Sunday, February 27, 2011

Most Wanted Smartphone 2011 By Platform

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Most Wanted Smartphone 2011 By PlatformWith so many choices of mobile phones, each with similar and yet intriguingly different “operating systems” on offer, which are the key phones, to look out for, on each platform? Here is my take on what’s a good bet for Apple, webOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, Android, and Symbian operating systems based on what is around at the moment. The most important thing about your next phone isn't what carrier it's on, how big the screen is, or even who makes it. So here are Most Wanted Smartphone 2011 on every platform.

Apple

Most Wanted Smartphone 2011 on Every Platform

There isn’t a lot of choice when it comes to Apple operating systems so the iPhone 4 is the obvious current bet. The iPhone 4 features one of the highest resolution screens currently available on a smartphone, at 960×640, and it manages to fit it into a 3.5” display. The on-board camera can record HD video at 720P with it’s 5 megapixel camera. There are a couple of internal storage items (16GB and 32GB).

However, you might want to hold off until there is news of the iPhone 5. There has been a whisper that news is due in March 2011 (but don’t hold me to it!), Source: Sky News:  iPhone 5 To Be Revealed 2 March. However, from that article the image associated with that particular announcement looks more like an iPad announcement.

What others say: Engadget: iPhone 4 review, “We’re not going to beat around the bush — in our approximation, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on the market right now”.

webOS

Most Wanted Smartphone 2011 on Every Platform

Recently picked up by HP the Palm is another one with not a lot of choice which is a shame as it has a great operating system. The current Palm Pre features a 3.1” screen with a resolution of just 320×480. The camera is a 3 megapixel and storage is 8GB. However, the Pre does have a slide out mini keyboard in its favour.

So, the Palm Pre is the one to watch – but you might consider holding off until the recently announced Palm Pre 3, featuring an all new version of webOS, is launched.

What I said: Initial thoughts on the Palm Pre, “The Pre is functional yet lacks that real WOW factor, my theory is that is probably because the App Catalog is so bereft of diverse applications – perhaps the firmware upgrade to 1.2 will open a new world for the Pre?”.

What others say: IT Pro: Palm Pre Review, “It’s slicker than using Symbian, arguably more pocketable than its top rivals the HTC Hero and iPhone and a valuable and valid alternative to the ever-expanding sea of Android phones we seem to be pelted with on a weekly basis these days”.

BlackBerry

Most Wanted Smartphone 2011 on Every Platform

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 boasts the latest revision of RIM’s operating system.  The Torch 9800 features a 3.2” screen (3.18” diagonally) with 480×360 pixels, similar to the Palm Pre. Talking of similarities to the Pre the Torch also boasts a slide-out mini keyboard. The onboard camera is 5 megapixel and storage is made up of 4GB inboard storage and a 4GB media card.

With the latest developments in the operating system the traditionally enterprise-centric BlackBerry range are starting to shine and could be one to watch.

What I said: A Look At The BlackBerry Torch 9800, “Overall the BlackBerry Torch 9800 is an attractive phone that is packed full of features. A little streamlining may be required on the user interface but all in all its a big step in the right direction.”.

What others say: CNET: BlackBerry Torch 9800 review, “There’s not much that the BlackBerry Torch 9800 can’t do, but it doesn’t make it easy. Pricey, chunky, and packed with features, this is a smart phone whose function beats form — and fun.”.

Windows Phone 7

Most Wanted Smartphone 2011 on Every Platform

There are a number of handsets on offer running the all new Windows Phone 7 (and with the recent partnership with Nokia there are likely to be even more).

NOTE! The Phone 7 operating system is in the early part of its lifecycle so be ready for a few teething problems.

However, at the moment the HTC HD7 is well worth a look. Sporting a 4.3” screen with a resolution of 480 x 800 and a 5 megapixel camera on board the HTC HD7 can record 720P HD Video. This is backed up with a 1 GHz processor and 16GB  of internal storage.

What others say: Tech Radar: HTC HD7 review, “We like the HTC HD7 as a phone – it builds nicely on the HD2 without being a complete revamp.The Windows Phone 7 experience is ace on it, and simply just works, which is all we’re really looking for at this early stage.”.

