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12 Cool Android Apps: Flash, Virtual Vuvuzela & More

At current count, there are close to 100,000 apps available in the Android Marketplace. Best of all, you can download and install many of them for free.

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There are all sorts of cool games, work-enhancing accessories, fun add-ons and even some brand-new features like the long-awaited Adobe Flash Player.

Read on for a dozen of the best, must-have downloadable — and free! — apps for your Android phone.

Adobe Flash Player 10.1 (Beta)

The long-awaited (though not by Apple !) software program allows you to run Flash-based apps on your Android. At the moment it only works on the latest version of the Android OS, Android 2.2 (aka Froyo), which means you have to own a Nexus One or Droid Incredible to use it. But that's OK. Our testing shows that when we can get it to run, it runs slowly. The application still needs some work

Adobe Reader

This is Adobe's own program that allows users to open PDF files on their smartphones.

Although Android phones can already open PDFs, it's always nice to have an app from the format's inventor to keep things in order. The app works quickly and it works well.

Opera Mini 5

The standard Android Web browser just received a speed boost with the 2.2 version of the Android operating system. But even for the folks using the updated OS — and for everyone else, too — Opera Software's Mini 5 Browser is a great substitute. It lets you browse the Web at record speeds and is perfectly suited for smartphone use.

Swype (Beta)

Swype is the best input method for smartphones, period. Swype allows you to slide your finger over the on-screen keyboard and the software interprets what words you want to type.

I've tested it on a number of smartphones and have found that it is super fast, accurate and fun to use. It will soon be available as a download for other phones as well. As Beta testers, we have found that Swype works perfectly on the Nexus One, HTC Droid Incredible and the Evo 4G. We highly recommend it.

Drugs, Astronomy and more...

Anti-virus

You have anti-virus software on your computers — so why not on your cell phones? There are two versions of this software: Free, with advertisements, and a $9.99 Pro version, with no ads. We can't tell you for sure that it works, but it does say it checks every new program I've installed as well as say it constantly checks the ones already downloaded to the phone. A little safety goes a long way

K-9 Mail

K-9 is an open-source email client based on the core Android OS Mail application that shipped with your smartphone. K-9 Mail improves upon the standard program by including additional functionality and more flexibility in handling your corporate Microsoft Outlook/Exchange mail. That includes the ability to delete messages on your company's Exchange server as well as on your smartphone, something the standard Mail client can't do

Google Sky Maps

You know all about Google Maps' point-to-point GPS navigation and Google Earth's views of nearly every inch of this planet. Now there's Google Sky Maps, which lays out the universe in map form. The application uses your Android phone's built-in GPS and location finding abilities to shift the map's perspective as you move so that you can easily find where you are — and what you're looking at in the cosmos

UPS Mobile

If you use UPS to ship your packages, then this Android app is for you. It lets you manage your shipments, track your packages, find nearby UPS drop-off points, estimate costs and delivery times and lots more. It's like having a UPS help desk inside your smarphone. Some users have called it "perfect" in their reviews

Bump

Bump is all about sharing photos, contacts and apps with people you know — and it's as easy as "bumping" your phones together. You open your smartphones, lightly bump them together and then check to make sure the transfer has been made. And now, with the newest version of the software, you can even bump/transfer from your Android to an iPhone (if it's Bump-equipped, too).

Epocrates Rx (Beta)

Epocrates Rx allows you to quickly access drug information. It provides multiple clinical tools in one easy-to-use application. The authors claim that this software is used by more than 950,000 healthcare professionals who rely on it to make more confident decisions at the point of care. An SD storage/memory card is required

Congress

This app features the directory of elected officials serving you in Congress. It serves up everything from phone numbers and addresses to voting records and the latest bills and laws shuffling through Washington. It's a wonderful resource in this day and age. And, best of all, the Congress app is free.

Virtual Vuvuzela

That incessant buzzing you hear during World Cup matches comes from people blowing non-stop into long, plastic horns. Now, like any good soccer fan, you can generate the same horrible noise with your Android smartphone. It's fun now, but years from now you'll wonder why you downloaded it.


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Disclosures:

Disclosure information was not available for Krakow or his company.

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