20 great informative apps for Android, Blackberry and iPhone

Favourite mobile, Web and desktop apps

We've selected the most informative apps for Google Android, BlackBerry and Apple iPhone, and recommends the best utilities and online applications for your desktop or laptop PC.

Through Berry Weather, BlackBerry users can obtain instant access to current weather conditions, advisories and alerts, and detailed seven-day and 24-hour forecasts for more than 72,000 locations worldwide. • $10

When you're on the go, consult Bloomberg Mobile for financial news, stock quotes, company descriptions, market leaders and laggers, price charts, market-trends analysis, customised lists of stocks, and more. • Free

Shine a light: Color Flashlight turns an Android phone into a bright light with a wide array of hues and strobe patterns. • Free

Knowledge is power in eBay's notoriously competitive auctions. Keep informed about the latest bids in your auctions using the eBay Mobile app for Android, BlackBerry or iPhone. • Free

If you like to get all your news in one place, we can recommend eSobi Mobile. This RSS reader is not just for news snippets; it also pushes podcast episodes to your Android smartphone or web browser. The past 20 broadcasts can be sent to you if you've been away and need to catch up. • Free

Flashlight Worthy helps you pick your next book, offering lists of potentially suitable tomes based on subject, type and reviews of writing old and new. Links to Amazon allow you to buy the books that appeal. • Free

iCurrent is a handy news service. Enter keywords, and items related to them will be delivered to your inbox daily -- or however frequently you choose. It's ideal if there's a topic you're following and you don't want to be distracted by other news stories of the day. • Free

Manage your reading: using Instapaper, you can save web articles you've browsed on your iPhone for later reading, using a browser bookmarklet. The Instapaper website reformats your saved articles (stripped of Flash adverts and clutter) for quick reading on the desktop. • Free/£2.99

With the Kindle mobile app, you can use your smartphone to preview books that you might like to buy later. Clean and customisable, the app permits you to preview the first chapter, and annotate the text with bookmarks, notes and highlights. • Free

Lovereading.co.uk is a boon for bookworms. Working on a similar principle to Flashlight Worthy, it offers chapters and author interviews to give you a feel for a novel or biography before you buy, and helps you choose what to read next based on peer recommendations. • Free

If Mac and design stories appeal, take a look at Macworld UK's popular iPhone app.

Organise podcasts: automatically download all of your favourite podcasts for when you have time to listen, using PodTrapper Podcast Manager. The app, which includes its own podcast browser, permits you to create playlists, keep track of the last played episode, and save your place within an episode. • $10

It could be argued that if you've got a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader on your PC, you already have the ability to view e-books. The web offers a wealth of out-of-copyright texts at the highly popular Project Gutenberg and through Google Books. • Free

Take a measurement: the Smart Measure app, which uses your phone's camera, measures the height of objects and estimates the distance between your phone and the object. Handy. • Free

With Spirit Level Plus, you can use your phone to make sure that pictures hang straight. The app also shows the angle of incline. • Free

Project Gutenberg is great, but it's a lot more convenient to be able to read books in portable form. Dedicated apps such as Stanza and Amazon Kindle log the page you last read and open the 'book' to that page next time you launch the app.

Astronomy fans will have a lot of fun with Star Walk, a great little download for the iPhone that helps you identify well-known and lesser known constellations by holding your screen up to the night sky. It loads quickly and takes into account your location and the phases of the moon. • £1.79

Serious bidding deserves its own app. Keep up to date with breaking business stories and complete in-depth market coverage using an app such as StockSpy. The Apple iPad version provides real-time reporting of financial news and analysis, as well as data and charts. • £5.99

The location-aware WeatherBug app for mobile platforms has detailed weather forecasts, radar maps, temperature maps, satellite views and a cool sliding interface. You can configure it to appear as a home-screen widget, too. • Free

WolframAlpha app is the ultimate tool for know-it-alls. Ask questions in sentence form ('What is David Cameron's favourite record?'), and the semantic search engine returns the answer. Though it can already answer just about any question you ask, the creators are constantly updating it with new information, making it an ideal companion for pub trivia night. • Free