Tether, Orbitz lead Fresh Android Apps of the Week

by Caitlin M. Foyt

In this weeks Fresh Android Apps round-up, discover an app that enables you to get Internet access wherever you may be, Orbitz's first foray into the Android Market, a great, free, visual news reader, and more.

Tether (Android) $24.99

When it comes to traveling, outside of losing your luggage and missing your flight, there's really nothing worse than not being able to find Wi-Fi when you really need it. Tether is an app that uses your preexisting data plan to turn your phone into an Internet hot spot. Readers should note that though this initial download is free, it's still $24.99 per year for the full service.

This app is pretty handy, but $25 does sound like a lot of money to pay up front for a mobile application. If you do spend a lot of time on the road, however, this might be a cost-effective alternative to paying for Wi-Fi at the airport or whatever fast food restaurant you happen to come upon. And since we're on the topic of uncomfortable places, I should note that Tether can work from anywhere, including your rental car, a nice restaurant, near a famous landmark, or your hotel room.

Orbitz (Android) FREE

Orbitz is the ultimate travel planning app. Make hotel reservations, book a flight or a rental car quickly, even if it's needed the same day or at the last minute. This app works just like the Orbitz.com website, giving you access to a selection of thousands of hotels, airlines and rental options.

While you're traveling, this app is also a good way to keep tabs on your travel itineraries, flight status, gate and baggage claim details. There's also an option to search for nearby hotels and their rates using your phone's GPS.

Pulse News Reader (Android) FREE

It's not very common to associate the word "colorful" with the word "news." The Pulse News Reader app is a platform for popular news sources and it has a heavy emphasis on photos. Each publication gets its own row, with a list of headlines, author information when available, and a nice big photo.

You can tap any story to open up a page where you can read the text of the article and see a larger photo. Pulse News Reader initially ran for between $1 and $4 in the Android Marketplace, but this week, the app is available for free.

Boston Herald Gift Guide (Android) FREE

Are you clueless about what to buy your family and friends this holiday season? The Boston Herald Gift Guide in designed to help make your shopping a little less stressful. It's an app that lists tons of different and popular products, both brand new and older classics, all of which have been reviewed by professional reviewers and editors at Bostonherald.com. Apparently, the staff at The Boston Herald have tested, played with, tasted and tried hundreds of items from more than 150 companies.

Google Sky Map update (Android) FREE

Google has made some updates to its popular Sky Map app. Now, instead of just being an app dedicated to the current night sky, you can skip ahead or jump back in time to look at the stars on a given date.

See what the night sky looked like the day you were born or jump ahead and see what it will look like the day your baby will be born. You can also pick from a menu of key dates in history. Currently, you can only go forward to the year 2100 and back to the year 1900.