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15 Smartphone Applications You Should Have

Smartphone Applications Make Your Life Easier

Smartphones can be used as a variety of electronic devices, greatly making your life easier and more efficient. Instead of juggling your cell phone, camera, laptop, mP3 player, video camera and GPS device, you can simply grab your smartphone and head out the door with everything you need.

As a mom of four, freelance legal professional and the owner of three blogs (in addition to writing here at HubPages), I use my Android phone for business, blogging, moderating comments, posting my workouts, keeping in touch with my friends, taking photographs/video and listening to music... among other things!

There are thousands of applications for iPhones, BlackBerrys, and Androids, but which ones should you install first? I developed this list of 15 smartphone applications you should have from the standpoint of an adult user - no games on this list (that will be a separate hub)!

Smartphone Applications You Should Have

Smartphone Applications You Should Have

2. Facebook

No list of best smartphone applications would be complete without a mention of Facebook. With approximately 800 million users worldwide (over half of which check in each day), Facebook is the King when it comes to social networking.

With the Facebook app on your smart phone, you can instantly update your status, post photographs and videos and keep up to date on your notifications, all while waiting in line at the grocery store or gas station. Customize your news feed, check-in via the Places feature, and comment on your friends' status updates, too.

Facebook is free and available for all smartphone platforms.

1. Skype

I love using Skype on my laptop for several reasons. First, I can make free international calls to other Skype users, and second, I can video chat with my friends! For international travelers, Skype is practically a necessity to help you stay in touch while avoiding the high cost of making phone calls from foreign countries.

Skype 3.5 is a smartphone application that should be on your list of must-have apps. All you need to operate Skype is wi-fi access. It sure beats carting around your laptop computer. Plus, if you are out and about and need to reach another Skype user, whether by voice or instant messaging (IM) the service is free and convenient.

Skype is a free smartphone application for iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry users.

3. RedLaser

Attention shoppers and bargain hunters! RedLaser is a smartphone application you simply must have! Let's say you are shopping for a gift for your 13-year old son. He wants a particular baseball bat. You have found the bat at one retailer, but is it the best price?

Use your smartphone as a barcode or QR-code reader, scan the information and the RedLaser application will give you other prices of the same item at nearby stores, as well as at online retailers! If you are not ready to make a purchase, you can program the application to send you a reminder email with the barcode attached.

Scanning bar-codes also provides information through RedLaser on nutritional values of food items, and potential allergens. You can even find out whether your local library has a particular book you are interested when you scan the bar-code!

As of the date of this publication, RedLaser is only available for iPhone and Androids. Stay tuned when it is released for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile platforms. The application is FREE!

Best iPhone Apps 2011

4. Twitter

Facebook and Twitter often go hand-in-hand when it comes to social networking. Many sites like HubPages include icons on the page that allow you to instantly Tweet a link, or "Like" an article, video or photograph on Facebook.

When I am busy researching and writing, I often close out my Twitter and FB tabs to try to minimize distractions. However, when I'm waiting for one of my children to finish an extra-curricular activity or the line at the coffee shop is extra long, its great to pull out my smart phone and get up-to-the-minute information on my Twitter feed. Often times, I can learn about breaking news stories before other news media outlets pick up on them.

There are many free Twitter applications for smart phones across all platforms.

Who needs a computer when you have a smart phone?

Who needs a computer when you have a smart phone?

6. Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express is one of the top smartphone applications for editing digital images. Snap a photograph with your smart phone, and you can quickly make adjustments, including applying filters, cropping, and adjusting color, contrast and exposure. Try out special effects and borders, too.

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Digital image editing software on smart phones is practically a necessity with today's consumers increasingly turning to their phones, rather than point and shoot cameras. The ability to instantly upload images to Facebook, Flickr or Twitter is another bonus of these applications. Just as quickly as you can post photographs, you can fine-tune them before circulating to your friends/followers.

The free application is also available for all smartphone platforms.

