Who would have thought our phones would one day bring us sports scores, restaurant reviews and addictive brain games? Applications transform our smartphones into the world's most versatile pocket tools. From a personal money manager to a public toilet finder, we suggest 50 apps that will enhance your life with little, or no cost at all.
Personal Organization & Finance
A great free app to help you stay organized or simply jot down ideas wherever life takes you. Evernote lets you create, view, organize, search and share your ideas — sort of like a digital version of yellow sticky notes, if you will — but also with the option to include voice notes, photos and videos, too, if desired. An auto-sync feature means your notes are automatically saved and accessible on other Evernote platforms, such as the Web or your personal computer. (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone)
Set budgets, track expenses and reach your financial goals with the free Mint.com Personal Finance app for Apple and Android. This handy download for smartphone and tablet users lets you see what you're spending (and saving) through color-coded lists and graphs. You can also track your bank account balances in real-time, follow investments and even break out your expenditures by category and receive alerts when you've exceeded your budget. (Android, iPhone)
Venmo is a free app that lets users pay money back to friends, family or colleagues. Or it can be used to split a bill at a restaurant or gift someone cash from one device to another. Simply sign up online, and then link a credit card or bank account to your Venmo account for all transactions. Venmo says the account works with all the major banks in the United States. (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone)
The free RedLaser app uses your smartphone's camera to take pictures of product bar codes and then displays, within a second or two, the best prices at online or local retailers. Scanned UPC codes on food products can also yield nutritional facts and allergen information. RedLaser also supports QR codes, too, to help you get more information on products by capturing those little black and white squares in magazines, newspapers or on posters. (Android, iPhone, Windows phones)
5. Gift List
Gift List by Gennubi ($2) is a simple, intuitive and useful shopping app for iPhone that helps you track your purchases and stick to a budget. Quickly create a profile for each person on your shopping list, type in the gifts you want to buy them (and how much you want to spend) and the app will keep you organized and within budget. Check off gifts you've purchased with your fingertip, and if you like, jot down notes, too. (iPhone)