Whether you’re on the go or on the sofa, these nine free downloads and services will make your phone experience more enjoyable and productive.
We’ll show you, among others, a service that will identify music for you; a mobile app that will sync audio notes, text messages, and phone photos to the Web and desktop versions of the same note-taking software; and a download that acts like a Hollywood personal assistant, serving as a keeper of the details of your daily life.
BEST BET Shazam: Before the music track you’re currently listening to finishes playing, leaving you humming it for the next three days without knowing its name, check with Shazam. This mobile app for iPhone and Android analyzes the audio, identifies the song, and even offers a link for you to buy the track.
Box.net: As sophisticated as the iPhone is, it still isn’t great at file storage and management. This iPhone app works in conjunction with the Box.net Web site, allowing you to store and access up to 1GB of files and documents from your iPhone for free.
CheckPlease: Take the hassle out of splitting a bill with CheckPlease, a pocketbook-friendly iPhone app that calculates the tip and splits the check with your friends faster than your cheapskate pal can say, “I forgot my wallet.”
Evernote: Snap a camera-phone pic or record a quick audio or text note-to-self, and the Evernote mobile app for iPhone and Windows Mobile (registration required) syncs your creation to the popular Evernote note-taking tool–both the Web and desktop versions. If your picture has text, this download will even transcribe what it sees so that you’ll never forget anything.
Google Mobile: You can instantly query the search giant with its official mobile search box, for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, and Windows Mobile. And if you have an Android handset or iPhone, Google Mobile will even support search by voice. Welcome to the future.
OpenTable: The handy mobile version of this valuable online reservation service finds nearby restaurants and makes reservations in a flash, from the comfort of your phone. This iPhone app helps when you need to convince your significant other that, no, you didn’t forget the reservations.
Pageonce: This download for iPhone and BlackBerry (a two-week free trial is available for the latter) is like an obsessive personal assistant that keeps track of the most tedious details of your life–your checking account balance, remaining cell phone minutes, packages headed your way–and makes everything accessible through one nice, simple interface.
Remote: Quite possibly the coolest free app available in the iTunes Store, the Remote application turns your iPhone (or iPod Touch, for that matter) into a wireless iTunes remote. Jaws will drop when you pull this one out to DJ at a party.
Yelp: You’ve used Yelp a thousand times in your browser, but now you can fire up the mobile version in iPhone app form to find a nearby coffee shop, restaurant, or bar and then read reviews and get directions quickly.