5. Adobe Reader

For students and professionals, the Adobe Reader smart phone application is a must. When you browse the Internet and find links to PDF files, you can open and view them without waiting to get home to your computer. It also allows you to send PDF files as attachments to email, and to open PDF documents you receive.

Adobe Reader allows you to search and bookmark PDF files on your smart phone, just as you would on your computer. You can even open encrypted PDF documents, with passwords. With Adobe Reader, you can view documents in portrait or landscape mode, as well as zoom in or out.

The application was finally released for Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad in fall 2011. Now, the free Adobe Reader applications can be downloaded on any smartphone platform.

Best Android Apps 2011

8. Dropbox

Dropbox is a similar smart phone application to Evernote. If you want to have mobile access to documents, photos, etc. that reside on your computer, simply drag the item to a Dropbox folder, and you'll be able to view, edit and share via your smart phone. Because it uses the cloud, any revisions you make while using your smartphone will be visible when you access Dropbox from your computer or other mobile device.

7. Evernote

Do you feel like you have too many devices and not enough time? On the run all the time and hardly have time to think? The Evernote smart phone application is for you! I like to think of this app as a "catch-all," bookmarking service that allows me to jot down notes, copy and paste text, save photographs or audio, and flag websites that I have enjoyed when I'm out and about via my smart phone.

When I get home, everything that I have added with the Evernote application is now available on my computer and other devices via the cloud. I can search all saved media, including photographs, via tags and keywords. It is quite possible I may never forget another piece of information ever again!

The basic application is free and available across smartphone platforms. You can also upgrade to premium Evernote to increase your storage capacity (1GB per month) and access additional features, including speedier customer service. The cost is $5 per month for the premium version.

Take your pick!  Many smartphone applications in 2011 run on Windows 7 or Android phones, as well as Apple products and BlackBerry

Take your pick! Many smartphone applications in 2011 run on Windows 7 or Android phones, as well as Apple products and BlackBerry

9. Genuis Scan

You already know that your smartphone can take photographs, and that you can access, read and share PDF files with the Adobe Reader application. With Genuis Scan, your smart phone is converted into a scanner device, allowing you to take a picture of important documents (i.e. receipts, traffic citations, you name it), and convert them to PDF or JPG files. Save the scanned documents for future reference, or share them via email, Twitter or Facebook.

Genuis Scan is a free application, but with somewhat limited capacity. Upgrade for simply $2.99 more and you will be able to export scans to Google Docs, Dropbox and Evernote.

Genuis Scan is only available for Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad.

Best Smartphone Apps for Photography

Top 10 Smartphones in 2017

10. Kindle or Nook

Here is yet another electronic device that the smart phone threatens to replace - the eReader.

Even if you don't own a Kindle or Nook, you can install free applications on your smartphone and purchase ebooks, magazines, etc. to read where ever you go. Even though I have a Nook, I found myself stuck in an airport without my eReader. I installed the Nook app, and purchased a new book to read right there on my phone.

When I got home, I synchronized my ebook between my Nook and computer. You can easily sync your bookmarks between all three, allowing you to seamlessly move from device to device without having to page through to find your place.

My husband prefers Amazon, and has installed the Kindle app on his iPhone. Sure, the screen is a bit smaller than a traditional eReader, but you can save the expense of investing in another electronic device simply by reading books via Kindle or Nook applications for smartphones.

The applications are free and can be downloaded on any smartphone platform.

11. WordPress

As a blogger, this smart phone application is extremely useful! While I can moderate comments straight from my email, with the free WordPress app, I can also create new posts, edit posts and even add images and video. Very handy for when inspiration strikes!

Wonder when they'll create a HubPages application for smart phones that will allow us to do the same with hubs? (hint, hint!) Although there is a HubPages application for iPhone, many of the features on the website are not yet available for mobile devices. You cannot do more than create text, as of the date of this publication.

Again, the WordPress application is free and can be downloaded on any smartphone platform.

13. Opera Mini Browser

This web browser application for your smartphone leaves other alternatives (i.e. Safari, which comes standard on the iPhone) in the dust! It is fast, more accurate and can display pages that other browsers cannot. The Opera Mini Browser is simply a mobile version of the popular Opera browser you may have already installed on your desktop.

