8 weird but cool Android apps

Some fun ways to play with your new smartphone.

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Somewhat useful apps

My Bic Lighter

Bic USA Inc.

So here you are at a concert of your favorite band, and you're just having a great time, jumping up and down and screaming the lyrics. Now it's time to really show your appreciation by flicking on your lighter -- but the management of the concert hall has decreed that a couple of thousand lighters being waved by a bunch of enthusiastic music fans constitute a fire hazard.

Bic Concert Lighter
My Bic Lighter

What do you do?

You pull out your phone and open up your My Bic Lighter app.

What you get is a full-screen image of a Bic lighter -- you can choose from several designs, including Astrology, Flick my BIC, Geometrics and Tattoos. You then "flick" the lighter by touching the screen (with appropriate sound effect) and you get a flame. Dip your smartphone down to the left or right, and the flame moves (as a real one would) to stay upright.

The My Bic Lighter is available for the iPhone, iPod and BlackBerry Storm as well. Bic includes with its app a warning that children shouldn't play with lighters -- even virtual ones. The warning adds that this application "should only be used by adults 19 years of age or older."

Because they may try to light a virtual cigarette with it?

Easy Metal Detector Lite

Androidika

[Note: Easy Metal Detector Lite is no longer available.]

Need a way to pay for your new Android smartphone? No problem -- just search for all those coins that people have dropped around your neighborhood, with Easy Metal Detector Lite.

Easy Metal Detector Lite
Easy Metal Detector Lite

How does it work? Well, apparently your phone uses a magnetometer for its compass function -- and magnets are good at finding metal.

There are actually a few worthwhile metal-detecting apps out there, such as Metal Detector. Metal Detector works just fine, but Easy Metal Detector Lite has a snazzier interface and uses a friendly beeping sound to let you know that you've struck pay dirt. (Easy Metal Detector Lite also has a version without ads, called Easy Metal Detector, for 99 cents.)

There isn't an extremely powerful magnet in your phone, and as a result, you have to be pretty near the metal to register it significantly. So if you want to know the truth, you're not going to find an awful lot of coins with this app. But that's beside the point -- it's just plain fun.

Just-for-fun apps

My Magic 8 Ball

CWE Software

If you want to figure out what's going to happen in your future, you can browse through Google News, call your banker, read the stars -- or you can install the My Magic 8 Ball app on your Android smartphone.

My Magic 8 Ball
My Magic 8 Ball

What do you get with it? An image of the Magic 8 Ball that, when you shake your phone, offers up one of 20 answers to your questions, such as "My reply is no," "Yes, definitely" and "Better not tell you now." If your phone doesn't react to a firm shake (mine did), there is a button you can press for your Magic 8 Ball answer.

There are actually several Magic 8 Ball apps available for Android phones -- I chose this one because it was free and simple and used the same 20 answers you got from the original Magic 8 Ball toy. And because when I asked it, "Should I review this app?" it answered with a firm, "Yes."

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