Highlights of Amazon Appstore’s Past Free Apps of the Day

I was pretty excited when Amazon launched their Appstore for Android. On top of a healthy bit of competition, they offer exclusive apps like Angry Birds Rio and, most recently, Plants vs. Zombies for Android, and they offer a free app download everyday. That means you check Amazon daily, and there’s a chance you’ll save at least 99 cents (USD).

Well, I’ve gotten into the habit of checking every day (though I could also follow them on Twitter at @amazonappstore), and even if I don’t install the app right away, more often than not I will “purchase” it, in case I want to try it later. Today I’m going to give you my favorite apps offered as part of Amazon’s Free App of the Day — if not for these offers, I might not have discovered them!

One Amazon fan has put together amzndeal.com, a website which keeps you updated on the daily free MP3 and app downloads from Amazon through Facebook, RSS, and Twitter.

My only complaint about Amazon’s Free App of the Day is that it’s primarily games that they offer for free. While I do like playing games, I’m very selective, and don’t play them very often because I try to conserve battery life. That being said, they have offered a some good utilities, and below is a mix of both.

Two notes: These were apps once offered for free. They likely now cost the price I’m listing here. Also, all links are affiliate links to the Amazon Appstore, not the Android Market.

Akinator

Usual Price: $1.99

Akinator is a very cool 20 Questions app where you choose a character and Akinator tries to guess who is it. This person can be fictional, non-fictional, or even someone you personally know (that guess will be in the form of, “your sister” or “you”). I’ve played this game over 100 times (it’s very fun to play with friends) and have only been able to stump it twice. If you do manage to stump Akinator, you can submit the right answer. As a programmer, I marvel at how Akinator actually pulls off its guesses.

Try the Free ‘Lite’ Version

Pac-Man

Usual Price: $4.99

This is the classic Pac-Man game, with the same levels, characters, and sounds. There are two ways to control our little yellow friend: with a flick in the desired direction, or using the game’s “PAC-PAD,” which is a virtual joystick. I half-expected the track button on my Incredible to work as well, but considering not every Android device has one, it makes sense that the track button does not work in the app. This app is great if you’re up for a bit of nostalgia.

Fancy Widget Pro

Usual Price: $0.99

I’m a huge fan of widgets. They give your phone a completely customized experience. That’s why I was super happy when Amazon offered Fancy Widget Pro for free one day. I was using the free version, and while both apps offer a number of different clock and weather widgets, the pro version has a lot more customizable options, including which weather service to use (Google or WeatherBug), and a whole slew of skins and animations to choose from. This app is well worth the download, even with the $0.99 price tag.

Try the Free Version

Shazam Encore

Usual Price: $4.99

Shazam Encore is one of my more commonly used apps. It will listen to a song that’s playing and then tell you what song it is, as well as offer you options to buy it, share it, get the lyrics, artist info, recommendations based on that song, and much much more. It will also remember your “tags” (songs you’ve added) and tell you what’s topping the music charts on a particular day. The free version of the app is ad-supported, limits the number of songs you can tag per day, and does not offer extra features like Recommendations.

Try the Free Version

ezPDF Reader

Usual Price: $0.99

ezPDF Reader is a powerful little PDF reader app for Android that will allow you not only to view PDFs, but flip through them like a book, bookmark pages, have the text read to you, and open PDFs on the web (just put in the URL). I’ve tried a good amount of PDF readers, and this one is definitely the smoothest, most fully-featured one I’ve tried. Plus, you really can’t beat the price at 99 cents.

Cardio Trainer Pro

Usual Price: $9.99

Just in time for Summer, Amazon recently offered Cardio Trainer Pro for free — and I’ve got to say, this is a really nice app. It requires its free counterpart, Cardio Trainer, to work, as Pro adds features right on top of it. With Cardio Trainer Pro, you can track your workouts using GPS, compare workouts, and create a weight loss schedule where you set a goal and how you plan to do it. You can create a workout schedule that the app will take into account when figuring out how much weight you’ve lost; it will also count any workouts you track with the app.

Try the Free Version

Chalk Ball

Usual Price: $1.49

Chalk Ball is a surprisingly fun and addictive game where you have to keep a ball in the air by drawing chalk lines for the ball to bounce off (the game is set on a chalkboard). The way you draw the lines determines how the ball will bounce, and  the longer you keep the ball from falling, the higher your score. In order to replenish your chalk, you need to bounce the ball into other icons that denote a partial refill, a full refill, or other add ons (which slow the ball down, create another ball, etc.). In the paid version, there are no ads and different themes like graph paper and 8-bit!

Try the Free Version

Taskpad

Usual Price: $3.99

Taskpad puts an interesting spin on task management, separating your screen into four quadrants: Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and Parking. Forward tasks help you advance towards some goal, Neutral tasks help you maintain something (their example is grocery shopping, which I’m assuming helps you maintain living), Reverse tasks are setbacks (I have “drink soda” in my Reverse quadrant), and Parking tasks are things you’d like to do, but that can be put on the back burner if needed.

For each task, you can also assign a due date, assign a category (which is color coded), attach a photo, attach a contact, and a set a reminder. There are also several views, if you don’t like the 4 quadrants. All-in-all, this is a handy little app that can serve as a really nice planner.

Try the Free ‘Lite’ Version


This of course, is just a fraction of the apps that Amazon has offered for free since the launch of the appstore in March. Again, while they offer mostly games for free, checking the site every day is well worth it, as you’re likely to find a few gems, like the ones I’ve listed above.


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