Try Participate Learning — Better teaching through digital resources.

Android apps for tech junkies

by Kristen Nicole

If you're a techie, you've probably had your Android for some time. Root access is nothing new to navigate, and you've customized every corner of your phone. Here are some Android apps for your nerdy side.

The useful nerd

Quick Boot lets you reboot (or boot) your phone in two different modes: recovery or bootloader. Free, this app works across all Android devices. With Quick Boot, you can also make home screen shortcuts for booting in one mode or another, with just one click.

Tether your computer to the Internet, using your Android phone. Skip the Bluetooth, and get the PdaNet app. It gives you the same connection you get mobile browsing, and comes with an SMS Agent, so incoming texts and Google Talk messages push through to your computer.

Mobile browsing has improved greatly on Android devices, but the Dolphin Browser has stayed a step ahead. Free, this Android app is optimized for mobile browsing, with Gesture, multi-touch, tabbed browsing and RSS feed integration. You can sync your Google bookmarks, choose a theme for your browser, and customize settings for your privacy.

Swype comes on several Android devices now, but the rest of you can still download it. The text input designed for mobile screens makes you more efficient at using your keyboard, following your finger's motions. Free, Swype lets you write faster, with less toggling, so you can stay on the move.

If you're nerdy enough to have the Bump app on your phone, you're likely to find others just like yourself. You can exchange information between devices (even Android to iPhone) by bumping them together. Share contact info, photos and Android apps with acquaintances and friends, with a simple gesture.

Gmail is useful on the Android, but K-9 Mail has a few extra perks. Free, this app aggregates and organizes all your email messages into a searchable, multi-folder tool. Flag and star items, attach signatures, customize alerts and more. An upgrade lets you copy and paste text, and report spam.

Staying synced across your PC and phone is made easier with Google Chrome to Phone. Share links, maps, numbers and text between your computer and your Android. All you need is the Chrome browser on your PC, and a Google account. Free, this app unifies your browsing experience across devices.

Smarts and entertainment

Techies tend to like original Nintendo games, so try Nesoid's NES emulator. For just under $4, this Android app lets you download a number of Nintendo games, like Mario Bros. Customize your screen keypad and save key profiles, save games, and play other gamers online.

Did you see Jupiter, shining southeast of the full, harvest, equinox moon last week? You would have, if you used Skymap. The free Android app offers detailed information of the heavens, outlining constellations and showing you the nightly path of the stars. Toggle between grid and regular views, learn about each constellation, and planets too.

Loving your Blu-ray player? Try pocket BLU. The free Android app accompanies the disc player, acting as a remote control and viewer (select content only). Skip to scenes with the Timeline tool, use the app to input text, and rate and share programs you've controlled with pocket BLU. Works with PS3, as well.