We hear about the best iPhone apps, the best Blackberry apps, the best Android apps, all the time. But what about the people behind the apps? The developers? With a it of digging, we’ve found that some of the best apps on the market were built in our own back yard. So here at Electricpig towers we think it’s about time that Britain’s sterling crop of app developers got a pat on the back and some special mentions. Read on, for the best apps home soil has produced, from unknowns and startups to game changers…


1. Last.fm
That’s right, we can puff our chests out, and claim Last.fm for ourselves. The music recommendation service Last.fm is based in London, located around what has now been dubbed Silicon roundabout. The best way to show off your impeccable taste in music. Top five weekly artists anyone?

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2. Shazam
Shazam is one of the oldest apps around, and has transitioned from SMS being the height of mobile technology to a fully fledged international app based service. Search 8 million artists, albums and tracks to find what you’re looking for, and hook it up with your social networking. From its humble beginnings it’s now grown into a portal for purchasing music in many forms, from tracks to gig tickets. Just don’t play it live music.

3. Next Buses
One man band Malcolm Barclay has developed an app that tells you when your next bus will arrive. It pools info on 370,000 bus stops across Britain, by integrating the existing Traveline next buses service. It locates you, tracks your nearest bus stop, and gives info on scheduled bus arrival times, and expected arrival times if they’re available. You can also search by postcode or area too. Shame it doesn’t hurry the bus up as well.

4. Gorillaz Escape to Plastic Beach
British based developers Matmi built the Gorillaz Escape to Plastic Beach gaming app, and were winners of best mobile game of the year at the Roses awards last year. It’s an eight level game, with some elaborate graphics in good detail, with some animated between-level comic strips by Jamie Hewlitt. Obviously, it’s also got a cracking soundtrack and voiceovers to boot. A must for Gorillaz fans, and a top notch game nonetheless.

5. AudioBoo
How long until ‘boo’ makes it into general parlance? If you’ve never created a boo before, then now is a better time than any. AudioBoo records audio, has a pause and resume feature, and can be uploaded instantly online. It’s become an essential part of any blogger’s digital toolkit, and has also been picked up by some major media organisations, including the Guardian. Its most recent funding round attracted some important backers, so expect big things from this UK startup.

6. Papa Sangre
Alright, so Papa Sangre isn’t actually out yet, but this will undoubtedly be a stormer. It was supposed to be out by now, but Papa Sangre apparently received a couple of “iPhone 4 easter eggs”. i.e., glitches with the iOS4 switchover. It’s a video game with no video, built by digital creative studio Somethin’ Else, and works via binaural sound. Translated, that means you play the game via 3D sound. And headphones, of course. This has been on our wish list for quite some time.

7. London Cycle
Two man team of recent London graduates Anirudh Sharma and Rishi Modha make up Fiplab (stands for Fascinatingly Interesting Proposition). Their app helps you make the best of Boris’ new bikes with London Cycle, currently one of three or four apps in the App Store for locating the nearest cumbersome bike for hire. It will tell you how many free spaces, and how many bikes are available at each location. It’s free, and also has cycle routes, with the bonus of having maps available offline.

8. TweetDeck
Another app unexpectedly developed on these shores is cross platform TweetDeck, also based in the Silicon roundabout area near Old Street in London. Currently heading the pack of third party Twitter apps it’s the best UI for updating and keeping track of multiple Twitter accounts at once. It’ll also keep track of your new followers, and makes it easy to find people. TweetDeck is free for iPhone, and was released in June last year.

9. Bloom
Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers developed this generative music app, which is still one of the best apps around for audiophiles. Play it, or watch it play itself, it’s a digital music box of ambient sounds it translates touch into pretty ripples and calming soundscapes. Trivia: it’s based on a piece of music called Vexations by Eric Satie, that in theory, can go on indefinitely, although its first performance lasted just 18 hours.

10.  TV Plus
Ed Lea developed the first app to control your Sky+ box back in 2008, before Sky managed to make their own. Now a little rusty, it still does the job. Lea is now co-founder of app software company Grapple, which builds cross platform apps using some nifty software.

What did we miss? Are you a UK based app developer? Drop us a line in the tips email, and tell us what you’re building!

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