The best thing about this? You save time, as well as data charges when you get your search results more quickly! You can also conveniently bookmark pages for future reference, right on your phone.

The free application is available for any smartphone platform.

12. Pandora

Pandora is the popular music streaming application for smartphones that allows you to pick artists that you enjoy and then listen to radio "stations" created by compiling songs from those and other related artists. Its all free - compared to mP3 downloads. If you want to have control over when you listen to a particular song, however, you can purchase the track. You can also upgrade to premium Pandora which will eliminate your having to listen to advertisements.

We listen to my Pandora stations when driving long distances. As long as you have a WiFi signal, you'll have streaming music.

The Pandora smartphone application is available for any platform.

Lots of cool smartphone applications you should have

Lots of cool smartphone applications you should have

15. CamCard

Yes, even today, people still hand out business cards. But who has a traditional rolodex any more? With the CamCard smart phone application, you can take a picture of a business card and it will automatically save the contact information to your address book. Quick, and easy!

Once you have imported information from business cards, you can then search for your contact on LinkedIn and make the online connection!

CamCard recognizes a number of different fonts and 12 different languages, and the information you import is password protected. This is not a free application (currently costs $11.99), but is available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms.

14. Dragon Dictation

The Dragon Dictation app allows you to go virtually hands-free with your smart phone. It uses voice-recognition technology to draft emails and text messages, as well as update your Facebook or Twitter status. After installing the application, you simply press a record button and create your text by speaking. Then, choose whether to email, send an SMS message or broadcast in the social networking world.

Accuracy is high, and you can include punctuation (state, "period," or "comma"), as well as create separate paragraphs (state "new paragraph"). Make notes to save for later, whether reminder lists or ideas for new Hubs or blog posts!

Dragon Dictation is still a free smartphone application, and is available only for iPhone/iPad and BlackBerry.

Another Top 10 Smartphone Application List for Android

© 2011 Stephanie Marshall


Ann810 from Sunny Cali on July 25, 2017:

Cool article. Anyone know of a free barcode scanner app for Android phones? An app that actually works.

Prasanta Shee on January 10, 2017:

Yeah, Skype is best for personal interactions. But for business meetings, HD Video conferencing is what I need; hence I use R-HUB`s web video conferencing servers.

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on August 11, 2014:

I need to add CamCard to my smartphone. What a wonderful hub! Thank you!

vinayak1000 from Minneapolis on January 30, 2013:

Very nice list and I really like the way you format your hubs. It's great to view. You were really my inspiration to join HubPages and its working out nice!

gforganesh1 from Coimbatore on February 18, 2012:

great info! keep hubbin!!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on February 13, 2012:

Awesome! Great to hear that. My mom recently got a new phone and I walked her through a few of these apps (Dropbox and Red Laser in particular). You are right - its hard to narrow them down to most useful. Best, Steph

Diane Ziomek from Alberta, Canada on February 13, 2012:

When I first commented on this Hub I didn't have any gadget that had any cool apps. I received a Kobo Vox for Christmas and am happy to say I have a few apps on it such as Facebook, Twitter, a PDF reader, AK One-note, some games, and my GMail. I also have HubPages saved as a bookmark in my browser. Apps for these devices are plentiful...the trick is deciding which will be most useful.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on February 13, 2012:

Thanks Cornrow - I have a feeling I will have to keep updating this article frequently as new, very useful smartphone apps continue to be developed. All the best, Steph

CornrowJezus from New Jersey on February 13, 2012:

Very helpful! I thought I had all the best apps for my phone, but this article proved me wrong. Very useful and very well written.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on January 02, 2012:

Thanks Keely! Half of the fun of getting a new smartphone is to fill it with fun, useful applications. Best to you, Steph

Keeley Shea from Norwich, CT on December 30, 2011:

I will be bookmarking this hub! I will need it when I finally get a chance to upgrade my cell phone! :) Thanks for all the information!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 20, 2011:

