Best FREE Android Applications (Games, Tools, and More)

Android Logo

I remember when I first got my Droid Incredible by HTC and I scoured the internet for blog posts about the “Top Android Applications.” Come to find out they all posted the same applications, give or take a few, and they all pretty much sucked (yeah, I said it). Now, I’m not saying these are the best ones, but they sure are pretty sweet!

Games

  • Bonsai Blast IconBonsai Blast: A path of balls go through various maze paths requiring you to shoot and attach three balls of the same color to eliminate the strand before it gets to the end.
  • Mahjong IconMahjong: The classic block stack game where you need to find two of the same to remove them, ideally having no blocks left in the end. You have to like Mahjong to enjoy the tedious searching of this game, but it can cure your boredom.
  • Alchemy IconAlchemy: This is an interesting “game” where you match two “Elements” which then may or may not make a new Element. Constantly combining Elements can add up to hundreds of new Elements… including a Yoshi Doll! I kind of got bored with this after a while, but it’s a fun concept nonetheless.
  • Wordfeud IconWordfeud Free: Simply put, it’s online multiplayer Solitary. This game is ad supported but there is a paid non-ad version for around $4 which unlocks some other things too.
  • Traffic Jam IconTraffic Jam Free: Try to get the main brick/car/log out of the Jam by moving around the other objects until a straight line is formed. This game has thousands of different puzzle combinations which get harder and harder as you go. This is ad supported, but they’re not obnoxious.
  • Solitaire IconSolitaire: This game does not have any ads and is completely free. It’s just a very well done Solitaire game which minimal stats (best time, wins/losses). Also includes Spider, Freecell, and Forty Thieves.
  • Raging Thunder IconRaging Thunder Lite: A beautiful 3d racing game with a sequel (see below). The Lite version is pretty minimal on what you can do but it does offer a couple cars, quick race mode, and one or two tracks to race on.
  • Raging Thunder 2 IconRaging Thunder 2 Lite: The sequel to the racing game above. Again, the Lite version is pretty minimal but the full version has a dozen or so maps, cars, enhancements, and tournament rounds with online leaderboards. I did end up buying the full version of this version and it can be quite fun.
  • Pocket Legends IconPocket Legends (3D MMO): Another very pretty 3d game which is similar to World of Warcraft (WoW) in style. Now, you cannot expect WoW on your phone, but for having minimal functionality this pretty much hit it on the head. It is massive multiplayer meaning you’re playing in the same world as everyone else in the world. What’s nice about this app is it’s also available on the iPhone so you can play with those kids! This app is FREE like the rest in this list, but you can pay for “silver coins” which will allow you to buy better items and go further into the game if you wish.
  • Guns'n'Glory IconGuns N’ Glory: A pretty overhead top down game where you move Cowboys, Indians, and Outlaws around in a Tower Defense like game to prevent the Westerners from, well, going west and taking their loot. The commentary is witty, and it’s an enjoyable game to play. This game is ad supported, and not obnoxious.
  • Angry Birds IconAngry Birds: Everyone is talking about this right now. However, unlike those iPhone folks who have to pay $1 for their copy, yours is FREE! Why is it free? Well, it is ad supported, and Android/Google Market doesn’t charge developers $99/application/year to post them there… silly iPhone.
  • Angry Birds Seasons IconAngry Birds Seasons: The same exact game as above, but with Halloween and Christmas themed levels. Smash pumpkins and blast through new icicle tiles to get at those pesky piggies.

Tools

  • Wyse PocketCloud IconWyse PocketCloud Free: Have a computer at home you want to RDP or VNC into so you can move your cursor around, click on things, and completely control it? Well, you can! Obviously over 3G it is sluggish compared to WiFi, but it does still work. It’s nice that I can use my computer at home from across the country if I wanted to. The Free version only allows you to save the settings for one Computer at a time, and other than that is pretty much the same as the full version.
  • Lookout Mobile Security IconLookout Mobile Security: This Application is a must have for anyone with an Android device. The free version will backup your contacts list, photos, and even recent call log! It’ll scan downloaded Applications and your whole phone for viruses. And, if you loose your phone (this is where it gets cool) you can log into the website online and it will show you where it is on a map via the GPS within 5-10 meters! Woah! The paid version will also let you completely lock out your phone (but I’d recommend just setting a password of some type anyways) and/or wipe out all the data on your phone if you loose it. And surprisingly, it takes little to no battery life to use!
  • Twitter IconTwitter: This is the official twitter.com application, and it’s by far the best one out there. It’s pretty, trendy, and it’ll even allow you to message or follow me at @danielslaughter.
  • The Weather Channel IconThe Weather Channel: Is it raining outside? Well, why check the window when you could just check your phone, ‘eh? But seriously, this little guy will keep a running temperature in your task bar if you want it to, and even tell you up to 10 days in advance what the weather is going to be. Is there a tornado looming in your area? No worry! It’ll even notify you of hazards and warnings too!
  • CalWidget IconCalWidget: I switched from a Blackberry to the Android and I really wanted to find a nice widget which I could customize to look like the Blackberry theme with the calendar on the homepage. Well, here she is. This thing has around 12 different dimensions for widgets, and is completely customizable down to your first offspring’s gender.
  • Barcode Scanner IconBarcode Scanner: You’ve probably seen those pesky QR tags all around the place; I hear they’re huge in Japan. Well, rather it be a QR code, a barcode off your mother’s lipstick, or anything else with lines you can scan it with this. It even has an option to send the barcode via a URL of your choice if you want! Pretty nice feature if you’re a nerd who’s made their own website to inventory something.
  • Meebo IM IconMeebo IM: Do not download all those silly little Instant Messenger clients, just save your time and get this one. If you haven’t ever used Meebo or ever even heard of it then get out from under a rock, create an account, assign every IM client you have to it (including my_little_pony01@hotmail.com) and sit back and IM away.

