free app

Winter is coming… so download the Westeros Map from A Game of Thrones

If you're a fantasy junkie and/or an HBO subscriber, odds are pretty good that you've been eagerly awaiting the return of the hit series A Game of Thrones. It's a serial adaptation of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and HBO's second season of the show begins on Sunday night. If you haven't read the books (or even if you have) you're probably a little lost when it comes to the expansive geography of the novels. Never fear, viewers: the Westeros Map app from developer Sergey Rekuz is here to help.

Ad-supported apps drain batteries quickly says study

Want to drain your smartphone's battery really quickly? Run a lot of apps. Want to drain it so fast that you'll be sprinting for the nearest outlet? Run a lot of free, ad-supported apps. This is the conclusion reached by a team of researcher from Purdue University. They found that third-party ads running in free apps downloaded from the Android Market (now the Google Play Store) could account for a whopping 65-75% of the battery drain coming from an app. That isn't to say that ads themselves are draining three-quarters of a smartphone's battery, just that the vast majority of processing power, memory and data consumption for most free apps goes towards serving ads.

HTC adds LogMeIn Rescue remote support to future phones

Beats and MOG aren't the only things that HTC will be including with all its new phones starting with the One series. The Taiwanese manufacturer has partnered with popular remote access software maker LogMeIn to bring a remote support app to Android phones. LogMeIn Rescue (a free download in the Google Play Store) is designed to allow HTC's technical support team to connect to and control a smartphone across a wireless network, in pretty much the exact same way that the LogMeIn software for desktops works.

EA’s The Sims FreePlay available today on Android

From the creators of the popular game The Sims 3 by Electronics Arts comes a brand new version of the casual life game for Android. EA has just released The Sims FreePlay to the Android Market allowing anyone and everyone the fun of The Sims completely free. The other versions cost an upwards of $7.99 so this is a great move by EA.

Free app downloads NASA photos for changing Android backgrounds

I've often considered that the only reason that the infinite reaches of space exists is so that nerds can have awesome photos to set on their computer desktop backgrounds. There's any number of options for Windows and Mac users to choose from, but when it comes to quality space wallpaper for Android, the selection is a little lacking. If you're looking for real photos from the Hubble Space Telescope and other astronomical hardware to put on your Android phone, look no further than Astronomy Picture of the Day ("APOD"), a free download from the Android Market.

Vonage gives free VOIP calls and texts via Android app

Vonage has become a veritable player in the home phone industry in the US, thanks to ultra-cheap rates for its Voice Over Internet Protocol calling system. Now it's making that service mobile via Android, and making a real case for VOIP-based service, if not VOIP-only phones. Customers who subscribe to Vonage at home can make domestic calls to anyone else with the app for free, and even those without an existing account can use the app to make calls to regular cell and landlines on a per-minute basis, Skype-style. The best part? It works on WiFi or mobile broadband, making Vonage a true mobile VOIP provider with no restrictions.

Official Super Bowl XLVI app is free, hot dogs still $9

If you're one of the lucky 70,000 descending upon Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend for the biggest football game in the world (no, international readers, soccer doesn't count) you might want to spend some time to download the official Super Bowl XlVI Guide app. This navigation and locale app helps visiting pigskin fans navigate the Indianapolis metro area and find all the events leading up to the big game. The app itself is free, which is surely good news for anyone who took out a second mortgage to actually attend the Super Bowl.

Mint.com updates app for Android tablets

Users of the popular Mint service for personal financial tracking have a new option for accessing the service today, as the company announces an expanded app for Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich tablets. While the Mint app has been available for months, its formatting on anything larger than a smartphone has been lacking. The updated app brings a new interface and features when used on Android 3.0 or higher. You can download the app for free in the Android Market, though you'll need an active Mint account (also free) to use it.

Bolt Sizer instantly sizes your bolts from any coin

This is one of those apps that make you exclaim, "why didn't I think of that?" Developer DBT has created a little app that solves a big problem. Bolt Sizer uses your Android phone's camera, a coin and a little mathematical magic to instantly tell you the size of the bolt in the photo. This is the perfect app for anybody working with carpentry or other household tools, and occasionally just about everybody else.

BBC News app updated for Android tablets

Anglophiles have been able to get their British Broadcasting Company News fix on Android for a while now, but if you prefer a larger screen, you were stuck with an upscaled interface on tablets. Until now, that is: the BBC just announced an updated News app that plays nice with Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich tablets. At the moment the app is only available to UK users, but according to the news service the international version will soon be updated as well.
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