Phones

17 Free iPhone Apps You Need Right Now

Facebook

This one is actually somewhat disappointing, except for the Facebook chat integration. Frequent Facebookers may want to download this app purely for the easy-to-scan alphabetical list of friends and the integrated chat program, but simply using the full Web version of Facebook on Safari for the iPhone actually has quite a few advantages. The iPhone Facebook app gives you only a watered-down version of your friends' profile pages, which are available in their full form on mobile Safari. On the other hand, this app's key benefits are its clear organization and the ability to converse with friends over the Facebook chat program, which isn't possible in the mobile Safari version.

Google Mobile App

Think of Google Mobile as Firefox 3's "Awesome Bar" for the iPhone. Not only does this search-bar-on-steroids suggest popular query matches for you once you type in a few letters, but it'll also search your phone for any contact names that start with the same few letters. Tapping a search result launches it in a browser window, and tapping a contact name lets you message or call them. For some reason, this app asks you to use your current location, presumably to match your search query with nearby businesses or listings, but in my testing it didn't really associate my searches to local points of interest.

iPint

Okay, this game is completely useless, but you'll probably want to try it at least once. Using the iPhone's accelerometers, you tilt the handset to guide a pint of beer across an obstacle-ridden bartop into a customer's hands. But that's only half the fun. Once your virtual pint is safe in their hands, you get a surprise ending involving a virtual glass of Carling, some nifty accelerometer tricks, and faux chugging. I don't want to ruin it for you, so just give it a go. (Search for iPint in your iTunes software.)

Last.fm

A must-have for anyone who already has a Last.fm account and uses the service to keep track of what they and their friends have been listening to, the Last.fm iPhone app also streams recommended tracks directly to your iPhone. The Last.fm streamer didn't work as well over EDGE speeds as Pandora's excellent service did. That said, it's a great way to keep your listened-to list fresh on Last.fm while you're listening to your iPod Touch or iPhone. The app keeps track of what you've heard and syncs the list with your Last.fm account as soon as you connect your iPhone to your computer.

MixMeister Scratch

This app is one of the best uses for the iPhone touch screen I've seen yet. MixMeister Scratch is a simulated turntable that lets you "scratch" audio samples, like the iPhone version of the late Jam Master Jay. You can even launch the program while your iPod is playing and scratch over your favorite songs. Sure, it isn't the most useful or mass-appeal-worthy app, but it is good fun. It may even prompt you to buy two iPhones (or to borrow a friend's) to do some beat juggling.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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