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Rdio, Bookworm top blog editor's most-used iPhone apps for 2010

December 30, 2010 |  1:30 pm

Rdiologo_thumbMy two most-used iPhone apps of 2010 are also the apps I run to whenever I am procrastinating. Imagine the irony of playing with them while procrastinating writing this post.

First comes Rdio, the Web-based music-on-demand service from the founders of Kazaa and Skype. At $10 a month, subscribers can hear millions of songs at a whim through either their computers or mobile devices (be they iPhone, Blackberry or Android).

As someone who can't stop himself during trips to Amoeba, endlessly browses through iTunes, compulsively checks in to Amazon's MP3 deal of the day and subscribes to eMusic's $30 "connoisseur" plan,  embracing this 3-month-old service has been surprisingly good for my budget.

Not only does Rdio surpass more popular and older services such as Pandora in that Rdio allows you to specifically choose individual tracks and create playlists, but one of the best features is that it lets you see what your friends are listening to. As we have learned from social networks, our virtual friends are often our most trusted tastemakers. When the choices are relatively limitless, it's nice to find inspiration from trusted sources.

The app I used the most was the ridiculously Bookwormaddictive word game, Bookworm ($2.99). Developed by PopCap, the folks who gave the world Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies, Bookworm is a very mellow, forgiving, casual game that slowly sucks you in.

Quite simply all you do is spell out words via adjoining tiles. Once you spell the word the letters disappear and the tiles above fall. Players get extra points for using colored tiles and spelling out the elusive bonus word, but for the most part the fun is seeing how many long words you can spell while keeping the burning red tiles from reaching the bottom of the screen.

Although many celebrate reaching 1 million points, but because Bookworm has been around for nearly three years now, there are rumors of players surpassing 1 billion!

As someone who has come close to 15 million, I can see how a billion is possible but several things have to happen for that milestone to be achieved.

First, a player would have to play at least 30 minutes a day, every day, for months. Second, a concerted strategy involving having a buffer zone of several rows of colored tiles at the bottom of the screen must be implemented. And finally, bonus words have to be a steady part of gameplay. I refuse to stop a session until I have spelled out at least one bonus word. Because Bookworm is no dummy, the crucial letter may not appear for quite a while, so the best tip I can share with this delightful game is be patient. The impatient player may use too many colored tiles in a feverious attempt to get a bonus word, only to leave a giant hole where a group of colored tiles could easily plow down ending the game quicker than you could imagine.

-- Tony Pierce