May 18, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Androinica.com recaps the new and interesting apps in the Google Play Store each week. We select these apps by weeding through the Play Store and trying to find things we think people might be interested in.
This week, the theme is “Everything is Social” because every app mentioned, save one, is built around the concept of connecting with others. Click on the install button to get download links.
- Safeway – U.S. grocery chain Safeway released its official Android app to help shoppers manage their weekly food shopping trips. The app can compose a shopping list, features the weekly advertisement/circular, has deals and coupons included, and locates the nearest Safeway.
- hi5 has finally released an official Android app for members of the social gaming network, used primarily in Latin America and some parts of Asia. The app lets members of the social gaming network view profiles, message or chat with friends, view photos, connect with others, and manage their Pets Profiles.
- someecards, the comical digital postcard website that has kept users laughing on the web, is now telling its jokes on Android. Download the app to see daily postcards organized by category or newest, a widget showing the latest entry, and the ability to forward cards to others.
Android 2.3.3+ required
Peel is no stranger to Android Apps Alert (this is the second or third time it’s been featured). The personalized TV guide app has returned this time because it has gone social. The latest version of Peel added a new Social TV feature that lets users to follow each other and check-in to declare their favorite shows or what they are watching. It also tracks Guilty Pleasures, recommends, Last 5 Shows Watched, and Most Watched Shows.
On the surface, this is Peel competing with the social TV apps like GetGlue and IntoNow. However, it’s also an important step to making Peel better at knowing what to recommend to its users. Peel previously made recommendations on what to watch based on what shows one person said he or she liked. But by combining the favorites from multiple users who decide to follow each other and might share similar interest, Peel has more data points to get sharper recommendations. They also provide more discovery options through connections, making this a much better app to have when watching television.
Android 2.1+ required
Where are all the cool kids hanging out tonight? Where’s a good place to take the Mrs. for a night on the town? Anything interesting happening in my neighborhood this weekend? These are the types of questions that Roamz seeks to ask. The Android app selects places and activities to consider based on real-time activity. If you’re downtown leaving work, the app might recognize that there’s a popular bar having Happy Hour nearby. If a book signing or festival is happening nearby, you’ll be clued-in.
Roamz is an intelligent app that learns from a user habits, which eventually leads to more accurate and relevant recommendations. It works by pulling in data from Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram, and Twitter and “making sense” of those various data streams. The app looks for signals that determine where you might like to go, so it’s useful for people with time and no clue about what restaurant they want to try or how they want to spend the afternoon.
Android 2.2+ required
The push towards better social managing has increased in popularity in recent years. The concept of limiting friends, promoting exclusivity, and having tools to better target certain groups has proven successful for Path, Pair, and Plus. Now it’s Everyme’s turn.
Everyme is designed to share “intimately” with others, but it’s not entirely a social network because it doesn’t require that everyone use the app to communicate. All it takes is for one EveryMe user to share a Story – photo, location, and/or text update – with a Circle. Anyone who is included in the private circle can then reply via email or phone. Everyme creates circles based on family, friends, coworkers, or knitting group, and then keeps sharing within that circle private. You may already get this from Path or Google+, but if you want to try a different approach, Everyme can create a private news feed for you and your social circle(s).
Android 2.1+ required
Samsung Cares…sort of. Earlier this week, Samsung released a customer service app aimed at informing users of its many products how to address problems and get answers. The app is designed to provide support and guides on Samsung’s line of TV’s, computers, mobile devices, and more, but it’s become an invitation for user complaints about their phones not being update. (Gee, who didn’t see that coming?)
As for what’s actually in the app, it’s a rather basic view of the Samsung online support site. Samsung Cares has How to Videos, FAQ’s, and troubleshooting guides to help users learn more or figure out what’s wrong with their device. The only problem is that these features are limited to select products. More encouraging is that this app offers quick calling for sport and can track service status for product repairs or fixes.
Android App News & Reviews of the Week