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D-Link’s debut tops Android Apps of the Week

by Kristen Nicole

It’s that time of year again: CES buzz is rampant, getting us all excited about the wonderful things our Android phones can do. It’s also the beginning of the year, so we’re more anxious than ever to drill down into our smartphone and all of its glorious features. With the Android Market now hundreds of thousands of apps strong, we can start 2011 on the right foot. Just check out these top apps of the week.

CES highlights

mydlink Lite is the Android app accompaniment to your home monitoring system, letting you check in to your camera feeds while you’re out. Free to download, the app also lets you manage your account, setting cameras to record and take snapshots remotely. Useful for nanny cams and security systems, this is one app that will give you peace of mind.

ZoomSafer is another app aimed at offering peace of mind, with auto-disabling of email and text capabilities on your Android phone. The free out-of-market app detects when you’re driving, ensuring you’re focus is on the road. It’s not an absolute solution, but it’s part of a growing group of apps designed around driver safety.

Organization and productivity

Even passwords need safekeeping. The Keeper Password & Data Vault app by Callpod offers a place to put sensitive data, like username & password combos and other personal information. Protected with military-grade encryption, your data can also be backed up, restored or remotely destroyed. Free to download, you’ll need to purchase the full version after the 30-day trial.

If you like shortcuts and easy navigation, try the Perfect Task Switcher app. It lets you switch between your recent tasks, along with previews, graphics and slick animations. The functions of this free Android app aren’t all that different than the phone default, but the graphic enhancements add streamlined usability for supported devices.

Keep your home screen tidy with the free SiMi Folder Widget. With multiple sizes, several layouts and user-defined folder icons, you can customize home screen folders for just about anything you want. Save app shortcuts, contacts and bookmarks in each folder, set text color and size, and more.

If the Pomodoro Technique is something you’ve tacked onto your New Year’s resolutions, then the new Pomodroido app may be useful to help you manage your time and avoid costly distractions. Set your timers and break durations, and get a break down of your progress. Free, this Android app incentivizes you with game points, so leveling up becomes a goal all its own.

RunKeeper Pro is a must for any jogger with an Android, and the app is free through the month of January. Now that you’ve got no excuses left for why you haven’t downloaded the app, this GPS tracker will mark your time, pace, distance, heart rate, route and calories burned as you get fit in 2011.

New stars

The web service that lets you “tip” your favorite websites is taking to the real world, with the free Flattr Android app. Just scan something’s QR code with Flattr and the micropayments system sends a tip to the person or company behind it. You can tip an artist, a person or your favorite restaurant owner, as long as they have a supporting account.

Science Friday, a popular NPR program, is now available on your Android phone. Get the latest in science news, health, climate, the arts and more. Hosted by Ira Flatow, the free app delivers audio and video clips from the program and its guest experts, making this a great addition to the growing line of NPR apps in the Android Market.