Android

Most Wanted Smartphone 2011 on Every Platform

Whilst other manufacturers like to fiddle with the operating system, adding layers of “functionality” here and there, the Google Nexus S keeps to the essential nature of the Android operating system and features a nifty Super AMOLED screen.

Other features of the Google Nexus S include a 4” screen with a resolution of 480×800. There are two cameras available, a front-facing VGA camera and a 5 megapixel camera. The processor is 1GHz and storage is 16GB.

What others say: Pocket-Lint: Google Nexus S review, “Some say that Android is still too raw as a consumer operating system, but we have to disagree. Android in its naked form is slick, fast and powerful; it is refreshing to come back to the basic underlying OS and get away from all the additional layers that manufacturers plaster on top.”.

Symbian

Most Wanted Smartphone 2011 on Every Platform

Symbian, unfortunately, is starting to feel the pressure against more modern mobile operating systems however the Nokia N8 is a great phone with some excellent video recording and it features the latest Symbian ^3 for Nokia.

The Nokia N8 features the most impressive camera in this list offering a 12 megapixel (and it has a secondary VGA camera for video calls) whilst the 3.5” screen has a 16:9 nHD resolution of 640×360 AMOLED pixels. Standard storage is 16GB.

What others say: What Mobile: Nokia N8 Review, “HD video, a 12-megapixel camera, a great display, good battery life, loads of connectivity options and a great design. As long as you can accept minimal apps and games, the N8 is great.

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How To Have All The Latest Gadgets Without Going Broke

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How To Have All The Latest Gadgets Without Going BrokeGadgets have become the part and parcel of our life. Hardly any of us can imagine our life with different gadgets. The gadgets help to promote the quality of our life and thus the budget plan for buying gadget should be done under the purchase ability of an individual. So, here some tips How To Have All The Latest Gadgets Without Going Broke.

How To Have All The Latest Gadgets Without Going Broke

Warning
Before we begin, a word of caution: Go down this road and you will lose money. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. That said, if you're smart about timing, anal about upkeep, and diligent with your documentation, it's possible to attain bleeding-edge bliss without leaving a trail of financial havoc in your wake. The truly adept upgrader can even come close to breaking even. Here are some guidelines to follow in your new never-ending quest to remain current.

Learn Your Life Cycles and Laws
Moore's Law, Bell's Law, Kryder's Law—someone's always pronouncing them dead or obsolete, but many of these guiding tech principles are the main reason you're continually playing catch-up. The relevant ones also exert tremendous influence over when, how, and why your gear evolves. If you plan on leveling up at regular intervals, you'd do well to familiarize yourself with all of them. Having even a basic understanding of these informal laws can give you a sense of why the laptop you bought two years ago seems old and busted now.

Beyond that, they also shape various tech industry roadmaps. Companies like AMD, Intel and others are all fairly transparent about their update cycles. But figuring out how those plans carry over to actual gadget updates can take some work. For those devoted to Apple products, tools like MacTracker will help you divine specific product release date patterns and pricing history. Unfortunately, PC users don't have anything as useful.

Still, you can also start tracking company announcements and specific release dates yourself by going back and reading gadget sites and company press releases. Once you have a year or two's worth of data, spreadsheet those numbers to look for patterns. Macrumors has already done most of the heavy lifting for Apple upgraders. But you can also set up your own calendar alerts if you're feeling ambitious. It may seem like overkill, but staying one step ahead of new product announcements is paramount to earning top dollar for used gear.

How To Have All The Latest Gadgets Without Going Broke

Also, keep in mind that the end of November through the beginning of January (that'd be right now…) is the absolute worst time to sell your gear. With Black Friday/Cyber Monday/X-Mas/CES in the mix, we're right in the middle of new product announcement season. This is also accompanied by heavy discounts from retailers looking to clear inventory. Wait at least until mid-January before you even think of putting your gear on the market.

