As smartphone applications (apps) continue to rise in popularity, companies are jumping for the chance to expand their customer bases by offering app versions of their products. Some companies are even undercutting themselves and offering the app version at a discount to their original product. Here are six apps that are cheaper than the product they are modeled after. (If you'd like to save more money, first you'll need to conquer the first step: coming up with the cash. Find out how to do this in Top 6 Mindless Money Wasters.)
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- Zagat to Go by Handmark, Inc - $9.99
The well-known reviewer of restaurants is available as a subscription service website for an annual price of $24.95, which is very reasonable. However, the mobile app edition is even more reasonable, with a one-year subscription fee of $9.99. For that low price, you get a lot – including access to more than 45 restaurant guides, online reservations and an offline mode that lets you access the database wherever you go.
- MLB at Bat by MLB.com - $14.99
Baseball fans everywhere tune into the live coverage through their web browsers with MLB.TV or take advantage of on-demand HD viewing. A premium subscription will set you back $24.95 per month, or a yearly fee of $119.95. The app version, which gives you live coverage of every game and includes radio feeds and analysis, is selling for 50% more than it was last year – but it's still a steal at $14.99. If that price is still too much, MLB.com offers a lite version that provides real-time scores, schedules, news and standings. (Can butter production help you predict the market's next move? Find out in World's Wackiest Stock Indicators.)
- Sirius XM Radio by SIRIUS Canada - Free
On-demand, customized radio is a luxury many are willing to pay for. If you are subscribing for a radio in your car, expect to pay $12.95 per month (or $155.40 per year). The app download is free, as is a seven-day trial, but after that you can expect to pay $3 more per month than the base subscription to add in smartphone access. However, if you are heading on a long road trip, it might be worth downloading the free trial – you may find the hours of entertainment are worth the yearly fee.
- Guitar Toolkit by Agile Partners Technologies - $9.99
One of the highest-rated apps in the store, Guitar Toolkit is a tuner and library of over 500,000 chords right at your fingertips. A tuner alone can range from $40-200, and having the app on your smartphone is a lot more convenient than carrying around chord charts.
- Maclean's by Polar Mobile Group Inc. - Free
At 20 issues for $14.99, or just 85 cents per issue, you can be subscribed to the national weekly current affairs magazine famous for its annual university ranking. The app version is customizable and the content download is very fast. As a bonus, the app includes updates to Maclean's bloggers like Scott Feschuk and Andrew Coyne.
- Wall Street Journal by the Dow Jones & Company, Inc. - Free
Subscriptions to the famous financial newspaper are extremely reasonable nowadays. The print journal goes for $2.29 per week, or just under $120 for the year. However, even more reasonably priced is the WSJ app for iPhone or iPod Touch, which is free. The customizable app provides you will global news coverage and analysis, as well as real-time quotes – without carrying around a newspaper.
Of course, these apps function differently than their full-price counterparts, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The convenience and portability of a smartphone app often outweighs any downsides, such as a smaller screen size for watching baseball games. And some of these products are actually better in app form – having Zagat on your phone is a lot handier if you decide to have lunch on the go. (Before going on your trip, find out what kind of insurance coverage you will need. Read more in The Basics Of Travel Insurance.)
Catch up on the past week's top financial news in Water Cooler Finance.