Computerworld's favorite smartphone apps

A roundup of our best-loved 31 apps for the iPhone, Android phones and other smartphones.

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MixZing

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MixZing

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Music players are a dime a dozen, but MixZing gets it right: it's logically organized, easy to work with, performs well and doesn't get in the way. Version 3 adds video support and lets you play back music by folder, as well as by searching and sorting by ID3 tags (artist, album, etc.). The free version is ad-supported; the premium version ditches the ads and unlocks a whole slew of music-geek features, like an MP3 tag editor and a screen-lock widget that shows album art. Me, I don't mind the ads, and the basic version's feature mix is more than enough. -- Serdar Yegulalp

MixZing

OS reviewed: Android

Other OSes it works with: None

Price: Free with ads; $4.99 for full version

Netflix

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NetFlix

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What is there to say about streaming Netflix movies to your iPhone or iPad? It's just the coolest way to unwind and catch up on movies and TV anytime, anyplace. It makes a perfect hotel room companion when you're working on the road, and it makes any supported phone a welcome companion in an airport waiting room. It's even a great home recreation option -- no one heard from my 70-something dad for nearly a week after he installed the Netflix app on his iPad except when some documentary made him decide he wanted a pet hedgehog. -- Ryan Faas

Netflix

OS reviewed: iOS

Other OSes it works with: Windows Phone 7

Price: Free (requires Netflix subscription)

Pandora

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Pandora

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I find Pandora's Internet radio almost spiritual in value. I can tune in my favorite song and Pandora generates similar songs based on hundreds of characteristics about my first choice. I mostly listen to my personal radio station based on "Fix You" by Coldplay. I learn more about music that's out there than I could ever possibly achieve by sampling iTunes or listening to radio. -- Matt Hamblen

Pandora

OS reviewed: BlackBerry, iOS

Other OSes it works with: Android, BlackBerry, WebOS, Windows Mobile

Price: Free with ads; $36/year for enhanced version

SoundHound

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SoundHound

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Ever had a tune stuck in your head -- or on a video soundtrack -- that you knew but couldn't identify? Nine times out of ten, I've found that playing or humming a tune to SoundHound solves the mystery. SoundHound isn't infallible (especially with my singing voice), but it does a good and fast job of identifying tunes, showing the artist responsible, linking to videos and listing discographies. SoundHound can also whisk you over to Pandora or it can settle arguments: Unlike competitor Shazam, SoundHound also shows you the lyrics to songs it recognizes, which lets you prove that the band isn't singing "there's a bathroom on the right." That alone is worth the price of admission. -- Matt Lake

SoundHound

OS reviewed: Android

Other OSes it works with: iOS

Price: Free with ads; $4.99 for full version

TuneIn Radio

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TuneIn Radio

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I've never really warmed up to video on a smartphone-sized screen, but audio's another story. Besides playing one's own MP3 collection or listening to a personalized music stream like Pandora, sometimes it's nice to listen to an actual radio station -- either local or out of town. TuneIn Radio (formerly Radiotime) offers streaming access to thousands of AM and FM stations in the U.S. and around the world, as well as a large variety of Internet radio channels. Plus, it gives you the ability to save presets once you've uncovered your favorites. -- Sharon Machlis

TuneIn Radio

OS reviewed: WebOS

Other OSes it works with: iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Samsung Bada, Windows Phone 7

Price: Free ($0.99 for iOS)

Vevo

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Vevo

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If you're into music videos, you really should have Vevo on your iPhone. It allows you to search for the most popular new music videos by artist, song or even geo-location, so you can find out what people around you are most often watching. Vevo now supports Apple's AirPlay protocol -- though the implementation is still in beta form -- meaning you can start watching videos on your iPhone and, with the tap of a button, send the video to your big-screen TV if you also have Apple TV. When I tried it, the AirPlay transfer worked perfectly. -- Ken Mingis

Vevo

OS reviewed: iOS

Other OSes it works with: Android

Price: Free

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