Tech Know Special - Mobile

How can Apps improve your life?
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Music Mobiles How can apps improve your life? It’s hard to remember what life was like without a glitzy touchscreen phone able to blast out your favourite tune with a simple caress of a fingertip. Yet this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the many ways in which the smartphone already in your pocket could bring you closer to your music. Imagine, for a moment, then, that you are not sitting on the sofa, flicking through a magazine. Instead, your life is infused with glamour, your inbox is full of exotic invitations. And this could well be the case, if only you could release your inner geek…

The DJ
God is a DJ. Oh yes, baby, souls are laid bare on that dancefloor. Especially if you knew WTF to play tonight. Wait, what’s that tune burbling away in the background? Easy, fire up Shazam (Free, All platforms) hold your phone in the air and it’ll tell you. Nice. But how to work this into your oh-so-polished set? Of course, with DJay (£0.59, iTunes) you can mix it into any of the tracks on your iPhone using the slick automatic beat-matching feature. You wouldn’t deign to perform with this app but it’s a cool way to test-drive ideas. And you definitely would use Korg iKaossilator (£5.99, iTunes) at the very least, to dick around with DJ effects at the afterparty. Speaking of which, where are you even heading? The full-fat version of Google Maps Navigation for Android displays a Street View image of the building you are aiming for, which saves having to ask passers-by if they know where that hot new club is. Typically, they don't.

The Musician
You are a god. Or you will be once your band gets the recognition it deserves. Meanwhile, you are ready for inspiration to strike with Evernote (Free, All platforms) which lets you to hum a riff or lyric into the handset and immediately share this with the band. You might try Steinway Metronome (Free, iTunes) to keep a session ticking along or go the whole hog and record the entire tune with NanoStudio (£10.49, iTunes), a handheld studio. Reactable (£2.99, iTunes or Android) is a potent synthesiser where you simply drag objects around on the screen. Not quite ready for the big time? With BeatBox Ultra (£0.59, iTunes) you can connect iPhones to an amp and jam along with time-matched beatboxing grooves. Awesome.

The Party Animal
Omigod! So many parties… and so little time to get to them. Actually, you are more in the mood for gig - but where will all the beautiful people be? Simples. With FourSquare (Free, All platforms) or Google Latitude (Free, All platforms) you can see in real-time where your friends are drinking and, more importantly, where they head to next. And if you can’t be bothered to keep a close eye on various social-networking apps, TweetDeck (Free, iTunes or Android) will coalesce the live feeds into one easy dollop. You won’t want to embarrass yourself with shamefully thin knowledge of tonight’s act, so mumble or hum a chorus into SoundHound (£4.99, iTunes or Android) and get the skinny on the discography or, better still, check out their top tunes en route to the gig with Spotify Mobile (£9.99/mth, All Platforms). Finally, geotag where you park your car - especially so if you won’t pick it up till tomorrow.

The Pick of the Bunch

HTC Sensation XE - £499 (SIM Free) Htc.com

This is the first Android phone from HTC since the firm bought up Beats Audio. It’s a swish handset, with the killer hook of beefier basslines once you plug in a pair of Beats headphones, such as the buds bundled in the box.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray - £299 Sonyericsson.com

If you need a smartphone to slip into a pair of skinny jeans for a night out, this is it. The Xperia Ray is an eminently capable Android handset with the slight caveat that its 3.3in screen is a tad fiddly, especially so once things get messy.

Apple iPhone 4S - From £499 Apple.com

Apple’s latest wunderkind doesn’t sport any audio new enhancements. Then again, it doesn’t need to. The iPhone remains top dog for music lovers, mostly because there are just so many heinously hot apps available for it.

Sound Hound app - £4.99 Soundhound.com

Got a fragment of a tune in your head? Just sing or even hum the bit that you know into your phone (Android or iPhone) and the app will recognise it and display the lowdown. The free version has ads and fewer features.

Spotify Mobile app - £9.99/month Spotify.com

Transform your handset into a celestial jukebox by signing up for a Spotify Premium account then downloading the mobile app, available for most smartphones, as this flings open the door to a gazillion tracks, even offline.

DJay app - £0.69, Algoriddim.com

Rock the party or fill up a commute with this excellent app that enables you to instantly mix with any tracks on your iPhone. It offers easy beat-matching, looping, or scratching and the iPad version is even better, albeit pricier too.

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