We all know that apps can help you study and be quite educational but all work and now play makes Jack and Jill dull boys and girls. So, we’ll take a look at some of the best apps to help you blow off some steam after spending hours hitting those books.
1. Angry Birds
Yes, Rovio’s Angry Birds is not a unique or novel pick but there’s a reason why it’s such a world-wide hit: Using these angry birds to destroy those dastardly pigs is an absolute blast. If it were just a fun, silly and repetitive game, I wouldn’t be recommending it at the top of my list but what really stands out to me about this game is that Rovio completely understands how constantly updating its games can bring added value and make these games infinitely re-playable.
It’s not hard to find this game, as you can download it on the iPhone, Android, Symbian, webOS, Windows Phone, on the web through the Chrome Store, with the new Roku box and on almost any other phone (besides a BlackBerry). The free versions come with some unobtrusive ads but plunking down a dollar or two will get your hours and hours of ad-free, pig-squashing fun.
This is another mainstream choice and I have to be honest when I say that Pandora isn’t even my favorite mobile music service but this is the best choice for many people because it gives you access to free tunes, no matter where you are on almost any device. I like Slacker Radio, Mog and Spotify more but these either have no free versions or won’t work just through a browser (Spotify is a desktop app).
You should know what the deal is with Pandora by now: You pump in a track or artist and it plays similar songs for free with the occasional audio ad in the way. It’s a great way to discover new tracks from artists you would have never heard of but it can get annoying if you’re the type who wants to listen to specific tracks at specific times. I’m okay with turning over the turntables to Pandora on the go or in the background on my computer as I work and I think it’s recent success shows many other people are too. It’s available for nearly every mobile platform (in the United States, at least) and it will work in nearly any browser.
If you really want to derail your studying, it’s as simple as hopping into a social network to find out what’s going on, check in on your pals or just to tell the world that you’re avoiding your studying. While the standalone Facebook and Twitter apps are fine, I prefer a powerful app like TweetDeck, which is now owned by Twitter.
The beauty of TweetDeck is that it gives you one app to take care of nearly all your social networking needs. It’s easy to customize if you’re a power user but regular folks can get up and running by entering in their Twitter and Facebook information in a few seconds. I expect this social networking tool to continue to improve, so don’t be surprised to see something like Google+ being brought into the fold.
If I had a nickel for every movie I watched while I was in school and supposed to be studying, I’d be swimming in nickels right now and that was even before Netflix really got big and offered its streaming to computers, game consoles, TVs and, of course, smartphones and tablets.
Netflix will deliver you DVDs in the mail for a monthly fee but the more interesting part is the streaming service, which can be purchased separately from the DVD-by-mail service. While this catalog is not as robust as the physical media, movies can start right away and the selection is always getting better. The iOS apps work nearly flawlessly as long as you have a strong Internet connection, the Windows Phone version looks really cool and the Android version is coming to more and more devices (including Honeycomb tablets)
Besides, you could always make the argument that Netflix has a lot of documentaries and that’s kind of like studying. Right?
Many people know about Groupon and how it can save a student some bucks with its daily deals but there’s also a very fascinating Groupon Now feature which gives you location-based deals that will only work for a limited time. You simply turn on the app, go to the “Groupon Now” tab and then you’re off and running with deals around you.
This is perfect if you’ve hit a studying wall and, say, need something to eat but don’t want to pay full price. Not hungry? Well, it also offers location-based discounts on going out, getting some exercise or pampering yourself. That last one can come in handy if you’ve really been burning the midnight oil to prepare for finals. The Groupon app is free and the Groupon Now option is available in certain markets but it will be rolling out to more cities quickly.
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