15 Smartphone Applications You Should Have
Smartphone Applications Make Your Life Easier
Smartphones can be used as a variety of electronic devices, greatly making your life easier and more efficient. Instead of juggling your cell phone, camera, laptop, mP3 player, video camera and GPS device, you can simply grab your smartphone and head out the door with everything you need.
As a mom of four, freelance legal professional and the owner of three blogs (in addition to writing here at HubPages), I use my Android phone for business, blogging, moderating comments, posting my workouts, keeping in touch with my friends, taking photographs/video and listening to music... among other things!
There are thousands of applications for iPhones, BlackBerrys, and Androids, but which ones should you install first? I developed this list of 15 smartphone applications you should have from the standpoint of an adult user - no games on this list (that will be a separate hub)!
No list of best smartphone applications would be complete without a mention of Facebook. With approximately 800 million users worldwide (over half of which check in each day), Facebook is the King when it comes to social networking.
With the Facebook app on your smart phone, you can instantly update your status, post photographs and videos and keep up to date on your notifications, all while waiting in line at the grocery store or gas station. Customize your news feed, check-in via the Places feature, and comment on your friends' status updates, too.
Facebook is free and available for all smartphone platforms.
I love using Skype on my laptop for several reasons. First, I can make free international calls to other Skype users, and second, I can video chat with my friends! For international travelers, Skype is practically a necessity to help you stay in touch while avoiding the high cost of making phone calls from foreign countries.
Skype 3.5 is a smartphone application that should be on your list of must-have apps. All you need to operate Skype is wi-fi access. It sure beats carting around your laptop computer. Plus, if you are out and about and need to reach another Skype user, whether by voice or instant messaging (IM) the service is free and convenient.
Skype is a free smartphone application for iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry users.
Attention shoppers and bargain hunters! RedLaser is a smartphone application you simply must have! Let's say you are shopping for a gift for your 13-year old son. He wants a particular baseball bat. You have found the bat at one retailer, but is it the best price?
Use your smartphone as a barcode or QR-code reader, scan the information and the RedLaser application will give you other prices of the same item at nearby stores, as well as at online retailers! If you are not ready to make a purchase, you can program the application to send you a reminder email with the barcode attached.
Scanning bar-codes also provides information through RedLaser on nutritional values of food items, and potential allergens. You can even find out whether your local library has a particular book you are interested when you scan the bar-code!
As of the date of this publication, RedLaser is only available for iPhone and Androids. Stay tuned when it is released for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile platforms. The application is FREE!
Best iPhone Apps 2011
Facebook and Twitter often go hand-in-hand when it comes to social networking. Many sites like HubPages include icons on the page that allow you to instantly Tweet a link, or "Like" an article, video or photograph on Facebook.
When I am busy researching and writing, I often close out my Twitter and FB tabs to try to minimize distractions. However, when I'm waiting for one of my children to finish an extra-curricular activity or the line at the coffee shop is extra long, its great to pull out my smart phone and get up-to-the-minute information on my Twitter feed. Often times, I can learn about breaking news stories before other news media outlets pick up on them.
There are many free Twitter applications for smart phones across all platforms.
6. Adobe Photoshop Express
Adobe Photoshop Express is one of the top smartphone applications for editing digital images. Snap a photograph with your smart phone, and you can quickly make adjustments, including applying filters, cropping, and adjusting color, contrast and exposure. Try out special effects and borders, too.
Digital image editing software on smart phones is practically a necessity with today's consumers increasingly turning to their phones, rather than point and shoot cameras. The ability to instantly upload images to Facebook, Flickr or Twitter is another bonus of these applications. Just as quickly as you can post photographs, you can fine-tune them before circulating to your friends/followers.
The free application is also available for all smartphone platforms.
5. Adobe Reader
For students and professionals, the Adobe Reader smart phone application is a must. When you browse the Internet and find links to PDF files, you can open and view them without waiting to get home to your computer. It also allows you to send PDF files as attachments to email, and to open PDF documents you receive.
Adobe Reader allows you to search and bookmark PDF files on your smart phone, just as you would on your computer. You can even open encrypted PDF documents, with passwords. With Adobe Reader, you can view documents in portrait or landscape mode, as well as zoom in or out.
The application was finally released for Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad in fall 2011. Now, the free Adobe Reader applications can be downloaded on any smartphone platform.
Best Android Apps 2011
Dropbox is a similar smart phone application to Evernote. If you want to have mobile access to documents, photos, etc. that reside on your computer, simply drag the item to a Dropbox folder, and you'll be able to view, edit and share via your smart phone. Because it uses the cloud, any revisions you make while using your smartphone will be visible when you access Dropbox from your computer or other mobile device.