Save Everything
Resist the urge to toss out receipts, boxes, warranty cards, and other seemingly useless pieces of paper and cardboard. Nothing is more reassuring to a new owner than receiving a gadget that's neatly packaged with all its original materials. Also keeping all your materials will assure potential buyers that you're not a crook. You not only buy yourself a ton of pricing leverage when you save everything, but things like a receipt will also facilitate the transferal of warranty and registration info. If you have unused space in a closet or garage, start constructing your box tower now. Grab a Rubbermaid bin or two for storing everything else. If space is at a minimum, gadget boxes also made into makeshift bedside tables, desks or bookshelves.

How To Have All The Latest Gadgets Without Going Broke

Brands Matter
A lot. Just as some cars retain their value better than others, so do some gadgets. If you're going to swap your gear every year, it's best to focus the stuff that'll fetch the highest price in the second-hand market. To get a sense of which brands retain their value, keep an eye on completed eBay auctions. eBay Pulse gives you access to the top 10 most popular searches, popular stores, popular products, as well as the highest priced and most watched items on eBay. It doesn't hurt to do a specific searches for the item(s) you're selling on Craigslist, either. Like it or not, Apple products tend to retain their value much better than other brands. Other big brands like Sony and HP are also proven performers.

…But So Do Categories
Just like brands, certain product categories are always easier to traffic. Don't wast your time on items like printers, external hard drives, HDTVs, or any other gadget that is either already relatively cheap (new) or exceedingly awkward to transport. Laptops, desktops and smartphones, on the other hand, are usually in demand and easy to unload on the unsuspecting masses.

The Configuration Dilemma
If you're reading this, chances are you'll be itching to spring for the tippy-top-of-the-line gear. That can be a mistake. Always think of your target market when buying a new product. It may be the case that your potential customers won't share your affection for the latest Core i7 processor or your propensity for massive memory reserves. Here, it helps to pay close attention to company earnings calls to figure out what the most popular items are in a given quarter. Then use that info to make an informed choice. While it's possible that certain high-end or flagship models will be in great demand, people shopping the second-hand market are usually looking for bargains. Just keep in mind that a re-seller's sweet spot isn't always the priciest item.

Care for Your Precious
It goes without saying, but a scuffed, dinged or otherwise flawed gadget will command a dramatically reduced price. When you purchase your new gear, invest in cases, covers, furry linings and whatever other prophylactics you think will be useful. You don't need anything fancy or stylish, just enough to keep your gear safe. And hey, when it comes time to sell, you can always offer these protective cases and charge a little extra.

Warranties
Remaining current means you'll be dumping your gadgets back into the market after a year—often less. You should also seriously consider extended warranties. Don't worry, you can usually recoup the price of these plans when you sell you gear. Note: This is especially important if you're selling stuff online, where a buyer won't be able to test drive or physically inspect the item. Their peace of mind = money in your pocket.

Preserve Your Batteries

Cosmetic appearance is important. But proper internal maintenance should be high on your priority list too. Since most our mobile gear is powered by fickle lithium Ion batteries, you'll want to do everything you can to keep them healthy and happy. If laptops are your thing, software like Coconut Battery (for Macs) will help you stay on top of load cycles and internal temperature. Most companies also offer strategies and tips for keeping your batteries healthy. Follow them.

Get to know Trade-in/Recycling Sites
They should be last resorts if you truly want to maximize the amount of money you can get for your gear, but combing through sites like Gazelle and YouRenew will give you a good idea of just how fickle the gadget resale market can be. Want to know how quickly your fancy smartphone depreciates once the new version is announced? Take a look at the payout rate for the 3GS.

Timing Is Everything
Once you've figured out what you can sell, the next question you need to ask is when. Here's the answer: Right before the announcement of the next-gen version. Days make a huge difference here; selling at the right time can mean as much as 10- to 20-percent more cheddar in your pocket. It doesn't hurt to read gadget blogs to stay on top of all the latest news. We recommend gadgetmostwanted.blogspot.com, but there are apparently others. Just remember, falling behind on news is not an option. Something as innocuous as a rumor can send other like-minded upgraders scurrying to the Web and flooding the resale market.

