Notably Cool: Best Apps & Web Tools for 2010

I like great products.

Great products should be recognized and awarded for the hard work and dedication to build it. But there’s always the next level involved, which requires the most important element: strategy.

A great app should know their end user. They should know each one of us is different: we all cater to different lifestyles, personal interests, opinions on aesthetics, functionality & usability. And unless each query is met, that’s what separates an app from being good and great.

This year brought a lot of fantastic apps to the table, and in an effort to share what’s great in the world, here’s my list of notably cool stuff.

Best Note Taker: Evernote
Available on: Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Palm Pre, Window Mobile

Put it this way: You can access Evernote on virtually any device or on the web. Find something neat online or jot some brainstorming notes, save it to Evernote. Access it at a later time on any other machine. Seamless synchronization that updates by the minute to ensure safe storage.

Best Photo Sharing: Smugmug
Available on: The Web

Always thought Flickr’s interface was aesthetically fugly. Love Smugmug’s elegant themes & storage capacities. Just wish they had a free option, not a trial.

Best Email Newsletter: Mailchimp
Available on: The Web

I’ve used Constant Contact & Wired Messenger. Snooze. Mailchimp is the only one to get one step ahead, integrating social media and fun, cheeky chimp-inspired one-liners that keep my day bright.

Best Social Media Tool: Sprout Social
Available on: The Web

Gamifies your social media experience. Are you engaging enough? How interested is your audience? The scoring system, along with keyword/profile tracking tools to find new followers, Four Square check-in tracking, and an endless list of new features make this a must-try. At least give the trial a shot.

Best Way to Watch TV: Netflix
Available on: The Web, PS3, Wii, Apple TV, Google TV

People on Twitter know my opinion on this. Yeah, the selection may not be super good so far. But it’s $8 a month and I don’t know what the haters expect, in comparison to being pillage & burned by Rogers and Bell at $60+ a month. Just buy an Apple TV or a Google TV with Netflix and buy your TV shows pay per watch as they come out. Ends up light years cheaper than what the Big Two tries to sell you.

Best Desktop Twitter Client: Tweetdeck
Available on: Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android

Not a fan of the Adobe Air system, but Tweetdeck is miles ahead. Hootsuite just doesn’t look cool enough to me, and is a little clunky at times (and their recent changes to their free plan made me lock that up for good). Tweetdeck lets you tweet, do Facebook stuff, post photos, auto-shorten your URLs, and best of all, immediately notifies you with popups when a new message comes in. Next in the running is Socialite, which has slowly been growing on me. Love their use of RSS feeds.

For the record, I’ve only used Tweetdeck on Mac/PC. I just thought the Android pic was really cool.

Best iPhone app: Gotstyle

Obviously. Look at who made it.

Best iPhone Game: Infinity Blade

I’ve installed a ton of games on my jailbroken iPhone, and for graphics, none is better than Infinity Blade. With the Unreal Technology engine, the graphics remind us that the fun is only just beginning. Plus the dude looks super bad-ass. Although Ninja Assassin gets a nod for being equally fun to swipe your finger/sword with, I think a great runner up is installing an NES/SNES/Genesis emulator. Endless fun.

Best iPhone Twitter app: Twitter, Echofon
Available on: iPhone

I’ve spent most of my iPhone time on Twitter for iPhone (well Tweetie, before Twitter bought it). It has push, it’s iOS4 compatible, supports multiple accounts, but occasionally likes to um, stop working. So I swapped to Echofon to try it out: the RT system is way better, it autocompletes Twitter handles, but has an inconsistent push system that only sometimes sends me all mentions/DMs. I think this is more so a tie – they’re both great, and depends completely on your personal preference.

Best App to Kill Time on the TTC With: Instapaper, Podcaster
Available on: Everything Mobile

I’m usually scouring my iPhone to find something productive to do while I’m sitting in the signal-less tunnels of the TTC, or when I’m on my morning walk to work. It’s simple: If I’m on the TTC, Instapaper is perfect for flagging articles for download, then reading them offline. Perfect for someone like me who is always on the go and can hardly keep up with all the latest news.

However, since I rarely spend time in the subway these days, I spend my morning walk to work listening to podcasts on Podcaster. At the beginning of the week, I download a few interesting podcasts, like “How Ninjas Work”, or “How Freemasonry Works” from the Stuff You Should Know Podcast (courtesy of How Stuff Works), and on my way to work I get my learn on. Makes my walk super quick and occasionally find myself hating arriving at work so early.

Best iPhone RSS reader: Pulse
Available on: iPhone, iPad, Android

I’ve spent years looking for the perfect RSS reader. For PC, Mac, Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile, you name it. None have done what Pulse has done for me since discovering it a few months ago. Able to be used on iPhone, iPad, and Android, this reader is aesthetically sexy as fuck: Scroll through thumbnailed RSS feeds, read articles in-app, send them to Instapaper, post on Twitter/Facebook. You need it.

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