Do you feel like you have too many devices and not enough time? On the run all the time and hardly have time to think? The Evernote smart phone application is for you! I like to think of this app as a "catch-all," bookmarking service that allows me to jot down notes, copy and paste text, save photographs or audio, and flag websites that I have enjoyed when I'm out and about via my smart phone.
When I get home, everything that I have added with the Evernote application is now available on my computer and other devices via the cloud. I can search all saved media, including photographs, via tags and keywords. It is quite possible I may never forget another piece of information ever again!
The basic application is free and available across smartphone platforms. You can also upgrade to premium Evernote to increase your storage capacity (1GB per month) and access additional features, including speedier customer service. The cost is $5 per month for the premium version.
9. Genuis Scan
You already know that your smartphone can take photographs, and that you can access, read and share PDF files with the Adobe Reader application. With Genuis Scan, your smart phone is converted into a scanner device, allowing you to take a picture of important documents (i.e. receipts, traffic citations, you name it), and convert them to PDF or JPG files. Save the scanned documents for future reference, or share them via email, Twitter or Facebook.
Genuis Scan is a free application, but with somewhat limited capacity. Upgrade for simply $2.99 more and you will be able to export scans to Google Docs, Dropbox and Evernote.
Genuis Scan is only available for Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad.
Best Smartphone Apps for Photography
10. Kindle or Nook
Here is yet another electronic device that the smart phone threatens to replace - the eReader.
Even if you don't own a Kindle or Nook, you can install free applications on your smartphone and purchase ebooks, magazines, etc. to read where ever you go. Even though I have a Nook, I found myself stuck in an airport without my eReader. I installed the Nook app, and purchased a new book to read right there on my phone.
When I got home, I synchronized my ebook between my Nook and computer. You can easily sync your bookmarks between all three, allowing you to seamlessly move from device to device without having to page through to find your place.
My husband prefers Amazon, and has installed the Kindle app on his iPhone. Sure, the screen is a bit smaller than a traditional eReader, but you can save the expense of investing in another electronic device simply by reading books via Kindle or Nook applications for smartphones.
The applications are free and can be downloaded on any smartphone platform.
Top 10 Smartphones in 2011
As a blogger, this smart phone application is extremely useful! While I can moderate comments straight from my email, with the free WordPress app, I can also create new posts, edit posts and even add images and video. Very handy for when inspiration strikes!
Wonder when they'll create a HubPages application for smart phones that will allow us to do the same with hubs? (hint, hint!) Although there is a HubPages application for iPhone, many of the features on the website are not yet available for mobile devices. You cannot do more than create text, as of the date of this publication.
Again, the WordPress application is free and can be downloaded on any smartphone platform.
13. Opera Mini Browser
This web browser application for your smartphone leaves other alternatives (i.e. Safari, which comes standard on the iPhone) in the dust! It is fast, more accurate and can display pages that other browsers cannot. The Opera Mini Browser is simply a mobile version of the popular Opera browser you may have already installed on your desktop.
The best thing about this? You save time, as well as data charges when you get your search results more quickly! You can also conveniently bookmark pages for future reference, right on your phone.
The free application is available for any smartphone platform.
Pandora is the popular music streaming application for smartphones that allows you to pick artists that you enjoy and then listen to radio "stations" created by compiling songs from those and other related artists. Its all free - compared to mP3 downloads. If you want to have control over when you listen to a particular song, however, you can purchase the track. You can also upgrade to premium Pandora which will eliminate your having to listen to advertisements.
We listen to my Pandora stations when driving long distances. As long as you have a WiFi signal, you'll have streaming music.
The Pandora smartphone application is available for any platform.
Yes, even today, people still hand out business cards. But who has a traditional rolodex any more? With the CamCard smart phone application, you can take a picture of a business card and it will automatically save the contact information to your address book. Quick, and easy!
Once you have imported information from business cards, you can then search for your contact on LinkedIn and make the online connection!
CamCard recognizes a number of different fonts and 12 different languages, and the information you import is password protected. This is not a free application (currently costs $11.99), but is available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms.
14. Dragon Dictation
The Dragon Dictation app allows you to go virtually hands-free with your smart phone. It uses voice-recognition technology to draft emails and text messages, as well as update your Facebook or Twitter status. After installing the application, you simply press a record button and create your text by speaking. Then, choose whether to email, send an SMS message or broadcast in the social networking world.
Accuracy is high, and you can include punctuation (state, "period," or "comma"), as well as create separate paragraphs (state "new paragraph"). Make notes to save for later, whether reminder lists or ideas for new Hubs or blog posts!
Dragon Dictation is still a free smartphone application, and is available only for iPhone/iPad and BlackBerry.
Another Top 10 Smartphone Application List for Android
© 2011 Stephanie Hicks
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