Lately I've been focusing my articles around smartphones themselves; where they've been, where they're heading, how they look, etc. But there's still another half of smartphones that make them so great in the first place. Aside from the design and specs of the phone, we also happen to love the applications they support. With hundreds of thousands to choose from but only so much space to store a select few in, which ones do you consider your "must haves" when you look into getting a new smartphone?
I have to admit, the amount of "must haves" I've had over the years have dwindled since first getting a smartphone. I mean, I had a whole list written down of applications I needed to redownload whenever I would get a new phone - and some of them prevented me from even switching platforms at that point. What is probably the result of becoming an adult and not having a whole lot of time to invest in tons of applications anymore (not to mention having time discovering many new ones, either) when going through my phone and seeing which applications I prefer to have in my phone versus the ones that I could do without, I found that there are only five in my list that I really look for when switching platform to platform.
Probably the most important one is Netflix. I've been paying for my Netflix subscription since about 2010, and I have never felt like I was wasting my money with the service. I was so excited when Netflix came to smartphones, because as much as I loved watching Backyardigans and Blues Clues, I much preferred watching more age-appropriate shows. Using my smartphone as my personal Netflix machine worked out perfectly for that. The app is also great for long car rides, and with the new 'Profile' feature added in, there's less of a chance that he'll accidentally turn on something he shouldn't be watching.
Next on my list is Spotify. I have pretty much always used my phone as my designated mp3 player since I carried a Samsung Instinct, but the days of having to load my entire playlist (and deciding what should go on there and what shouldn't due to limited memory) are gone with Spotify. Spotify is one application where I am rather fond of cloud storage, because I never run out of room on how many songs I can add to a playlist. I've only run into a few occasions where a song I was looking for wasn't available, but never enough to make me stop using the service. I only really like Spotify because I already have organized playlists, but when I'm using Windows Phone I use XBox Music. Really, I just need some sort of solid streaming music application.
Kid Mode, Kids' Corner, or some other form of a child-proofing app is also a necessity for me these days - probably now more than ever. If you give a kid a smartphone, they're going to figure out how to use it. My son likes to call people he knows all the time to tell them about his day, but unfortunately life isn't so easy, and sometimes telling him that people are busy with work doesn't exactly click, so he tries to call them anyway. This is where child-proofing app comes in handy, because it restricts him from being able to call, text, or e-mailing people he shouldn't. When we turn on Kid Mode we call it "his phone"; this seems to help because it's something he can call his own, even if it's just for a short while.
Facebook is another must-have for me, but since this social network has been around for so long there's not really any issues switching platforms and worrying that it's not there. Facebook is everywhere.
Finally, my last "must have" (which is actually more of a "would really like to have") is a decent Reddit application. I'm an active user in a lot of different subreddits, so I really like to have a solid Reddit app that allows me to post and comment on-the-go. I've found that I actually prefer the app versions of Reddit compared to the website itself - some developers make some really beautiful Reddit apps! (I use Alien Blue for iOS; Reddit Sync for Android; Readit for Windows Phone - I haven't owned a BlackBerry 10, so I can't recommend any reddit apps for it).
Aside from those 5 applications, there's not a lot of applications that I'm really picky about. I switch platforms a lot, so when it comes to other applications it's a "If you have it, you have it; if you don't, you don't" sort of situations.
But those are just my top "must have" applications; now we want to hear what your "must haves" are, readers! What are some of your favorite applications that are pretty much requirements when it comes to switching phones (or platforms). Are there certain applications that become dealbreakers for you if another platform doesn't have it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!