For this year's Pocket-lint Gadget Awards we've decided to rename the Best Software category as Best App where the term includes all kinds of software be it housed on your computer, your phone or even on the Internet. App is application in the fullest sense and we've gone through 2010 with a fine-tooth comb to see which has impressed us the most regardless of its platform.
But, of course, there are simply tonnes of applications out there, so do treat this reminder as just that - something to jog your brain cells into action. Make sure to let us know in the comments if you can think of any more that might make a good nominee for the Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2010, and stay tuned over the next 2 weeks for a closer look at the other nine awards categories.
Functional would be the kind word to describe the larger part of the desktop software for 2010, but it’s been important nonetheless. Apple has done a fair bit of refreshing in all parts of its business. iLife 11 and Aperture 3 have popped up to supply photography and musical fun for all levels; iTunes has just seen an upgrade to version 10 complete with the social feature that is Ping, and even FaceTime has made an appearance on the Mac as well as the iPhone 4. On top of that, there’s doubtless been a small amount of tooth-grinding with the arrival of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac as well, proving that you can’t quite have it all. Still, at least Safari 5 is looking good.
Elsewhere, Microsoft Office 2010 has turned up on Windows in, astonishingly, the appropriate year; Abobe has gone graphic mad with Lightroom 3, Photoshop and Premier Elements 9 and both Mozilla and Google have upped the game on the browser front with Firefox 3.6 and Chrome 6 respectively. Finally, we should also mention Norton 360 for the PC and VM Fusion 3 despite the distinct lack of sex appeal that goes with security software and desktop virtualisation.
2010 has seen more and more emphasis on web apps with the hype of Microsoft Office 365 a case in point. There's been some considerable redesigning of the mega apps that are Google and YouTube, with features like Google Instant and more add-ons, options and skins than YouTube could have ever dreamed of back in January. While two giants launched two services to varying degrees of success in the shape of Facebook Places and Google Buzz, it was great to see a brand new, big, if entirely novelty based hitter, Chatroulette. Still not had a go? See how long you can get a single conversation to last.
The concept of mobile apps has, of course, been at supernova in the last few years. With the iBeer and iFart novelty nonsense largely out of the way - or at least pushed to the sidelines - we've had plenty of quality bits and pieces to sift through with our Pocket-lint App of the Day feature.
Angry Birds has to be high up on anyone's app list with other games such as Mirror's Edge and Flight Control for iPad, and R-Type for iPhone not far behind. It's also been a bumper year for Android with the Market now boasting over 100,000 apps and some of the classic such as Skype, TweetDeck, Twitter, Dropbox and Opera all arriving in 2010 plus there's Adobe Flash 10.1, of course. What's more, there's even been a few exclusives well worth a download with the barcode scanning Google Shopper and the time saving keyboard that is SwiftKey.
The iPad's arrival has also opened the flood gates for developers and, along with top examples ported from other devices - think VLC player and Documents to Go - there's also been brand new ideas to consider with Flipboard at the tips of most people's tongues. Finally, praise one lord or another, the BBC Trust has finally caved and allowed the BBC News app to grace iPhone screens. Fortunately Sky is at the ready for sports fans with Sky Sports News for iPhone.
Finally, before we totally leave out all the other platforms, Nokia's Ovi Maps software is well worth a mention and has brought a viable alternative to Google Maps and all the TomTom and other PND specialists out there as well. Best of all, it's also free.
Lastly comes one of the most fundamental software sections that is the OS, and there's been some rather interesting movements in 2010 in the mobile space if not on computers. The biggest play of all has to have been from the highly intriguing Windows Phone 7 which looks to have catapulted Microsoft mobile back into the 21st century.
All the same, none of the other handset platforms have been slouching with refreshes in all areas if you include HP's word that webOS 2.0 is also coming soon. Apple's iOS4 and Android 2.2, aka Froyo, were certainly well received; BlackBerry OS 6.0 has been welcome by fans of the QWERTY everywhere and even Nokia has had some joy with Symbian^3.
Finally, spare a thought for the UI's out there as well with HTC Sense 2.0 and its propeller view looking rather swish, and all sorts of upgrades to Samsung's TouchWiz and others too.
What do you think?
But these are just some of the fantastic choices for 2010. What would you like to see held aloft as the winner of Pocket-lint Best App 2010? Who have we missed out? Which are your unsung heroes and, of those we've already mentioned, which would get your vote? Let us know in the comments below and you'll help our panel decide which make the shortlist of nominees to be announced here on Pocket-lint on 8 November.