Must-Have Apps

Check out the mobile apps we like.

Friday, Apr 13, 2012  |  Updated 4:55 PM EDT
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Appy Goodbye

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Appy Goodbye

Wendy Rieger wishes Craig Melvin goodbye via Skype and an iPad.
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There are thousands of apps on the market, but how do you know which ones to download.  OK, if they're free, just go for it.  But if you're plunking down 99 cents or more each time, well, it may be time for some advice.

April 13, 2012: Instagram -- Already a bonafide app hit for the iPhone, Instagram is now available for Android devices. (See, good things do come to those who wait.) The social network (think Twitter for photos), allows you to turn poorly-lit cell pics into artistic endeavors via the use of different filters. Users can upload their pictures into a photo stream and browse through the stream of images uploaded by others. Available for iPhone and Android.

April 11, 2012: National Geographic Today -- Learning more about the world has never been made easier. National Geographic Today iPad app offers daily news, videos, articles and riveting full-screen images pulled directly from the legendary publication. Optimized for the iPad, images especially pop on the iPad HD’s Retina Display.

April 9, 2012: NBC Washington for iPad  -- Now optimized for iPad, NBC4 Washington app connects you to the top local stories, the latest breaking news and real-time weather and traffic.

 

December 12, 2011: Hello Vino -- Be the wine snob you were always destined to be with an app that makes selecting the right wine easy and impressive.  Red, white, sparkling or sweet -- Hello Vino does all the heavy lifting for you, letting you know which wine goes with which types of food, what wines are best for certain occasions, and just how to pronounce those highfalutin wine names. Available for iPhone and Android.

 

December 9, 2011: Amazon Santa -- Even Santa needs extra help this time of year, and that’s where Amazon comes in handy. The Amazon Santa app, which is available for iPad and Kindle Fire, allows kids to create gift wish lists and share with friends, family and, of course, the North Pole’s head honcho – Santa Claus. Kids can browse and search more than 500,000 toys, games, books, clothes and DVDs, and then send lists directly to Santa (otherwise known as the Amazon account owner).  Working like a gift registry, the list can then be shared with other family members and update to show items that have already been purchased. So no more itchy holiday sweaters from Aunt Myrtle!
 
December 2, 2011: Red Stamp --  Hate buying holiday cards, licking stamps, and waiting in post office lines? Well, you can send greeting cards in a snap with the free iPhone Red Stamp app.  All you have to do is pick a card (there’s more than 400 stylish designs for all occasions), snap a photo or select one from your library, then send them out by e-mail, text message, Facebook or Twitter. Can’t ditch your love of paper cards? Red Stamp can also print high-end, eco-friendly paper postcards and mail them directly to your list of recipients, postage included. 
 
November 30, 2011:  NBC4  -- Enjoy NBC4 news coverage – wherever, whenever! With the new NBC4 Washington iPhone app, users can access the top local stories, latest breaking news, and up-to-the-minute weather and traffic updates, plus school closings.

 

November 25, 2011: Love Food Hate Waste -- Turkey and stuffing, and pie, oh my! After the big Thanksgiving chowdown, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself drowning in Thanksgiving leftovers.  Instead of consuming turkey sandwiches for days or dumping food in the trash, spice up leftover meals with the Love Food Hate Waste app. Available for iPhone and Android, you can “throw” leftovers into a virtual blender that produces recipes based on what’s in your fridge.  This way you can enjoy Thanksgiving down to the very last bite.

November 23, 2011: TGI Black Friday -- On your mark, get set, shop! The most wonderful time of year is here, but before you dash off to the mall – make sure your game plan is tight. TGI Black Friday, a free app for iPhone and Android, helps you keep track of all the deals and aggregates the enormous amount of ads from major retailers. With more than 10,000 Black Friday deals, you can browse the most popular, search by store brand or category, plus find out what time doors open. TGI Black Friday also allows users to create shopping lists, which can be emailed to friends and family (or that not-so-secret Santa!)

 

November 21, 2011: Thanksgiving Menu Maker-- When it comes to planning Thanksgiving dinner, the to-do list can be quite overwhelming. So why not simplify things?  The Thanksgiving Menu Maker app maps out your entire meal, from the grocery store down to when the food hits the table. With over 75 recipes provided by Fine Cooking magazine, you can select a variety of main dishes, sides, and desserts for your holiday feast. Once you have created your menu, the app makes a shopping list for all the ingredients, as well as a step-by-step schedule to keep your preparations on track. Available for iPad.

