Zillow’s Mortgage Calculator tops Android Apps of the Week

by Kristen Nicole

It’s an iffy housing market, and anyone in the real estate business knows the importance of ready resources. Zillow’s expanding its mobile reach with a new marketplace app for Android, offering up personalized quotes and real-time rates. On a less serious note we have Cartoon Camera making quite a splash in the Android Market, adding fun to our photos. And love was certainly in the air for Android users this Valentine’s week, celebrating with Talking Tom’s new love letter app.

Mortgage Calculator and Rates (free)

Making good use of its growing real estate database, Zillow launched a free mortgage calculator for Android. Home-shoppers can get personalized loan quotes, lender ratings and real-time rates in one app, making it a bit easier to determine your financial position in the real estate market. Gain insight on what your monthly payments would be for a particular home, and narrow your real estate search with the Zillow affordability calculator. There’s also tools for comparing re-financed rates, creating a useful companion app to the Zillow Real Estate one.

Cartoon Camera (free)

If only the world looked as slick as a graphic novel. Now it can, with Cartoon Camera. This free Android app puts a cartoon spin on any photo, with plenty of customization so you can get just the right look. Adjust the edge strength with a slider, modify color saturation and brightness. Add dark strokes, colored edges and more. Photos can be saved to your gallery and shared with friends across the main social networks. What makes this app so useful is its real-time effects for camera shots, letting you see the effect before you take the picture. There’s an ad-free version with a premium upgrade.

Tom’s Love Letters (free)

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Outfit 7 released a new theme app under the Talking Tom brand. Tom’s Love Letters let you send animated Valentine’s Day greetings to friends, family and loved ones, with some darn cute interactions between Talking Tom and the feline that gets his heart thumping, Angela. The interactive greetings will send Tom reeling, as he reaches out to Angela for a kiss or hug. There’s nine postcard themes to choose from, and a handful of songs you can add to each card. Send them directly to friends, or via Facebook.

My Battery Drain Analyser (free)

If you don’t have extra batteries charged and ready to go, the My Battery Drain Analyser will help you keep tabs on your device activity. This free app calculates the percentage drain-per-hour on your handset, so you can change your behavior accordingly. Launch the app and let it run as you use your phone. Read through the summary results to see the time/date, battery life percentage left and a color-coded chart of the remaining battery power. You’ll even be able to track charging events, and see how they impact your battery as well.

Foursquare update (free)

Foursquare is more than just a check-in app, as the team behind this popular service looks for more ways to tap into their data. Sharing lists and places visited is one great way to spread recommendations and information between users, and Foursquare’s added NFC support to their Android app to better facilitate this. Leveraging Android Beam, Foursquare lets you “bump” phones to transfer information and initiate friend requests. You can also use the NFC support to check-in to supporting venues, which lets you tap or auto-prompt a check-in at various locations.

Dictionary-M-W Premium ($2.99)

From the beloved Merriam Webster brand comes a new dictionary app on Android. This premium resource is ad-free and comes packed with multimedia entries, including illustrations. With offline access, Dictionary-M-W-Premium is always accessible. It comes with voice search, an integrated thesaurus, example sentences, Word of the Day and a favorites tab where you can save words for just the right moment. With things like recent history, biographic and geographic entries, this dictionary app does more than spell out definitions for you.