25 Great Phone Apps

Lots of us unwrapped some sort of iCollection last week. Whether an iphone, and ipad or an ipod I thought now would be a great time to look at some of the most useful and interesting apps.  Plus, my mother is shopping around for her first smart phone and keeps asking what all it can do for her.  So I decided to make a list.  Some of these I have used for a while and others I’m just downloading. But here’s a personal list of 25 apps I love in no particular order. 

** 1) Words with Friends ( $0.99) — I am addicted to Words With Friends.  I have several games running at the same time and I love it.  While I don’t admire Alec Baldwin for throwing a hissy fit on the airplane and eventually getting kicked off while holding up the flight for an hour…. I can relate to being on the verge of playing a perfect word and having to wait. Here is my highest word score. 🙂 I took a picture. I will admit that any victory I’ve had includes a lot .. and I mean a lot… of guessing. Right now there’s no penalty for trying a word that’s rejected. But I sure do try every option and sometimes it pays off. I still have no idea what evzone means LOL!  

** 2) Skype (free) — This is fabulous.  My brothers and I use this often when we’re working on projects together and the sound quality is tremendous.  Whether over the computer or on the phone it’s great. Also Skype users can video chat with each other on the phone over a 3G connection and not just over WiFi like other services.

** 3) Angry Birds ($0.99) — I am not addicted to this app as much as some of my friends…. but it’s a great time waster when you’re in the grocery store checkout line that’s taking forever.  You can fling the cartoon birds through the air to sort of knock down things in a war against egg-stealing pigs. 

** 4) Yelp (free)  — I’ve used this around Pittsburgh when the restaurant I was planning on has too long of a wait or happens to be closed.  It locates all of the nearby places to eat and organizes them by proximity, neighborhood, price, or what’s currently open.  You also get to check out customer reviews. (Urbanspoon is similar and also great!)

** 5) Alarm Clock Pro ($0.99) — I use this everyday to back up my regular alarm clock … just in case.  I have to wake up at 2:30 AM and the news won’t wait!  So whether I’m away or at home it’s a must.  It also allows you to adjust the brightness on the screen which I love and you can choose to wake up to a variety of sounds or music.

**6) Open Table  (free)– I’ve used this a few times and it works great if you’re rushing to make reservations on the go or if you’re in a meeting where you can’t make a call.  There are 15K participating restaurants.  You can also check out nearby open tables. 

** 7)  My Fitness Pal (free)  —  OK.. so the truth is my trainer, Camille Clarke, forced me download this and it’s great.  I just log in everything I eat and it provides the calorie count.  It helps me keep track of how I’m doing everyday and keeps me accountable! 

** 8) Epicurious (free) —  This is another new one for me.  I think I’m going to love it!  You can type in ingredients you already have at home and the app will do the rest by adding a couple of quick items to pick up at the store.  It helps you plan small meals or big ones and you can see reviews of the recipes by other users. It’s like a virtual cookbook. it’s free.

** 9) Pandora (free) —   I love this.  It’s not new but it’s still great.  You just type in a song or an artist and it makes a playlist just for you of songs that are similar.  I’ve been introduced to a lot of new artists by this app. 

** 10) Photoshop Express (free)  — This is another new one for me.  Since I’m taking so many photos on my phone, it just makes sense to have an easy app to make corrections right there rather than sending them to my computer first.  Looking forward to learning this one. Best of all it’s free. 

** 11) Facebook, Twitter, & Google+ (free)  —  All a necessity on here.  There’s really nothing else to say.

 **12)  Amazon Mobile (free) —  You already probably use the service to buy things. But what I like best about this is that when I’m out shopping I can use this app to scan the bar code or just take a photo of an item and then see if Amazon sells is cheaper. 

** 13) Mint Personal Finance (free)  — Another one that’s going to help me kick off 2012.  It’s a money manager app that helps track your income, spending and investments. I can set a budget and it will keep me on track.  It’s a free service which will also help keep my budget in line. 