 

November 16, 2011: Sting 25 -- Oh, how the years go by. Described as an “appumentary,” Sting 25 celebrates the singer’s 25-year solo career with over four hours of concert footage, interviews, photos, memorabilia and music videos. The dynamic app also features interactive views of his signature instruments, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, handwritten lyrics and journal entries. Truly an ultimate treasure chest for Sting fans. Available for iPad

November 14, 2011: Walmart for iPhone -- Shopping at Walmart just got easier.  With the  holiday season rapidly approaching, the retail giant has released an iPhone app that allows shoppers to browse what's in stock at their local Walmart, gain access to coupons and deals and create voice-activated shopping lists. Plus, you can pull product information – reviews, coupons, and aisle location – directly from the app before you even walk into the store. On a budget? The shopping list tool provides local product pricing, so you’ll know exactly how much your shopping bill is before you even hit the cashier aisle.

November 11, 2011: Houzz -- We can’t all be Nate Berkus, but Houzz will guide you in the right direction for your next decorating project. Complete with over 200,000 interior design photos, you can browse photos by style, room, location and color and then create a virtual idea book for future reference. It’s the easy, digital version of making an inspiration board out of magazine clippings – no glue or paper cuts necessary. Also, users can tap on tags to get where-to-buy information, as well as find local designers, architects and contractors. Available for iPhone and iPad.

November 9, 2011: Shopkick -- Save money by just walking into a store? Oh, it’s not a dream for lazy, bargain hunters anymore. With the ShopKick app, you can earn rewards points, called “kicks,” and amazing exclusive deals by just strolling into your favorite stores – no purchase require. Collect kicks every time you walk in, and the more kicks you get, the more rewards and discounts you earn. On top of saving money, you earn some too by turning kicks points in for iTunes gift cards, Facebook credits, restaurant vouchers, store gift cards or movie tickets. Available for iPhone and Android devices.

 

November 4, 2011: TIME Populist -- Who doesn’t love a good list? Over the years, TIME magazine has made a best of/worst of list for just about every subject, and now they’ve put them all together in an engaging iPad app. You can browse through hundreds of list for a wide range of pop culture topics including: books, music, movies, TV shows, video games and more. Worst TV moms? They're there. Top 100 songs of all-time? All there too. New curated lists will be added to the app each week. Plus, you can craft a list of your own, in addition to add movies to your Netflix queue, buy iTunes music, and purchase items from Amazon. Bon appetite, pop culture fanatics! Available for iPad.

November 2, 2011: 7 Billion -- The population of Earth has hit 7 billion human beings, and National Geographic magazine has released an iPhone app that explores various aspects of the growing population.  Focusing not only on population growth, but also what it means to the environment and countries struggling with its changes. The app comes with informative videos, interactive maps, in-depth articles, and amazing photography. For a limited time, 7 Billion is a free app and available for iPad

October 28, 2011: ZombieBooth Lite – You don’t have to be a “Thriller” extra to transform into a zombie for the night. Zombie Booth, an app available for both Android and Apple devices, allows you to take any photo and layer on creepy, 3D Zombie features over the face. Your zombie creation will be able to move its head, blink, growl, grunt, and much more. Once in full zombie mode, you can make a video for YouTube, or share photos of your zombie on Facebook, Twitter or email.

October 26, 2011: Halloween Costumes Fashion Fun – Kids -- Still stumped on what to be for Halloween? With Halloween Costumes Fashion Fun - Kids, you can look through photos of thousands of costumes for ideas, plus order the costume directly from the app – including express delivery. Also, there’s an adult version of the app.
 
October 19, 2011: IMDb Buzz -- Get daily updates on your favorite celebs, TV shows, films, news sources and more. App aggregates news from a multitude of sources and images, and you can create customized news feeds that match your interests. Plus, share your favorite stores via Facebook, Twitter, email and text message. Available for iPhone.
 
October 17, 2011: BiteHunter -- Hungry on a budget? BiteHunter searches your nearby area for restaurants offering deals and specials, so you can always find an appetizing cheap meal. The app includes information on more than 50,000 deals, in addition to a multitude of restaurant Twitter feeds, deal sites and more. You can search by restaurant, current location or cuisine preference. Also, you can share those deals with your friends on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. Available for iPhone
 
October 14, 2011: Celebrity Social Stream by Access Hollywood -- One-stop shop for celebrity news where users can find the top trending entertainment topics each day, as well as easily follow the social streams and activity of their favorite stars. Available for iPad.
 
