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2009 may not have been the much vaunted year of mobile, progress has been made, both in terms of handsets and tariffs, as well as development of mobile sites, and most notably, apps.

The App Store now has more than 100,000 apps available, and 2bn have been downloaded over the last year. With that many apps, there will certainly be a lot of dross and copycat apps, but there are some good ones.

I've reviewed 30 iPhone apps this year, and I've collated them together in one handy post...

My favourite app of the year would have to be Spotify. Don't believe the ridiculously low review score (two out of five stars from 9,000+ reviews) in the App Store, these are left by people who simply don't want to pay, nothing to do with the quality of the app.

£10 a month for access to a comprehensive library of music and the ability to carry it around on your phone seems like pretty good value to me. If you can afford an iPhone contract, then a Spotify subscription should be no bother.

Honourable mentions should go to the Radio Times app, which provides comprehensive TV and radio listings with an intuitive user interface, Yelp, which is very useful when looking for a decent restaurant or bar, and FT.com, which provides a great example for other news sites thinking of producing their own apps.

Shopping app reviews

The best and most effective e-commerce apps I've seen this year seem to have come from US retailers. The eBay app has, along with its mobile site, been a great sales driver so far. The Amazon app is also worth a mention, as is the Net a Porter app.

My pick of the shopping apps would be the Barnes & Noble's, which provides everything a mobile user would need for buying for browsing and finding a local store, price comparison, as users can take a photo of an item and find prices from B&N's range, and it makes it easy to buy through the app, thanks to a specially designed checkout process.

Toys R Us

Net a Porter



Burger King




Tesco Store Finder


Barnes & Noble

Local listings app reviews


Qype Radar


News and media app reviews

As I mentioned, FT.com is the pick of the news apps, making the most of the iPhone's potential to create a great user experience. The Spectator app is notable for its innovative subscription model, but fails the usability test.

The Spectator


Sky News

The Independent


ITN News

Entertainment app reviews



Edinburgh Festivals Guide

Radio Times

Other reviews







This is by no means a comprehensive list of the best apps, so if you know of any I should have reviewed, let me know in the comments...

Graham Charlton

Published 2 December, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

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