Monday, May 7, 2012

My Top Five Favorite Smart Phone Apps

Do you use a smart phone?  I've had my android phone, an HTC Incredible, for about ten months.  It took me a while to make the decision to jump from a basic cell phone frying pan into the smart phone fire, so to speak.  Why?  The first obstacle was the cost of the phone.  I asked myself how a phone could possibly be worth approximately $200.  After all, I am a practical and thrifty Yankee woman.  Then there was the additional monthly data plan cost, and $29.99 each month adds up.  Yes, that's about $360 per year in addition to the monthly phone plan fee.  With all that said, I did indeed decide to jump onto the smart phone band wagon last June justifying the expense with anticipation of additional convenience. 

Has the smart phone experience been worth the expense?  While the jury is still out on that decision,  one thing is certain, I've been working hard to find ways to make good use of the phone.  I think that the more ways I can find to use the phone, the better real value I will get for the expense.  One of the ways I have found to increase the value and usability of the phone is through free apps.  Today I'm sharing my favorites.

RunKeeper is the app I use to track my walks and runs.  It is easy to use and talks to me throughout my workout, telling me how far I have gone in what amount of time.  This is motivation to run or walk faster, or to cover a longer distance.  When my workout is complete I send the result to my online account which holds my historical record.  That way I can monitor my progress over time.  I'm addicted to this app, and it is free.

ColorNote is the app I use to record categorized notes to myself.  It is particularly useful for lists.  My travel wish list keeps track of the places I want to visit and specific things I want to see when I get there.  My book list includes all the books I want to read in the near future.  Do you have trouble keeping track of store and travel rewards numbers? I sure do.  I keep them handy on my phone in another list. When I get an idea for a blog post I quickly record it in my ColorNote app and ColorNote helps me keep track of those pesky middle of the night things to do that will pop into my head.

Barcode Scanner (v 4.0) is the official Android app of the open source ZXing bar code project.  This app comes in handy when I am shopping and want to check the price of an item I am buying.  A simple click of the bar code scanner and I am connected to online resources for the same item. 

OI Shopping List 1.6 is perhaps my most often used app.  I keep lists of everything I need to buy in store specific lists on this app.  That way I always have my list with me no matter what store I am in.  It also comes in handy when I am cooking and use up an ingredient.  I just add the item to my grocery store list and the next time I am in the store I won't forget to buy everything I need.  This app is also a great help in keeping lists of gifts to buy for family and friends.  Whenever someone mentions they'd like to have something I put it on his or her specific list so I have ideas the next time a birthday or holiday rolls around.

The flashlight app on my phone also gets lots of use.  This is an incredibly simple, but incredibly useful app.  Who knew there would be so many occasions where having a flashlight at the ready would be handy?  Trying to read a menu in a dark restaurant?  No problem.  Drop something under your seat in the movie theater?  No problem.  Staying in your sister-in-law's RV with a mosquito buzzing around your head at midnight?  No problem!

Do you have other suggestions for incredibly useful smart phone apps?  I'm looking for other ways to increase the usefulness of my phone.  I'd love to hear some of your suggestions.



  1. Nice blog! It took me a long time to finally decide to purchase a Smartphone too, so I know exactly where you are coming from. My phone is mainly filled with entertainment apps though…since I do travel a lot through my job at Dish. I have needed useful production apps though, so thankfully I’ve come to the right place. I’ll definitely be downloading most of what you’ve mentioned! What about entertainment apps, what do you enjoy most in that category? My favorite is Dish Remote Access because with that and my Sling Adapter at home, I’m able to view all of my favorite shows or movies on my phone, live or recorded, anywhere I am in the world; which is a great benefit with all the time I spend waiting in airports and such. :)

  2. You might not have the most popular apps on your smart phone, but your choice certainly fits your personal needs. This is a good tip for smart phone users: You don’t need to have lots of applications on your phone. Just choose the ones that you can make use of.


Talk to me. I welcome your comments. (These comments are strictly moderated. Spammers take note.)