Android apps- most of them free -- to lighten your workload, from games to sports to music to communicating with friends.
A fun android app can really come in handy. Lets face it: when you're sitting behind a desk, sometimes the most productive thing you can do is take a break. It seems counterintuitive, but having a little fun can rev you up to be more productive for the rest of the workday.
Whether you prefer to spend that break time shopping, playing games or sneaking in a workout, there are apps to suit your needs. Here's a list of 50 of the best.
1) Hello Vino
Feeling a lack of confidence while shopping in the wine aisle? Hello Vino puts a digitized sommelier in your pocket. It can suggest an appropriate wine to accompany a particular meal, occasion, flavor preference or regional preference. You can even enter a wine you've already chosen and receive food pairing recommendations. Free.
2) JEFIT for Android
Tired of losing your workout notebook? JEFIT is a workout planner designed by bodybuilders. It features a routine planner, logging system, progress tracking system, exercise database and even a resting timer. Free.
3) Android Comic Viewer (ACV)
This is a solid, no-frills CBR/CBZ viewer. Use it to read all those comic archives that you
found lying around. Free.
Aldiko is a decent eBook reader and possibly the best available on Android. It doesn't handle DRM. Free.
A Trekker geek toy, this app turns your phone into a tricorder. The coolest thing about it is that it actually uses real data from your phone's sensors. It can display acceleration, the local magnetic field, an analysis of the local acoustic environment, your location from various providers, the availability and strength of cellular and Wi-Fi signals and the current state of the sun and solar wind. Free.
Stay on top of all your favorite MMA promotions with this app. It allows you to track upcoming UFC, Strikeforce, WEC, DREAM and MFC events, with full fight cards and even betting lines. The developer is working on a news feature that will provide real-time news from all the major MMA feeds. Free.
7) Nesoid Lite
This Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) emulator allows you to play every NES game ever made right on your Android phone. You'll have to take responsibility for the legality of your ROMs. Free.
Start listening to free, personalized Internet radio on your Android. This app brings Pandora off your computer and puts it on your phone. It's fully integrated with Pandora on the Web. You can listen to all your existing stations and create new ones on your phone too. Free.
9) Pickup Sports
Looking to get in quick game of hoops or a little football? Pickup Sports, the grand prize winner in the Snaptic Move Your App! Developer Challenge, helps you find nearby pickup games of basketball, football, soccer, tennis and other sports. You can even find pickup running partners and workout buddies. The developer plans to add badminton, racquetball and yoga to the next update. Free.
B.iCycle is a cyclometer for your phone. It tells you your current speed, average speed, maximum speed, total distance, trip distance, current altitude, climbed altitude, burned calories and trip time. It also includes maps and you can watch your bike move along the trail as you pedal. Free.
11) Twitter for Android
Twitter's branded client is among the best of the Twitter clients available for Android. It hasn't closed the gap with Twitter for iPhone yet, but it's getting there. Free.
This is a solid client for using Fandango's services to check movie times and purchase tickets. Free.
13) Google Sky Map
Hold your phone up to the sky, and this app uses the location service and tilt sensor to figure out where you are looking and overlays constellations and astronomical object information. It's a fun tool for exploring the stars! Free.
14) B&B Gallery
B&B Gallery is a fast, no-frills multitouch image viewer. It doesn't offer any of the fancy animations of the standard gallery; it just gets you straight to looking at your images. Free and paid. The free version features ads. The paid version goes for $1 and removes the ads.
Foursquare is not just for iPhone anymore. Use this app to record all your location-based social networking needs: check-in with the places you visit and check the leader boards. Free.
Gowalla is the other major location-based social networking app on Android and is also a solid pick. Free.
The Android Facebook app has its challenges, but it enables account syncing between your Facebook friends and the contacts on your phone. Free.
With this app, you can discover and buy music, find tour dates, browse videos and share your discoveries on Facebook and Twitter. You can even identify music by letting your phone "listen" to it. Free and paid. The premium version, Shazam Encore, features unlimited tagging and recommendations, and goes for $4.99.
Have some fun taking photos on your Android phone by adding filters, including the fisheye and the Warhol effects. Free.
20) Battle.net Mobile Authenticator
Secure your World of Warcraft account by turning your phone into an electronic token. Once you enable the authenticator on your account and download the app, the app generates a unique, eight-digit numeric code that you use to log into your account. Each code is only valid once. Free.
21) ESPN ScoreCenter
Get comprehensive ESPN sports coverage on your Android phone with this app. It provides near-real-time scores and schedules. Free.
Use this app to keep up with everything about the movies. In addition to movie reviews and show times, you can watch trailers and clips from just about any movie. Free.
23) IMDb Movies & TV
With the IMDb Movies & TV app, you'll be able to settle all those movie and TV-based bar arguments within moments. This app is a client that provides access to all the information on the Web-based version of IMDb. Free.
Yelp for Android determines your current location and then lets you search for nearby businesses, read reviews and so on. It also lets users filter by "Price," "Open Now," "Special Offers" and "Hot on Yelp." Free.
This communication app allows you to connect to all your online friends, whether they use Skype, Facebook, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo!, GoogleTalk, AIM, ICQ, MySpace, or StudiVZ Hyves. Free.
