store. Suitable for Android, iPad and iPhone, it allows users to access (browse, download or view) more than 3 000 free talks in over 100 languages, all taking 18 minutes or less and on topics as diverse as screen time, depression and the magnificence of seeing butterflies under a magnifying glass. While it may not be your typical go-to entertainment app, it has been described as “a breath of fresh air when you desire brain food rather than typical telly.”
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Virtual Catch Up
You may not think of the likes of Zoom, Google Meets and Microsoft Teams as entertainment apps. Still, plenty of folks these days call their friends to meetings to celebrate a birthday, have a virtual drink on a Friday afternoon, or share knowledge with others who share an interest – such as the members of a club or society. Which of the three is your go-to app will probably depend on the desktop or mobile device you favor, and the meeting app’s ability to open and operate quickly and efficiently on that particular device.
Zoom offers a basic plan for unlimited free meetings, as long as they don’t run over 40 minutes; MS Teams provides unlimited chats, audio and video calls, along with 10GB of file storage for your team and 2GB of personal storage, while Google Meets has a 60-minute limitation on group calls, after which users are required to upgrade their account. Of the three, Zoom is most popular, boasting 300 million daily meeting participants worldwide, as of April 2020, reports Statista.
For the gamers and/or esports players among us, Twitch is a favorite app for Android devices. Once downloaded, you’ll have access to dozens of concurrently running live streams, via which you can witness other gamers playing the games you love. The point? To kill time while upgrading your own moves by watching the way that others achieve their highest scores. Free of charge, you can also opt to buy an in-app currency, Bits, which allows you to show encouragement to other gamers out there by sending them a “Cheers.” The latter is optional. There is no better way to learn than by watching and trying out those pro techniques for yourself.
Looking to download a new game to try out? TechRadar’s game of the month for October 2021 was Salvagette. This strategy game sees the enemy conveying their intention to shoot with a striking blue glow, which gradually reduces. You must ram them before they strike or dodge their projectiles if they end up coming in your general direction. Their review rates the game highly for how refined and intense it is, given that you’re staring at a static screen for a fair amount of the time that you are playing. Add multiple endings and an in-game store via which you can power up, and you’ll see how the game has both longevity and requires head-strong strategy. Go, bullet-hell shooters!
While some may suggest that YouTube is beyond its heyday, the stats certainly don’t reflect this. This app currently boasts two billion users, up from 800 million in 2012. What is of particular interest is that more than a billion hours of content is consumed via YouTube each day, according to the researchers at Backlinko.com. This platform is considered an amazing source of free entertainment, combining thousands of channels from prank and stand-up comedy, to skits, documentaries and more.
Some folks think there is no difference between YouTube and TikTok, but there are fine nuances. The video content of the latter is more refined and tailored, with most clips lasting 15 seconds or less. Additionally, to upload content on YouTube, you’ll require “a good camera setup and video editing skills,” while with TikTok, you can simply grab your smartphone and shoot! TikTok had been downloaded over 2.6 billion times worldwide as of December 2020, reports Sensor Tower, and features millions of independent content creators (as opposed to YouTube’s diverse group of participants, from large media producers to cultural institutions, social activists, media fans and amateurs). TikTok’s ability to entertain probably ranks second, then, because of the ease with which you can create your own content.
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Thank You For The Music
A basic comparison of music apps Pandora versus Spotify by SoundGuys, reveals that the former’s free offering allows users to “listen to customised [sic] stations only, and not to select specific songs; imposes ad interruptions; and permits limited skips”, while the latter’s basic plan allows users to “listen to music with ad interruptions; shuffle music; and enjoy an on-demand playback from 15 Spotify-created playlists”.
Both are updated regularly with the latest songs from popular artists worldwide and are popular for both chill time and working out. The SoundGuys rank Pandora Stations more highly than Spotify Radio, but are quick to point out that Spotify makes up for this with a more superior discovery algorithm. According to their review, “You can’t go wrong with either.”
Whatever your favored form of online entertainment, the most popular form worldwide over 2021 was video gaming which offers adults of all ages and all walks of life, a way to escape the stresses of daily life. In fact, Reuters reports that the gaming sector’s sales are increasing at an annual rate of 10.7 percent, creating opportunities on many fronts for investors. This is just something to consider when you’re seeking a more fun investment than the usual old stocks and shares.