The Tech-pert: 5 Great Free Android Apps
Everyone knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But free apps? Those are a lot easier to come by, especially for Android smartphone users.
For example, today only, Amazon’s App Store has the classic defense/strategy game Plants vs. Zombies free of charge. It normally sells for $2.99.
If you happen to miss out on that deal, or you’re just not into plants (or zombies), fear not: there are plenty of other great freebies you can grab all day, every day.
A few weeks back I told you about Amazon’s new Cloud Drive, which gives you 5GB of free online storage (or 20GB, if you buy just one album) for your music. The Amazon MP3 app lets you listen to all that music, streaming it in real-time over your phone’s Wi-Fi or 3G connection.
That’s awesome, because it means instead of having to devote precious storage space to your music library, you can keep it in the cloud and use the space for apps, videos, and the like.
Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker
Want to lose weight? It’s a simple equation: eat less, exercise more. Ah, but how much less, and how much more? Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker does exactly what its name suggests: logs the foods you eat and the exercises you perform, showing you how exactly many calories you can consume per day to meet your weight goal.
Coolest feature: it can use your smartphone camera to scan barcodes, thus making it easier to record what you’re eating.
Gas prices being what they are, it makes sense to seek out the stations with the best deals. GasBuddy shows you all the current pump prices in your area, so you can decide if it’s better to, say, fill up near home or wait till you’re closer to work. Obviously there’s little value in driving out of your way just to save a nickel per gallon, but if you can find a better deal along your route, why not choose the lowest price? A few bucks saved per week can add up to hundreds per year.
Want to catch a movie after dinner? Forget scrambling to find a newspaper or calling the theater for a long recorded list of showtimes; just fire up Flixster Movies. The app looks up showtimes for all nearby theaters, and even lets you buy tickets. It also provides reviews, ratings, release dates (for new movies and DVDs), and access to your Netflix account so you can add movies you want to rent later.
Miss your favorite radio station from back home? Want to listen to live ballgames in other cities? TuneIn Radio delivers a whopping 50,000 AM, FM, and Internet stations. You can save your favorites as presets, and even set alarms to alert you when your favorite shows are on.
Bottom line: if you like radio, this is a must-have app.
For more great freebies, be sure to check out my post on 5 Must-Have iPhone (or Android) Apps.
Self-proclaimed cheapskate Rick Broida has been a technology writer for over 20 years. He has authored over a dozen books, including, most recently, “How to Do Everything: Palm Pre.” Currently he writes the Cheapskate blog.