The 10 Best Mobile Apps Of 2012

The Year's Best Apps

No matter what the job, chances are there's "an app for that." And more often than not, it's free. Be they for smartphone, desktop or laptop, apps in 2012 have continued to be the way we get things done. Here's a look at 10 of the best apps of the year.

10. WiFi TouchPad HD For iOS

Who hasn't needed to control a Mac or Windows machine from across the room? Whether for advancing slides for a sales presentation, setting media volume at the company Christmas party or surfing through the latest website design, reaching out and touching a computer is not always possible -- unless you have WiFi TouchPad HD, a free utility for iPad ($0.99 for iPhone) that uses Wi-Fi to turn any iOS device into a touchpad and keyboard for computers on the same subnet. An agent supports Windows XP/Vista/7 and Mac OS X 10.5 and higher.

9. WorkSnug For Android, iOS

For traveling computer users who can get lost going to the corner market, there's WorkSnug, a free app for Android and iOS that not only finds the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot but also uses the device's camera to superimpose its whereabouts on a live picture of your surroundings and leads you right to it.

8. Pet Minder Lite For Android

Whether your business employs watchdogs or keeps pets around just for company, Pet Minder Lite for Android keeps track of all their needs. This free app tracks pet feedings, bio breaks and trips to the vet with an easy-to-use color notification system. It also remembers birthdays and dispensing of treats, and it can display up to two feeding reminders per day in the Android notification bar.

7. Hotspot Shield

Tired of looking over your shoulder to make sure no one's stealing your cell phone's Wi-Fi hotspot bandwidth? Then consider Hotspot Shield for Android and iOS, which automatically initiates a VPN when connecting to any public or private hotspot. Hotspot Shield's high-speed proxy encryption service is free to try for seven days, then costs $0.99 per month or $9.99 a year.

6. Alarm Xtreme Free For Android

Here's one of those rare apps that we've continued to use every day since first learning of it. Alarm Xtreme Free for Android is a free and full-featured alarm clock app that goes above and beyond; it can be customized for exactly the way a person needs to wake up, even if it involves solving math problems to hit snooze.

5. Found For Mac OS X

How much time has been lost just looking for stuff, be it digital or physical? If time equals money, then time lost equals money lost. Found for Mac OS X is a free app for Mac OS X 10.6.8 or higher that applies an interface similar to Apple's Spotlight to find files in Dropbox, Google Drive and other could-based repositories as if they were local, saving you time and money.

4. Mr. Number For Android

Any replacement dialer for Android automatically gets our attention. And, Mr. Number for Android might fit well into your family of favorites. This free app recognizes telemarketers, debt collectors, would-be spammers or other unwelcome phone numbers previously reported by other Mr. Number users and instantly and permanently blocks them from the mobile device.

3. Notice Kiosk For Android, iOS

A sort of Craigslist for smartphones, Notice Kiosk takes postings of news of local events, help wanted, items for sale, housing offers and other items of local interest and makes them available to apps for Android and iOS. Unlike Craigslist, which requires people to know what they're looking for before starting a search, Notice Kiosk presents notice boards for specific neighborhoods, keywords or categories for browsing.

2. Bump For Android, iOS

Bumping into a friend gets refined with Bump, a free Android and iOS app that uses Wi-Fi or another data connection to permit instant sharing of contacts, photos or other smartphone data by bumping mobile devices together. Contacts can include those from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, which it also leverages to find mutual friends using Bump. Sharing occurs when two devices running Bump are detected by the app-maker's servers to bump at the same time and location. Files can cross platforms.

1. Divide For Android, iOS

Divide is a free app that addresses one of the top challenges facing IT departments today: protecting corporate data when stored on or accessed by employee-owned devices. Simple and ingenious, Divide creates separate business and personal profiles for a given device and stores them on an encrypted and cloud-manageable workspace, switching between the two profiles in an instant. Divide securely syncs email, contacts and calendar events for Exchange, Lotus Notes or Gmail, with added security options for screen lock, device usage tracking, location and remote wipe.