The Art of Pricing
This is definitely more art than science. But do it right, and you can walk away with close to what you originally paid. In rare instances, even more. Ever notice all those ridiculous Craigslist ads asking for triple the retail price? Don't do that. But depending on the item, it can be smart to start high—particularly if you are selling a hard-to-get or high-end item. Even in the second hand market, people still equate a higher price tag with higher quality item. It can pay to make that gamble. If the timing, product, and condition is right, you can frequently get away charging retail (minus tax). Bam, you just rented a gadget for 8-percent of its retail price. In the end, there is a subtle dance to arriving at a fair and attractive price without short selling yourself. With practice, you will learn it.

Hone Your Salesman Skills

Your gear is in pristine shape, everything is in order, and it's time to write your ad. If you're funny, be funny. If not, just be straightforward and comprehensive. "Here's this Used Thing, Gimme Money" will not do the trick. When you get responses or enquiries, try not to appear overeager or desperate. But don't be vague or elusive, either. Spend a little extra time and effort to list your gadget's meaningful specs and take some nice (flattering) pictures. Answer questions in a timely manner. It's also a good idea to use one or two representative shots and then link to a Flickr gallery with better, higher-rez pics. People like to see effort.

Act Locally
Sure, PayPal's convenient, and eBay and Amazon gets you tons of eyeballs. But if you really care about squeezing every last penny out of your used gadgets, nothing beats a good ol' fashion face-to-face transaction. And that's why Craigslist should be an upgrader's first stop. Yes, spam and scams tend to abound here, but there are also tons of decent, respectable people simply looking for good deals. The added benefit of selling locally is that the person can actually see what they're getting, minimizing the risk that you'll get caught up in some endless online dispute. Oh, and there's also no transaction or shipping fees. Just remember to always insist on cash.

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Most Wanted Smartphone Mobile App Stores

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Most Wanted Smartphone Mobile App StoresDiscuss ‘bout Smartphone Mobile App Stores, it's been less than a year since Apple launched the iPhone App Store, but now virtually every mobile OS is showcasing its own take on the mobile application storefront. How do they all stack up? Here the top list of Most Wanted Smartphone Mobile App Stores.

The first thing you'll notice about these efforts—coming from such traditionally competitive companies as Palm, BlackBerry, Nokia and Microsoft—is just how similar they all sound. App World? App Catalog? App Market? Mobile Marketplace? This outward likeness actually runs pretty deep—these stores are advertising uncannily similar feature sets, for both users and developers:

Most Wanted Smartphone Mobile App Stores

Although it might not evident in the feature-by-feature breakdown above, there are two distinct kinds of app store: The primary store, which is the first and only source of an OS's apps (see Apple), and the secondary store, which is built around an existing stock of third-party apps, and with preexisting developers in mind (see BlackBerry, Microsoft, and Nokia). It's a combination of these different lineages and divergent policy choices that make the smartphone app store experience so varied.

Most Wanted Smartphone Mobile App StoresApple's iPhone App Store
At least for now, the App Store is the standard by which all others are judged. Beyond that, it's given us a rough guide for what works. With a $99 dollar developer's fee and a novice-friendly SDK, the barriers of entry for an iPhone developer are fairly low. Distribution, payments and to a large extent marketing are managed by iTunes, which iPhone owners are necessarily familiar and comfortable with.

And, of course, there's the iPhone: This store may only serve one handset (and its very similar nonphone brother), but it's a wildly popular one. This makes the app store uniquely attractive to developers, because it provides access to the largest uniform app-buying market in the world. Microsoft can argue that Windows Mobile 6.5 will connect developers to x gajillion different customers through y zillion different handsets, but this variety is a curse: Handsets have different resolutions, processors, 3D hardware, input types and basic feature sets. A motion-sensing 3D game with a GPS social networking feature won't work on a lot of WinMo handsets, but a 2D, keypad-controlled Asteroids clone won't make a developer rich.

