Best Apps of 2009 | webOS Nation

Best Apps of 2009 67

by Robert Werlinger Thu, 31 Dec 2009 8:18 pm EST


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.

[ProductivityNews | 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.

gDial Pro

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. (free) has access to all of the business news, financial analysis, stock/index prices from the website, and has the ability to download articles for later reading.



Social Networking


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.

Pixel Pipe

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.  



Pocket Mirror

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, 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. 


Paratrooper ($1.99) is silly fun.  Parachute your troopers to safety using the accelerometer in the Pre or Pixi the designated landing zone while avoiding obstacles such as trees and telephone poles.




Word Whirl

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.



1st happy new yearS GUYS!


Thanks for the big ups! Since it was released today (the last day of 2009), hopefully it'll be eligible to make it on the "Best of 2010" list. :)

GOOD JOB!!! You got my vote!!!!

Really! Thanks for the heads up, going to get it NOW! I have been waiting for this. You will definitely be on 2010's best list, right at the top!

It already made MY "Best of 2009" list! Congrats! :)

Heah! where's DOOM?

As fascinating as Doom is...

1) It wasn't written, it was ported
2) No launcher yet
3) Major controls issues

There isn't even a "jump" mapping yet, so there is no way to get past the first level (even if you can somehow master the controls).

Maybe when it gets a launcher, mouselook, and refined controls, it can make the best of 2010 list!!!

Well, looks like they zapped #2 already... now there is a launcher, so no more xterm requirement!

Not sure if you ever played doom back in the day, but

a) There is no jump button
b) There is no mouselook or any vertical axis for that matter. The concept of monsters in high up spaces and in buildings was revolutionary at the time, but is completely fake. This is why in the game you are able to aim at what looks like the wall in front of you, but kill the imp in the first or second level in Doom.

Quake was the first (well maybe not the first, but the first one I remember) full 3-D game with a full vertical axis and aiming capabilities.

The port works great! just need to have strafe mapped to the left and right arrow buttons and it will be totally playable.

Sorry but I think you blew it on the Facebook app. Who wants an app that can't even post a status?!? Your status post just go to your wall, not to your friends feeds.

Friendsbook is plenty "polished" and, get this, actually works!

What are you talking about? The official facebook app does go to your friend's news feed. At least for me.

I must be in the minority but I think it's a fine app. Simple, pleasing to use, does what I need a facebook phone app needs to do really.

You're missing the point of why they chose the Facebook app. It has more "potential" than the other paid apps like Friendsbook. The official facebook app works in tandem with your photos and contacts, and if the app keeps going the way it's going, it will probably integrate with memos, calendar, videos, etc... It's obvious that Palm is trying to make it an app that is incredibly integrated into your WebOS, not just running on the WebOS like the other paid apps. Yes, right now it's kind of jipped, but as they said in the review, it has the foundation that no other paid app has.

and also is free.

yeah, that too.

Also, Friendsbook is nowhere near as clean an interface as the official Facebook app.

Dealert should be in there..

I came in to post this exact thought. Dealert costs 2 bucks, will end up paying for itself within a couple of days, and works wonderfully.

No Card Ace OR Word Ace? Seriously? These games have just about taken over my life and you mention Word Whirl? WOW...

I second "Word Ace". That is the best game in the catalog by far.

Word Whirl started as homebrew. We got to watch it evolve and contribute to its development. It was also available a lot longer. It is an excellent game, very much worthy of mention.

I would have thought Block Breaker would be in there. My favorite.. of course it would be :-)

I'm surprised Newsroom isn't on here, it's by far my favorite app. Also i prefer Songbird over Double Twist for syncing.

seconded. I just got newsroom and I love it

ditto, NewsRoom is hands down the slickest newsreader available, expensive, yup, but you get what you pay for. :-)

...and not to include Where?, (which includes Yelp), is nuts! It's easily one of the best free apps in the catalog.

IMHO, anyway.

WOW... No golf pinfinder? This is by far the best app in my humble opinion.

And how many Pre/Pixi owners love golf????

