March 30, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
April is almost upon us, but these titles are no joke. Here are a few highlights of the best free Android apps released into Google Play recently. Click the image thumbnails to get download links. Androinica.com recaps the latest and greatest apps each week, so feel free to make suggestions on Google+ or Twitter.
Look who finally decided to show up to the tablet party! The official Hulu Android app now works with more Android tablets, including the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Motorola Xoom, Motorola XYBoard 10.1, Toshiba Thrive, Acer Iconia and LG G-Slate. A few noticeable names are missing from the list, but Hulu promises that this is “just the beginning of our Android tablet rollout.”
The all new Hulu Plus Android app has a tablet-friendly UI that shows a prominent episode at the top, and then has side-scrolling lists of other videos based on popularity, featured content, and recommendations. It also organizes content according to TV, Movies, Clips, and Trailers, making it easy to see full seasons of select current TV shows. A $7.99 per month Hulu Plus subscription is required to use the app, and not all shows will be available on the service. [DOWNLOAD APP]
Android 2.1+ required
Here’s another entrant into the “Read your news with us” app space that always seems to have another name thrown in. Zite is a popular iOS app that made its Android app this week, and it has a long-term hook to keep people coming back. The app acts as a digital magazine that grabs content based on your interests (known by providing your Twitter handle or linking with Google Reader). It also lets users set-up topic channels based on their interests – tech, home life, art, sports, etc. – and then grabs articles from a variety of news sites and blogs covering that topic.
So what makes this any different from Pulse or Google Currents? Well, Zite pays attention to what you read to better understand what types of articles it should show you. Zite is engineered to become “smarter every time you use it” and better select the articles to display. Users can sync their information across devices and see articles, blog posts, and YouTube videos selected specifically for them. The design is no-frills simple, but strangely isn’t optimized for tablets. It’s still worth a look if you’re a news junky or read often on your phone.
Android 2.2+ required
Movie buffs who frequent AMC Theatres now have an Android app to call their own. Following the release of Regal Cinemas earlier this month, AMC has released an app for finding theaters, browsing movie listings, and purchasing tickets. The app looks like some kind of port and has some pages that use really small buttons, but it has everything that a frequent AMC moviegoer would want.
Aside from displaying showtimes and offering to sell tickets through Fandango, it use geolocation to find the nearest theatre. AMC Theatres also provides a personalized “My Movies” bookmark section for films you want to see, updates from its social accounts with new and links to YouTube clips, and trailers for films in theaters and coming attractions. AMC Stubs members can also track their rewards by linking their Stubs card account to the app.
flickr my wallpaper
Android 2.2+ required
flickr is home to some of the best photography the average person will come across on their web browsing journey. Knowing that there are so many great photogs using the service, wouldn’t it be nice to have some of those images set as your home screen wallpaper? Automatically? That’s exactly what flickr my wallpaper does.
Acting as a live wallpaper for Android 2.1+ devices, flickr my wallpaper imports photos from flickr.com and displays them as static images. The images are selected randomly, but users can opt to enable a tag, which will then only import images associated with that tag. So if you want images from Caribana or only black and white photos, provide the tag and wait for photos to appear. (You can also set the phone to change images every hour, but that consumes more battery and data.)
Android 2.2+ required
The company responsible for getting many procrastinators a fighting chance at a passing grade has come to Android (through a blatant iOS port). Spark Notes is an app that provides plot summaries of well-known books. It doesn’t always provide everything you need, but it offers chapter summaries and analysis, character breakdowns, and major themes and lessons that readers should keep an eye on. It’s designed to be a companion piece to jolt the reader’s memory or recap important events.
Spark Notes ships with hundreds of classics available within the app, however you’ll need an Internet connection to access them all. Users can download a book’s complete study guide to access offline. The app has a special “My Library” section dedicated to such guides. Download this app if you’re a student in need of some last-minute study prep.
Yahoo Fantasy Baseball has arrived for fantasy players who use Yahoo’s league system. Make line-up changes, get real-time updates, track matchups, use message boards, and manage your club within the app.
TurboTax for Android Tablets is preparing free 2012 tax returns within the app. The offer is available only this weekend, so get on it! Your filing is due April 15.
Evernote updated to include audio notes, a better widget, and bigger thumbnails. The note-taking app is even better than it was before.
Rite Aid has delivered an Android app that can locate stores and filter results based on features, like having a 24-hour pharmacy or in-store clinic. Users can also refill or transfer prescriptions, browse the weekly ad circular, and clip deals to their shopping list.
App Reviews & News of the Week