Android News

Android Apps Alert #66: “The Week Everything Was Updated” edition

July 15, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka

Android Apps

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Android Apps Alert is typically about new apps making their way into the Android Market. But many of the big names in Android must have wanted to grab our attention this week because we saw major updates. In fact, there were so many things changing that we were forced to do a mini Alert episode in the mix of our regular app reviews. Heck, even the place where you get apps –  the Android Market – was refreshed.

Fret not, folks. We’ve still got some recommendation for new or under-the-radar Android apps to check out. That’s still the lifeblood of our weekly recap, so let’s take a look at a few things we recommend testing.

Zaarly

Craigslist is great if you want to search through dozens of sections and eBay is great if you want to search the whole world. But if you just want a marketplace for items and sellers in your direct area, Zaarly is a market worth browsing. Zaarly lists products and services nearby for a set price and limited amount of time. So if someone wants to sell a used car for $1,900, Zaarly users can send a message to the seller to broker a deal. The same can be done for event tickets (hey, scalpers!), gadgets, furniture, and even massages.

Zaarly can search for a particular item in an area (within driving distance) or browse for goods and services based on expiration of listing or price. Users can also create listings to find potential buyers for their possessions or services. The app can be a useful way of buying something you may not know you wanted or selling something you no longer need. However, like all online platforms or activities that require exchanges, be cautious and protect yourself.

 

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Netflix Guide HD

I know, I know: you’re ticked off that Netflix is hiking its price so much that you’re fully-prepared to cancel your membership in September when the changes go into effect. But until then – or if you aren’t one of the picket sign wielders – keep track of your Netflix queue with this clever app.

Netflix Guide HD is a Honeycomb-optimized app that searches both the Instant Streaming and DVD libraries. The Guide has lists for movie genres, favorites from friends, saved searches, and recommendations based on your previous viewing history. Users can then add those videos directly to their Instant or disc queues, and change the order or remove items. You could do this directly in the Netflix app or on the website, but navigation is much easier with this app. If you can spare the space and are a frequent Netflix browser, give this app a try.

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Big Brother

My knowledge of Big Brother is limited to whatever CBS advertises during sports broadcasts, but there’s no need to be behind when an official app for the show is available in the Android Market. Big Brother is a news and information source for the show, revealing things like cast photos, updates on Head of Household and nominated for chopping block, mini-text updates, and interaction with viewers. There are also tabs for tweets about the show, chats using Facebook Connect, and polls. The most interesting feature is the ability to get a live look inside the Big Brother household, but a paid subscription is required for that. Download this app if you can’t get enough of Big Brother on its many episodes.

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HistoryPin

Have you ever wondered what life was like back in the olden days? Historypin will tell you by giving you a glimpse into the past with photos taken at a given location.  A Google Map can show an entire city or zoom into your immediate area to get locations pinned with known information. Images are from places like the Library of Congress, but you can take a new picture so others can see how much an area has changed (or stayed the same). You can also shake your phone and see featured images from around the world. History buffs will get a kick out of this.

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App Updates of the Week

Firefox is a popular browser alternative, and the 6.0 version is in beta now. Like all previous Firefox releases, this one claims to be faster, but it also has the distinction of operating better on tablets. The UI scales up more elegantly on large screens, has been refreshed for Gingerbread, and 160 new compatible add-ons. [Install]

Evernote has been updated to work with Honeycomb tablets. The UI has been revamped to take advantage of larger screens, has advanced search, a new widget, and more. [Install]

IMDb also was treated to a Honeycomb upgrade. While most of the changes are cosmetic, it is a very valuable improvement in terms of navigation. [Install]

Twitter supports multiple accounts! How strange that 2 weeks after Google+ launches, Twitter finally provides the most-requested feature among power users. The app also added push notifications, updated the widget, and fixed some bugs. [Install]

PayPal wants to make NFC payments easier than ever. Soon, two NFC-enabled Android phones can send money just by users pressing the backs of the devices against each other. [Read More info]

Dropbox added thumbnails to files and the ability to remove a folder within the app. It also improved security, which is kind of important for an app like this. [Install]


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