Practically every Android smartphone is capable of delivering free 3G tethering that can get your PC online in seconds. Prepare your handset now, and next time you need a reliable connection, you'll be ready to roll.
Simply download PdaNet from the Android Market, snag the companion PC software, follow the installation instructions, and -- ta-da! -- you'll be able to use your phone's network connection to get online from your laptop. To be safe, just read over your carrier's conditions first to make sure you don't violate any data usage regulations.
One quick footnote: If you're on AT&T, you might not see PdaNet in the Android Market. This is due to app restrictions that AT&T alone places on its Android devices. There is a work-around, if you're willing to risk angering the AT&T overlords.
PdaNet costs $25.
2. Control your computer with PhoneMyPC Ever find yourself needing to check something on your home or work PC while you're out and about? Grab an Android app called PhoneMyPC and you'll always have that power in the palm of your hand.
PhoneMyPC lets you connect up to three systems to your smartphone for remote access. All you do is install the app, install the client software on your computer, and you can fire up a connection anytime you want.
Once connected, PhoneMyPC allows you to control your computer's mouse and keyboard, execute actions, take snapshots of the desktop, passively monitor the system, and even activate and view a connected Webcam -- all from the screen of your Android smartphone.
PhoneMyPC costs $10.
3. Boost your battery life with JuiceDefender Worried about Android battery life? You aren't alone. With the right tools on your smartphone, though, you can make the most of your charge without having to constantly futz with settings.
An app called JuiceDefender helps you automate the optimization of your smartphone's power configuration. The program lets you define detailed parameters to govern how and when your device uses common battery-zapping functions. Set it up once, and you'll never have to think about that stuff again.