Android Central

Guess who's back?! Sorry about last week folks, we know you want your apps and all but we were busy getting ourselves ramped up for CES 2012. Either way we are back in action this week so let's hit the break together and check some out!

Chris Parsons - Classy Fireplace for GoogleTV (Free)

Android Central

Yeah, I strayed a bit with this one but if you have a GoogleTV it's pretty awesome. The name Fireplaceimplies it may only be a classy fireplace video but it's quite a bit more then there. Yes, it has a fireplace you can watch in 1080p but there are other scenes available to choose from. My personal favorite is the aquarium. Each scene comes with sounds and music, all of which are adjustable for either the sound or the music, so if you're laying on the couch and just want to chill to the sound of water falling you can do that. Rather just chill to some background music? You can do that too. Check it out, it's available free and quite relaxing, if not mesmerizing at times. [Market Link]

Richard Devine - Netflix (Free)

Android Central

US readers I apologise, you're most likely not interested in this. But this week my app pick is Netflix, and it's squarely aimed towards my fellow Brits (and of course our Irish friends.)

The service itself needs no introduction, we've all heard about it for years now from our American Netflixcousins but finally we can join in. The catalogue isn't massive at the moment, but having said that there is a lot of content worth watching. Everyone gets a free months trial so there's no excuse really not to try it.

The Android app does what it needs to without being groundbreaking. But it streams really well, even over 3G there's minimal buffering and the quality is adjusted depending on your signal strength. I'm really impressed with the whole package and will definitely be keeping this, coupled with an unlimited data plan it's superb. Try it out, honestly guys I think you'll like it. [Market Link]

Alex Dobie - SoundHound and SoundHound ∞ (Free / $2.99)

Android Central

If there's one app you don't realise you need until it's too late, it's a music identification app. SoundHound is my weapon of choice in this department, and if you were watching Google's recent 10 cent app promotion last month, you may have already picked this one up for next to nothing. SoundhoundSoundHound lets you find out what that song is by listening to a few seconds of it and matching it against a vast database of tunes, and it even supports track identification from live performances or humming. Once you've found out what you were listening to, SoundHount gives you the option to look up lyrics, find it on Spotify or YouTube, or tell you friends via Facebook or Twitter.

SoundHound comes in free (add-supported) and "Infinity" flavors, the latter of which adds a couple of additional features, while getting rid of those pesky ad banners. Both allow unlimited song identifications, and at £2.99 in the UK, the "Infinity" version still represents great value. [Market Link]

Jerry Hildenbrand - Convertr ($1.99)

Android Central

We all love big fancy 3D games and gigantic applications that take 10 minutes to install.  It's human nature to think bigger equals better, but sometimes the simplest utilities are some of the best apps.  Convertr is that app.  Anything from cooking and measuring ingredients, to building a shed in the Convertrgarden and needing to convert measurements can be made easier using it, it's really simple to operate, and has one of the most polished user interfaces you could ever ask for -- all in a small unit converter app. 

It handles units of all types, including ones you don't see very often like Frequency and Torque, and has a handy update utility built in that gives the current currency conversion rates each time you start it up.  This of course means it needs the FULL INTERNET ACCESS permission, but there's no other screwey permissions to worry you.  Add in features like favorite unit types and adjustable decimal place rounding, and there's a lot to like here.  A buck nintey-nine may sound like a lot for a small tool like this, but I'm happy to support a developer who makes this sort of quality application.[Market Link]  


Reader comments

Android Central Editors' app picks for Jan 14, 2012


Hahaha, good call on Classy Fireplace. This is awesome. I've been listening to the song for 10minutes now. I think this is the first week I've had all of the recommended apps.

Convertr is hugely helpful.

Nice finds. Thanks guys! If only Convertr worked on Honeycomb tablets and ladscape phones, it would've been awesome.

EDIT: Convertr does work on Honeycomb but the stupid tablet market is so crippled that you can only install Convertr after you have purchased it and installed it on a phone first. I just went through the same with TuneIn Radio Pro and previously with SVOX text to speech voices. Hello Google: Fix the darn Market app for tablets!

always used soundhound after my shazam bb fiasco....then bought it for 10 cents a few weeks it.....all the fireplace app needs is some 1970's John Holmes music to get the mood right :)

SoundHound is GREAT! I highly recommend it over Shazam. Plus the widget is better AND you can I.D. a song just by holding the search capacitive botton (like you would for voice search)!

Unfortunately I'm getting an error when trying to download Convertr. Definitely buying it though! I've been looking for a well designed convert app for Android.

I first saw Convertr a few months ago but I was on the fence about buying the app. It hasn't been updated since June while the iOS version got an update last month. While its not the most functional converter on the Market, it is the most beautiful converter app available that still offers a compelling set of features right now. I think developers should focus on their app's aesthetics now that we have ICS. Most apps, even paid ones, would look out of place in ICS. They look like they were designed for a 90s computer OS!
I bought Convertr but I doubt we'd get an update for it seeing that Verve seems to prioritize iOS more. He did say that he was trying to work in time to update the Android version some time this year.

Hi crackinthewall,

Jesse from Vervv here, and I wanted to take a minute to respond to your comments. First off, your perceptions are correct: we do prioritize iOS over Android, and we don't try to pretend otherwise.

There are many reasons for this, but I'll hit on the top ones. We're a team of two who already work other full-time jobs, so all our app building has to take place during nights and weekends. This severely limits our time, so we have to spend it wisely. While I can't speak for every developer, I can say that it's been our experience in the last 18 months that developer support is far better on iOS than Android.

It's easier to publish and maintain apps on iOS because it's one store. We've been getting dozens of emails that the Amazon version of Convertr is not as up-to-date as the Android Market version (triggered because some utility out there compares version numbers, which is silly). The truth is they are two different builds by necessity, and when we encounter a problem on one store, it causes a version number increment. It's a big ball of hassle.

Speaking of hassle, Apple (and Amazon, to their credit) does such a better job at servicing customers than Google. We deal with all sorts of upset customers who are angry with us over something that's Google's fault. This makes us look bad, and on top of it, we have to deal with the mess. It's not fun.

And frankly, consumers on iOS are much more willing to spend a dollar or two for an app than Android. Since we've pulled Ledgerist Free from the Android Market, we've had people that would email us telling us how much they loved it, but lost their phone data and needed to re-download it. When we explained that the free version was no longer available but they could purchase the ad-free version for $1.99, most would complain and argue. It's not fun when people tell you they use your app everyday, but they aren't interested in spending less than they'd spend at Starbucks to support it. (And if you're wondering why Ledgerist has gone so long without an update, this is why.)

We feel Amazon has been good for Android as a whole, and while they've reached out to us on multiple occasions for promotions and such, every deal we've agreed to with them has been heavily weighted in their favor. We always knew that up front, but as a couple of guys just looking to make great apps, we thought there might be enough benefit for us to go with it. In the end, the promotions we did were almost entirely to Amazon's benefit, leaving us with more to lose than gain in most cases.

We're currently kicking around the possibility of updating Convertr on Android the way we just updated Convertr for iOS. It's a less than 50% chance, but it's possible. And the bottom line is that we need revenue to build more apps, and the revenue on Android isn't as easy to come by.

I do want to thank you -- and everyone else here -- for supporting us and other small developers. It makes all the difference.


SoundHound is the best ID App out there in All platforms , but Sony Ercisson's TrackID have a bigger library

Classy fireplace keeps freezing up on me, maybe its my logitech box. Its been running kinda crappy ever since the honeycomb update.