The Google Android phone came out in October and already has more than 400 applications; called “apps” for short. This is a small number compared with the roughly 10,000 apps already out for the iPhone, but some of the Android apps are quite different and worth mentioning:

— One that is sure to cause some nervous moments in the retail undustry is called “Shop Savvy.”This bit of software turns an ordinary camera-enabled cell phone into a barcode reader. Once it reads a product’s bar code it connects to the Internet and automatically initiates a Google search that finds the best price for that product from any online supplier. Some of these suppliers will also have physical stores, and may even be across the street or a few blocks away.
— The “Locate”android  app can beset to prohibit incoming phone calls to ring on your cell phone in areas your select. For example, you can prevent calls coming in while you’re in the executive meeting room, at a movie or concert, or in potentially embarrassing situations. If a call comes into those areas, the cell phone will automatically switch to “vibrate” instead of “ring” mode.


— The humorously named “Breadcrumbz” let’s you take photos with your cell phone as you move along, to create a kind of pictorial story of your day. The program also uses GPS (global positioning) totag each photo with it’s location.
— The “Ringdroid” app lets you create your own ring tone from any voice or music file on your computer. It can a snatch of a symphony or some choice dialog from a favorite movie.

The Google phone is $179, and right now, you have to get it through T-Mobile. It’s made by the Taiwanese company HTC, but many other companies are set on making a Google phone that will work with other cell phone carriers. Samsung recently hired about 80 developers to work on this task and is rumored to be working with Sprint, the third largest U.S. carrier. Motorola and Sony Ericsson are also reportedly working on an Android phone.

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