Friday , August 18 2017

Free or Reduced Apps – How to find the best deals

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Apps, Apps, Apps. They’re what make Smartphones and Tablets great, they’re what help you to get you the most out of your device; but being human we don’t want to pay top dollar for them. Luckily the developers behind the apps either make them free or offer a discount on them from time to time, but how do you know when the app you’re after is on-sale? Well, to ‘steal’ a slogan: There’s an App for that.

What you’ll find below are a number of ways to find free apps or monitor or be notified of apps that go on-sale. These have all been tested and thoroughly used to do the Daily App Sales posts – which are a little behind at the moment due to injury. So read on and find out how to get them.

Reduced Apps

These apps list the apps that currently are on-sale in Google Play, and they tend to include monitoring of pricing, apps and more. The introduction of the wishlist feature in Google Play has negated some of these features but as a discovery tool these apps are more than up to the task and offer some great deals.

AppSales

AppSales is probably the most well known of the ‘deal’ apps, the layout in AppSales is clean, straight forward and includes some nice graphics taken from the Play Store.

App Sales, lists the apps on sale giving a clear indicator of the sale price, as well as the price the app has been dropped to. First and foremost, AppSales is a US based product, this means that prices listed are based on the prices in the US Google Play Store. AppSales also lists sales that are only available in the US or perhaps not every country.

Settings wise, you can filter the apps offered to you by minimum installs(100) and minimum discount(25%). You can also select how often the app refreshes and hence notifies you.

AppSales includes a built-in wishlist feature, which with the built-in wishlist feature in Google Play is kind of redundant but a nice touch anyway. The Wishlist feature allows you to select the apps you’re interested in monitoring. When the app listed goes on sale a notification pops up on your device and you can jump into the app to find out the specifics of the discount. An ability to add an entire publisher to the Wishlist would be a nice feature, but we can’t have everything.

One criticism of Appsales is that it doesn’t handle sales of multiple apps from one vendor very well. If say OceanHouse Media puts all of their books on sale, you may only find ten of those books listed as on sale in the app. You will have to use your own initiative to check other titles to make sure you don’t miss out, this is true for all the sales offered.

As an alternative to the app, Appsales also runs a website – app-sales.net – that contains these deals if you don’t want to have the app installed on your phone.

[app]net.tsapps.appsales[/app]

AppZapp

A newcomer to the ‘Reduced Apps’ category is AppZapp.

AppZapp provides a more holistic approach to App monitoring in that it not only monitors Google Play for Price Reductions, it also lists new Apps that have appeared in Google Play as well as when apps have been updated.

AppZapp has an extremely easy to use interface with a slide out menu from the left where you can access the different App Lists – Offers, New Apps, Updates and Changes, as well as Top Lists – Top New Comers, Play Store Charts, Most Viewed and Top Developers. It’s in this menu you can also access your account, settings, categories and filters for all your App monitoring needs.

AppZapp works on an account basis, so you can either sign up for a free account from within the app. This account allows for tracking apps you want to monitor – A ‘wishlist’ is part of this monitoring in AppZapp, when you see an app you can monitor it for fluctuations in price and also for when the app updates or if a developer has changed something.

Filtering in AppZapp allows you to select which apps are monitored by

  • Discount – Show All or from minimum 20% discount through to dropped to Free.
  • Downloads – Show All or minimum of 100 downloads through to minimum 100,000 downloads.
  • Rating – Show All and from 1 Star through to 5 Star rated apps only.
  • Categories – All the categories in Google Play are represented here, monitor just Games – Racing or maybe you want Education or Photography.

As far as App monitoring goes it is very comprehensive, it does everything, almost. AppZapp doesn’t seem to want to notify you of changes, you manually have to go into the app and check your lists in your account, a search of the settings shows nowhere that you can actually get a notification pop-up in your notification tray, this would really add to the functionality of the app.

