Apple and Google celebrated a big milestone this year.
The App Store commemorated its fifth anniversary with a fire sale of free downloads, while Google Play touted 50 billion downloads and over 1 million apps posted in the platform.
Despite the abundance of programs housed within these separate stores, quite a few slip below the radar that don't receive the recognition they deserve.
We've rounded up the most underrated apps you really should be using. Check out our top 15 picks.
Oyster is an on-demand e-book service every voracious reader should have.
Dubbed the "Netflix for E-books," Oyster is a digital library that contains over 100,000 books for browsing. Available for the iPhone & iPad, the system requires a $9.95 monthly fee in order to download and read this extensive collection. Books can be synced between devices and the app has features like a bright light for reading in the dark. The fee is a small price to pay for the numerous options encased within this application.
IFTTT syncs apps together to create powerful multi-tasking concoctions.
The best apps are the most simple. IFFT is one of them. By creating "recipes", IFTTT works with 75 programs to form powerful ways for your device to communicate. One experiment could be telling the built-in weather app to directly email the day's forecast to your inbox. Think of it as an app that you can program to do just about anything useful. As of right now, it's only available for iOS, but it should be expanding to Android within the year.
The Moviefone app is a better alternative than the website.
By adjusting your location, the Moviefone app quickly scans the surrounding area to find the closest theater. If you see a new film emerge on the list but have no idea what it is about, the app connects you to its selection of reviews found on critical aggregator Rotten Tomatoes while watching high-quality trailers.
Circa gave us a great way to keep track of current events.
Circa is a news app that delivers the big stories of the day in easy-to-read chunks. Readers browse the major stories of they day and choose to follow certain ones in order to receive more developments. If you want to stay up to date on current events, you'll need to read this app.
GoBank eliminates the worst parts of banking.
GoBank eliminates every annoying aspect of handling your finances. The app, certified by the FDIC, morphs your phone into a mobile bank. You'll never have to worry about overdraft fees, balance requirements, or waiting in line. The app has a huge network of ATMs saved in its database while it allows mobile deposits to be made with a quick scan of the camera. The best weapon in GoBank's arsenal is the ability create a custom Visa debit card.
Flow Free revives the classic fun of Dots.
While QuizUp, Dots, and Candy Crush have been the most popular mobile games of the year, hidden gems like Flow Free have fallen under the radar. The game is simple: every level requires players to connect a series of lines together in a certain amount of moves. Gamers can test their skills on free play in a series of increasingly difficult mazes or try their luck at Time Trial and conquer as many levels as possible in a limited amount of time.
Try OkCupid once you get tired of Tinder.
OkCupid is an underrated dating app that savvy singles need to try. In order to increase your chances of finding true love, OKCupid does require customers to pay a monthly fee. However, users can still harness a lotof the app's tools to search for a perfect match. One interesting segment of it is that it contains a Tinder imitation called "Browse Locals," which involves scrolling through pictures and swiping left or right to like/dislike potential matches.
KeyMe delivers spare keys anywhere over the cloud.
KeyMe solves the terrifying dilemma of being locked out by acting as a delivery service for spares. Customers can choose multiple options to make sure they never get locked out of their apartment. Take a picture of the original copy (get a relative or friend to do it for a backup), so a delivery man can bring a spare right to your home. You can also get your key through the mail. The coolest part of KeyMe is that digital kiosks will instantly duplicate your keys in under 30 seconds.
Google Keep quickly organizes your thoughts into digital sticky notes.
Google Keep is a productivity app for Android owners that places your to-do lists into digital sticky notes. Voice notes can be instantly transcribed and then be assigned color codes to help search through them. Google Now, Google's digital assistant, is also integrated into the app as an alert system when major events are coming up.
BBM for Android & iPhone is one of the rare bright spots for BlackBerry.
This has been a rough year for BlackBerry, but fortunately it recognized how popular BBM was and brought it to iPhone and Android. BBM notifies you when a message is delivered and read. PINs offer a deeper level of privacy when chatting giving users an extra layer of security when it comes to who can message them.
Bored of listening to music? Watch the slick music videos on VEVO instead.
The one-stop shop for music lovers, VEVO, is growing an impressive network of apps. Whether you watch on TV or through your phone, VEVO's limitless library of streaming content will always have high-quality concerts and performances from your favorite artists.
The EW Must List suggests something new every week to keep you entertained.
Entertainment Weekly's own app delivers a random assortment of entertainment ideas at the conclusion of the work week. Categories range from new movies to see in theaters or stream on Netflix or books to read over a short break. You'll never be bored on the weekends.
Rdio updates every Tuesday with new music allowing for endless listening time.
Rdio is a streaming music service that's very similar to Spotify. However, it's app is much better-looking and easier to use. The ad-free music streaming service's best feature is Heavy Rotation, which supplies listeners with a new batch of songs to love and listen to every week.
TimeHop curates a digital archive of tweets and FaceBook statuses.
Take a trip through time with TimeHop. The app captures previous posts from Facebook and Twitter and updates you everyday on what you may have been doing a year ago. It's a great to celebrate important moments from the past or remind you that a certain tweet needs to be deleted.
Heads Up is a great party game for your iPhone.
First seen on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Heads Up! is a great game to play at parties. The game has 18 themed question decks ranging from celebrities to travel. With one tilt of your phone, new cards appear while contestants have to give as many clues as they can. Once the round is over, the app records the hilarious reactions of the players and can be posted to the app's official Facebook page.