Hi bagsofwater,

I'm off to go check out your hub on smartphone technology! Thanks for the comment! Cheers, Steph

bagsofwater from USA on December 19, 2011:

great hub here! Really appreciative of you talking about Evernote, I've been really curious about it. Just wrote a hub myself on where smartphone technology is going and wondering how this could affect the apps we use

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 14, 2011:

Hi Annette, My sister has a Windows 7 phone. She loves it, but is waiting for additional applications like some of the ones on this list. I would not be surprised if most, if not all, of these apps are available across the board in 2012. Best, Steph

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 14, 2011:

Thank you American Choices for the additional smartphone application recommendations! I am with you, patiently (or not) waiting for DragonNaturally for my Droid. Cheers, Steph

Annette R. Smith from Ocala, Florida on December 14, 2011:

What a great list! Thank you for gathering all these apps together on one hub. I'm bookmarking this one, so I can check for Windows 7 versions. If only they had developed Dragon Dictation for Windows phones; I'd use it all the time. Voted up!

Ken Kline from USA on December 14, 2011:


I just started playing with EveryTrail. I am very excited about it but must experiment a bit more. Mint is one I also enjoy. I would not have purchased my droid IF I knew I couldn't get DragonNaturally speaking - I use this on my desktop and find that program invaluable. I imagine that will change someday - not soon enough for me.

Great hub - voted up!

jeyaramd from Mississauga, Ontario on December 13, 2011:

That makes two of us. lol.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 13, 2011:

Ohhhh!! Fingers crossed about the iphone5! cool!

jeyaramd from Mississauga, Ontario on December 13, 2011:

There is a rumour that iphone5 might be out soon. However, its still in the pipe lines. No real story from apple. But, I think they may have an issue with the processor. The iphone is heating up due to the processor. Okay. Its just a rumour. But, if its true. I can't wait. I hope its not a marginal update like the 4s. Keep your fingers crossed.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 13, 2011:

Thanks so much Barry - hope you love the new Apple iPhone and that you find these applications very useful. Best, Steph

Barry Rutherford from Queensland Australia on December 13, 2011:

I have just got a new Apple IPhone 4GS will be putting on the apps you suggested. Thanks Great Hub.

Sonny on December 12, 2011:

Hm, outside of Dropbox, Skype and maybe Evernote (allright, allright, Facebook too) I don´t really see anything that really NEEDS to be on anybody´s smartphone.

I mean, are you seriously gonna read a .PDF document on your smartphone or work on a picture you´ve just taken?

Ok, I admit RedLaser is pretty cool too.

jeyaramd from Mississauga, Ontario on December 11, 2011:

awesome applications. I can't wait for the new iphone 5. I have never really been an app person. I used to think that it was geared towards gadgets for entertainment value. These are real world applications that provide a better experience for users. I really like the barcode tracker. That could revolutionize our shopping experience. Great hub once again. Keep up the good work.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 11, 2011:

Thanks jeyaramd, pretty cool applications, huh? Best, Steph

jeyaramd from Mississauga, Ontario on December 10, 2011:

Thanks for the great apps. I especially like the scanner apps. Look forward to using it. Keep up the great work.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 09, 2011:

Thanks Samsons - glad to hear that you like RedLaser too, and that it works well! Good luck with the other smartphone applications and let me know what you think. Best, Steph

Sam from Tennessee on December 09, 2011:

thanks so much for this very useful information. I use the RedLaser quite often to check prices and found that WalMart recently matched a lower price shown using this app. Also like the Kindle app for e-reader downloads. After I finish this comment I'll check out the Dragon app mentioned-- Voted up and useful + bookmarked (so I can check back)...

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 08, 2011:

Thanks randomcreative, blissful and UKbusiness. I will have to check out the Google Latitude app. Interesting that you have received offers as a result of your frequent checking in! I am intrigued... Thanks, Steph

ukbusiness from Bristol, UK on December 08, 2011:

Great hub, very interesting. Personally I would add Google Latitude on there too, especially if you are constantly on the move.

I downloaded the app a couple of weeks ago and since then I have been checking in everywhere possible and have even received a few special offers because of it!