October 12, 2011: Seafood Watch -- Surf the sea for eco-friendly bites. Seafood Watch provides up-to-date recommendations for which seafood to eat based on how abundant they are and how ocean-friendly their related farming or fishing practices are. Plus, you’ll also get ocean-friendly recommendations for restaurants and markets where you can find sustainable seafood nearby to your location. Available for iPhone and Android devices.
 
October 10, 2011: Eat St. --  Find the best food cards and trucks by proximity, popularity and cuisine type. Plus, see menus, deals, customer ratings, and vendor locations, with the interactive maps.  Available for iPhone.  
 
October 7, 2011: Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List -- Digital cookbook lets you try up to 30,000 recipes from Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Self, and renowned chefs and cookbooks. You can browse recipe collections, search using keywords — and filter searches by what’s in your fridge — explore seasonal food, easy, weeknight dinners, and so much more. Plus, you can add ingredients from your saved recipes to shopping lists and check them off as you buy. Available for iPhone, iPad, Android market.
 
October 5, 2011: National Green Pages --  Live eco-friendly with  National Green Pages’ directory of thousands of businesses that have made firm commitments to sustainable, socially just principles, including the support of sweatshop-free labor, organic farms, fair trade, and cruelty-free products. With the National Green Pages app you can find the nearest green products, services and businesses while on the go. Available for iPhone and Android devices.
 
October 3, 2011: Hotel Tonight -- Love to travel last-minute? Out late and want to keep the party going? Worked late and too tired to drive home? Hotel Tonight offers last-minute deals in many big cities. Within a flash, you can book a room easily at a low rate, with discounts up to 70 percent. Available for iPhone and Android market.
 
September 30, 2011: Cars by Cars.com -- Looking for a new car? Cars.com has launched a new iPad app to help your find your next ride. Complete with reviews from Cars.com editors, the app also provides side-by-side comparisons of vehicles, high-resolution video and photos, specs and costs. You can easily refine your search to only view cars that fit your budget, make preferences, and various other specifications.  
 
September 28, 2011: Going Out Guide -- Great guide to Washington area entertainment with complete coverage of over 20,000 local restaurants, events, bars and movies. Plus, it’s loaded with recommendations and advice from The Washington Post’s expert reviewers. 
 
September 26, 2011: GrubHub Food Delivery & Takeout -- What’s for dinner? Using your current location, the GrubHub Food Delivery & Takeout app searches all nearby restaurants that deliver to you. Once you find what you’re hungry for, easily browse the menu, plus place your delivery or pickup order right through the app.  Available for iPhone and Android Market.
 
September 23, 2011: The InStyle Hairstyle Try-On -- Want to look like the stars? The InStyle Hairstyle Try-On iPad app lets you test out hairstyles of today’s hottest celebrities in just a few swipes. From Jennifer Anniston to Beyoncé, simply select a hairstyle and apply it over a photo of yourself. This way you can test drive a new look before suffering from a botched cut or dye job. Plus, get recommendations from the InStyle editor on hairstyles that would work best for you. Adios, bad hair days! 
 
Sept. 19, 2011: WSSC Mobile -- The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) new mobile app allows customers to easily pay their water and sewer bill, check on service alerts, and report a problem from the palm of their hands – no matter where you are. Available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices.

Sept. 14, 2011: Dolphin Browser HD --  Already established on the Android platform, Dolphin Browser HD now makes surfing the Web on your iPad easier too. The app lets you navigate the Web by drawing gestures on the screen, as well as provides webzine features (similar to Flipboard) for the iPad.

Sept. 9, 2011: 9/11 Memorial: Past, Present and Future  -- Giving you a history museum in the palm of your hand, the 9/11 Memorial: Past, Present and Future iPad app combines some 400 photos and hours of video clips to provide a moving, interactive presentation of the devastating attacks, plus a look inside the making of the National September 11 Memorial.

Sept. 7, 2011: Trulia Real Estate Search -- Finding a new place to live can be a major pain. Through interactive maps and an extensive listing database, Trulia Real Estate Search aims to make that cumbersome task a little easier. The app pulls up nearby properties for sale or for rent that match your specific set of search criteria such as budget or location. You can also view photos, neighborhood amenties, local pricing trends and more.

Sept. 2, 2011: GateGuru – Called the Yelp for airports, GateGuru helps you make the most of your layover time. Containing searchable directories from 98 U.S. airports and 25 international airports, the app helps you find the nearest ATM, cup of coffee, retail store, restaurant, massage table – basically whatever you may need to ease your airport delay. Location listings also include user reviews and available coupons for vendors. Available for your iPhone and Android.

