Many free games try to sucker you into buying add-ons through in-game purchases, an evil invention that steals money from innocent users.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


How to find the right apps

March 23, 2014

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, The Post-Standard

Finding apps for your phone or tablet is easy. Finding the right apps is hard.

Let's keep this geek-free. iPhone and iPad users have the Apple App Store, which opens when you tap the App Store icon. Android users have the Google Play store. It's got an icon, too. Kindle Fire users have the smaller Amazon app store, and it's got -- you get the point by now.

Each of the big app stores has a zillion free apps. Most of the free apps are worthless, but, hey, free and worthless is better than expensive and worthless.

Free games are another matter. The most important thing to know about free games is that many of them try to sucker you into buying add-ons through in-game purchases, an evil invention that steals money from innocent users. My advice: Give 'em the boot.

Speaking of evil, here's another for the Hall of Shame. If you find customer comments, treat them like the plague. A third are written by people who haven't even tried the app yet, another third by kids who can't spell and the rest by misanthropes who haven't seen the sun in 13 years. Keep your antenna raised when you check such remarks.

(When every app is "great," no apps are great. See what I mean?)

I'm much happier browsing the Google Play store than I am the other two, for one humongous reason: Google gives you refunds. The other two might, or might not; get your blow torch ready. The Play Store gives you just enough time to try out any app and will cancel your purchase (and refund your money) if you don't like the app for any reason.

This means trying out apps from Apple and Amazon can be costly. Look for free versions with fewer features so you can try out apps you're interested in. Check reliable reviews of apps, too. I've written many, and you can also sign up for the app-survey classes that I give for OASIS, the non-profit learning center for adults 50 and older. OASIS is at www.oasisnet.org/Cities/East/SyracuseNY.aspx.

Finally, remember that all three app stores will let you recover any app you bought and then deleted, intentionally or not. Just go back to the app store and get it again. There's no charge.

(Note: There's an app store for Microsoft's Windows RT tablets, also. So few have been sold that I'm ignoring them.)