BT Fon

Tired of spending hours searching the market, only to end up closing it and having not installed anything new? Hit the break with us and let's check out some of our favorites from this past week together!

Kevin O'Quinn - Flick Golf Extreme ( $0.99)

Flick Golf Extreme

I'm not what I would call a hardcore gamer.  I like games that I can pick up, play for a few minutes, and feel like I still got something accomplished.  Games like Flick Golf Extreme fit the bill perfectly.  After having already played Flick Golf and Flick Soccer I decided to give this one a try.  If you've Flick Golf Extremeplayed either one of the other games then you know what's going on.  You flick the ball with your finger and while it's in the air you can continue to flick it to change it's flight path.  You can also change where it goes up to the third bounce on the ground.  It's an ingenious mechanic, and works really well.

As you get further through the courses the difficulty goes up, wind speed increases, and the point values to unlock the next level also increase.  There are multiple game modes, including Quickshot (where you score as many points as you can in a set amount of time), World Tour (where you play nine holes of golf at each course), and Five Ball Mode.  This mode is new.  You only get five balls to score as many points as you can.  There are bonuses for well placed shots, a stat tracker, and coming soon are leader boards and a career tracker where you can compare your skills with your friends. [Google Play Link]

Anndrew Vacca - TurboTax 2011 Tax Preparation (Free)

Turbo Tax

Fellow procrastinators: this one’s for you. You’ve got less than a week to file your 2011 taxes, and Turbo Taxchances are if you waited this long, you just haven’t had the time to sit in front of a computer and let software pick your brain. That’s where TurboTax’s Android app comes in. Instead of sitting at your desk, you can do your taxes on the fly from your smartphone or even your tablet. It’s the same TurboTax you know and love, except now it can be thrown into your pocket. The questions are just as tedious and the process is just as painful, but hey, your 2011 income has never looked as good as it does on a Super AMOLED display. The app is free to use, though unfortunately you’ll have to pay both federal and state filing fees. Now, quit wasting time. You only have a few days left! [Google Play Link]

Sean Brunett - MLB At the Ballpark (Free)

MLB

This week I am going to feature another sports app, MLB At the Ballpark. Like MLB At Bat, this MLB At the Parkapp is developed by Major League Baseball, and serves a companion app when you’re at the ballpark. If you decide to go to a game, download this app to access deals and maps for the particular stadium you are attending. With the app, you can check-in to receive deals and offers, explore an interactive stadium map, order food and drinks straight from the app to be delivered to your section (only available at select ballparks) and view parking information. It also features great social media integration so you can brag to your friends about being at a particular game. This app is free and serves as a perfect compliment for when you’re attending live MLB games. Play ball! [Google Play Link]

Chris Parsons - Goomanager Beta (Free)

Goomanager

GoomanagerFor rooted users who like to always have the latest and greatest ROM's for their device, having an app that offers ROM download options built right in is great and that is exactly what Goomanger helps me with. It does a lot more then that though as it offers Google Apps packages, kernels, root tools and pretty much anything else that is available on the Goo.im website. The app is free, however you can donate to have faster downloads and such from the site. If you're rooted and flash ROM's often, don't sleep on this one. [Google Play Link]

Jerry Hildenbrand - Network Discovery (Free)

Network Discovery

Network DiscoveryNetwork Discovery is a Wifi network scanning and profiling tool, that's very basic and very simple. This means it's simple to use, and does exactly what you expect it to do. The app will give you a list of all attached devices, and scan for either a specific port or a range of ports. Granted, this app isn't that useful for many folks, but anytime you're troubleshooting and testing a network, a portable scanner can come in pretty handy. It's free in the Google Play store, and works on devices running Android 1.5 and higher. [Google Play Link]

Alex Dobie - BT FON (Free)

BT Fon

If you're a BT Broadband customer in the UK -- or you've opted into the BT FON network by sharing your own connection -- you can take advantage of BT's extensive network of Wifi hotspots around the country. But you're required to log in using a web interface each time you connect, BT FONwhich isn't always ideal on a mobile device. This is where the official BT FON app for Android comes in, automatically logging you in when you're connected to a BT FON hotspot. The app also keeps your Wifi AP list up to date with all the correct SSID's, so there's no need to manually add all these yourself. And there's a handful of other useful features too, like configurable notifications when you sign into a hotspot, and the ability to prioritize your own networks over BT FON's open hotspots.

The BT FON app for Android is available on the Google Play Store for free, for devices running Android 1.5 and above. [Google Play Link]

Richard Devine - Boid (Free)

Boid

Yet another Twitter client I hear you say. But this one is really good, despite still being in alpha.