Aug. 31, 2011: Westfield Malls -- A personal shopping assistant app (available for for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices) that can find the nearest Westfield mall, and provide information, such as upcoming mall events and offerings, interactive shopping directory, directions, movie listings and times (if a theater is attached). Also, you can search mall inventory, make custom shopping list and save your parking location with a text or voice note.
 
Aug. 29, 2011: Adobe Photoshop Express -- Basic image-editing app that allows you to edit and share your photos from your mobile device. Once you take the photo on your iPhone/iPad/Android device you can immediately edit it right there by choosing from a variety of quick effects, such as cropping, adjusting the color, rotate, plus add some artistic flair.
 
Aug. 26, 2011: Hurricane HD for Ipad (also available for iPhone) -- A one-stop shop for tracking hurricane storms, complete with tracking maps satellite views, forecasts, radar and bulletin updates from the National Hurricane center.
 
Aug. 24, 2011: iFeltThat for iPhone -- After a 5.8 magnitude shook up the East Coast, chances are you may have earthquakes on the mind. And yes, there’s an app for that. iFeltThat immediately tells you if what you felt really was an earthquake. The app shows quake activity as small as 0.1 magnitude, and taps into your address book to find out if an earthquake happened near any of one of your contacts. Also, you can track earthquakes throughout the world, plus learn how far the quakes are from your current location.
 
Aug. 22, 2011: Google Catalogs -- No need to let those catalogs pile up and clutter your home. Google catalogs, a free iPad app, allows users to neatly collect digital versions of their favorite catalogs, swipe through the pages with ease, save items to a “favorites” file and purchase items online or check inventory in nearby stores. Shopaholics rejoice!
 
Aug. 19, 2011: Alfred for iPhone -- Always fretting over choosing a place to eat, drink or hang out? Enter Alfred, a free app that's kind of like Pandora for restaurants. Simply feed it information about your favorite places to dine. Then Alfred – the app’s robot butler – recommends similar nearby restaurants, coffee shops, bars and nightclubs you may like.

Aug. 17, 2011: Jamie's Recipes -- What’s for dinner? With Jamie’s Recipes for iPad, it’s hard to go hungry. The amazing cooking app comes complete with free recipes from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, along with videos, easy step-by-step instructions (and photos!) that walk you through each recipe. Gone are the days of burning meals.

Aug. 12, 2011: HowStuffWorks for iPad -- With more than 52,000 videos, podcasts, quizzes, fun facts, famous quotes and more, HowStuffWorks for iPad is an interactive resource that’s perfect for anyone with a thirst for knowledge.

Aug. 10, 2011: Sephora App for iPad -- Including beauty news and trends, expert tips, how-to videos, and social media buzz, the Sephora app proves to be a fully integrated beauty experience. It even turns your iPad screen into a virtual side-by-side mirror and video player, so that you can see your face while watching how-to videos for applying makeup.

Aug. 8, 2011: Editions by AOL -- Feeling like you’re suffering from information overload? Editions by AOL is an iPad magazine app that curates content from thousands of websites, and delivers personalized information once a day based on your interests along with local news, weather, birthday reminders and a handy table of contents. Just think of it as your personal daily cheat sheet.

Aug. 5, 2011: Gender Zoo -- So a guy walks into a bar.  If he used Gender Zoo beforehand, he'd know that there were twice as many guys in there compared to ladies, so his odds of finding a new flame wouldn't be very good.  This male-to-female ratio locator works in real time, so you don't have to waste yours.

Aug. 4, 2011: Ustream for iPad – Optimized for the iPad, Ustream allows you to view live and recorded video, as well as enable you to stream your own Ustream channel directly from your iPad 2.

Aug. 3, 2011: Skype for iPad -- Beautifully designed and optimized for the iPad, bring your Skype contacts closer with full screen video at your fingertips.

Aug. 2, 2011: Jetsetter -- Discover the world’s greatest vacations, hand-picked by experts who’ve been there. Get inspired by amazing high-definition photos and first-hand reviews. Book your trip on your iPad, up to 50% off retail rates.

Aug. 1, 2011: Qwiki -- Qwiki combines thousands of sources to present concise, interactive summaries of millions of people, places and things in an experience optimized for the iPad. Explore topics by searching or browse a worldwide map highlighting landmarks, monuments, cities, towns, and more.

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