We’ve come a long way since Saved By The Bell. Need proof? Check out the 12 best new smartphone apps below. They just might give your iPhone or Android-compatible cell—like, say, the Google Nexus S—an advantage over the Zack Morris Special.
1. Pic2Shop (iPhone/Android)
Scan nearly any barcode and Pic2Shop provides you with a list of prices in stores near you, as well as online options and eBay items. Who knew the Charmin Ultra Soft 12-pack is 10 cents cheaper at Rite-Aid?
2. CarLink by Audiovox (iPhone/Android)
With simple programming, CarLink lets you lock, unlock and start your vehicle from anywhere in the world. It can also locate your ride when you lose it in a parking lot, and it sends you text message alerts if someone’s messing with it. Go ahead, lock your keys inside as many times as you want. No one has to know.
3. Textie (iPhone/Android Coming Soon)
Drop your texting package and download this app. After the $1.99 download fee, you can text any other user and most U.S. carriers, whether or not the recipient has the app. Textie allows you to send texts, emails, and photos to any iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch seamlessly. Even dirty ones.
4. Joypad (iPhone)
For only $2.99, your phone transforms into five different video game controllers for your Mac or PC. Hop in the DeLorean and gun it to ’96 to play Mario Kart on your N64. Just like the good old days…except wireless.
5. Pay Anywhere (iPhone)
Broaden your business with this app, which allows you to take credit card payment through your phone. When you sign up for an account, Pay Anywhere also sends you an attachment that allows you to swipe the credit card, sparing your fingers the exercise of typing in the numbers. Life just got easier for flea markets…and hookers.
6. Midomi SoundHound (iPhone/Android)
Forget Shazam. Find a song or artist by singing or humming a part of the song into your phone. Karaoke skills suck? Just speaking a couple of the lyrics will bring up the song so you can easily download it.
7. Word Lens (iPhone/Android)
Here’s a must-have for frequent travelers or anyone trying to order at a real Mexican restaurant. Word Lens is free to download, and $9.99 for the language software. Just aim your camera lens at the foreign text and it appears on the screen in English, automatically, no Internet connection required. English/Spanish is currently available, with other European tongues coming soon.
8. Sleep Cycle (iPhone)
This intelligent alarm clock analyzes your sleep patterns while you are sleeping and translates them into a chart for the optimum wake-up experience. You set it like a normal alarm clock, and it will take you through the natural stages of waking so that you start your day on the right side of the bed. Literally.
9. Rdio (iPhone)
Search for artists, songs, or albums, or browse top charts or genres at your fingertips. With one click you can add a song or entire album to your collection and listen anytime. App is free. Subscription is $9.99 a month. Also known as the cost of your new Miley Cyrus CD.
10. Direct TV (iPhone/Android)/ Xfinity (iPhone)
You no longer have to cry yourself to sleep at night when you forget to Tivo Hawaii Five-0. Both of these apps let you queue your DVR from your mobile device up to 14 days in advance. Xfinity also allows you to control your TV from your phone, and watch stuff you’ve recorded.
11. LookTel Money Reader (iPhone)
An excellent new $1.99 app for the visually impaired. Flash your bills in front of your camera lens, and the Money Reader automatically identifies and announces the denomination. If only Ray Charles’d had an iPhone, he wouldn’t have had to carry around all of those singles.
12. Charlie Sheen Soundboard (iPhone/Android)
Bingo! He is here to collect. What more could you ask for? Forty winning quotes, including classics like, “the first one is free, the next one goes in yo’ mouth” and “droopy-eyed, armless children”. Contribute your 99 cents to the Charlie Sheen Foundation today. All those tiger blood transfusions can get pricy.
(Lacey Maulding was pretty much the first person on the planet to get the Verizon iPhone. Or so she claims.)