BlissfulWriter on December 07, 2011:

I have Pandora on Android and is great. I wish Dragon Dictate was available on Android too. It sound useful -- like maybe dictating Hub articles.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 07, 2011:

Great list! Thanks for all of the detailed explanations, too.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 07, 2011:

Thanks Derdriu, if I was a betting woman (but I'm not), I expect Hubpages to have a convenient smartphone application by the end of 2012. :) (push, push, push)

Ardie - so glad you found some new app ideas! I love the scanner idea too. Trying to talk my husband into downloading it onto his iPhone to better manage business receipts. Best, Steph

Sondra from Neverland on December 07, 2011:

Ooh! I just fund at least 2 new apps for my phone :) I love the idea of having a scanner at my ready. Thanks for sharing these.

Derdriu on December 07, 2011:

Steph: What a brisk, informative, practical summary of the most important applications to consider for smartphones! In particular, you do a really great job of explaining what the application does and how it is convenient. It's great that you push the technology edge with your number 11!

Thank you for sharing, etc.,


Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 07, 2011:

Cool sholland - glad to hear I am not the only one that needs to remind myself of everything via my smart phone. :-)

@Kim and Robie - sure hope you get a smart phone soon! Come here first once you do. ho, ho, ho! Best, Steph

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on December 07, 2011:

This is a fabulous, info filled hub and I'm bookmarking it for when I get rid of my granny-flipphone and finally get with it and get an iPHone. Voted up up up as always

Kim Cantrell from Deep In The Pages of a Book on December 07, 2011:

I'm probably the only 30-something still fighting to keep my old school cell phone (or "dumbphone" as I call it), but the idea of internet access all the time, anywhere is starting to win over and I think soon I'll be upgrading. At least now I have a good place to start when it comes to choosing Apps. :)

Susan Holland from Southwest Missouri on December 07, 2011:

Thanks for the great list. I have an iPhone and use it constantly. Dragon is great because I am one of those people who forgets to carry a notepad with me. So glad you shared. :-)

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 07, 2011:

Hi vinner, Susan and Jamie - thanks for your additional app suggestions! There are so many to choose from. Yellow Pages - will have to check that one out, and Moon+

Cheers! Steph

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 07, 2011:

Hi drbj, you are right that most of these smartphone apps work on the iPad and Android-based tablet computers. Some pretty amazing tools to help save time and money. Best, Steph

Jamie Brock from Texas on December 07, 2011:

Thank you for sharing this list of great apps! I sure do wish they had the Dragon Dictation app for Android though :( Oh well, maybe someday, right. I didn't know there was a Skype app either.. gonna give that one a try. Thanks for this great hub! Voted up and useful :)

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on December 07, 2011:

A few apps that I use quite frequently are YellowPages which is great when you need a phone number. I use the scanner called CamScanner and sounds to be pretty much the same type of app that you've included above. I have a great app that lists all grocery, Walmart, Electronic Stores, Pharmacy, Hardware stores,fliers. It's called iFlyer.

vinner from India on December 07, 2011:

Very good listing of applications. In android you can add Moon+ reader also. That is also a very nice application for reading ebooks

drbj and sherry from south Florida on December 07, 2011:

Thanks for your research, Steph, I've added a few of thse apps to my iPad and phone. Can never have enough time-saving apps, I always say.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 07, 2011:

imkd and brsmom - yes, the GPS applications! And I use them often when I drive to gymnastics meets, etc. They are another useful smartphone application. Perhaps I'll have to expand the list to 20 best applications... :) Thanks much, Steph

Diane Ziomek from Alberta, Canada on December 07, 2011:

This is a good list, although I couldn't see myself adding a few of them. Perhaps that would change if I actually had a smartphone. I know I could be more efficient if I had one. I do agree with @imkd about the GPS application. I don't travel a lot, but when I go to an unfamiliar city it would be good to have. You have done a great job compiling this list. Thank you!

imkd on December 07, 2011:

great hub. i would also add google map or GPS on these applications.

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