Overall, AppZapp is very, very good. it’s a handy tool for anyone to use but would be infinitely more useful with a notification. Try it out for yourself and see.

[app]de.appzapp.app[/app]

Free App of the Day Apps

These apps list an app for free every day.

Amazon App Store

The Amazon App Store is actually an alternate App store to Google Play. Amazon have concentrated on creating their own App Eco-System to go with their Kindle Fire range of tablets. The Amazon App Store offers a curated approach to apps; approving and selling apps based on submissions from developers.

As part of the Amazon App Store and promote people to purchase apps through them rather than Google play, Amazon offers a free app every day. The app is made free for 24 hours and can be re-downloaded for free through the Amazon App Store app anytime as long as you downloaded it on the day it was made free. The free app of the day is changed every day at 4pm AEST.

To get the Amazon App store, you have to download an APK – Android application file – from the Amazon website. On your phones browser go to the Amazon App Store download page and download the APK. To install an APK that isn’t from Google Play, you will need to ensure that you have allowed sideloading of apps on your Android device before you try to install it, to do so go to Settings > Security > and ensure that ‘Unknown sources’ is ticked. Once you’ve downloaded the APK simply install it.

In order to access the Amazon Android App store, you’ll need an Amazon Account. You can do this two ways, you can sign up on the Amazon website or you can do it from in the app.

To find apps in the Amazon App Store you can either search the Amazon mobile app you or jump on over to the Amazon Appstore for Android on the Amazon website in your browser.

App of the Day(AU)

A company called App Turbo recently released an Android version of their popular iOS app into Google Play – App of the Day (AU). The concept is pretty basic and explained quite simply in their Google Play Store description :

Every day, the team chooses the “App of the Day” from one of the best, actually paid apps from the Google Play Store and is negotiating with the developers to make their app free for 24 hours.

Given that apps in Google Play can’t be marked down to free and then returned to their normal price, the developer is required to either make a new entry in Google Play for the day or use In-App codes to offer the app as seen below with My Currency – Converter, .

App of the Day has offered some pretty decent deals so far Munch Time, Doodle Jump and Asphalt 7. The app also helpfully tracks how much money you have saved by redeeming free applications over time and in theory could show you some excellent savings.

[app]com.appturbo.appturboAU[/app]

Appgratis

Appgratis is the ‘new kid on the block’, and it works along the same lines as App of the Day. Every day around 9:30am Australian Eastern Standard Time each day the app delivers a notification that your Appgratis deal of the day is now ready, meaning that a new app isnow available for free for 24 hours.

Appgratis recently brought about a lot of notice due to offering Cerberus anti theft an app that usually costs $3.88 through in-app purchase for free. So far all the apps I have downloaded through AppGratis have been activated through a voucher code or method like Cerebus which simply gave a lifetime license free to new activations on the day. Not a big deal for most people, however if you change phones a lot, you do lose access to most of the deals.

App Gratis comes with preferences which allow you to select whether you wish to be notified, by what method – audible or vibrate alert – as well as offering different languages and the ability to set your location.

All the apps are from Google Play, so updates to the apps will come through as a matter of course.

Appgratis is available on iOS as well with both iPad and iPhone apps available. They also offer all their deals on their website for those who don’t want to check the daily deals through the app.

[app]com.imediapp.appgratis[/app]

The App of the Day AU and Appgratis apps featured here, both use Google Play to distriubute the app as opposed to the Free App of the Day promo run by Amazon, which require you to have a completely separate App Store installed on your Android device.

The method of app distribution also comes into play when considering the delivery of updates to the apps. Appgratis and App of the Day (AU) use Google Play which delivers updates quite quickly, whereas the Amazon App Store app handles all the updates for the apps downloaded within although historically apps in the Amazon App store have also lagged behind their counterparts in Google Play.

A criticism of both App of the Day AU and Appgratis is the limited availability of the free App. Whereas the Amazon Free App of the day can be downloaded repeatedly once it’s claimed as a free app, Appgratis and App of the Day (AU) generally work on an In App Purchase or voucher that is valid for that day only.