But the App Store is far from perfect. Apple, like all App Store owners, has the final say in what gets listed, delisted or banned, and they aren't afraid to remind us of this. Along with the typical risque/racist/infringing content prohibitions, Apple enforces strict and often limiting rules against apps that compete with the iPhone's native set—iTunes, Mail.app, Safari to name a few—and apps that their partnered carriers aren't too fond of, i.e video streaming and tethering apps. Now, all these rules are showing signs of loosening with OS 3.0, but as long as the App Store is the sole source of iPhone apps, any rules will seem like too many rules—especially if you're accustomed to a totally unregulated system like Windows Mobile 6.1's. Hence, the gray market.

Most Wanted Smartphone Mobile App StoresAndroid App Market
This second major entrant into the app store race represents a consciously different approach than Apple, but not in that many ways. Immediately, we see a lot to compare: A single-handset userbase (at least for now), low costs for developers and a presence as the primary—though not sole—source of apps from Day One.

But the App Market is a different breed than the App Store. Most importantly, it's not the only place you can get apps. Google has been much more lenient about what they allow in their store since the beginning but in the rare case that they don't approve of an app, as in the case of tethering apps earlier this month, you can just go download an .APK file and sideload it onto your G1 anyway. This is a healthy middle ground for everyone involved; Google doesn't alienate users by destroying entire categories of apps, but isn't forced to come into conflict with carriers because of overly liberal policies. Google has also made their Market more friendly to consumers, with a no-questions 24-hour return policy.

Great! Then why is the App Market so underwhelming? Well, the G1 wasn't exactly a runaway hit, and the store got off to a slow start. Paid apps weren't made available for months after launch, and when they arrived they didn't benefit from the convenience and familiarity of a storefront like iTunes. Moreover, there's no guarantee that things will change that much in the coming months—more handsets from more manufacturers will boost Android's user numbers, but will lead to the WinMo-style toxic fragmentation that Apple so adamantly avoids.

Most Wanted Smartphone Mobile App StoresBlackBerry App World
Matt took a dive into the newest mobile app store, and found it agreeable, but not spectacular. RIM's is the beginning of this "secondary" app store concept, and it shows: You'll be hard-pressed to find anything here that wasn't previously available elsewhere. It is simply an aggregator for existing applications.

This was a given, as developers have been cranking out BlackBerry apps for years now. But App World was a great opportunity for RIM to give the lethargic dev community a shot in the arm. Instead of doing that, they've made the store almost hostile to would-be app writers.

Listing your wares in App World costs a hefty $200, which gives you the right to upload 10 apps, but doesn't come with any new SDKs or development tools. The payment system is Paypal, which is clumsy to use and a pain to set up. A minimum non-free price tier of $2.99, probably intended to filter out spammy apps and cover Paypal's transaction fees, discourages developers from even trying to make simple, useful apps, eliminating the $.99-to-$1.99 sweet spot that has been central to Apple's success. App World feels like an afterthought, and a reluctant one. UPDATE: It should be noted that the 70% dev revenue share figure in the chart is incorrect, and has been update to 80%—a marked advantage over the other stores.

Most Wanted Smartphone Mobile App StoresWindows Mobile Marketplace
With Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft will introduce the Windows Mobile Marketplace. So far, their announcements have shown an awareness of the pitfalls of both Apple's and RIM's approaches: They're emphasizing non-exclusivity and app approval transparency, a 24-hour return policy and wide device support, but also making sure to get big-name app and game developers on board to ensure that users actually have something new to look forward to at launch.

On the developer side, it's a mixed bag. As in every other store, the dev take-home is 70% of each sale, but the listing fees aren't great. $99 gets you five apps a year, but anything beyond that will cost an additional $99. I'm sure this will help vaccinate the Marketplace against the fart app epidemic that Apple has proven so prone to, but it'll do so at the expense of potentially useful free and $0.99 apps—again, a crucial price range. One important factor that's still TBD is the payment system. Microsoft says they'll support both credit card payments and carrier charges, but hasn't yet said how that'll look. In both cases the process will need to be as seamless as possible.

Most Wanted Smartphone Mobile App StoresNokia Ovi Store
You probably haven't heard much about this store, set to debut within a month, but it's kind of a big deal for the 40m+ Symbian S40 and S60 users that it'll serve apps to. It's planned to shoehorn into Nokia's new Ovi app suite, which we were introduced to with the XpressMusic 5800, and provide a go-to source for not just apps, but ringtones, wallpapers, and basically everything else that you might have found in a 2001 vintage carrier WAP store.

