September 5, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
A labeling snafu led to a false start last week, but this is the 72nd edition of Android Apps Alert. Androinica.com checks the Android Market each week to enhance your Android experience, then we pick some of the best and offer recommendations to our awesome readers (who sometimes share recommendations with us on Twitter).
This week’s edition is called Free Calls and Footballs. A couple of the apps featured are designed to enable certain users to make free international calls, and others are about the wonderful game of football. Or football depending on which side of the Atlantic Ocean you call home. Here’s this week’s picks.
Android 2.2+ required
How much data have you used this month? Better yet, what specific app caused you to use most of that data? Those are important questions to be answered as we return to an age where “unlimited data” is a crock and carriers are forcing customers to not take advantage of their smartphones’ full potential. Onavo is a beautiful data monitor that helps users answer those questions. Once installed, Onavo tracks how much data is used each day, week, and month. The app has a ton of monitoring tools that can restrict certain apps to Wi-Fi or send notifications when nearing your monthly data allowance. Onavo recommends if your current data plan makes sense given the costs and what you get for what you pay. Try it out if you are on tiered data and need analytics to keep yourself in check.
Note: Onavo doesn’t monitor your tethering use, so keep that in mind
Free Lite, $1.99 Full
Android 2.1-2.3 required
The home screen replacement field has been crowded by plenty of independent developers out there. Is there room for yet another app launcher from, wait, Samsung? Yup, a team of developers from Samsung San Jose Mobile Lab have created Pure Breeze Launcher, a launcher that focuses on creating groups of app. Users then quickly slide through those groups – Games, Work, Media, etc. – as a way of having a more organized experience. The design isn’t very pretty, and you’ll probably find ADW Ex, Go Launcher, or Launcher Pro to be superior, but give this a try if you’re obsessed with having an organized app drawer.
Monthly membership required
Android 2.1+ required
Google Voice has cheap rates, Skype has free calls among members, and phone cards are a rip-off. There are lots of ways to make international calls, but Vonage Extensions may make the most sense if you’re willing to sign-up for a Vonage monthly membership. Extensions provides free international calls for anyone who has an unlimited calling plan on Vonage home service. It taps into your existing Android phone address book and routes the calls through Vonage rather than your cell plan. There’s a limit to the number of devices capable of using this, however, so Extensions may not be the best idea if you are on a shared family plan.
Android 2.1+ required
SportCaster is the ultimate fly-on-the-wall app for football fans. The new app allows fans of the NFL and NCAA to see not only live scores from games, but also real-time tweets from players, fans, and blogs (the app can filter to show only Players or Fans). Schedules and standings are available for a favorite team or the entire league, and there’s always an article that provides a preview of each matchup. The Conversation section shows a curated stream of tweets from football writers and media personnel, and the Fantasy section provides tips from those same people. While ESPN Bowl Bound may be a more complete app, Sportcaster is great if you don’t know who to follow to get your football news.
Android 1.6+ required
Riders of the Eurostar high-speed rail should download the official Eurostar Trains app. The app makes it a cinch to search schedules and then book a trip. Then it will bring up ticketing info and let passengers check-in directly with the app. And if that weren’t cool enough, Eurostar Trains can also store preferences to make it easier to book in the future. The app saves seating preferences and tries to book when available, and stores Frequent Travellers bonus information.
Bonus Tip: Also give a look to It’s My Stop, an unaffiliated app that uses GPS to alert users when they are approaching their stop. Use this as a reminder, but don’t rely on it completely.
Gallup News – There’s a lot of polling going on as the 2012 U.S. election cycle goes. Don’t wait on the news to tell you what people are thinking, though. Gallup News shows poll results for job approval, voter confidence, job markets, and interesting news stories. Install App
Liga de Fútbol Profesional - The top-flight Spanish football league has an official app for following Barcelona, Real Madrid, and all the other teams that have no chance of dethroning either of those two all-star teams. Liga shows schedules, league tables, news articles, and a highlighted results/schedules page for a user’s favorite team. Install App
Official SEC Mobile App – If you don’t care about any conference other than the one that’s been dominating college football in the BCS era, grab the official Android 2.2+ SEC app. SEC Mobile has featured videos to stream, weekly schedules and scores, news articles, rankings (league and national), and rosters for all SEC teams. Install App
Madden NFL 12 by EA SPORTS – EA Sports hasn’t made many changes with the Madden NFL series on consoles, and the same happens on mobile. Rosters are newer and graphics are slightly better than last year’s version, but it can be a little slow depending on what device you use. Grab it only if you absolutely have to play football on your phone. Android 2.1+ required for the $6.99 game. Install App
App Review & News of the Week