free app

Expand Ice Cream Sandwich’s web capabilities with Browser+

The web browser built in to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich rocks. It's so fast and stable that it easily beats out any of the third-party alternatives, and new features like a Chrome bookmark sync, built-in full screen and a Desktop mode mean you won't need the extra features in apps like Dolphin Browser HD. But even the best can be improved upon, and thanks to Android's open-source nature, it has. Browser+ is now available for free in the Android Market, building a few handy extra features into Ice Cream Sandwich's built-in browser.

ClockworkMod Tether gives root-free tethering access for all

A lot of you are probably quite familiar with ClockworkMod Recovery, hands-down the most popular custom recovery out there for ROM junkies. Developer Koush has just released another ambitious community-minded project, ClockworkMod Tether, and it's pretty much exactly what you'd expect. The non-market app connects to a Windows, Linux or OS X PC over a USB connection (not WiFi or Bluetooth), and doesn't require any special root permissions or other mods. A separate PC app is required, much like other, similar programs that have been in use for years. Naturally, the app is free. Koush (Koushik Dutta) claims that the program is undetectable by carriers, almost all of which charge for the privilege of sharing your paid smartphone data. The app is in its alpha release, but according to early comments, it's already commendably stable. The developer notes that while most of the software nuts and bolts are in place, the user interface is unfinished, and will be seeing a lot more polish in the future. The current version will expire on Saturday, January 7th, but a newer version should be out by then. Future releases may include a Bluetooth version, as well as better client apps for all supported operating systems. Trying it out on my Galaxy Nexus with a Windows 7 PC seems to work like a charm, though it's not quite as fast as official tethering. Koush is one of the most highly regarded modder/developers out there, and with good reason - expect to see fast and comprehensive updates for ClockworkMod Tether over the next few months. Don't expect this one in the Android Market any time soon. [via Androinica]

Unofficial Steam for Android lets you pick up PC games on the cheap

If you're a frequent PC gamer like me, odds are excellent that you use the Valve's Steam service constantly. It's become one of the most popular methods for buying games and connecting with friends over them, to say nothing of the awesome sales on downloadable games that happen most weekends. If you're tired of checking up on the Steam web store via your Android phone's browser, there's a new alternative out there: Steam for Android, from developer IBF Programs.

The 10 highest-rated Android apps of 2011

As the end of the year draws nigh, just about everyone is putting together their wrap-up stories that are, let's be honest, pretty predictable if you've been following tech news for 2011. But at least one story caught our eye this morning: Mobilewalla's app scores. Mobilewalla is one of many app aggregation services, though unlike a lot of Android specific sites, it doesn't distribute its own apps. Instead it keeps a close eye on the various app platforms and offers up an updated database of apps that anyone can use. This year, the top ten list is dominated by games.

Use Android, get cheap pizza: Papa John’s grants 25% off through new app

Pizza isn't a traditional holiday meal, but in this case I may be willing to make an exception. Papa John's just released their very of Android app in the Market, and to celebrate they're giving users a big, juicy discount. Order a pizza through the app and you'll get a generous 25% discount, valid through New Year's Day. (Think of it as getting two slices for free.) Any full-sized pizza qualifies, even "specialty" varieties, but you'll need to sign up for an official Papa John's account first.

Nova Launcher brings much-needed options to the ICS home screen

No doubt about it, the fancy new launcher is one of the highlights of Ice Cream Sandwich's revised user interface. The default launcher has plenty of new animations, a revised app drawer that combines with a widget placement engine, and automatic folders that make grouping your apps easier than ever. But it's still extremely light on customization, just like all the stock launchers beforehand. Enter Nova Launcher, a quickly-created customization of the launcher found in Ice Cream Sandwich's open source code.

Google Goggles updates with continuous tracking and other goodies

Google Goggles, the self-referential app for scanning just about anything, sees its latest major release today. The official Google Mobile blog has all the saucy details on version 1.7. The big new feature is continuous scanning, i.e., getting your barcode or QR code results instantly without taking a photo first. It's essentially extracting the relevant information straight out of a video feed from your smartphone's camera sensor - neat.

Android Design Preview tool mirrors PC screens for live previews

Here's a fun hack that should be useful for Android developers and designers, and at least interesting for the rest of us. If you're designer who's working on high-quality mock ups for a new app, seeing how they look on your actual device is a bit of a hassle - you've got to save the files, copy them over to the device, try it out, then make changes and repeat. The Android Design Preview tool takes all those steps out by allowing your phone to see a one-to-one pixel representation of your computer screen.
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