More

  • Color Flashlight IconColor Flashlight: Things are lurking for you in the dark, watch out for them with this app. This little guy will turn the brightness on your phone all the way up, and display a white screen, pink screen, animated candle stick, or disco like effects. Totally.
  • Metal Detector IconMetal Detector: I’m not sure why I’m listing this other than it’s kind of awesome. It basically uses your phone’s built in compass to detect metal disturbances and determine if it’s around large masses of metal. Too bad it doesn’t work on smaller, more practical, items like rings or coins. But if you ever need to find your car in a one-foot deep pile of snow then you’re in for a treat.
  • Pandora Radio IconPandora Radio: Music! Streaming! Free! Need I say more? Plug your phone into the Aux port of your car with a Male to Male adapter off Amazon for like $2 and go for a road trip listening to Pandora.com. Just please don’t be the guy who’s sitting next to me without ear buds on the public transit listening to Baby’s Got Back… okay?
  • GTunes IconGTunes Music: If Pandora isn’t good enough for you and you want to specify what songs you listen to, and maybe with the goodness (or evilness) of your heart just steal MP3s instantly from the internet and download them, then use this. This thing even has a Top X list, which will let you click on them and simply download every single one. Probably once you get this you’ll want a good MP3 ID3 tag editor, since no one labels MP3s correctly. Disclaimer: don’t steal music, and I’m not suggesting you do (but it is kind of awesome, and free).
  • Torrent-fu IconTorrent-fu: If you have a multimedia center at home, or a computer somewhere else, you can use this nifty little program to connect to either the web-client of uTorrent or Transmission, search for something, and have it instantly start downloading while you’re on the John, or in Italy. Disclaimer: again, please don’t steal things.

Would you like a quick way to pull this page up on your Android Phone? Well, either navigate your web browser to this short link or use the Barcode Scanner I mentioned earlier to take a photo of this QR Code:

QR Code

http://ub32.com/4V

Old Spice Voicemail Soundboard

Over the past couple days the brilliant minds of Old Spice marketing have released Youtube videos documenting fan feedback about their spoke-person’s opinions (or “facts” as he would probably call them). In one of the episodes a person by the username pandarr on Reddit requested a video for his voicemail system in which fans quickly asked for a soundboard to. Later @knitmeapony on Twitter requested one for the ladies. And here you have it, my soundboard of those Youtube videos.

Click here for the Old Spice Voicemail Soundboard

Video Transcript

On Reddit, Pandarr: “We need the audio to build our own voice mail messages.” Anything I can do to help Pandarr. Hello, you have dialed. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0. The tall accomplished man you have dialed cannot come to the phone right now because they’re. Ripping out mass loads of weights. Polishing their model smile. Cracking walnuts with their man mind. Building an orphanage with their bare hands while playing sweet sweet lullaby for those children with two mallets against their abs-xylophone. But leave a message and they’ll return your call as soon as possible. I’m on a horse. I’m on a boat. Swan dive. This voicemail is now diamonds. Do da do do do do do do. You’re welcome Pandarr.

Knitmeapony tweets, “Us ladies would like to have your melodious tones as our voice mail message too.” Well Knitmeapony, here goes. Hello goddess. The lovely/talented/intelligent and beautiful/sophisticated lady at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0 is unable to take your call. She’s busy. Ridding a horse backwards with me. Listening to me read romantic poetry while I make a bouquet of flowers from each read page. Ingesting my Old Spice man smell. Being serenaded on the moon while surviving off the oxygen in my lungs via a passionate kiss. Enjoying a delicious lobster dinner I prepared just for her while carrying her on my back through piranha infested waters. But she’ll get back to you as soon as she can. Thanks for calling.

Enjoy!
Daniel Slaughter

Delicious Prepared Tofu Recipe (My First Attempt)

Delicious Tofu Salad

I wouldn’t normally put a recipe on my blog until I’ve perfected it, but I’m not quite sure how much more perfecting this one needs. So, I am proud to announce a delicious way to cook tofu resulting in a firm meaty texture.

