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With SXSW just around the corner, a slew of location-aware apps have pushed through updates on the Android Market. From Foursquare to Gowalla, the mobile war has got hyperlocal, searching for new ways to engage users anytime, anywhere. Entertainment and productivity apps also continue to gain traction, highlighting the real reasons behind our love for Android smartphones.
Location, location, location
Foursquare 3.0 hit the Android Market this week, with a new Explore tab for searching businesses by category. It’s part of an updated recommendation system, tracking your social activity and searches for improved suggestions. The free app is also incorporating “social good” badges, so your check-ins are worth even more.
Rival Gowalla has also updated its Android app, making it easier to share your location and experiences with friends, in real time. A user interface update streamlines many of the social features of this free, local search app, making it easy to share photos and updates across Facebook, Twitter and even Foursquare.
Bizzy for Android is a restaurant search app, with local search and recommendations. An update this week brings the “check out” feature, capturing your sentiment about your dining experience while it’s still fresh. Broadcast your check-outs to friends on Facebook and Twitter, sharing eatery info, directions and more.
Entertainment & social
If you like the Talking Friends apps, then you’ll get a kick out of Ultra Voice Changer. The audio recorder has a range of modifications to make your voice sound like a chipmunk, an alien, or even a buzzing bee. Other effects can slow your voice down, speed it up or fill you up with helium. For $1.00 you can get all the voice mods with the Deluxe version of this Android app.
Thrutu is a basic app for sharing content with friends, be it photos, your location or even contacts from your address book. The perk is that you can do all of this while you’re talking on the phone, without having to navigate through your home screen and app folder. This free app even lets you take photos and share them with the person you’re speaking with.
Reference & productivity
Cars.com has pulled into the Android Market, bringing a free reference app for auto lovers. Perform price comparisons on cars and search for local dealerships. You can streamline your searches for new and used cars, based on make, model and proximity. Share listings with friends, calculate your loan payments and get directions to nearby dealers.
We finally have an official Android app from Major League Soccer, delivering game info on demand. Free, MLS MatchDay 2011 follows the entire season, with game highlights, live scores and play-by-play updates. You can tweak this app for your preferences, setting teams and players to follow.
App2SD by InfoLife saves your internal phone storage, while making it more accessible and managable for you. You’ll see a list of all installed apps, options to move apps to your SD card, and storage information for your SD card and phone. Apps can be sorted for easy viewing and toggling, and notifications can be set for newly installed apps with SD card options. This app is free.