The 49 Best Apps for All Phones

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Maps and Location Services

Map it: The Google Maps app is useful for finding businesses (you can save results into your Contacts) and getting directions (you can hand this function off to Navigation). Its public-transit directions are great when you're in a new city. Free; Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Symbian, WebOS, Windows Mobile

Visit the world: Using the detailed satellite imagery displayed in Google Earth, you can explore the world. Assorted POIs (points of interest) are marked with links to photos, Wikipedia articles, and more. Free; Android, iPhone

Get maps free: You could shell out big bucks for a top-brand navigation app--or you could download the free MapQuest 4 Mobile, which delivers spoken turn-by-turn directions, automatic rerouting if you miss a turn, walking directions, and many other useful navigation features. Free; BlackBerry, iPhone

Layar places useful neighborhood information over the scene shown in your phone's camera.
Enhance your world: The Layar Reality Browser is an AR (augmented reality) app that overlays information about such subjects as restaurants, public transit options, and apartment-search information on the view from your smartphone's camera. You can even see the tweets from people posting to Twitter within your camera's field of view. Free; Android, iPhone

Access travel plans: The WorldMate mobile app gives you full access to the travel plans you make using the WorldMate desktop program. You can see up-to-date information on flights, hotels, car rentals, and more, with clickable links. The premium version lets you get flight-delay information, plus suggestions for alternative flights. Free basic version, $12-per-month premium version; BlackBerry, iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile

Find your way: Turn your phone into a real-time navigation device with TeleNav. You can get turn-by-turn directions by voice and on screen, and you can locate, call, or navigate to rated and reviewed restaurants, hotels, ATMs, Wi-Fi hotspots, and more from a directory of over 10 million businesses. $10 after a 30-day trial; Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Symbian, WebOS

Music Apps

Discover music: Tell Pandora your music preferences, and it streams tunes on your smartphone accordingly. You can stream music in the background (yes, even on the iPhone with iOS 4) while you do other stuff such as check e-mail or play games. Pandora's music algorithm isn't always spot-on, but the app is a nice alternative when you need a break from your own song collection. Free; Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, WebOS, Windows Mobile

Listen offline, too: Similar to Pandora, Slacker is a well-designed taste-based online radio service. We like it because it caches on an iPhone 4's memory, so you can listen to music while in flight or outside the cellular signal area. Free, though some features require a subscription; Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, WebOS, Windows Mobile

Name that tune: Want to identify that one song you keep hearing everywhere you go? Just open the Shazam app, hold your smartphone up to your radio's speaker, and--in a flash--it displays the name of the song and the artist. Free; Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile

Be a power listener: The perfect app for the hard-core music lover, MOG enables you to download any song or album to your phone for $10 a month. It's great for continued listening when you leave wireless coverage. MOG also one-ups Pandora by letting you create radio stations that play only what you specify, such as a station of Bruce Springsteen songs. App is free, service is $10 a month for all your devices; Android, iPhone

Rock your BlackBerry: Unlike MOG, Thumbplay allows BlackBerry users to get in on the on-demand music, with unlimited access to any artist or album. You can build playlists within the app, listen either online or offline, and sync existing music from your PC or Mac. $10 per month for full access; Android, BlackBerry, iPhone

Get your groove on: Find and stream an amazing variety of music, hassle-free, with Grooveshark. Play individual songs or whole albums, or create your own playlists. $3 per month; Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, WebOS

Entertainment Apps and Games

Kindle has previews of e-books and provides bookmarking functions.
Preview books: With the Kindle mobile app, you can use your smartphone to preview books that you might like to buy later. Clean and customizable, the app permits you to preview the first chapter, as well as to add bookmarks, notes, and highlights. It's a must-have for any bibliophile. Free; Android, BlackBerry, iPhone

Watch cable anywhere: SlingPlayer Mobile streams the video from your cable box and DVR to your phone. The responsiveness of the app's video controls and the image quality of the video depend on the quality of your wireless connection, but it's worth the trouble. $30; Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Symbian, WebOS, Windows Mobile

Crack up: For the most hard-hitting...ahem...fake journalism on the Web, look no further than the Onion News Network. You can grab the latest updates on Sasquatch, the MacBook Wheel, and the Girl Raised by Wolf Blitzer. The Onion News Network app keeps you connected by giving you access to the Onion archives and delivering all Onion videos to your smartphone. Free; Android, iPhone

Follow the league: In the app, you can enjoy an audio stream of every regular and postseason baseball game, along with real-time box scores and stats, video highlights from the game shortly after they happen, and all the news from around Major League Baseball. $15; Android, BlackBerry, iPhone

Launch furious fowl: The clever Angry Birds game combines simple physics with sheer luck as you transport ticked-off birds to a pig fortress via slingshot to retrieve stolen eggs. $1 for iPhone, free plus $2 level packs for Symbian

Play an old-school game: In the highly addictive Doodle Jump, you use your phone's accelerometer to guide "Doodle the Doodler" up a sheet of graph paper while dodging black holes and blasting enemies. If you miss old Nintendo games, you'll love Doodle Jump. Varies in cost by platform; Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Symbian

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