Ingredients

14oz Extra Firm Tofu
2.5 Tbsp Sesame Seed Oil
1/2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp White Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Horseradish
Toasted Sesame Seeds (for garnish)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and preheat a pan on your stove to high heat. Mix everything together in a bowl aside from the Sesame Seeds (for garnish) and the Tofu itself. Slice the Tofu into 3/4 inch thick pieces and let marinate a couple minutes in the mixture you just prepared. Once marinated move the Tofu to the preheated pan on your stove to sear both sides of the tofu. Drizzle the remaining contents of your bowl mixture on top of the Tofu. Once both sides have been seared to a light brown move the tofu to a oiled baking sheet covered in tin-foil (optional, for easy clean-up). Drizzle the contents of your pan on top of your tofu on the baking sheet. Place baking sheet into the oven for 8 minutes, flip the tofu over, and wait another 8 minutes before removing. At this time preheat the same pan you had on your stove to a medium heat. Move the tofu back into this pan letting each side cook until medium to dark brown (usually 4 minutes on each side). Remove Tofu from pan and let sit to cool for 20 minutes. Dice up the Tofu, garnish with Toasted Sesame Seeds, add to whatever dish you’d like (such as a salad), and enjoy!

Serves 2-3

SXSW 2010: When Swine Flew: Embracing Innovation in H1N1 Response

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:00am
Ann Aikin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
David Hale, National Library of Medicine
Andrew Wilson, Dept Health and Human Services
Andre Blackman, Pulse + Signal

Session Description

With social media and emerging technology, public health agencies can utilize more tools than ever in a public health emergency. In this panel, social media strategists and researchers, working in the front lines of the pandemic H1N1 response, will discuss strategy, innovations and the changing relationship between citizens and government.

Discussion

“That particular genetic combination of swine influenza viruses has not been recognized before in the U.S. or elsewhere”

Situational Awareness: the ability of a group, organization, or individual to have access to everything they need to make active decisions to create results.

Monitoring Twitter with NLP

  • Processed 1200 Twitter posts (within the first hour)
  • Preprocessed to accommodate format

Schema: UMLS Semantic Types

  • Focus output
  • Schema for influenza epidemic

MetaMap and SemRep Output

  • Tweets: Texas confirms third case of swine flu

Results: Filtered through Schema

  • Disease or Syndrome: Influenza
  • Sign or Symptom: Coughing
  • Location: Mexico
  • etc.

…Basically they analyzed Tweets within the first hour of the outbreak in a calculated system (NLP) defined by some specific search terms to see when outbreaks were occurring, and how fast they were spreading.

More Information

#whenswineflew
flu.gov/socialmedia
cdc.gov/socialmedia
newmedia.hhs.gov
facebook.com/h1n1flu
facebook.com/cdc
youtube.com/USGOVHHS
youtube.com/CDCStreamingHealth
@flugov
@cdc_eHealth
@cdcemergency
@cdcflu
@NLM_SIS

SXSW 2010: Is Too Much Math Killing Marketing?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:30am
Rand Schulman, The Schulman Thorogood Group
Mike Teasdale, Harvest Digital
Joanna Burton, Crescent Communications

Session Description

Breakthrough marketing used to come from creative genius, from big ideas, from empathy with customers. But now all the attention goes to rigorous testing and algorithmic approaches to customer insight. So is the science driving out creativity – or are we focused on the wrong kind of maths?

Discussion

Amazon‘s PHAME methodology:

  • Identify the Problem
  • Formulate a Hypothesis
  • Propose and Action
  • Identify key Metrics
  • Run the Experiment

Amazon noticed the best way to get someone to buy someone was to suggest to them something in their wish list.

At Google they questioned if they should use green or blue, so instead they decided to test over 40 shades in-between until they discovered which one resulted in the best user interaction.

Google has discovered the most articular formula of all time. Before google came around and made page ranking, and ad ranking. Ad ranking is: Ad ranking = bid price * click through rate. And thus, this causes the most clicked results to bubble to the top making more money for Google and more changes of views for the advertisers with good marketing.

The battle lines

  • Math vs English
  • Reason vs Instinct
  • Right brain vs Left brain

So when does data go wrong?

  • When we start with the data, and not with a problem. Many people look at data with no goal of what they’re finding. Data is really not that great.
  • When we only focus on the things that are easy to measure.
  • When it stops us from taking giant leaps.

You can optimize a better version of the present. But it takes imagination, not math, to take a leap into the future.

The Internet changes the equation. Why?

  • Empirical Data vs. Guess Work or Extrapolated data
  • Tools exist today for optimization
  • But, left brain process thinking!

What is a “Content Engineer?”

  • One part Creator Director
  • One part Data Analysis
  1. Monitor
  2. Measure
  3. Maximize… the do it again!

What’s a better call to action?

  • Buy today – get half off
  • Buy today – get one for free

My math: creativity without conversion = 0

  • Use the Scientific Method
  • Create a Thesis
  • Set up a Control
  • Test against the Control

Many types of conversion events

  • Macro Conversions (ROI)
  • Micro Conversions: conversion to the homepage, product page, forms, optimizations, etc.
  • Revenue Life Cycle Stages

Know your tools – become a Content Engineer

  • Web Analytic & Site Optimization
  • Marketing Optimization
  • CRM
  • Sales 2.0

But this is hard work… too bad! It can be fun. Check out SalesPop.

More Information

Slides (set 1, Teasdale)
#toomuchmath