Date: January 28, 2011
App type: Music & Video
Publisher: Shazam Entertainment
Release date: October 15, 2010
Price: FREE
Phone features used: Data connection, microphone, owner identity phone identity

Sometimes you run into a mobile app that is so useful yet so simple in purpose and so elegant in implementation. Shazam is such an app. And it solves a problem we've all run into, which is, you're listening to the radio, or to music in a public space or sports arena, or whatever, and a song comes on that you like but then it's never identified. So you'd like to find out more about the song and potentially buy it, but the moment passes. And if you're really unlucky, you simply forget about the song forever, or never hear it again.

This happens to me all the time. But now I have a solution in the form of Shazam, a wonderful Windows Phone app that is also available on iPhone, iPad, Nokia, Blackberry, Android, Windows Mobile, and other mobile platforms. And as I noted above, it's simplicity itself. When you hear a song you want to identify, simply run the app and tap the prominent "tag now" button in the middle of the screen. Shazam will listen for a few seconds, send the recording to the Shazam servers, match it to the correct song, and then send the results back.

It's brilliant and works better than it has any right to. Indeed, in a recent real world example of this app's abilities, I was able to correctly tag the Enrique Iglesias song "I like it" at a loud, crowded sports arena. And when you do get the results, you can choose to purchase or download (if you have Zune Pass) the song from the phone's Zune Marketplace. Very nice.

I've used this app with the car radio as well, and so far it's delivered a 100 percent success rate. Highly recommended.