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Smart Consumer: Free texts? Cheap petrol? Hooray for phone Apps!

Do you want your sleep pattern analysed by it, do you like to play scrabble on it or do you just have fun turning your smartphone into a light sabre?

If so, then your smartphone is host to one of 8.4 million Apps already downloaded by Irish consumers.

Currently, 600,000 Irish people own a smartphone, and when it comes to Apps, there is a huge range to choose from.

For consumer-friendly apps, you could opt for the PayPal app so that you can check your account and make transfers, or the Sykpe app so you are never without the option of making free calls.

Which? UK recently launched a great App detailing your consumer rights. But it is UK-related, so if you do take a look remember that there are differences between UK and Irish consumer law.

Here are five others:

The Good Shopping Guide (£2.99)

From the Ethical Company Organisation, their well-known Good Shopping Guide is now in App form. It contains information on 700 famous brands in seven sectors: home and office; energy; travel; money; food and drink; health and beauty and fashion.

Each brand is rated good, bad or ugly in relation to ethical shopping factors such as the environment, human rights and animal welfare. Worldwide brands are included here but some are UK-relevant only.

Taxback (free)

Tax specialists Taxback.com launched their iPhone App last week, in response to demand from Ireland's twenty-somethings, the profile group who have made the largest number of claims to date.

The App allows users to calculate the amount of tax owed to them and also to track their claim once it has been submitted.

Health Mate (free)

The latest health and fitness Android App comes from Aviva. It contains exercise and nutrition tips and allows you to interact with Facebook and set your own soundtrack for any workout.

What is new about this App is the pedometer element. The pedometer comes pre-loaded with 100 popular walking and running trails across the country, making it the only one with localised information for the Irish market.

Eirtext (free)

This isn't a new App but can't be ignored by anyone who wants to send texts for free. If you have a web text account, this App allows you to send them directly from your phone for free.

Pumps (free)

Pumps.ie has long been a popular website for drivers looking for the best deal in petrol and diesel, and it's even more important to know where the cheapest is now with the recent price hikes.

The App from Pumps.ie will allow you to access that price data but there is an even better twist; the App includes a GPS system, which can tell where you are and give you the prices for the petrol stations nearest you.

Irish Independent