Let's face it: Whether you get your apps through the Android Market (about 100,000 apps) or the Apple App Store (about 350,000), it can be hard to figure out which ones you want to try out. And there are a lot of recommendation lists out there (Computerworld has already published a few of them). But how to find the really great stuff?
In an effort to provide some guidance, we asked the staff and writers of Computerworld to tell us about their favorites -- no matter what type of smartphone they use.
The results are listed here. The apps are varied and interesting -- they include a variety of choices for music, video and photos; apps that help to find restaurants, detect earthquakes or track all your digital data; two games and two e-readers. There are also a few that make life easier on the job, including one that takes credit card purchases.
To try to make some order out of this plethora of apps, we've divided them into several categories:
- Media on the move -- music, photos and video
- Leisure time -- e-readers and games
- Interesting information -- news, restaurants and running
- Useful utilities -- storage, remote logins and browsers
- On the job -- dictation, notes and finances
The reviews below include apps for smartphones that run Apple's iOS, Google's Android and Palm's webOS operating systems. But we didn't want to leave anyone out, so for each app we've listed other OSes that it works with, which can include RIM's BlackBerry, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile, and a few other, less-known formats.
So take a look and see if there's anything here that you might want to try -- some of these might become your favorites as well. And if we've left any out that you think we should try, don't hesitate to let us know in our Comments section.
Media on the move
This is a great app for those times when you are at a dinner party and a friend recommends a particular TV program for you to watch. You can program your AT&T U-verse digital video recorder from your iPhone and not have to worry about missing the suggested show. You can browse the channel guide, search for a particular show and manage your existing or future scheduled recordings. If you subscribe to the more expensive U200, U300 or U450 premium channels packages, you can even download some episodes to your phone at no additional charge. (DirecTV and Dish Network have similar apps.) -- David Strom
OS reviewed: iOS
Other OSes it works with: Android (specific devices), BlackBerry (specific devices), Windows Phone 7
Tired of all those sharp, modern-looking digital pix your iPhone camera can take? Use Hipstamatic and you'll takes pictures that look they were taken with 35mm film in the 1960s. Plus, you can buy different "films," "lenses," and "flash attachments" for an even more customized look. Hipstamatic allows you to change the look of photos on the fly simply by shaking the iPhone, which chooses new films and lenses from those you have in your collection. (Given the number of lens/flash/film combos it's easy to get confused; check out the Field Guide wiki to help sort out your options.) -- Ken Mingis
OS reviewed: iOS
Other OSes it works with: None
As the name implies, iheartradio is an app for streaming radio stations across your Internet connection. It offers over 300 stations across the continental U.S. -- talk stations, local music for specific cities, regional traffic and a slew of artist-hosted stations where various talents (e.g., the Eagles, Weezer, Slash) discuss their favorite music. The program even downloads cover art to match whatever's playing. It's a toss-up as to whether a favorite station of yours is in their network, but give it a shot. -- Serdar Yegulalp
OS reviewed: Android
Other OSes it works with: : iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7