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Navigate SXSW 2010 with these Android apps

by Kristen Nicole

SXSW is one of the longest and most involved festivals/conferences to attend during the year.  Spanning technology, film and music, SXSW offers a great opportunity for Android phone users to max out their devices, considering the diversity of the festival, its attendants and its activities.

While SXSW has already created a dedicated iPhone app, along with other apps created for the likely attendants of the festival, there are still some useful Android apps available in the Android Market.

Android apps for search and direction

Many find themselves in Austin for SXSW, and that’s about it. Find a hotel or flight info on the fly with Kayak. The free Android app offers discounted prices on hotels and airfare, with booking options integrated in the Android app. If you find yourself in a bind, check Kayak for alternative sleeping and flight arrangements.

Google Maps comes with your Android device, but it’s still a useful Android app to mention in this list. Free, Google Maps comes with voice navigation, layers and search in order to help you find your way around Austin. Get walking, driving or public transportation directions, and be sure not to miss a meeting, performance or party at SXSW.

Aloqua is also designed to help you navigate a city, with a design specific to helping you find venues. Whether you need to find a drug store for some Airborne or a cab to drive you to Six Lounge, the free Aloqua Android app can help you out.

For a more specific transportation Android app, AnyStop: Capital Metro offers real-time transit information for Austin. Free, AnyStop is integrated with Google Maps, helping you find the nearest public transportation depot or bus stop.  Could be particularly useful if you’ve found yourself staying in an hotel in the outskirts of town, or with a friend in the suburbs.

Social networking Android apps

As a good portion of the SXSW festival is music-related, Last.fm is one of the best Android apps to keep up with your favorite bands and artists.  With concert alerts and information on various artists, the free Android app could keep you in the know when it comes to the live performances at SXSW.

Twitter has been accepted as a preferred method of correspondence for SXSW-goers, making it easier to see which parties friends are at, or which panels are best to attend. As Seesmic offers a robust feature set for free, it’s one of the best Android apps for managing your Twitter account, with list access, media-sharing and user-actions.

For a more inclusive look at your friends and their activities, the free FourSquare Android app makes it easier to navigate and connect with others while exploring the city of Austin.  Update your status and view others’ updates, see where they are on a map, read venue reviews, and make new friends based on your location.

Android apps for mobile blogging

For anyone that’s been to SXSW in years past, you’ll know how hard it is to find free Wi-Fi at times.  WeFi can help out to some extent, crowd-sourcing Wi-Fi sources from around the area. Receive alerts for Wi-Fi spots to check out, and also view information on the type of venue hosting the free Wi-Fi with this free Android app.

Blogging seems to be a way of life for many attending SXSW, so WordPress is a necessary Android app to have.  Recently updated for Android, the free Wordpress Android app is quite inclusive and allows you to do all the posting necessary for mobile blogging.  Create, edit and publish posts, upload media and manage comments.

For live video-streaming, the Ustream Broadcaster Android app is an option for Android users.  Great for bloggers and journalists, Ustream lets you create and save videos to upload at a later time.  Free, the mobile broadcasting tool can help you cover the SXSW conference, and enjoy it as well, limiting the time you spend with multiple devices and video upload times.

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