BoidWe featured Boid when it first emerged, and it recently received a huge update that makes it a lot more stable, and a lot friendlier to use. It fits beautifully within the ICS design, is fluid, and is generally a pleasure to use.

The developers are always listening to feedback, they want this to be our app, not theirs. I fed a list of things back as have a number of people, and they're definitely listening. Within a day or two another update emerged with suggested amendments.

It's still a little buggy as the alpha moniker conveys but that aside, this one is shaping up to be something special. [Google Play Link]

 
There are 28 comments

OLD_HATCH says:

Hmmm. That long menu bar looks rather unsightly. Why o why did u get rid of the menu button.

Yea hidden menus are a lot better

OLD_HATCH says:

Apparently you you stopped reading after the first period.

Impulses says:

Because apps are moving away from it? Would you rather live with an extraneous on screen button for 6-12 months and then never see it again or would you rather live with a hardware button that eventually won't see much use thru the entire life of the phone?

Seriously, if the One X was substantially larger than the Galaxy Nexus I'd understand all the whining, but guess what, they're practically the same size. So on the Nexus you will ALWAYS waste screen space to the on screen buttons while staring at lots of empty bezel, and on the One X you'll usually have just a little more screen space while occasionally staring at a funny looking menu button.

HTC made the prefect compromise given the options and current hardware imo. Now if someone comes out with a smaller phone with less bezel and on screen buttons, then that might seem better. I'm sure it won't be long before someone mods the menu button/bar on Sense ROMs to make it smaller or transparent anyway.

Frankly some of the skinning bothers me more than the menu button... Sense adds enough things on it's own in the way of useful features imo, they don't need to reskin UI elements on top of that just to stand out.

icebike says:

would you rather live with a hardware button that eventually won't see much use thru the entire life of the phone?

What do you mean apps are moving away from a menu? Google is the one pushing no menus buttons, not app developers. There simply isn't enough real estate to put all options on screen.

Apps will ALWAYS find a need for a menu button, be it soft or hard, imaginary or something in between. Now they have to build it into the apps. Because the need for it is not going away.

Menu was one of the most frequently used buttons, second only to back. Heck it might get more use than back.

Just because Apple doesn't have a menu button, that means Android can't have one either?

Chevalier says:

I suggest you read through this website and see why Google is taking Android in this direction and are structuring menus differently, if you haven't already: http://developer.android.com/design/get-started/ui-overview.html

What he meant is that apps are shifting away from packing options into one large menu and are instead attempting to use shortcuts, action bars, and other standard design principles to create a more cohesive Android experience and make it easier for users to adapt to new apps and find relevant information more quickly.

The fact that menu was such a frequently used button is a massive issue, and that's why it's being changed. Pulling the user out of the app's environment and into a list of options that drills down into other lists of options, and again into another, etc. was a *design flaw*. It was never a good thing. Google's attempt to bring relevant information forward in different contexts saves time for the user, makes more sense for app creators, and is a better choice all-around.

The comparison to Apple is a straw-man. Apple doesn't have a dedicated menu button, but they certainly still have deep-drill settings pages and menus. What Google is doing is trying to leverage the fact that many (if not almost all, at this point) Android phones have far more screen real-estate than the iPhone does, which allows a lot more to go on at once at the top level (despite lower pixel densities).

Up until ICS apps were typically still being designed as though Android had no identity of its own, often being ported straight from iOS with its five-button lower bar, or just being an ugly attempt by designers to create something shiny on their own. That's being changed, most likely for better than for worse, and it does mean that dedicated menu buttons can and should start going the way of the dodo more often. Google was even forward-thinking enough to make this work with any interface standard, leaving TouchWiz and Sense enough room to implement these ideas while still having their own unique looks. It's a great idea and I can't wait to see more of it.

Impulses says:

People are just inherently afraid of change, but removing the menu button was a huge design decision and a very smart one imo (probably spurred by Matias Duarte)... Pressing menu never bothered me much, but I'm a geek and a tinkerer and I'm used to looking for every option within an app.

For the average user it was never very intuitive, some apps used menu with multiple options within a sub menu, some didn't use it at all... It's a confusing and inconsistent design which lead to a ton of apps with horribly clumsy UIs (even amongst my favorite apps). Look at Google's built in apps on ICS or something like Tasks by Team Tasks, they're sooo much more intuitive and cohesive.

