Monday, July 5, 2010

The Best Android Apps

Best App for Running
My Tracks
Hardcore runners no longer need to shell out hundreds of dollars for an expensive GPS watch. If you have a GPS-enabled Android phone, you can get most of the same features for free with Google's My Tracks. My Tracks records and displays your distance, duration, elevation, pace, and other information in real time while you run (or ride, or hike). Even better, it integrates with Google Docs and Google Maps to record all of your running data so you can show off to your friends.

Best Twitter App
If you use the desktop or web version of Seesmic, you'll love this app. It's clean and very intuitive to use, and packs a whole lot of features into a tiny little app. You can use your Bit.ly username and API key, making it easy to track your tweeted short URLs and resulting clicks. You can also set all sorts of notifications to alert you of various updates and messages.

Best App to Consolidate Your Phones
Google Voice
Google Voice gives you a single phone number that rings all your phones, saves your voicemail online, and transcribes your voicemail to text. Other features include listening in on messages while they are being left, recording calls, making low-cost international calls, recording custom greetings for your favorite callers, and blocking annoying callers by marking them as spam.

Best App for Live Video Broadcasting
Qik lets you stream live video directly from your Android phone to the Internet, where the world can watch in real time. Give your viewers your personal URL and tell them when you plan to start recording. When your show ends, keep your video archived for later viewing, or share it with your friends through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Best Nintendo Emulator
Feeling nostalgic for those old 8-bit games, or just in the mood to go retro? Nesoid isn't a game, but rather a platform on your Android phone for playing the old NES games you used to love. And there are plenty of public domain and freeware NES console games out there for you to find. Search for a ROM (a read-only memory file from the original cartridge) online by opening a browser window from the app. Then, download it to your phone and load it up in Nesoid to get playing!

Best Electronic Book Reader
Who needs another expensive device dedicated to just reading books when you already have your Android phone with you? Aldiko gets mobile book reading right, with an eye-pleasing, customizable format (by font, color, margins, etc.). You can curl up with your favorite books or take them on the go. Aldiko will read any ePub file, which you can import yourself or download through Aldiko's online catalog. (Many O'Reilly Media titles are available in ePub format from http://www.oreilly.com)

Best Travel-Booking App
Kayak.com is one of the largest travel search sites, and this app brings its flight, hotel, car rental, and other trip searches to your Android phone in a clean, easy-to-navigate interface. Like the website it integrates with, the Kayak app sifts through the data from hundreds of different travel sites, allowing you to compare options, prices, and more before sending you off to book your trip in whatever manner you want, whether it's at the airline site, the hotel, a car rental company, or a travel agent.

Mike Hendrickson has held a variety of positions in the publishing industry including, Product Development Manager, Editor, Executive Editor, Editor-in-Chief, and Associate Publisher. Two constants are that he has always enjoyed managing people and being involved with cutting-edge technologies. At O'Reilly, he is the Associate Publisher for the Open Tech eXchange division, where he is working to grow existing print market share while expanding into new online and in person markets.

Brian Sawyer is an editor for O'Reilly Media's Head First division. He's also served as lead editor for the company's popular Hacks series, editor for Missing Manuals and Make: Books, and contributing editor to Craft magazine. When not writing, editing, or teaching about technology, his favorite Android apps help him train for marathons (see Chapter 4 of Best Android Apps).

Best Android Apps: The Guide For Discriminating Downloaders is available now—in both print and ebook—at O'Reilly or your favorite bookstore. It's $20, which is a great value for the huge amount of information they packed into this book. Buy it!


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