Best Apps of 2009
The App Catalog has seen impressive growth since it first went live a little over 6 months ago. Palm's Early Access program brought in dozens of developers who have created over 1,000 applications in that time frame, and while we don't have access to as many apps as other smartphone platforms do, there are a number of high quality ones that fit into all of the important categories.
With that in mind, we've created a list of the must have applications that have come our way in 2009. If you're new to webOS (you should also see our getting started guide), or have been with the platform for awhile and are unaware of how the Catalog has grown over these last few months, this is a guide for you.
[Productivity | News | Social Networking | Synchronization | Music | Games | Dining | Homebrew ]
We're still waiting for more powerful document editing tools from the likes of Documents to Go and Quickoffice, but there are still a few apps in the Catalog that can help to keep us productive when we're on the go.
Released around the time when official and third party Google Voice applications were being rejected from Apple's App Store, gDial Pro (free) brings full integration with Google Voice, including call, text, and voicemail history (especially handy since Sprint enabled call forwarding), and the ability to call and send SMS messages from inside the application itself.
Evernote (free) allows for tasks, notes, and pictures can be synced to the cloud, which can then be accessed from anywhere, at any time. Log into your Evernote account from the application and browse through notes created on the Pre or Pixi on your desktop, and scroll through thumbnails of your notes.
Scientific RPN Calculator
We may not all be engineers or be very handy with RPN (reverse polish notation) calculators, but Scientific RPN Calculator ($9.99) is a great field companion for those who are, offering numeric, trigonometric and statistical functionality, and a full blown unit converter with over 20 properties to convert to and from.
The New York Times
The New York Times (free) for webOS, like the versions for the iPhone and Android, brings full access to the contents of the New York Times on a daily basis. Keep up to date on the latest news, technology, science, lifestyle and more. Another great news reader in this category is the AP mobile (free).
Scoop ($0.99) is a full featured RSS reader that utilizes your Google Reader account and comes complete with with landscape viewing, search, article sharing, staring and more. Another great entry in this category is Feeds ($4.99) by Delicious Morsel, and unlike Scoop, offers the ability to save articles to the device for viewing without network connectivity.
Financial market watchers will love this one. Forbes.com (free) has access to all of the business news, financial analysis, stock/index prices from the forbes.com website, and has the ability to download articles for later reading.
Tweed ($2.99) was one of the very first applications in the Catalog, and offers a great user interface, support for lists and retweets, the ability to run multiple accounts in multiple cards, and more. We've seen two major updates since the program went paid a few months ago, and it's obvious that the developer (Pivotal Labs) is committed to Tweed's continuing development.
While lacking some of the functionality Facebook (free) has on other platforms such as the iPhone and Android, there's a solid foundation here and there's no question that more functionality will be added over time. While there are for-pay alternatives that offer more functionality now, they lack the UI polish and long-term potential to really compete.
Instead of having to open up and log into each social networking application, Pixel Pipe Uploader to the Social Web ($0.99) gives you the ability to update a multitude (and I do mean a multitude) of social networking services all at once. From Facebook to Twitter, Windows Live Spaces to Photobucket, and much more.
We reviewed Pocket Mirror ($39.95) in November, and version 2.0 makes this program the most robust synchronizing solutions for webOS, offering complete two-way sync of contacts, calendar, notes and tasks. While more powerful in terms of synchronizing PIM data, the program lacks the media sync options found in another great sync program, The Missing Sync ($39.95)
DoubleTwist is a free cross-platform program that allows for the synchronization of media to a large amount of devices, including the Pre and the Pixi. The program interfaces directly with the Amazon MP3 store for music downloads, and offers a very iTunes-esque user interface that should be familiar to many.
We took a look at this powerful podcast player back in November, and it remains a favorite. Add your favorite podcasts to your account on MediaFly.com, and access them across a whole range of devices from your Pre or Pixi, iPod's, VuDu set top boxes, and more. Recently, the developer from homebrew favorite DrPodder joined MediaFly as the head of development.
Radiotime is another application to come into the focus of our spotlight. Easy access to hundreds of thousands of terrestrial radio stations? Check. GPS enabled and location aware so dialing into local stations is just as easy as using a standard FM tuner? Check. Free? Check.
Nothing shows the virtues of multitasking in webOS like Pandora. Unlike other smartphone platforms (ahem), writing emails, browsing the web and doing just about anything else is a breeze while listening to streaming internet radio.
WebOS doesn't have fancy 3D games (yet), but there's plenty in the Catalog to keep one entertained.
The first fully featured crosswords puzzle to come the way of webOS, Crosswords ($9.99) gives access to dozens of new puzzles every day from a number of sources such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and many more. You can even keep track of how much of a puzzle is finished, how much time you've spent on a puzzle, and more.
Word Whirl ($2.99), a Text Twist clone, is easily one of the most engaging word puzzle games available to webOS. The app comes with some 2,300 levels, each containing over 10,00 words, and is playable in different difficulty modes as well as in timed modes.
More powerful than most restaurants finders, Open Table (free) interfaces with their online service allowing for the creation of reservations from within the application itself at participating restaurants, and works great in most metropolitan areas.
Location aware, helps you find what you need. Yelp (free) for webOS is bare bones compared to other platforms to be sure, but the core functionality is there: type in what you're looking for, read reviews, get directions, and everything else you'd expect from Yelp. Palm's developer website also has a fun piece on how Yelp developed the webOS version of their app.
There's a reason webOS has a flourishing homebrew community - Palm has intentionally made it easy to modify their OS! Be sure to check out our getting started with homebrew guide.
One of the things that has made webOS so much fun over the last six months have been the dozens of individual hackers and developers who have made up the homebrew scene, creating hundreds of applications and patches. Preware, from the webOS-internals group, has gone a long way in making their work much more accessible.
webOS Quick Install
One of the first and one of the best ways to get homebrew goodness onto our phones, webOS Quick Install is a powerful utility that offers the ability to install applications and modify deep within the operating system all while connected to the desktop.
Music Player (Remix)
Palm has done a bang up job on the native music player, but DanPLC's Music Player (Remix) brings some great enhancements like landscape viewing, the ability to view lyrics, create playlists on the fly, and more. Our own homebrew guru milominderbinder gives a breakdown of the 25 key upgrades (remix) brings over the stock music player in this article.
In a throwback to PalmOS days, Agenda reads all of the calendars on your device and displays them in a scrollable Agenda listing. This program remains one of the best productivity apps available, homebrew or not.