Seven free Android apps for new MyTouch 3G users

With more than 6,000 apps, it can be hard to find the worthwhile software in the Android Market.

Astrid is a to-do list tracker with online sync. Astrid

So you finally got your MyTouch 3G and you are looking for some free apps to download from the Android Market. With more than 6,000 titles, it can be hard to find something worthwhile. I've been using Google Android since the day it came out and I've spent a good amount of time wading through the available apps. The following list contains some of my favorite free apps from several categories.

1. Security--Mobile Defense

After spending serious cash on your new phone, you don't want to worry about losing it. Mobile Defense is a free service that allows you to track and find your lost handset. The developers have a background in mobile banking software so privacy and security are their top priorities. Simply install the software and you're protected.

In the event that you accidentally misplace your phone, just log in to the Mobile Defense site to locate it. The service uses a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular data to provide an accurate location fix. When your phone is located, you can send it an alert tone and custom message. You also have the ability to lock your phone in the event you think it is stolen.

2. Productivity--Astrid

Astrid is a simple to-do manager that helps you to keep track of your tasks. After creating your list, you can prioritize your tasks based on date and importance. The latest version also supports Locale, so you can get reminders based on your location.

Online synchronization is available with Remember the Milk, which offers another option to manage your to-do list from a computer. I enjoy the simple dashboard and friendly reminders that Astrid provides. Instead of an annoying alarm, it uses humor to motivate you. Be on the lookout for a desktop widget in an upcoming version.

3. Phone Tools--Phonalyzr

Do you ever wonder about your calling habits? Phonalyzr takes your handset's call log and uses it to generate some interesting charts and graphs. With a single click, you can see who you call the most, the amount of time you spend talking to each person, the time spent on outbound versus inbound calls, and more.

T-Mobile users will enjoy the top-callers-by-minutes report, which allows you to see which contacts you call most frequently so you can adjust your MyFaves calling plan. I also enjoy the graph that charts my daily usage.

4. GPS Driving--Waze

Now that you have a phone with GPS, you can get free turn-by-turn driving directions. Waze is a community-driven service that provides real-time maps and traffic information. I've praised the app already , and it continues to improve.

Currently Waze lacks voice directions, but those are coming in a future version. What's more, the developer will be sponsoring a contest for creating the vocal prompts for use in the app and it is running a promotion to give away 10 free MyTouch phones to encourage people to report road incidents.

5. Weather--The Weather Channel

There's no shortage of Weather applications. I've tried them all, and I keep coming back to The Weather Channel for its great performance and well-rounded features. The Weather Channel provides a great 36-hour weather report, and it has a 10-day forecast, which is the longest of any app.

Geolocation can find your weather information automatically or you can manually add your favorite places to a list. Other features include a map with multiple radar layers and a video forecast. Larger metro areas can get local video updates while smaller towns are directed to a broader regional forecast.

The Weather Channel recently released its own widget, but it was met with poor reviews. Hopefully it will get updated soon to match the quality of some of the paid weather widgets.

6. Games--Cestos

If you're looking for an addicting game to play on your touch screen, check out Cestos. This title offers online multiplayer battles for two to four players. Each person controls several marblelike creatures while trying to knock the other players off the map. Matches are short but competitive.

You can choose from several maps, with each offering a different gameplay experience. You can create your own character, which you can customize with special items. The game also features a chat lobby for meeting new friends.

7. Sports--SportsTap

With a phone that is always connected, it's easy to stay up to date on the latest sports news. SportsTap provides feeds for every major North American sports organizations along with some NCAA sports. The app even uses geolocation to provide local sports scores. For each sport you can check the daily results with box scores, read the top stories, check current league standings, and more.

SportsTap also allows you to build a list of your favorite teams from the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. Multiple alerts are available for game start times and score updates after you pick your teams. You also get a slick widget to check the most recent updates from your home screen.

About the author

    Taylor Wimberly became obsessed with cell phones working as a Sprint reseller as a teenager. When he's not writing about the newest handsets on the market, you can find him on the beach working the BBQ pit. Taylor also blogs about the Android community with Android and Me. Taylor is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. E-mail Taylor.

     

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