Emerging Top Free Apps on iOS: Paid Apps Go Free and Television Grows on iPad

By Christopher Mack Comment

Entertainment and past paid apps are rising up the top iOS charts today. Both Booyah and Gameloft have made one of their titles free-to-play, and while the latter’s is only temporary, both moves have pushed the games to the top of the free iPhone charts. On iPad, however, television is moving to the top with apps for NBC, TNT, and TBS breaching the top ten.

New Titles Within Top iPhone Free Apps List

AsphaltAsphalt 6: Adrenaline — The new #1 free iPhone app is also #1 on iPad: Asphalt 6: Adrenaline. Though it hasn’t been updated since July 20th, the racing game from international publisher and developer Gameloft has risen dramatically due to being made free for an undisclosed amount of time. The game features a multitude of world-class cars (e.g. Aston Martin) for players to race on tracks from around the world. A former top paid app, the monetization of the game is now based around in-app purchases for virtual currency and items.

Early Bird — Next up is the game of Early Bird. Ranked #2, this app was also once a top paid application as well. It is a puzzle game in which players try to guide a bluebird to its worm-meal using simple finger swipes. That in mind, the challenge is to work their way past a variety of obstacles, pitfalls, and moving platforms. Early Bird’s growth is also partially attributed to a September 13th update that added in 24 new levels, and a new in-app purchase ($0.99) for “The Phoenix,” which is meant to help pass levels in which the player is stuck and resembles Angry Birds’ Mighty Eagle virtual good. Early Bird is developed by California’s Booyah, a social and mobile games developer founded in 2008, and whose titles include MyTown, DJ Rivals, and Nightclub City.

Tangled — Tangled is a puzzle game that is also noted to be free for a limited time (usually costing $0.99). The game features several orbs connected by lines that players must untangle so that the lines do not cross. Also aiding in its growth is a September 13th update that added in three new puzzle packs of varying difficulties. This is on top of the game’s already existing 30 puzzles. Though it is normally a paid application, Tangled also hosts several in-app purchases for new puzzles and level unlocks. Its developer is credited as Billy Lavoie, whose other iOS applications include Tangled 2 and Tangled 2: Doodle. Tangled is currently #3 on the top free iPhone apps list.

LarryTalking Larry the Bird — Outfit7 may have lost its chief executive recently, but the mobile developer of talking animal apps has seen several million downloads during his time as CEO, and those numbers continue to climb with the #4 free iPhone app, Talking Larry the Bird. Talking Larry the Bird is one of those interactive virtual avatar applications. Like other Outfit7 apps, users can poke, talk, or record video with Larry. Additionally, Larry the Bird comes with a digital piano keyboard which can be played to prompt him to whistle along in key. Talking Larry the Bird is one of Outfit7’s older titles, however, having been updated last November. That said, the growth is due to the application being made free for a limited time. It is also ranked #8 on iPad.

Line Runner — Robert Szeleney is credited to several top free “line-style” games on iPhone. The most recent of these to rise is the August 1st-updated game of Line Runner. Featured on FreeAppADay, Line Runner is a simple challenge of running as far as one can, jumping over or rolling under ever increasing numbers of obstacles without getting hit. The game also adds extra challenge via OpenFeint leaderboards. Though it is free, the game monetizes through an in-app purchase for a little stick figure blood at $0.99. As for Szeleney himself, he appears to be part of Austrian company, Djinnworks. Line Runner is currently sitting at #5 on the top free iPhone apps list.

New Titles Within Top iPad Free Apps List

NBCNBC — Media and entertainment giant NBC Universal is the creator of today’s #2 free iPad app, NBC. A television oriented application, it allows users to watch full episodes of NBC programming from their iPad device, a feature added in the recent September 8th update. Additionally, NBC allows for users to browse video highlights and photos from their favorite shows, along with mini-games, trivia, schedules, and the ability to interact with other fans.

Six Towers HD — Moving back into the realm of games comes Six Towers HD. Ranked at #3 on the top free iPad apps list, the game was only recently released on September 10th. A puzzle game with a simple concept, players must organize a series of eight columns into six. Each brick in the column is numbered and colored, thus the final six columns must be in ascending order and of the same color. However, bricks can only be placed in empty slots or atop  another brick that is sequentially adjacent (e.g. a “2” can only be put atop a “1” or “3”). Once again, the credited developer is the enigmatic AlphaWeb Plus LLP, but the game is linked to a Russian games portal called Bashni.

TNT for iPad — The television network of TNT (of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., A Time Warner Company)  is stepping into the top free iPad app charts as well with its #5 application, TNT for iPad. Released only September 8th, the entertainment title has risen quickly. As one would expect, TNT for iPad provides users with mobile access to any of their preferred TNT programs (and movies). It also includes episode guides, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage. As an added bonus, the application also incorporates the ability to set schedule reminders for upcoming shows. The app also hosts social integration via networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

TBSTBS for iPad — Coming in at #6 is, for the third time today, more television. This time it is the “very funny” network of TBS who has recently launched (September 8th) TBS for iPad. Like the previous two television applications, TBS for iPad offers its users full access to television programming from the network. That said, access is only granted after authenticating one’s cable or satellite provider. Beyond the TBS comedies, however, users can also view clips, episode guides, more behind-the-scenes video, and also set schedule reminders. TBS is also part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., A Time Warner Company.

Dolphin Browser HD — The last highlight of the day, sitting at #8, is also a feature from FreeAppADay, Dolphin Browser HD. Last updated September 12th, the app is a mobile web browser designed around touch controls. Dolphin also supports a sidebar for bookmarks, tabbed browsing, and word finds. The developer behind Dolphin Browser is credited as MoboTap, a mobile technology company whose focus is around improving mobile web experiences.  Additionally, the San Francisco-based company recently raised $10 million in Series A funding.