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50 Great Apps for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry

Enhance your life with these digital helpers

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45. Google Goggles

Search the Web simply by taking a picture — the free app uses image recognition technology to recognize objects and return relevant search results. Identifies products, famous landmarks, storefronts, artwork and popular images found online. The app can also translate words in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. (Android, iPhone) (JM)

46. The Weather Channel

As strangely addictive as the TV network it's based on, The Weather Channel's free app delivers real-time weather updates, large and customizable maps, and high-quality videos that cover local, regional and national forecasts. Get notified of breaking news, such as severe storm watches and alerts, watch in-motion radar (with past and future views) and read Twitter feeds from popular TWC on-air personalities. (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone) (JM)

47. BuddyGuard

Formerly called Plerts, this personal protection device has monitoring, detection and warning capabilities. The accelerometer senses increased G-forces generated during a car accident and will automatically call for help. You can even enter a distress PIN to send an emergency alert. And every three seconds, the app records audio, snaps photos and notes your GPS coordinates, all of which make it handy to have along if you're traveling or in an unfamiliar area. (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone) (PM)

48. FastCustomer

Do you hate waiting on hold for customer service? Of course you do. With a simple tap of your screen, the free FastCustomer app will navigate the automated phone "tree" to whichever department you need — such as billing, reservations or tech support — and then will ring your smartphone once an agent is on the line. More than 3,000 companies in the United States and Canada are supported, including all major banks, credit card companies, telecoms and airlines. (Android, iPhone)

49. Tiny Flashlight

Whether you're walking to your car in the dark, reading on a dimly lit plane or stumbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night, your phone can make for a handy flashlight — with the right app, that is. As the name suggests, Tiny Flashlight uses your camera's LED flash (iPhone 4/4S) as a bright flashlight. You can also select from various screen lights with customizable colors and variable brightness settings. (Android, iPhone)

50. Over 40 Magnifier and Flashlight

This clever two-in-one app is both a flashlight and magnifier. For example, you're in a dark restaurant and the waiter brings the check to the table. Simply pull out your phone and you can not only shine a light on the situation but magnify the text from 1x to 10x. Note: An iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S is required for the flashlight functionality, but any iOS device with a camera can serve as a magnifier. (iPhone)

You may also like: Tech breakthroughs in mobile health. >>

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