Did you get a new gadget for Christmas? Try some of these essential apps. Photo: Bloomberg
There's a good chance you woke up with a new smartphone or tablet on Christmas morning, but as Microsoft can tell you, no one wants to use a device with no apps.
If you've got a new gadget, you need to load it up with the best apps, that way the device can actually improve your life and not just bust your loved ones' wallets. Last year, 328 million apps were downloaded on Christmas, and this year, the number is expected to be even higher.
So what apps should you download?
Top game: Angry Birds Go.
Every user has different needs so no one has the same apps, but the apps below are must-have for most users.
Angry Birds – When it comes to mobile games, no franchise is more popular than Angry Birds. From the classic Angry Birds, to Angry Birds Star Wars and, more recently, Angry Birds Go (think Mario Kart), users can't go wrong with these feathered creatures. Available for iOS and Windows Phone for $0.99, free on Android.
Temple Run – Another popular mobile game franchise is Temple Run, which this year released a sequel and now has a couple of spin-offs. In these never-ending games, users run for their lives trying to avoid killer monkeys, pitfalls and tree stumps. The point is to get the highest score possible. Available for free on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Cut the Rope – Cut the Rope is another popular mobile game franchise that is available for most devices. Users who enjoy puzzles will enjoy this game, which challenges them to strategically – as the title says – cut ropes in order to feed candy to a little green creature. Available for $2.99 on iOS, free on Android and $0.99 on Windows Phone.
Waze – Most smartphones come with a pre-installed navigation app, but these days, everyone should also have Waze. This Google-owned app uses real-time data from all of its users to find the fastest routes available, avoiding unexpected traffic, construction and car crashes that may cause drivers delays. Available for free on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Yelp – Finding new places to eat, bars to try or places to shop can always be tricky; that's why it helps to have Yelp handy. The app has more data about local shops than any other company, including opening hours, full menus and useful user reviews. Available for free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Shazam – This is the app you use when a song comes on and you want to learn its name. Simply open the app, tap the tag button and let Shazam do the rest. Available for free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Spotify – Haven't you heard? Paying for individual songs is so 2000s. Spotify users who pay $11.99 per month can stream the company's entire catalogue from their phones whenever they want. Non-paying users can also use the Spotify app to stream songs from playlists and artists they follow on shuffle mode with ads played after every few songs. Available for free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Pandora – When it comes to internet radio, Pandora is still the top dog. Users simply tell the app the name of an artist, a song or a genre of music, and Pandora will create music stations that users can then perfect by liking and disliking songs. Available for free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Twitter – Not everyone needs Twitter, but this social network is great for following celebrities, brands as well as journalists and news organisations. Available for free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Instagram – This Facebook-owned social network is eye candy for smartphone users, filled with beautiful photos and videos from users' friends, celebrities and popular brands. Available for free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Vine – Twitter's Vine app is perhaps the funniest social network there is, filled with hilarious short videos posted by countless users trying to strike internet fame. Available for free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Snapchat – Snapchat lets users send each other photos and videos that disappear after a few seconds. Before sending, users can get creative with their videos and photos by colouring on them or adding filters. Available for free for iOS and Android.
Google Drive – Google Drive lets users create and save documents, slide presentations and spreadsheets from their smartphones. The app also lets users access any files they may have saved in the cloud on their Google Drive account. Available for free for iOS and Android.
Dropbox – Dropbox is easily the most popular cloud-storage service, especially since users get 2 gigabytes of free space just for signing up and can get more through simple tasks such as connecting their account with other apps. Dropbox is also great for users who like backing up the photos they take with their smartphones, as users can enable the app to automatically save their device's pictures on their account. Available for free for iOS and Android.
Dictionary.com – It's always helpful to have a dictionary handy, and users can easily take care of that on their devices by downloading the Dictionary.com app. Available for free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
There's a million ways to message friends using a smartphone or tablet, but these apps are some of the most popular available for mobile.
Facebook Messenger – This is the app for users who like messaging their friends over Facebook. The app can also be used to make video calls over the internet, although that will count against users' data caps if done without a Wi-Fi network. Available for free for iOS and Android.
WhatsApp – WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps on the planet as it essentially lets users send unlimited text and multimedia messages to their friends anywhere on the globe. The app is available for free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone for the first year and costs 99 cents per year after that.
Bank apps – One of the best perks of having a mobile device is the simplicity of banking apps. All major banks and many smaller and independent institutions have apps for smartphones and tablets, so be sure to download yours.
Pocket – Pocket is an app that let users save articles, videos and other content they find online on their devices. The app is handy for reading long articles in places without Wi-Fi or mobile connections, such as plane and train rides. Available for free for iOS and Android.
Los Angeles Times