Alternate App Stores

Getjar

Getjar has been a big name in alternate app stores for years, originally offeirng Java games and apps for very early model phones – that’s where the name comes from ‘Get Java’ = GetJar – and since their inception they’ve delivered over 1 Billion apps.

Getjar offers a rewards based system, called Getjar Gold. This involves downloading and trying lesser known apps which earn you virtual credit called Gold, which you can then use to purchase games and apps.

You will need to download the Getjar Gold app from Google Play, once installed you can begin browsing apps to both purchase and download to earn gold. If downloading apps to increase your GetJar Gold tally doesn’t float your boat, you can also purchase Gold to shortcut the process, the transaction is done via In-App Purchase through Google Play.

An example of Getjar Gold in action is Azkend Gold it costs 25 Getjar Gold credits to purchase. Simply download the game and open it, then select the Unlock button and if you have enough Gold in your account you will be able to unlock the full game for free. If not, you will be shown a selection of apps you can download that will increase your available Getjar Gold. Happily, this seems to work if you swap to a new device and re-install a game you’ve spent your GetJar Gold on previously.

As far as an app goes, the GetJar Gold app appears to merely be a HTML5 based app or a wrapper for the GetJar webpage, but either way it gives you access to the site so you can interact with the service. By using these means, Getjar Gold works well as an app discovery platform as well as a distributor. Well worth trying out to see what you can get for free.

[app]com.getjar.rewards[/app]

Searching for Cheap Apps

AppBrain

AppBrain is more than just a way to search for cheap apps, it’s a place to discover new apps, manage your existing apps and share what you’ve found.

AppBrain also provides a way to do batch installs of your apps. You do need an account with AppBrain – which you can get either from their website or within the app – to get all the best features of AppBrain. Read the setup and you’ll find out a lot more about how much AppBrain can actually do for you. If you want to use some of the features in AppBrain, you will need to create an account but to use the search feature, there’s no need.

Searches in AppBrain can be refined quite well through use of sorting options, categories and filters – the best filter is ‘Price Reduced’. You can use the Sort, Category and Filter selections to hone in on which apps you’re looking for.

AppBrain keeps a great eye on the market, for app price variances however it’s very US focused. Prices are in USD and as with some previous apps we’ve seen some deals they list are only available in the US.

As with a number of the apps here, AppBrain provides a website to access all of their services. To check for Apps on Sale you can head directly to their Prices Reduced website.

AppBrain is an excellent service to investigate for a number of reasons, but the ability to search for apps on sale is a valuable one.

[app]com.appspot.swisscodemonkeys.apps[/app]

Conclusion

This is essentially a roundup of all the ways I’ve used to find apps for the Daily App Sales Roundup.

As a number of commentors have noted previously you can do all this yourself. However, a number of people have advised that they do not like having apps notifying them as this becomes an unwanted intrusion for them and therefore found the posts handy to keep a track of what’s going on.

The future of the App Sales Roundup is in your hands, injury has prevented me from doing much typing of late but I’m back in action and looking for direction. Do you want to see a return of the Daily App Sales Roundup or perhaps migrate to a Weekly App Sales Roundup or something else?

 

Daniel Tyson   Editor

Dan is a die-hard Android fan. Some might even call him a lunatic. He's been an Android user since Android was a thing, and if there's a phone that's run Android, chances are he owns it (his Nexus collection is second-to-none) or has used it.

Dan's dedication to Ausdroid is without question, and he has represented us at some of the biggest international events in our industry including Google I/O, Mobile World Congress, CES and IFA.

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1 Comment on "Free or Reduced Apps – How to find the best deals"

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lasho
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lasho

Most of the apps I have, have been purchased or down loaded through Ausdroid. Every morning I sit in front of the computer with my coffee and this is one of the first places I visit (and the only android site)……….love your work and have missed it whilst you’ve been injured……

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