26) Amazon App for Android
Streamline your Amazon shopping while on the go with this client for your Android device. Free.
27) runtastic Pro
Keep track of your runs with this app. You can track distance, time, speed and pace for running, walking, biking and skating. It also allows you to display your favorite routes on a map and share your activities on Facebook and Twitter. Paid: $2.99.
This sophisticated little drawing app gives you 21 different brushes and speed-sensitive opacity to let you unleash the artist within. Paid: $0.99.
A replacement for your Android's default audio player, TuneWiki is a social music player that provides timed, subtitled lyrics to your music in more than 40 languages. It also includes charts and real-time maps of what people are listening to around the world. Free.
30) SPB TV
Get TV in the palm of your hand with this app. It's an IP-TV solution optimized for mobile devices that offers more than 100 subscription-free TV channels, including the major networks. Paid: $9.95.
Stream live video from your Android phone to the Internet with this app. You can give your friends and family a personal URL with which to view your show when you broadcast and then keep the video archived for later viewing. You can also share your video via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The app is free but the service is not.
Don't like the default ring tones that come with your Android phone? Ringdroid allows you to record and edit sounds and create ring tones from any song you like. Free.
33) Barcode Scanner
Scan barcodes on books, CDs, and all sorts of other products and then look up prices and reviews. You can also read the QR codes (little square barcodes) that are popping up everywhere, allowing you to decipher the encoded URLs, contact information, Wi-Fi access codes, calendar events, etc. Free.
34) FeedR News Reader
This RSS reader lets you stay on top of news, sports weather, blogs and even podcasts and other content as well. It supports RSS, Atom and Pod. There are no ads, and it makes searching for RSS feeds a snap. You can even backup/restore your feed ist to your SD card. Paid: $0.99.
This app, which includes GPS and pedometer functions, allows you to store and track your workouts. The history feature allows you to track your progress, and you can even compare your stats with others using the high scores feature. Free and paid. CardioTrainer Pro goes for $9.99.
36) AppBrain App Market
Want to make managing your apps a little easier? With AppBrain, you can browse for Android apps with a Web interface on a computer, select them and then use the app to install and uninstall the apps you selected. It also provides notifications when updates are available. Free.
37) TiKL Touch to Talk (PTT)
Turn your Android phone into a walkie talkie with this app. It provides push to talk capabilities between Android phones without additional hardware and without using minutes. Communication is near instantaneous on 3G and 4G networks. Free.
38) Handcent SMS
Handcent SMS supercharges your texting with full support for SMS and MMS, group sending options and backup and restore features for SMS and MMS. Other features include the ability to customize your look with themes and SPAM filtering options. Free.
39) eBuddy Messenger
This comprehensive IM client allows you to connect to multiple MSN (Windows Live), Facebook, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, GTalk, Hyves and MySpace accounts all at once. It shows all your contacts in one list and runs in the background. IMs are sent as data, not SMS. Free.
This podcast client from Google allows you to listen to all your favorite podcasts, as well as search for new podcasts and download them. Free.
41) PhotoShop.com Mobile
Need to edit a photo on the go? This app from Adobe allows you to crop, rotate, color-correct or change images to black and white. It also integrates with PhotoShop.com online accounts. Free.
42) WordPress for Android
Are you a busy blogger on the go? This app allows you to post to and manage your WordPress blogs from your Android phone. You can post, moderate comments and get comment notifications. Free.
43) Tuner gStrings
Never be without an instrument tuner again. This chromatic tuner app measures sound pitch and intensity, allowing you to tune all manner of musical instruments. Free.
This app from CBS Interactive turns your Android phone into a television. Use it to watch video, including full episodes, from CBS, The CW, CNET, ET, Showtime, CBS News, CBS Sports and more. Free.
Need to text, call, tweet or set your Facebook status and your hands are already occupied? That's no problem if you have Vlingo, which allows you to operate your Android phone with your voice. It even works with a wireless Bluetooth headset. Free.
This Twitter client integrates streams from Twitter, Facebook and even Salesforce.com Chatter into a single client, allowing you to stay on top of all your messages from various sources. Unlike many clients, it supports multiple accounts, giving you the ability when composing a message to send it out via one of your accounts or all of them at once. You can also customize a large number of features. Free.
47) Howcast for Android
Need to know how to change a tire, make banana pudding or survive a long airport layover right now? Howcast puts instructional videos in 25 categories right at your fingertips. Each video also comes with text instructions. Free.
48) TED Mobile
Since 1984, the world's best and brightest have gathered at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conferences to spend no more than 18 minutes talking about the thing that fascinates them most. It's always illuminating, and with this app you can search and watch more than 700 TED Talks right from your phone. Free.
49) Congress Android App
Are you a political junkie? This open source app from Sunlight Labs lets you keep track of the latest bills before Congress. It also lets you keep track of your national legislators' actions, including positions, bills sponsored, even their Twitter updates and YouTube videos. Free.
Use Wikipedia often? Wikidroid formats Wikipedia articles for your device with a sleek interface. It even includes voice search and bookmarks. Free.