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Must-have social networking apps for smartphones - Stay in the circle!
The type of apps you may have downloaded on your smartphone give away a lot about your personality. Or so says Prof. Trevor Pinch, of the Science and Technology studies department at Cornell University. He was the consultant Nokia hired when they ran the “What Appitype are you” survey in 10 countries recently.
"I interpreted the data and thought about different profiles of users of smartphones," says Pinch. "The idea of these appitypes is to think about how people actually use these devices. Some people use phones for social connection, some as a substitute computer -- it's become their main device."
Apps have become serious business. What you download is as important as how you end up using it. The consumer does tend to get a bit overwhelmed at this point, and inevitably asks, “What should I download?” Quite acceptable, considering the fact that the wealth of an application store, irrespective of the platform or OS, is now calculated in hundreds of thousands of applications.
Communication - that’s what it is all about, which is why social networking apps and IM clients are more of a necessity, and don’t really fall in the “I downloaded it because it was free” category. Here are some of the best apps you can download on that smartphone of yours, and stay connected with the contacts and friends, online. Check them out below...You don’t want to be left behind, do you?
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Facebook launches Every Phone app for 2,500 different Java-enabled phones
Apps: Android, iOS, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Phone
Phone browser: http://m.facebook.com
This one really is an absolute no-brainer. The official Facebook app is a Must Have app. Even if your phone has a preloaded app that offers access to Facebook (Samsung’s Social Hub and HTC’s Friend Stream), you may just want to download this for the simplicity it offers. The Chat feature has been added to the iOS and Android versions, and should arrive with the next update for Blackberry as well. Well, the Facebook 2.0 beta for Blackberry already has Chat feature. The interface has the same colour scheme as the web version- white and blue. The app may feel a bit sluggish at times, since it attempts to pull in a lot of info when it refreshes, but EDGE and GPRS speeds are a limiting (and ETA time stretching) factor.
Apps: Android and iOS
Phone browser: http://m.google.com/plus
Google’s Facebook rival is finally here. While Google themselves admit they are a bit late with the challenger, from the consumers point of view, it is just another social network to interact on. The way friends are added here in Circles is completely different from how Facebook does it. This one is all about Circles, Stream, Sparks and Hangouts! It is still in beta, with the invitation only sign-up. However, the popularity is through the roof! We are sure you would have already checked this one out, but if you haven’t, get someone to help you with the sign-up invitation!
App: Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone
Phone browser: http://mobile.twitter.com
When Facebook is there, can Twitter be far behind? Facing a bit of an identity crisis with the arrival of Google+, Twitter’s official app for all platforms has been updated quite a bit to add features and performance updates. Quite frankly, if you are comfortable with some of the other apps we are going to mention later in this listing, you might want to give this a pass. However, if you are a sucker for simplicity, and don’t want too many features to deal with, this is the perfect Twitter client for you.
Free and US$4.99 for Pro version
Apps: Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone
Phone browser: N.A.
Web browser: http://tweetcaster.com/
Like with most paid apps, there is a free version as well. This is essentially a Twitter client, but with a lot more features than what the official twitter app offers. Integrated Instapaper capabilities allow you to save and read links later, there are multiple size widgets for the home screens and has the ability to post updates to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously. The banner adverts are removed in the Pro version, and that is the only extra feature. We suggest you should try the free version first, and depending on how much you like the app, and how much the adverts bother you, then pay for the full version.
Apps: iOS and Android
Phone browser: N.A.
Web browser: http://www.tweetdeck.com/
TweetDeck is by far the best multi-platform app available for smartphones.Access multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts, Google Buzz, MySpace, Linkedin and Foursquare, all from within one application. Someone using it for the first time may find the interface a little complicated. However, once you are in the groove, navigation will be slick. It’s a pity there isn’t a TweetDeck for Blackberry and Symbian phones. If you have an Android phone, or an iOS device, you are the lucky ones. The rest of us can live on hope!
Apps: Android, iOS, Blackberry and Symbian
Phone browser: http://www.whatsapp.com/
Web browser: N.A.
Those of us who didn’t have the Blackberry Messenger would agree that there was a lot of teeth gnashing and verbal swearing, usually aimed at the idea of a BBM, and partly at why we don’t have it! However, WhatsApp messenger has been the “sort of answer” to that requirement. And it is multi-platform, which is a huge positive. Install the app, sign up and anyone from your contacts list who has signed up for WhatsApp will automatically show up on your friend’s list. No need to add people manually. It is time to begin the chatting.
Nokia Social & Nokia Chat
Apps: Symbian and Symbian 3 phones
If you have a Symbian smartphone (Nokia, essentially!), you can get the duo of Social and Chat apps from the Ovi store. Social will allow access to Facebook and Twitter, while Chat will let you talk to friends on Gtalk, Yahoo, Windows Live and Ovi Chat. The interface isn’t very pretty, but it gets the job done. If you have that recently launched Nokia N8 Pink special edition, you may find these preloaded on the phone! Less effort required from some people, we assume!
If you happen to have a Samsung or an HTC Android smartphone, for example, you will find preloaded apps that will allow access to most social networking websites and IM clients. HTC has the FriendStream that integrates Twitter and Facebook updates, and comes with a very neat widget as well. If you don’t want that, there is a Facebook for Sense and Twitter for Sense combo as well. Samsung’s Social Hub does all that as well. Blackberry has the Social Feeds app- that doesn’t really post, but focuses on integrating multiple timelines. Nokia preloads its newer phones with the Social app, that does twitter and Facebook very well, but needs more features and a better layout.
Do you really need more apps in that case? It’s all about how comfortable you may be with the preloaded apps. There really is no harm in trying out a couple of these apps. Personally, we have felt that apps like TweetDeck offer a lot of value, and are somewhat easier to use. Also, third party apps tend to get performance and feature updates more often than the apps preloaded by the handset manufacturer. Maybe the smartphone manufacturers have more on their plate, and social networking apps isn’t really their priority once the phone has been rolled out with the latest version.
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