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Better listening with these entertainment apps

Apps that help users stay connected.

Apps that help users stay connected. Credit: AFP / Getty Images

For many smartphone and tablet owners, their mobile device is also their listening device. Whether it's getting an inexhaustible supply of songs, amping up your music or finding the perfect radio station, these apps may be a sound choice for you.


($3.99; Android)

The convenience of MP3 digital music comes at a price. Your tunes often sound tinny because the files are heavily compressed. This popular app is a pumped-up music player with an equalizer that makes your songs sound better whether you're listening on earbuds, car speakers or a high-end home entertainment system. iOS users can check out the similar Equalizer ($2.99) from developer Audioforge Labs.

Beats Music

(iOS, Android; free)

This new player in the music app arena has audiophile roots: The company, founded by rapper Dr. Dre and longtime music producer Jimmy Iovine, is known for its high-end headphones. Like Google's All Access, the subscription-based app ($9.99 a month) allows unlimited access to millions of songs. If you don't want to create your own mix list, Beats Music will stream songs based on your music tastes or you can select from several preset playlists.

TuneIn Radio

(iOS, Android; free)

This app offers an eclectic mix of live radio from more than 100,000 stations around the world. Yes, you can hear local sports talk from WFAN and ESPN New York or Long Island talk from WALK-FM, but if you want Top 40 hits from St. Louis, pet advice from Seattle or traffic and weather from Seoul, you will also find it on TuneIn Radio. "Pro" versions ($3.99) allow you to record programs to play back later.

Google Play Music

(iOS, Android; free)

Google's signature music app has gone through many upgrades and has expanded from a simple music player to a cloud-based streaming service. Users who purchase a subscription to All Access Music ($9.99 a month) can listen to millions of songs from Google's library. Even if you don't subscribe and just want to listen to your own tunes (you can store 20,000 of your songs for free in a "locker" on Google's cloud servers), this app is one of the best free music players available.


Tech bytes



Bad eggs


The phenomenon known as Flappy Birds is no longer available from Google and Apple's official app stores, but counterfeit versions are springing up at alternative websites. Computer security firm Sophos says do not download these real-looking but fake Flappy Birds: Many are loaded with malware. The genuine Flappy Birds is unavailable because it was pulled by its developer, who said its success ruined his life.-- Peter King


IPhone increases market share


Apple widened its lead in the U.S. smartphone market as 2013 ended, according to research firm comScore. The iPhone held a 42 percent share of the market, up from 41 percent in September. No. 2 Samsung had a 26 percent share, up from 24 percent. Facebook was the top app, reaching 77 percent of smartphone users, followed by Google Play, which reached 54 percent of app users.-- Peter King



Yahoo, Yelp to team up


Yahoo is forming a partnership with reviews provider Yelp in an attempt to get more people to use its search engine, a person with knowledge of the deal said. Under the deal, ratings of local merchants by Yelp users will appear in Yahoo's search results. The companies will offer the service within weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal.-- Bloomberg News


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