What are your top mobile phone apps for 2010?

By Chris Wendel

It’s that time of the year, time to reflect, recharge, and come up a list of favorite something from the past year. In this case, I was in the process of putting together a highlight list of our favorite mobile phone applications from our office personnel’s experiences, when our friend Lynda Twardowski wrote a short piece about roughly the same topic for the Traverse City Business News.

This opened up quite the discussion in our office. So, here are some of our recommendations. We would love to share “best practices” (voted our most overused phrase for 2010) and then have you weigh in with your comments, and your favorite phone apps. Don’t forget to include a quick description of what the app actually does, and perhaps how you’ve been able to weave the app into your busy life.

Before the end of the year we’ll post the top ten responses and in the process make your life a bit easier.

Here’s our short list:

GOOGLE (FREE) You can find Google through your mobile browser, and this app is a major time-saver. The voice search function is seamless. For example simply say “Holiday Inn” and the app uses the phone’s GPS to find the nearest location. A recent update put the “Goggles” service within the app, so you can take a photo and let Google search for information on that object.

KINDLE (FREE) Sync to your Amazon purchases along with plenty of free e-books, and then on to your computer or other electronic devices. Nothing is better than to catch up your reading when waiting in line for a flight or appointment.

SOUNDHOUND (FREE AND $5) You may heard of Shazam, the phone app that identifies songs. SoundHound offers a broader range of additional features and is faster. Hum a tune into the phone and it’ll find the song, look up lyrics and even show videos of song performances. Settle those bar bets on what the actual lyrics are to songs like “Blinded by the Light” (and yes, it was written by Bruce Springsteen).

REDLASER (FREE) RedLaser is a perfect shopping companion and let’s you know in a hurry if that deal is really a deal. Scan a bar code and it retrieves product information, including prices at online merchants and local stores. This app works through the confusing outlet mall pricing and for comparison shopping.

WEATHER (FREE) From the folks at the Weather Channel, and is not your father’s “weather on the 8’s”. The app shows a week’s worth of daily weather forecasts, making it useful for outdoor weekend planning. Bummed about seven days straight of snow, cloud, and 27 degree temps? Add the view to the week ahead in San Diego and feel your phone and disposition get instantly a little warmer.

Food Network (FREE) Leave it to the folks at the Food Network to cook up a great phone app of great recipes that also provides a list of ingredients that you can take to the grocery for that particular meal.

Facebook (FREE) An obvious but sometimes overlooked choice. Facebook has become the long cul-de-sac off the information super-highway. For many it’s the easy way to communicate and keep up to date with friends and family. The phone application is simple to utilize and now includes a “Nearby Places” feature that identifies close-by restaurants, landmarks, movie theatres, shopping, and amenities (similar to the Yelp app).

Leave us a comment with your favorite application!

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