There has been a decided lack of fanfare surrounding this launch, probably because there just aren't that many Nokia smartphones in the US. But its success or failure will be informative: It will be the most open of all the app stores. For the time being, there is no developer fee, and app listings are free and unlimited. You can easily publish tons of different kinds of content—Flash Lite apps, Java apps, Native S60 apps, multimedia uploads and others—which will be subject to a vetting process that Nokia has assured will be minimal. As Nokia-averse Americans, we can view the Ovi Store as an experiment in laissez-faire app-mongering—a multi-handset, mixed-media, unfiltered feed of Symbian content.

Most Wanted Smartphone Mobile App StoresPalm App Catalog
And finally, we have Palm's App catalog. This is the store we know the least about, but that is already set for a different course than all the others. At launch, the only handset it'll serve will be the Pre—though Palm has indicated that other WebOS handsets are inevitable. It'll be the first—and likely exclusive—source of WebOS apps, and developers will be furnished with a solid, though fundamentally limited, SDK.

Palm's still-vague plan for the App Catalog will no doubt be central to the success or failure of the Pre, but we can make an educated guess at what to expect, assuming that Palm doesn't get taken over by idiots in the next couple months: Palm will vet the apps thoroughly, provide an in-house payment system, and make development simple and cheap (previewed Mojo SDK apps have shown great promise). The end result will probably look something like the iPhone App Store, but with one huge difference: there will be no local natively running apps—the Mojo SDK doesn't provide for that, just for what amount to turbocharged, locally-stored web apps. Granted, these web apps will have privileged access to some of WebOS's core functions, but it's doubtful that high-end gaming, as we've seen on the iPhone, will even be possible on the platform. These limitations (along with WebOS's multitasking advantages) will affect the nature and quality of the apps that are listed in the store much more than the Catalog's policies, though exactly how, we'll have to wait and see.

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Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must Have

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Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveWe look around the App Store everyday to bring you quality apps that have just turned free. We’ve tested these apps so you know they aren’t those crappy apps not worth your time to download. So, here we present you Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must Have. Remember to get these apps quickly because some apps listed are free only for a limited time for promotional purposes. So check the price before downloading to make sure they are still free!

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveAmazon: Amazon's usually the first place I look during a fit of impulse buying, which their iPhone app now makes stupidly easy.

Product searches, comparisons and account management are a given, but what really pushes this one over the edge is a new feature called "Remembers." Just snap a picture of a mysterious product or thing, and Amazon will get back to you with a surprisingly accurate, impressively quick suggestion as to what it is. Then it will sell said thing to you. Magic.

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveAOL Radio: More free radio content than any actual radio could ever have. Tailored radio stations are great, sure, but old-fashioned programmed stations-AOL Radio's specialty-have their charms.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveChorus: You know the App Store needs an overhaul when apps like Chorus, which help you find other apps, are necessary. But alas, they are.

Chorus crowdsources the effort to cut through the endless jungle of trash. Chorus is a bit like Apple's native App Store app, except with drastically shifted emphasis: instead of giving category "Top" lists, which rank apps by overall download numbers, Chorus only pitches you apps that've been explicitly recommended by someone. These someones could include other friends who use Chorus, nearby Chorus users, or a stable of "App Mavens"-online reviewers and tech journalists, mostly.

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveDragon Dictation: Amazingly accurate dictation software that usually costs (multiple!) dollars elsewhere, Dragon Dictation brings the best speech recognition engine on the market to your iPhone. It's free, but probably not forever, so go go go.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveDropbox: Keeps selected files in sync between your iPhone, computer, and online account with almost no effort. 2GB of online storage comes free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveDictionary: The best dictionaries on the iPhone are paid, but let's be honest, who pays for a dictionary nowadays ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveEpicurious: The only cooking app you really need. With its thousands of recipes, shopping list feature and meal suggestions, Epicurious will make you at least look like a passable cook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveEchofon: What it lacks in bells and whistles, Echofon more than makes up for where it counts, at least for most: It's as quick as Twitter apps get, and caches Tweets, so you can read them later on without a connection. It doesn't support multiple accounts, but most reasonable people don't need that.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveEvernote: Obsessive documenters, take note(s): This is the only scribbling app you need. There's a paid version too, but you get an awful lot for free.

