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Pulse News tops Android Apps of the Week

by Kristen Nicole

Mobile news and entertainment are high priorities amongst users, and Android’s collection of supported apps continues to gain traction. Pulse, a popular mobile news reader, has been updated this week, with more news sources and social features. Music is also topping Android app charts, with an update to Amazon’s MP3 store and Winamp’s latest feature upgrades.

Music and entertainment

Pulse News is known for its fancy layouts, delivering daily news in an aesthetically pleasing way for mobile users. It’s been updated with loads more news sources, adding to your custom feed options. You can stream content from Facebook, YouTube, Digg and more, and Pulse will now save offline stories, with sync options for Pulse and Google Reader. This Android app is free.

Amazon MP3 has gotten a boost, now that Amazon’s Cloud Drive is in full effect. Shop for music, download it and play songs from your Android media player. You can also access your tunes from anywhere you have web access, giving Android some of the media perks once reserved for Apple users. The songs are often cheaper than on iTunes, and the app itself is free.

Winamp has gotten its second wind as a mobile app, with recent upgrades showcasing new features for downloading and streaming free music, a redesigned interface and extra artist info.  With this well-rounded music app you can sync to your desktop wirelessly, import from iTunes, and load streaming stations for radio play. This Android app is also free.

Want to take artistic shots on the fly? Camera360 has HDR effects they claim are better than the iPhone’s. Get silly or funky, with photo effects and stamp enhancements. The free photo app also features scenes, borders and more. See effects as you take camera shots, and share your creations across the social web.

Staying on top of trends

With tax season in full swing, Mint.com Personal Finance is a very useful app. Not only will this keep you on track and on budget, it’s got categorized break downs of your spending. Set your budget, create savings goals, manage your cash flow, and check out Mint’s specialized tools for eliminating debt.

As winter thaws, it’s time to get outside for playtime. My Tracks is a handy app for runners, cyclists, hikers and other outdoor activity lovers, tracking your GPS location to record your path, speed, distance and elevation. Better yet, My Tracks turns this data into useful reports, which you can view in real-time or at a later date. Free, this Android app also supports external sensors, such as Bluetooth heart rate monitors.

Work and utility

Skype has been on a tear lately, updating several of its apps, incorporating more social features and launching special tools for the classroom. With Skype you can video-chat or text-chat with friends, call them up via 3G or Wi-Fi networks, and share media. This free app’s come a long way since its first mobile renditions, vastly extending the communication capabilities of Android handsets.

Remote Web Desktop remains a top tool for Android users, with web-based access to your phone from your PC. You can manage phone files from here, transferring them directly between your Android and computer. If you’d like to operate your phone more like a computer, with keyboard typing, screen captures and more, then this free app is worth a try.

Get frustrated with having to unlock your screen just to check one item? The new LockMenu app lets you customize your lock screen, so it works more like a launch page. Add apps you’d like to launch from here, as well as direct-dial access. It speeds up your phone use, while keeping everything secure.

ZDBox is an inclusive management app for accessing battery info, traffic, app security settings, and more. You can manage apps from here, kill tasks and see where your Android’s resources are being used and allocated. The free app also lets you add extra security to your phone, applying settings to individual apps. Free up space with this app as well, and run your phone more smoothly.

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