** 14) WebMD (free) — This offers a medical diagnosis app.  You can input your symptoms and gets clues to what’s ailing  you or your children.  It also provides a listing of area healthcare professionals and pharmacies in the area. But the best part of this app is a first-aid guide with simple instructions on how to deal with an emergency.

** 15) Retro Camera (1.99) — I downloaded this when some of my friends kept posting the coolest retro-looking photos on their Facebook posts.  It offers a variety of looks to make your pictures look amazing and a lot more interesting! 

** 16) Textfree Unlimited (free) — This is a great option especially for kids that don’t have a cell phone.  With wifi they can text any regular cell phone or someone else who is on an ipod/ipad for free!  They can text their friends all they want without their parents having to worry about for a monthly charge for cell service and texts. (And trust me when I say teens do more texting than actual talking anway — very, very bizarre to me!) 

** 17) Text’n Drive (free) — I’m just downloading this and I’m expecting big things.  For anyone who has a terrible habit of texting and driving or checking texts while driving, this app provides a hands-free solution.  It will read your texts for you and you can respond by just talking.  

** 17) Around Me (free) — It’s a new one for me.   With great reviews, I’m just starting to check out this app. It pinpoints your exact location and lets you know about points of interest around you.  Restaurants, bars, ATMs, hospitals, supermarkets, theaters, and more. 

** 19) Sky Walk ($1.99)  — This is amazing.  A few years ago I interviewed the two men who live in Pittsburgh who developed a version of this for Google and the Android platform. (Click here to watch my story) Kevin Serafina and John Taylor showed me their amazing app called SkyMap. This version for the iPhone also enables you to point your phone in any direction and identify the stars. It is especially cool if you are looking up at the night sky and want to know what you’re seeing but it will also tell you what’s beyond the clouds or if you point it toward the floor you can know what constellation the other side of the world is admiring.

** 20) Shazam (free) — My wonderful coworkers Kelly Frey and Scott Stiller love to talk music. Obscure music.  During commercial breaks one of them sings a few lines from an 80’s song and the other has to guess the name and artist. After launching Shazam just hold it next to the speakers and the app can tell you the artist and song title. It’s too bad the app won’t work just by having a coworker sing a few bars ….. 

** 21) Dropbox (free) — This is a free service that lets you put all of your photos, docs and videos together. It makes it much easier to email several pictures at once. Plus you can access your Dropbox from anywhere allowing you to take everything with you on the go. 

** 22) Allrecipes Dinner Spinner Pro (free) — Another great meal planning app that even includes a filter for how much time the recipe requires. The reason it’s called “spinner” is that you can play “roulette” and let the app choose your menu for you. 

23) ** CamScanner ($4.99) — it turns your iPhone into a portable scanner.  It can turn any document, receipt, or note into a PDF file for safe keeping. 

** 24) Evernote (free) — Evernote for iPhone lets you create notes, snap photos, and record voice memos that you can then access any time from your iPhone, computer, or the web.

**25)  WTAE (free) — How could I do a list without including this great app!  We’ll bring you all the latest local news developments, weather and traffic that you can check anytime!

Thank you to everyone who suggested interesting new apps to try on my Facebook post. This list obviously includes things I’m familiar with but I’m looking forward to trying out some of your suggestions! Here are a few from you: Poynt,  Barcode Scanner, iTriage, Shopsavvy , App Killer, Flashlight, Shopkick, Flipboard, Hipsamatic, Cardmunch, Geo Qpon, Keeper, Team Viewer, Notshelf, Allegheny Traffic Cams, Vlingo, Pocket, Calorie Counter, Tape Measure, Steelers Insider, Office Jerk, Cozi, Free App Finder, Key Ring, Steelers Gameday Official App & Penguins Official App, Currents, My Pregnancy Today from Baby Center, Urban Spoon, Mapquest 4 Mobile.


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