Anything you need to jot down fast, be it in text, a photo, or a voice note, Evernote will keep it, index it, and sync it to Evernote's online subscription service. Where Evernote trumps all others, aside from its fantastic syncing abilities, is with search: You can sort your notes by all kind of parameters, and it never take more than a few seconds to find one.

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveFacebook: This was an essential app from the get-go, and it's been steadily evolving-like the site-for the last year. Version 3.0 was a total refresh, and supports nearly every one of Facebook's sprawling features, sometimes better than the site itself.

The new, panel-based interface takes a little getting used to, but once you're acclimated to it it's the most effective way to throw yourself, fingers first, into the black hole timesuck that is Facebook.

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveFring: Every major instant message protocol, comfortably crowded under one (free!) roof. The addition of push notifications notched this one up from great to, uh, greaterer.

Obviously Skype is still your safest bet for making Skype calls, but Fring can do it passably well, too. Most people were excited for push notifications precisely because of how they could used for instant messaging, and Fring more or less fulfills this vision for free.

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveGoogle Mobile: Google Mobile was a solid app (but not particularly essential)-and then came voice search.

It's a natural thing for a cellphone-tap a button, say what you want, and there it is. You can search the web, local results-everything the Google app could previously do.

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveGoogle Earth: The same amazing Earth touring app found on the desktop, now spinnable via multitouch. Honestly if someone told me two years ago I would have a functional Google Earth app on my phone, I wouldn't have believed them. This is now.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveIMDB: Every movie, every show, every actor, every bit of insignificant trivia: It's all here, in the IMDB app. It'll do local movie and TV listings as well, which is a nice bonus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveInstapaper Free: Yanks a carbon copy of any website into local storage for later reading on the subway, plane, or other place where AT&T service doesn't reach, like, oh, San Francisco, or New York.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveLayar: Layar, the first camera-based AR app to really blow us (or anyone) away, has quietly slipped into the App Store. As with the Android version, the app overlays all kinds of information onto a live view of the world around you.

Layar layers, which let you install user-generated overlays of all different kinds of information, like this one, which tracks government bailout spending. The expansion possibilities here are huge.

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveLockbox: An encrypted, safe place to stash all your secret or sensitive information. It's like a really good friend, except it will never ever ever betray you, because it has no free will. Genius!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveLast.fm: Creates free, effectively endless custom radio stations, streams them over 3G and learns more about your musical tastes with time. There is literally no downside to this app.

This one is a bit more of a companion app than the other radio services, in that it's accompanied by fantastic desktop clients, a rich website and plugins for Audioscrobbler-its recommendation system-for pretty much any music player out there. As far as the music goes, though, you're bound to find some new stuff here, especially if you don't mind more eclectic tunes.

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveOpenTable: Actually talking to a maƮtre d' on the phone: Out. Tapping your iPhone a few times to get a dinner reservation at a veritable assload of restaurants: In.

Just like its namesake website, OpenTable gloms together a healthy mix of restaurant listings, contact info and reviews, with an all-important reservation feature, which is literally the most painless, passive, shut-in-friendly way to get a table for one two on the anniversary of your pet fish's death date night.

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HavePanoLab: Who knew multitouch is the perfect interface for stitching photos together into panoramas? It is. Plus if the photo you just took doesn't work, toss it out and take another one immediately. A paid version adds even more features, but the free version do well enough for most panoramas.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HavePageonce Personal Assistant: Are you a fancy businessperson, with "accounts" and "subscriptions" and, uh, "dollars?" Personal Assistant sucks your scattered financial, travel and leisure concerns all into one simple, unscary interface.