My thoughts exactly

I'm surprised that Missing Sync is not in there. Me and Dieter like it :)

I gotta go with "Switcharoo" on this one !!!

these "best app" articles are sooooo subjective, why can't it be based on "most downloaded" or "most user reviewed" or we could have something more fun, like a users choice awards, then it is a little more consensus-based..

Flashcards is by far a best app in 2009 in my opinion.
It is useful for students, trivia buffs, children, and parents.

Just my two cents on an app that is acutally useful and fun.

The team behind Paratroopers thanks you guys for the generous mention! Happy New Year.

hopefully my middle of 2010 we have paratroopers-2

I think they got paid to select the ones the did. Half of them suck and have rival programs that work better.

I seriously doubt anyone was paid to select anything.

FriendsFlow is my favorite facebook app. but the rest of your "best of" list is very good!

Thanks for making app management easy,

Therre is NO denying that the best apps are Preware and Webos QuickInstall. They really make the Pre what it is. Kudos to the WebOS Internals team, and especially Jason! Can I get a HELLZYEAH!

Unbelievable dedication and selflessness from all of them.....

I salute you!!!!

HELLZYEAH!! Couldn't agree more! WebOS QI and Preware are the glue that lets those of us knuckle-draggers play in the homebrew world!


Whether people believe my app should be in this list or not: I feel honored to have my app in it (Scientific RPN Calculator).

Thanks for the feather in the cap guys!

It's pretty sad that these are the "best" apps the pre has to offer. "crApps" is more accurate. Buncha junk. The best game is crosswords? What a joke.

And WOW, a Facebook app that is only half funcional... BIG DEAL!!!


Your 2 cents aren't worth...well 2 cents. Who needs a Facebook app when you can fully render the actual website. Let me guess, your an iPhone fanboy, right?

guess again d-bag. I use the Pre, but not for much longer with these crap apps.

Droid is starting to look A LOT better than the pre.

If apps are your only concern, why not get an iPod touch? Best of both worlds. Just sayin'

good riddance. Enjoy your OS designed by committee douchebag.

oh ho! I see what you did there! crApps! HILARIOUS.


just give us some tools(apps) to use with this shallow os, please

lol. This must be your first visit to Welcome. Read an article or two.



No doubt. I remember when I got my first PC too.


Love when the virgins stick out like a mutilated thumb.

How about best wallpaper apps. They seem to make up 20% of the catalog. Gotta go with Flickr Addict for the best here ;-)

Best games for me are Paratroopers and Tilt GT, both are extremely fun and have great replayablity (probably not a word, but whatever)

I would like to put in a vote for Photodialer. Photodialer gives you a customizable list of contacts that you can put in a grid or list form. You can call them with just a touch or send them a text. You can also customize the background.

I find this much easier and more reliable than opening the keyboard and holding a speed dial letter.

Thanks to whoever developed it!

I am a new "pre -er" and just got everything installed. i couldn't find my tether. please help!

Ok, this is a good list, but there is one app that I am SHOCKED is not on here.... "My Tether". Hello?! A superbly well-done homebrew app (free and paid versions) that can also turn your phone into a wifi hotspot! The only internet available in my area is comcast, which has a ridiculous price that I refuse to pay. My Tether has saved me tons of money!

I'm also just a little upset that "Comics" didn't make it to the list.

Great job overall and a great year for Palm! Thank you, PreCentral for providing me with hours upon hours of diversion in 2009. Happy New Year everyone!

That app probably (Mytether) needs to stay below the radar, if you know what I mean.

Why? It's made within the parameters that Palm sets for manipulating WebOS. I'm actually kind of shocked that Palm didn't have it on the phone to begin with. It's not like they're manufacturing air cards and it would hurt their sales. Though, Sprint does make air cards... hmm.. I suppose there could be something there. *shrug* I still like it and tell everyone about it.

We all like pricing errors. We all like improper shortcuts. We all like dependable booty calls. But when we shout about them from the highest tower, they go away.

Thanks for the mention on the list for Word Whirl. Many other games not mentioned are as deserving.

How can the NY Times app be on any best list? It is a dying institution, and what little of worth it produces during its death rattle phase can be captured by Google Reader or any of the other RSS apps.

Ditto the AP app -- which gets an additional "thumbs down" for its determined attempts to destroy the "fair use" rights of the public.

This is one of the best posts that I