Apps entertain us. They inform us. They help us with our daily lives. But with some 400,000 out there, finding the key ones you need and want can seem like a crapshoot. And with awards season in full swing, what better time to honor your favorites. So, as the curtain rises on this competition, we turn you you, our academy of mobile apps, and we ask you to name the best.
During the last week we’ve taken your nominations via Twitter, Facebook, blog comments, and even via e-mail. We’ve then narrowed that list to five in the eReader category. From among those five, only one can be the best. And the nominees are…
Kindle: As the dominant app in this category, Amazon’s Kindle App has much going for it. It’s available on Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone for free. It even has versions for PC and Mac. In our most recent review of the app, we gave it respectable 3.5 stars. And since then the company has added the ability to lend books to other Kindle users, but still does not read open formats. Overall, Kindle offers a good reading experience and a large selection of content.
Nook: Right on Amazon’s heels, Barnes and Noble’s eReader app. We liked this so much we gave it a 4-star Editors’ Choice award. The app blends the functionality developed for its standalone reader into a feature-rich smart phone experience. We only wish it could manage eBooks not purchased from their store. Like Kindle, it is available on Android, iOS, BlackBerry, PC, and Mac for free, and works with a wide range of file formats. The company has also introduced a kid-friendly app just for the iPad.
Aldiko 2.0: The early favorite among nominees, Aldiko 2.0 is a free Android app, which may hurt its chances with a larger audience. We gave the original version of the app a high, 4 stars on our review. The new version offers an improved user interface and Adobe DRM/Digital Editions support. The new eBook marketplace lets you purchase books from a few different locations, and now you can read in the font, size, and within the margins you set. Plus, now you can borrow books from your public library through Aldiko.
Stanza: This colorful app, created by Lexcycle and owned by Amazon, is iOS specific and free to download. The connected bookstore offers access to 100,000 books, and when we reviewed it, it earned a high 4-star rating. It offers support for the open ePub standard, customization options, as well as a robust series of features such as the ability to organize your library with unique reading lists.
iBooks: Apple’s own free iBooks app moved away from being iPad-exclusive during the last year, bringing its color eBook-goodness to iPods and iPhones. Readers can buy and organize their eBook collections via iTunes on all three devices, just as with music, movies, and TV. You can customize your reading experience and organize your library till your heart’s content. But it does lock you into the iTune’s ecosystem.
The polls are open from now until Monday, February 7 at 9:00 a.m. Did we forget someone? Feel free to add write-ins in the comments section below. And if you don’t vote, you can’t make a difference.