I had the original idea to write this post about 6 months ago when I first got my phone.  However, I decided to wait to write this so I could check out some apps first. After checking out around 150 apps I chose a handful that I really like.

I decided not to include popular apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Mobile. These are all great apps and I enjoy them, but I decided most people knew about those. I wanted to try and share some lesser known discoveries.

Foursquare -  I like the idea of sharing your current and previous locations, called “check-in’s”, with friends and others nearby. I hear Gowalla is also great for this, but I have stayed loyal to Dennis and team at Foursquare.  Thhey have also created a game aspect by rewarding badges for certain tasks, like visiting the gym 10 times in a month. The best part? Sharing is optional, so you don’t have to tell people where you are if you don’t want.

NPR News – The best way to get my news that I have found so far. I have a particular appreciation for their (mostly) unbiased media coverage. I can load my playlist with “Morning Edition” in the car or when I get to work and catch up with news at my own pace.

GroupMe – This app is a way to do group texting. I love the simplicity of it. Setting up your coworkers, friends or family is a cinch, and it gives you a unique phone number to text with that group forever.  It’s built on the Twilio platform, and I really like the stuff they are doing at that company as well.

Chomp – A way to review and find new apps. There is a social aspect as well. You can see what new apps Aston Kutcher just downloaded and if he liked it or not. Wouldn’t say this is something I use every day, but is interesting.

Instagr.am – The photo sharing space is blowing up as we speak. Instagram, PicPlz, Path, DailyBooth, and I can keep going. I think the underlying theme is that Facebook and the 3 billion photos that are shared there each month has shown photos are the most compelling foundation to build a social network. Still, Instagram has my vote from a purely photographic perspective. You can even add filters to change the look of a picture. My favorite is browsing through all the other popular pics that other users have taken.

Square – This app will change the way exchange money. Request a Square card reader for your business. Plug it into the headphone jack and begin swiping credit cards. It even has a signature pad built in the app so people can sign it. Go to the site and watch the video, nothing short of amazing.

RunKeeper – I may run this application more than any other on my phone. It is a must have for anyone that runs, bikes, ski’s or swims (not sure how swimming works). It tracks your distance, speed and time of every activity, including location, elevation and pace. It has single-handedly got me in better shape. Also, the recent investment by O’Reily Alpha Tech Ventures shows that they have much bigger plans for this company to come.

Groupon – I will also throw the Living Social app in here. Getting push notifications each daily deal in your city can get a little annoying, but are overshadowed by the awesomeness and usefulness of the coupons. I guess the only problem here is if you don’t live in or near a big city.

SimpleNote – Another app I use daily. Keep track of notes and ideas with relative ease. Now you are never without a “pen and pad” again.

Pandora – The best way to stream music anywhere you go. Create stations based on your favorite artists and genres and let the app choose what you listen to. I use it in the car all the time. I have heard there are some better streaming apps for pay, but this seems to be the best for free.

Angry Birds – I saved this one for last. I am not much of a gamer, but this game has had me and many other people addicted for quite some time. Start with the “lite” version for free and then once you are hooked you WILL spend $.99 to buy the full version.  I will let you play at your own peril, but will say there is a reason it is the most downloaded and highest grossing iPhone app of all time.  Of All Time!

Hope you got some new suggestions out of this list.