I've got the organizational skills of a drunk five-year-old, so I can't even put a price on the ability to keep my bank account, phone bill, Netflix account and pretty much everything else that has a recurrent billing component in one app, with bonus idiot-simple graphs and balance charts. It makes being an adult easier, and as a bonus, gives you an excuse to refer to your "personal assistant" in public. Extra props for the barely-crippled free version, which is immensely useful.

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HavevvPandora: Best internet radio app, hands down. Smartly auto-suggests music based on other artists you like. Both on the go and while at home. Streams well over EDGE and 3G. Free. What more could you ask for?

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HavePhotoshop: This app bears almost no resemblance to the Photoshop we all know and love and steal, always. That's fine though, because it's a serviceable photo-editing (on the iPhone, this means filters, cropping, and a few other tricks) app that is free, unlike virtually all of its competition.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveRSS Runner: NetNewsWire was the old choice for best free newsreader, but it's gotten so buggy and slow as of late that it's time to recommend something a little leaner. RSS Runner diligently slurps news stories from your feeds, just like you want it to. That is all.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveSkype: On 3G, it's perfect for Skype messaging and long distance texts; on Wi-Fi, it near-magically turns your iPhone into a VoIP handset.

Given that you can't make VoIP calls unless you're connected to Wi-Fi, Skype is surprisingly useful: even if you're tethered to your router's range, having a phone-shaped tool to make Skype calls is really nice, and its messaging service is a solid, not to mention fairly ubiquitous, way to keep in touch with people. Note: This one ceases to be free if you use SkypeOut, but that's pretty hard to do by accident, since you've got to buy credit for it to even work.

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveRemote: One of the first apps we saw, and still among the best in terms of usefulness. If you use iTunes frequently at home and especially if you listen away from your desk via a stereo hookup or Airport Express, you need the Remote.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveShopSavvy: This is one of the best barcode apps for Android, and now it's available on the iPhone.

Early reviews were a bit harsh, since the app works better with the 3GS (autofocus, y'know?) and the scanning libraries needed some work. At any rate, it's free, works well for most people and the data-even if it can be sparse on some local searches-is invaluable.

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveSlacker Radio: Yet another free, customizable radio app, but one that has a spectacularly huge music library, and that gives you fine control over the songs you hear.

Slacker is pitted directly against Pandora, and they do a lot of similar things. Enter an artist or term to create a new radio station, though, and they'll give you totally different, but equally awesome, streams of music. And hey, they're free, so why not use both?

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveStanza: A free ereader with a decent paid store, and more importantly (for cheapskates), a massive free library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveStitcher: Collects and stitches together spoken word radio content from a healthy range of news and opinion sources, creating an effectively unlimited stream of stuff to listen to. Think of it as your local public radio station, times 400.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveSugarsync: A file storage and syncing app a bit like Air Sharing, except, you know, it doesn't cost anything. It depends on cloud storage, but you get 2GB of that for free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveTED: The TED conference is the yearly gathering for the world's best minds, many of whom are more than happy to speak, at length, about what they're thinking, doing, and dreaming. The TED app gives you more of these lectures that you'll ever have time to sit through, in a variety of formats.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveVNC Lite: View and fully control my computer from anywhere, as long as I am on the same network. So I can basically be at my computer without actually being at my computer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveWaze: Free, crowd-sourced turn-by-turn app Waze might not navigate quite as well as the Navigons and Telenavs of the world, but it's got one killer feature that they don't: Pac-man mode.

The crowd-sourced data works well in some areas now, and the more people use it, the better it'll get. For now though, it's by far the most capable free turn-by-turn app on the iPhone.

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveWikipanion: Why even carry an iPhone if you can't use it to settle petty arguments about things that don't matter?

A mercifully non-literal mobile translation of Wikpedia's interface, Wikipanion gets you to whatever 'pedia article you're looking for a few seconds faster than the regular browser would, and with much kinder navigation once you get there.

 

 

 

 

Top Best Free iPhone Apps 2011 Must HaveYelp: Yelp is built on the premise that people really, really love to review things, and that this bizarre impulse should be harnessed for good. With a massive database of food/drink/everything else reviews, easy navigation, inbuilt maps, and augmented reality, it's tops.

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