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The Best Apps of 2009

We love our smartphones -- whether it's an iPhone, Windows Phone, Android, or BlackBerry. And we'll be honest: We spent so much of 2009 on our phone that it became increasingly obvious that these little devices can replace our entire laptop most of the time. In celebration of the phone's new dominance over the PC, here are the favorite phone apps we've seen this year:
  • Note Taker for iPhone It's so simple it's almost genius. We love the iPhone, but we miss being able to take notes on our old Palm -- tapping out text seems so slow and disconnected. Finally, a better way.
  • NTRconnect Forgot to shut down your PC before leaving the office? Need access to an Excel spreadsheet stored on your desktop? If only your iPhone could connect to and control your PC from afar. Well, it can. You're welcome.
  • Kindle for, well, almost everybody Like to read e-books? Well, there's everyone's favorite gadget, the Kindle. You can also read your Kindle titles on the iPhone. And now we hear that Kindle is coming to the BlackBerry as well. Sure, it's kind of cheating to put the BlackBerry's Kindle app on this list since it isn't really shipping yet, but we're such e-book fans that we hope you forgive us. 2010 is going to be an awesome year for e-books.
  • Google Maps Navigation for Android This, folks, is a game-changer. Free turn-by-turn directions for your mobile phone? I wouldn't want to be a GPS software company in 2010.
  • Yelp for iPhone The most helpful restaurant guide for the iPhone now also has augmented reality for finding points of interest. The future is here, and it's goofy. But in a fun way.
  • gDial Pro for Palm Pre While Apple and AT&T actively prevented Google from bringing Google Voice to the iPhone, it slid onto the Palm Pre like butter on a griddle. If only every smartphone could run Google Voice this elegantly.