Casual Friday: 17 Sweet Smart-Phone Tweaks and Games

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Key Kustomizations

The HTC home screen is handy, as is its TouchFLO interface. But I need to tame them and show them who's boss. Here are some must-have tools if you too hate the status quo.

9. PointUI Home: iPhone this, iPhone that--I'm tired of people talking about Apple's cool, no-stylus interface. My advice: Download this free (and amazingly smart) smart phone application to make your mobile more manageable.

HTC Home Customizer
10. HTC Home Customizer V1.0: If you want to give Windows Mobile just a small face-lift as opposed to total reconstructive surgery, HTC Home Customizer is the program for you. With the help of this convenient little application, you can easily change the fonts, icons, and shortcut buttons featured on the home-screen interface that comes on the Touch.

Touch Settings
11. Touch Settings: Out of the box, the nifty finger-swiping interface on the Touch had one small problem--spam buttons! The thing was filled with shortcuts to programs I'd have to pay for that I didn't want, and an obnoxious link button to online stores for buying more crap. They were driving me nuts! I could have downloaded a Pocket PC Registry editor to insert my own shortcuts, but I'm supremely lazy. Touch Settings has all the tweaks I need in one easily accessible program.

The (Yawn) 'Useful' Apps

Yes, I know that billions of useful programs are out there, but here are some go-to applications that I'm using every day.

12. Viigo: It's an RSS feed reader and then some. This is a must-have mobile app for catching the news while you're on location.

Help 2 Speak
13. Help 2 Speak: Yeah, when you're a jetsetter like me, a conversational translator is essential. I can't tell you how many times I'll check this program while at the International House of Pancakes. I mean, how do you order a Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N' Fruity in French, German, Danish, Italian, or Spanish?

14. HelloTwitFace: This microblogging tool gives you easy access to HelloTXT, Twitter, and Facebook at the same time--and, well, any program whose name can double for a lame insult is A-OK in my book.

What About the iPhone?

And then there's that whole iPhone thing. Yes, the SDK is out, but if you want to play around right now, you must first clear several hurdles to hack your iPhone apart (aka "jailbreaking"). Oh, sure, you can play some Web games optimized for your cell, but that isn't the same thing, is it? I pinged people far and wide, and Macworld's Dan Moren was more than happy to point me to a few Apple-centric applications for all you iPeople out there.

15. Labyrinth is a digital port of the old analog wood maze/ball game. You know, you tilt the thing, avoiding holes, until your metal pellet reaches the end.

16. If you fancy yourself a musician, check out Pianist, which offers a multitouch keyboard for you to rock out on. Want to have an impromptu jam session with your MP3s? It's possible on the iPod Touch version of the app (for now).

17. Remember what I said earlier about emulators? Yeah, well, caveat emptor, friend. Someone created a fully functional NES emulator for the iPhone, as well.

How about you guys? Anyone else find some great tweaks or cell phone games I need to check out? Hit the comment field below and let me know!

Until next week...

Senior Writer Darren Gladstone geeks out over gadgets, games, and odd uses for humdrum tech. In other words, he's a nerd--and he's okay with that.

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