May 11, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Androinica.com recaps new, updated, and interesting Android apps each week. From time to time, we throw in a game and live wallpaper or two if the mood strikes us. Whatever’s hot in the Google Play Store is what we hope to share. (Even when we take a few weeks off to focus on other things.)
A handful of noteworthy Android apps is below, including our recent reviews and app coverage from the past week. All of the apps featured in Apps Alert are discovered through browsing Google Play or through recommendation by developers and fans. To recommend an app, drop us a line on Twitter or Google+.
Android 2.1+ required
Are you sick of your app drawer and wish there were a way to customize it? Wouldn’t you like to determine how many rows or columns appear, adjust the background and font, edit labels, and change how icons sorted? Some launchers have those features built-in, but if yours doesn’t – or if you phone is MIUI based and doesn’t even have a launcher – then you might want to consider App Drawer.
This free app offers an App Drawer replacement accessible from a shortcut on your homescreen or dock. App Drawer can offer a variety of style tweaks, including listing app names rather than having rows of icons. It also can hide apps from the drawer or perform batch actions for uninstalling apps.
GameStop Mobile Android
Most gamers are familiar with GameStop, the biggest physical game-focused retailer in the country. The store’s official app is available to aid your selection process and keep track of your habits. GameStop Mobile features a barcode scanner that bring up game information and videos, which can provide some extra info not available on the box art.
It can also save you a trip to the store by checking the inventory of nearby outlets, showing trailers and news, and even order something directly from the app to have shipped to your home (or available at your local store). PowerUp Rewards members can also track their points level or get discounts and rewards for using the GameStop app.
Before Instagram arrived to turn our pristine digital images into old-timey photographs, people had real, physical, actual old-timey photographs. Why not share those on the web instead of downgrading the new moments? Shoebox is an interesting app that acts as a scanner for your photographs. Get into an area with good lighting, line up the image, and then press the camera button to take a picture.
Shoebox then auto-detects the edges of the image, but it features an adjustable zoom that can be used to be more accurate. Then the images can be stored online or added to Facebook with a caption, date, location, and tags. The photos are then accessible on 1000memories.com. (Keep in mind the quality of the resulting image will only be as good as the quality of your mobile camera.)
UNIQLO WAKE UP
Android 2.3+ required
Japanese fashion label UNIQLO wants you to get the heck out of bed, so it developed the UNIQLO WAKE UP app. There are plenty of alarm clock apps, but this one is unique because the alarm sound changes based on the day of the week and the weather conditions at the moment. An upbeat piano plays when it’s sunny, a slower melody plays on cloudy days, and a soothing voice semi-sings the date and time on loop until you turn it off.
My only concern is that the voice might be a tad too soothing, but the app supports multiple alarms in case you snooze through the first. UNIQLO also has a beautiful screen that shows the weather conditions when major cities across the world wake up. It’s not practical for repeated usage, but it’s good looking. A more important feature is that the app an play vocals in English, Mandarin, or disabled completely. Here’s how it sounds.
Instagram updated recently with a feature that users whined about since the app first launched – tilt shift. This allows users to narrow the focus around a specific area of an image, and then blur out the rest. The focus zone can be a line or a circle, and it’s adjustable.
PF Chang’s is available to find the nearest PF Chang’s to make a reservation or place an order for takeout. There are also generic fortune cookie builders, viewing Warrior Rewards points , and a free order of lettuce wraps when you join Warrior Rewards from within the app.
Future Shop is now on Android for Canadian shoppers looking to get a taste of the big box retailer on their phones. The app can scan QR codes to get product info, browse products and place orders for in-store pickup, check to see which products are in stock at local stores, and get alerts when items go on sale.
Android App Reviews
- Turntable.fm Android app drops the beat, lands in Google Play for social music fans on the go
- CloudOn offers real Microsoft Office editing and links with box, Dropbox, Google Drive for free [App Review]
- Pair comes to Android so lovebirds and mushy couples can get 1-on-1 socializing
- Flipboard for Android leaks and is available for download; here’s what it looks like
- Google Tasks Incredible is a gesture-based to-do list that’s like Clear for Android [Video App Reviews]
- Gate of Time offers a taste of Zelda through an Android live wallpaper [Video App Reviews]
- Scramble With Friends “Smartmatch” pairs random opponents with similar skill levels, improves chat
Android App News
- Google+ UI refresh coming soon to Android with new “surprises,” seen already on iPhone
- Google Maps adds indoor Street View and directions, grabs local Google Offers deals
- Sprint Guardian combines Lookout and Safely to find lost phones and monitor your child’s phone
- Samsung puts up $4 million to encourage Galaxy Tab and Note app development
- Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse launches Android app for shopping & design inspiration