Android News

Android Apps Alert #61: More than just Plants vs Zombies Edition

June 5, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka

Android Apps

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The Android Market is home to tens of thousands of apps. Your Android phone or tablet barely holds a fraction of a percentage of those apps, and you won’t need or want to have that many. That’s why Androinica.com tries to find great Android apps to share with our readers every week. Some work with a low-powered HTC Hero, but many others require something more powerful like a Droid X.

Regardless of the type, we’re here to help you find something to install. This week’s theme is More than just Plants vs Zombies edition because that’s all people talked about this week. Pvz finally came to Android via the Amazon App Store Free App of the Day and you people lost your minds. As exciting as that game may be, there were still some other great things to load on your Android device, and here are a few suggestions.

Zinio

Android 3.0 or higher required

Did you know Lady Gaga have a new album coming out? Most of “Monsters” probably knew that I already, but I only found out because Gaga’s on the cover of Bazaar Magazine. Zinio, a new Honeycomb tablet Android app that serves as a virtual newsstand, delivered Bazaar and many more magazines to my fingertips. The navigation is simple and features full-color scans of popular mags. Users can purchase single copies or subscribe to dozens of options organized according to topic. Sadly, there’s no way to access magazines to which you already subscribe, but the app comes with 24 free magazines. [See more Honeycomb reading apps]

Install app

Lyric Legend

Android 2.1 or higher required

Part Don’t Forget the Lyrics, Singing Bee, and Guitar Hero with a pinch of Tap Tap Revenge, Lyric Legends joins the fading popularity of music games. Legends tests players’ knowledge of music by putting lyrics on small bubbles that must be tapped as they are sung. The bubbles animate and are not positioned in order, so users must know the lyrics or move very fast in order to keep up. Lyric Legend comes with two pre-loaded songs and features a store to download more “music packs.” You’ll have to earn credits through download offers or pay money to get extra credits, which puts a damper on the phone. But if you grow tired of the touch-based music games and want to give lyric-tracking a go, download this game now.

Install app

DropSnap

Free Lite, $3.99 premium
Android 2.1 or higher required

Take a picture on your Android phone and it’s stored on your SD card. Take a picture on your Android phone with DropSnap installed and it’s stored on your SD card…and Dropbox. DropSnap automatically uploads new camera snapshots to a designated folder in your Dropbox account if you purchase the premium version. The free version will also sync photos, but it will not be immediate and requires manual initiation (premium also lifts the 25 photo cap on sync). DropSnap is great because it allows users to choose which directory to scan for images, so it can sync only Camera snapshots or only images from your alternative camera app like Vignette. It also lets users choose the interval to scan for new images – as often as 5 minutes or 6 hours. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Dropbox doesn’t just build this feature into the official Android application, and that’s about the only reason not to get this app. But if you don’t want to wait or chance if Dropbox will even include this feature, spend the $3.99.

Install app

Google Shopper

Android 2.1 or higher required

Google Shopper got a complete visual overhaul in order to look more like Google’s just launched Wallet and Offers services. Speaking of which, Google Offers are now featured in Shopper! Users can open the “Nearby Offers” tab and get discounts of food, entertainment, or other products, and redeem them at nearby stores or bookmark them for later use. Shopper also features scanning of barcodes or products to do price comparison, featured items for purchase, a history of past searches, and a starred section for items marked as special. Google Shopper is now one of the most complete Android shopping apps and should be close to your hip if you ever decide to spend money.

Install app

QuickPic

Android 2.0 or higher required

The Android Gallery app is absolutely fantastic. However, it’s not perfect. Neither is QuickPic, but it does things different enough that you might want to use this photo management app instead. QuickPic browses all the folders stored on an SD card, and lets users Exclude or Hide certain folders. So if I don’t want my many “Icons” folders crowding the gallery of family photos, I can set it so the app doesn’t display images from those folders (“exclude”). Or I can I go even further and “Hide” the Naughty Pics folder so no app other media-focused app will see it (file browsers like Astro can still see the folder). QuickPic also lets users sort the folder listings, rotate multiple images at once, and see a slideshow of photos. While it’s not as pretty as the Gallery app, it’s still a great second choice that loads lots of images in a short amount of time.

Note: This takes over the wallpaper selection intent so you might have trouble adding live wallpapers depending on your phone model.

Install app

Bank of America

Android 1.5 or higher required

Bank of America was the first financial institution to release an Android app, but the long-in-the-tooth app has seen very little change since it debuted in 2008. Meanwhile, rivals like Chase introduced Android banking apps that were far more compelling and had a better design. BofA has thankfully switched things up by introducing a new app that’a much easier to navigate. You still don’t have the check-deposit by photo feature that makes other banking apps so great, but you can view and manage accounts, pay bills, transfer funds, schedule transfers, and find locations of nearby banking centers or ATM’s. Anyone with a Bank of America account will realize that this app provides a more favorable experience.

Install app

BITS Widget

Android 2.1 or higher required

Every time I try to recommend a great homescreen widget to show a clock or weather report, you people complain because the widget lacks Feature X. Well, all of you Nancy Nitpicks can take matters into your own hands and use BITS Widget to customize your Android widget experience. BITS has 6 different sizes in which users can insert location, date, time, weather, sun/moon, temperature, clouds, conditions, wind speed, and battery level/charging. Each element can be reposition, users can insert custom txt, and change colors. BITS is heavily customizable and available for free with limited functions, but a $1.99 upgrade keeps everything going once your 2-week trial period ends.

Install app

Important Android App Updates

  • AppBrain has been updated to work with Honeycomb tablets. Those of us who still use AppBrain time-to-time as a great way to manage app lists of browse the Android Market will be happy to know that there have been some incomplete but serviceable improvements in design and the app won’t crash every time you try to sync.
  • Little Photo has been updated to include 3 brand new features. I’ve reviewed LP and found that while not as good as Vignette, it’s still a great photo effects app that has a premium upgrade available for only $0.99 until June 7 (normally $1.93).
  • Glow Hockey 2 is exactly what it sounds like: glow hockey for 2 players on Android. Load up this game and you can play against computer or a friend sitting on the other side of your tablet. The game is fun and free with advertisements, so grab it now and start knocking around the neon-glow puck.
  • Read It Later is an excellent bookmarking tool that lets Android users mark links that wish to read at a later time. So when you see an article that takes too long to load or don’t have the time to read, add it to your Read It Later list and you can bring it up later on your tablet, desktop, or in the RIL later app that reformats the text for the phone. (Use the Android “share” function to access it.) There’s now a FREE version in the Android Market, so enjoy!

Android App Reviews of the Week