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Appy New Year

From Facebook to Psy's YouTube takeover, 2012 was all about going mobile

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In the past 12 months, the number of mobile applications has grown tremendously. Apple's App Store has seen a spectacular rise from 500,000 apps last year to one billion in 2012, while the Android apps at Google Play jumped from 400,000 to 700,000. 

The exponential growth of mobile apps is a result of the amped-up capability of smart devices that allow users to perform tasks similar to using a computer, and now people can communicate and share opinions with others in real time _ anytime, anywhere.

Here is a list of mobile applications most popular in Thailand this year.

FACEBOOK

If you didn't know, Bangkok tops the list of global cities in terms of the number of Facebook users, with an estimated 8.68 million registered accounts. According to international social media analysis company Socialbakers, the Thai capital surpasses metropolises like London, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, New York City, Mumbai and Los Angeles. Nationwide there are 18 million Facebook users. Thai people like to socialise and Facebook is their favoured medium. For many people, Facebook is a place where they now live, a virtual world that has increasingly become more real, at least in terms of emotional interaction.

For academics, celebrities and businesses, Facebook has become an efficient tool for communication.

TWITTER

On Dec 5, tweets celebrating HM the King's 85th birthday peaked with some hashtags including #WeLoveKingThailand (103,607 tweets), song pra charoen or Long Live the King (41,497 tweets) and #WeLoveKing (26,987 tweets) posted on the day.

Still going strong, Twitter now makes us believe that we can communicate with others in 140 characters or less.

Among all the different social media sites, Twitter is probably the most simple. Users are able to send messages wherever they want and whenever they would like. Instead of trying to keep up with posting information, users can have information automatically tweeted and retweeted. Twitter is the first channel that allows people to network with their favourite celebrities. It is an instant social fan club, users can write to celebrities and they might respond.

In the meantime, many celebrities can stay more connected with their fans: they use Twitter to talk directly to them, something that just was not possible with other sites.

According to lap.in.th, the top five Twitter personalities, by the number of followers, are pop-star Nichkhun (@Khunnie0624), talk show host Woody (@Woodytalk), singer/DJ Pakornlam (@Domepakornlam), TV comedian Tukky (@Tukky ching100), and monk V. Vajiramedhi (@vajiramedhi).

YOUTUBE

YouTube is the world's most famous video streaming site and has become a source of inspiration, fame and business opportunities. The most obvious case is the South Korean popster Psy of Gangnam Style fame, who built his reputation through a video that has become the first YouTube clip to surpass one billion views.

In the same vein, Los Angeles-based Thai band Room 39 became an overnight hit in Thailand after posting their video on the site, which culminated in a hit single with Boyd Kosiyabong.

In the YouTube era, anything that is uploaded can be viewed by millions around the world, and it's getting cheaper and cheaper to create high-quality content. Unlike television, YouTube has basically given rise to unlimited channels.

It is almost a complete source of information where one can find anything from the funny to the extraordinary, from home tips to cooking recipes, and anything else you want to know about. Just type in the keywords and most likely it will have something to offer you.

LINE MESSENGER

BBM, WhatsApp, and other mobile messengers suffered a setback when users migrated to LINE, a real time multi-communication app which now has more than 85 million users worldwide.

The key features of LINE enable users to enjoy one-to-one dialogue and group conversations, one-on-one free voice calls and free video and audio messaging. At the beginning of this month, LINE boasted 10 million users in Thailand.

LINE's communication tools, such as stickers and emoticons, through which users can express a wide array of emotions and jokes, are another major factor for the app's addictive popularity.

LINE is the top-grossing seller in the App Stores of Taiwan, Thailand and a number of other Asian countries.

LINE CAMERA

LINE Camera offers more than 100 different photo frames and more than 700 fabulous stamps, including LINE's popular characters. It also delivers a range of photo-decorating functions including 22 unique filtered effects that allow delicate adjustments for making photos look even better and more attractive.

There are 156 different types of brush for users to create stamps and various font styles. LINE Camera has already broken the 20 million download mark and was ranked No.1 among free apps in 13 markets simultaneously.

It was also ranked as the top app in the Photo & Video App category in 21 markets since its launch on April 26 this year.

There are more than 17 million users of LINE Camera in 210 countries and it was the top app in the camera category of Google Play in 17 countries.

INSTAGRAM

A picture is worth a thousand words _ and more, as Instagram users know.

Instagram is a mobile photo-sharing app, but it is also a social network platform. Instead of real time text updates like Twitter, you provide photo updates.

The kick is when the app enables you to tinker with the photos you take by adding filtered layers that imitate the nostalgic look of low-end film cameras.

Instagram is the most popular photo sharing app among Thai users and celebrities. According to ZocialRank there are 187,261 active users on Instagram in Thailand with more than 11 million photos already uploaded. Some of the most popular are the rich and famous like Thai actress Chermarn Boonyasak who has 318,716 followers.

The top five Thai people with the most followers on Instagram are actress Ploy Chermal (@chermarn), actress Aum Patchrapa (@aumpatchrapa), actor Boy Pakorn (@boypakorn), VJ Woonsen (@vjwoonsen), and actress Chompoo (@chomismaterialgirl).

WHATSAPP

Though not much is mentioned about WhatsApp these days, it recently passed the 100 million download mark _ and that was just for Android devices and not including other platforms.

WhatsApp Messenger is a smartphone messenger available for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Phone and Nokia phones.

The popular app allows people to message friends and family over 3G and Wi-Fi and recently it hit a new record with a total of 10 billion messages sent and received globally in one day. Switch from SMS to WhatsApp to send and receive messages, pictures, audio notes, and video messages free of charge for first year (99c or 30 baht per year after that). Once you and your friends download the application, you can use it to chat as much as you want and send a million messages a day to your friends for free.

LINE POP

LINE POP is a simple puzzle game linked with LINE in order for LINE users to enjoy the game with their friends. The game is patterned with LINE characters including Moon, Brown, Cony and Sally and the goal is to match up three or more identical characters either horizontally or vertically as quickly as possible. The app scored 10 million downloads within 12 days after its release on Nov 19, and ranked first on the free app chart in App Stores.

FLIGHTRADAR 24

Flightradar 24 was recommended as the best live flight tracker showing air traffic around the world in real time.

The free version of the most popular flight-tracking app turns your phone or tablet into a radar and lets you see airplane traffic around the world.

Flightradar 24 is the No.1 travel app in more than 50 countries including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia.

The features include planes moving in real-time, and airline and callsign information for individual planes.

The Pro version offers comprehensive information on individual planes, including route, speed, altitude and more.

Try the augmented reality view, which allows you to identify the plane flying overhead by simply pointing your phone's camera to the sky.

TRIPADVISOR

The app allows users to plan and have a perfect trip, together with millions of traveller reviews, photos, and maps.

With more than 75 million candid reviews and opinions by travellers, TripAdvisor makes it easy to find the best hotels, great restaurants, and fun things to do, wherever you go. The robust flight search helps users find airfare deals, even on the go. And booking options for hotels, restaurants, and airfare are just a tap away. The app is free and easy to use.

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