Impulses says:

http://developer.android.com/design/patterns/actionbar.html

Link to action bar section directly... Whole site/document is very interesting tho and explains most of what they've done in ICS, even in relation to other OS sometimes.

impulse101 says:

Sorry but you are delusional if you think of hardware buttons are better than software buttons. The software buttons on gnex disappear when you launch an app that needs the screen space while you are stuck with those unsightly hardware buttons, not to mention the non-removable battery. Wait until the first time your phone locks up and the only way to reboot is to pull the battery but you can't

There is a hardware button combo to hard reset the phone. Just like holding the power button on a computer for 10 seconds turns it off.

Impulses says:

Exactly, I'm surprised how few people know this... It's been around for a while even on phones with replaceable batteries yet people keep whining about battery pull this and that. Only time I ever crack the battery door on my current EVO is when I'm traveling and I don't think I've used my spare battery more than half a dozen times (I'd still like the option, mind you, but I can live without it).

Chevalier says:

To be fair, as someone who has accidentally melted and corroded the internals of his own OG Evo, pulling the battery has probably allowed the phone to last almost as long as it has. It still turns on, uses wifi, and can occasionally go a few hours without pooping itself. When the phone gets hot as all hell, the battery is usually the worst culprit, and removing it can do a lot to help your phone not commit seppuku. That's my only worry with the Evo LTE, really.

Chevalier says:

The hardware button combination allows for a much easier force-reboot than a battery pull ever has, as well as being more attractive than some forced bar at the bottom of a screen. Unsightly? You can't be serious. The One series is nearly-universally agreed upon as one of the most attractive phone families available. If you're going to try and assert your opinion like that, you might as well do the research necessary to back it up.

Impulses says:

Hardware buttons being unsightly is a completely personal & aesthetic thing... I gotta wonder tho, how do you quickly exit or switch away from an app that hides those on screen buttons on the Nexus? (and very few apps do so right now, possibly for this reason) With hardware buttons you're always one tap away from your next app/task, which is pretty important on a phone imo.

If/when a smaller phone with the same screen size as the Nexus/One X comes out, then you have half an argument for on screen buttons (the fact that the phone can be somewhat smaller). Otherwise it's a wash at best imo and a constant waste of screen space at worst.

TenshiNo says:

With ICS, the buttons don't actually hide. They just turn into "dots" so they're less noticeable. At least in my experience with my tablet. It's my understanding that with ICS (and Honeycomb, for that matter) the "status bar" there are the bottom can *never* go away, even when an app requests full screen.

ICS may behave differently on a phone, though. Please to free to correct me, if that is the case.

Impulses says:

I was mistaken in my post above, there's ALREADY a mod to remove the menu bar/button and map it to either home button long press or app switcher (with app switcher then mapped to home long press), look for it on XDA. Not sure why he didn't just do app switcher long press tho, is there some functionality to that already in ICS? I know on Honeycomb that's used for screenshots, thought they moved that to a power/volume button combination on ICS tho.

dmonzel says:

I've been using Boid since you guys covered it, and aside from a few features (that will be implemented soon, according to their road map), it is one of the best Twitter clients available. Columns are a plus, and its looks come straight out of ICS. I can't wait for them to finish it up. Great call on adding it to the roundup.

PvilleComp says:

Great App Jerry - I use it all the time.

06cbrf4i says:

GooManager is awesome, one of my favorite apps.

ki11ak3nn says:

I just downloaded it today. So far so good. Tons of ROM's and kernels. I love it.

UncleMike says:

Excellent choice Jerry! This and Wifi Analyzer are two of my favorite network related apps.

crxssi says:

Try "Fing" it is also free, and far more impressive...

bikerbob1789 says:

Boid is ICS only. How about a warning for the 99% of us not there yet.

Zuphi says:

Android FTW

extraclass says:

What we need in the APP STORE (PLAY STORE) is a NEW CATEGORY where you can see all of the NEW APPS posted in the last day, week or month. You could find something you haven seen over and over as a PROMOTED APP.

And a SEARCH FEATURE that lets you find what you are looking for and not mostly unrelated junk!

This is more important as the number of apps increases daily!

IceDree says:

Congrats on that One X Alex
good Apps guys

gtricecakes says:

Boid isn't compatible with the Razr. Sad. I'm using Tweetdeck and it force closes too much. Anyone have a better recommendation. I love everything about Tweekdeck besides that.

TenshiNo says:

I used to *love* Tweetdeck but, since Twitter bought them, they've let it languish. Twitter made an announcement not too long ago that they were planning to bring out a new version of Tweetdeck as an "Advanced" version of the Twitter software. Hopefully it actually happens and *hopefully* they don't destroy everything that made Tweetdeck awesome. We'll see...