Emerging Free iOS Apps: Paper Toss 2.0, Social Girl and Google Currents

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By Kathleen De Vere Comments

This week’s free charts were much more of a mixed selection than they had been in previous weeks. While there were new releases from Playdom, Microsoft, Backflip Studios and Crowdstar, older apps from Team Lava, Airy Labs and XIMAD managed to hold their ground or even gain chart position. As usual, games were the most popular genre, but utilities managed to make strong showings on both iPhone and iPad.

New Titles on the iPhone Free Apps List

[Update] Bakery Story: Christmas – While Christmas may be less than two weeks away, Christmas themed updates to games are only just beginning to pick up speed. Team Lava’s Bakery Story continues its dominance, holding the #4 position for the second week in a row thanks to a new seasonal update on December 10th that added all new holiday decor, recipes and a limited time quest for players to enjoy. Bakery Story is free to play and monetizes through in-app purchases of gems, the game’s premium currency.

Paper Toss 2.0 - Backflip Studios’ new version of its hit game Paper Toss makes a healthy debut in the #13 spot on the free iPhone charts this week. Revamped with all new graphics, toss-able items and targets, Paper Toss 2.0 monetizes through the purchase of in game items and powerups. It is also ad supported, but for $0.99 users can disable ads.

Applets – If you find most apps are packed with features you don’t need, App Beast’s Applets might be the utility for you. Applets is not a single app, rather it is a collection of mini-apps that do one thing like displaying battery life, or calculating how many days are left until a specific event. Applets comes with 16 free applets, but more can be unlocked via in-app purchases. Applets is currently the #23 free app for iPhone.

Mini Mining – Palo Alto-based Airy Labs’ older app Mini Mining continues its upward rise this week, moving up to the #24 spot on the free app charts. A social learning game designed specifically for children, Mini Mining is a memory game where players can either race against the clock or compete with other children in multiplayer mode. The app was last updated on October 24th.

Social Girl – Crowdstar closes out the iPhone chart this week with its brand new game Social Girl. Released on December 13th, Social Girl is lifestyle sim based on the same formula as Top Girl. The difference is Social Girl focuses the gameplay on creating the best social life a player can, which requires the best clothes, coolest friends and cutest boyfriend. Like Top Girl, Social Girl monetizes through in-app purchases. It is currently the #26 ranked free iPhone app.

New Titles on the iPad Free Apps List

Magic Puzzles - The #3 ranked Magic Puzzles begins our iPad charts this week. Magic Puzzles is, as its name implies, a collection of traditional assemble the pieces puzzles with a variety of themes. Many of the puzzles are free, but additional puzzle packs with a variety of different themes can be purchases for $0.99 each. Users can choose from four difficulty levels, can move puzzle pieces in groups and even rotate pieces.  The app is credited to Korean developer Semyon Mibert and San Francisco based publisher XIMAD.

Microsoft OneNote for iPad – Utilities return the the iPad charts in the #5 spot this week with Microsoft’s new productivity app, OneNote for iPad. Released on December 12, OneNote allows users to create searchable notes with text, pictures, bullets and checkboxes and store them online with Microsoft’s SkyDrive service. The free application allows users to create up to 500 notes, but any more requires a $14.99 in-app purchase for the full version of the program.

Fleck Touch – California-based Self Aware Games makes the charts this week with its game Fleck Touch. Part MMO, part location game and part zombie game, Fleck Touch is a unique combination of mechanics from other games. Players all play together on a real map in their actual locations (the U.S. and parts of Canada and Mexico for now), can plant gardens in their neighborhood and compete for ownership of real-world restaurants. But the twist is that this happens while players band together to fight of invading hordes of zombies. Fleck Touch is this week’s #8 free game. It monetizes through in-app purchases.

Gardens of Time – Playdom’s hit Facebook game, Gardens of Time is finally available on the iPad. Released on December 2nd and sitting in the #18 spot on the free apps chart, in the game players are new apprentices with the Time Society, and are tasked with finding treasures (hidden objects) and fixing paradoxes (spot the difference) in a variety of different times and places. Players can challenge each other through OpenFeint, GameCentre and of course, Facebook.

Google Currents – Finally, Google gets into the content curation game with its new app Google Currents. Similar to Feedly or Flipboard, Currents allows users to import their Google Reader RSS feeds and display them in a more visually appealing manner. Users can also access in-depth content from magazines like Forbes, Popular Science and Fast Company. Unlike other content readers there are no in-app subscription options. Google  released Currents on December 8th. It is currently the #44 free iPad app.