Whether you're loyal to iPhone, BlackBerry or Android, most of us can't imagine being separated from our trusty smartphones for more than a few minutes. Sure they keep us tethered to the office and obligations, but let's face it -- we also love them. For every e-mail we just can't ignore, there's also an intense game of Angry Birds or a photo snapped with Instagram (see DANNIJO co-founders Jodie and Danielle Snyder, left). Indeed, thanks to the proliferation of apps over the past several years, the smartphone has become a lifeline to the world and a welcomed distraction in checkout lines, crowded airports and, of course, boring meetings.
No one knows this better than busy, on-the-go entrepreneurs. But with literally hundreds of thousands of apps on the market, from Twitter tools to bathroom locators, how do you find the best ones? Forget Apple's recommendations. We pried the members of our Board of Directors away from their smartphones just long enough to get their list of favorites. You'll be hitting your respective app store in no time.
Tate ChalkFounder And CEO, Nfinity
"My favorite app to play is Angry Birds, because I just can't get all those darned pigs! My favorite app on the road is iDisk so I can bring all my files with me and work from the iPad. While I am on the road, my Bose headphones are a MUST and the Ambiance app on iPhone does a great job of blocking out even the most annoying crying baby, or if you use it in the hotel room makes for a very relaxing night sleep. And finally, Amazon Kindle -- so I am only two clicks away from some fantastic new book I just read about in Sky magazine."
Gary WhitehillFounder, The Relentless Foundation And New York Entrepreneur Week
"UberTwitter. The app has an impressive user interface and takes care of all my tweet wants and needs."
Eric RyanCo-Founder And Chief Brand Architect, Method
"The Soap Guy"
Right now, I'm digging Pulse and Flipbook for the iPad, which makes reading blogs as pleasurable as a magazine. There is so much great material online, yet it lacks the aesthetic finesse as published content and both of these apps solve this issue."
Bob ParsonsFounder And CEO, The Go Daddy Group
"AroundMe. That app is priceless when it comes to finding any place readily."
Tom SzakyFounder, TerraCycle
"City Maps 2Go is my new favorite. You can download maps of every major city in the world and then when you're there (even if your phone doesn't get reception) you still have GPS capabilities to find your way. It's critical, especially when you're in random city, running to a meeting or just drunk on the streets of London."
Warren BrownFounder, CakeLove and Love Cafe
"AP. For the concise headlines. I'm a news junkie."
Clint GreenleafFounder And CEO, Greenleaf Book Group
"Can't pick just one. For business, I love the Voice Memos app -- saves me from writing stuff down and much safer while driving. For parenting, Talking Carl is one of the silliest (and most pointless) apps, but hilarious for my kids."
Elizabeth Busch, Anne Frey-Mott And Beckie JankiewiczCo-Founders, The Event Studio
"The Clipboard Queens"
"Co-Founders, The Event Studio
Elizabeth: "My favorite app is old-school: Excel! Still can't beat it."
Anne: "I love Pandora!"
Beckie: "My favorite apps are Shazam and Urbanspoon."
Rob AdamsDirector, Texas Venture Labs at the University of Texas
"I wish I could say something witty here, like a wine-management system or an IQ improver, but my most useful app is Outlook. Being able to respond to e-mail and manage a schedule anywhere in the world in real time in my mind is a technological marvel. This, and the fact that I can use it on my Intel PC and my Apple iPhone seamlessly speaks volumes as to how far the technology world has come."
Jennifer HillStartup Advisory And Venture Lawyer, Gunderson Dettmer LLP
"I just find this one hysterical: Sit or Squat. (Thank you, Charmin.) Yes, there is an app for finding the closest public bathroom. It even says whether it's occupied. (Thankfully photo uploads are not a feature.) Although there may be a Starbucks on every corner in New York City, not all of them have, um, facilities. So when nature calls..."
Danielle And Jodie SnyderCo-Founders, DANNIJO
"The Sniper And Lil' Snipes"
"Danielle: "I'm obsessed with Instagram for photos, Instinctiv and Pandora for music, Kik for messaging, Tumblr and TripIt. And I use TweetDeck for Twitter."
Phil TownInvestor And Author Of Rule #1 And Payback Time
"My favorite app is my own TownToolbox. It was built to my specs for me and my students to find wonderful businesses that are on sale. It automates the 4Ms of a great business: Meaning, Moat, Management and Margin of Safety. It calculates a reasonable market value. It finds businesses where the value is different than the price. It calculates a 'Town Score,' my own private way of scoring a business quality. It calculates predictability and consistency of its growth. It does a bunch of stuff that used to require a lot of skill and work. And isn't that the purpose of a great app -- to reduce labor and increase quality?"
Lawrence GelburdLecturer, The Wharton School
"The Rock 'n' Roll Professor"
"GPS for sure!"
Steve StraussColumnist And Author Of The Small Business Bible
"The Mr. AllBiz"
"Either Angry Birds, The New York Times, or Words Free. All are great for wasting time at airports, in line, etc."
The original version of this article appeared on AOL Small Business on 2/14/11.