Opera Mobile

If you love applications but have a hard time finding new applications to install, you won't want to miss this. We bring you yet again some more of our favorite applications for this past week, so let's hit the break and take a look at what we got.

Alex Dobie - Blue Skies Live Wallpaper (Free / $1)

Blue Skies

Many phones ship with high-quality, manufacturer-built live wallpapers. But when it comes to finding great live wallpapers on the Android Market, it's not always easy. Kittehface Software has made something of a name for itself by consistently turning out fantastic 3D live wallpapers, and offering users the chance to try before they buy with free, basic versions of most of their stuff. The Blue Skies live wallpaper is among the best that Kittehface has to offer. It looks great, performs well and features a ton of customization options. Blue SkiesFire up the basic version for the first time and you'll find yourself flying through the air above beautifully animated clouds rendered in full 3D using OpenGL ES 2.0.

This is no looping video like many other live wallpapers -- as everything's rendered in real time, every aspect can be customized if you splash out and pay 99 cents for the "donation" version. You can change the number of clouds, the background type and wind and camera speeds, but by far the coolest option is "time of day" mode. This dynamically changes the scene as the day goes on. During the day you'll get the usual bright, sunny scene, but as evening draws in the sun will set and the scene will gradually darken as the moon and stars become visible -- very cool indeed. Despite all the eye candy in this live wallpaper, you shouldn't notice any performance issues on mid-range or better hardware -- the 1GHz Snapdragon in our Xperia Arc breezed through Blue Skies without any slowdown. If you're looking to spice up your homescreens a bit, be sure to check out the Blue Skies live wallpaper -- the "donation" version is more than worth the $0.99 asking price. [Market Link]

Anndrew Vacca - Archipelago ($2.99)


I'm not a huge gamer. In fact, in the years since I purchased my first Android device (R.I.P. Droid ArchipelegoIncredible), I've never paid for a single game. I stumbled upon Archipelago last week when it was featured as the free app of the day in Amazon's Appstore, and I've been hooked ever since. Archipelago is a good ole' fashioned game of strategy: it is your task to station troops on every island, and ward off the opposition trying to infringe. You won't find any blood or guts here, as Archipelago plays more like a board game than an action one. And maybe that's why I am hooked: since I downloaded the app, I have played every single day. Don't expect crazy graphics or immense gameplay; remember, games can still be fun without the bells and whistles that Tegra and Snapdragon afford them. Trust me, you'll be addicted. [Market Link]

Sean Brunett - Zinio (free)


Zinio is the widely popular periodical reading app that has long been on iOS. The developers made a tablet Zinioversion a while back but recently released an iteration for non-Honeycomb devices running Android 2.2+. This enables users to read a number of magazine titles right from their phone. If you download the app, you’ll even get 12 titles for free including ESPN, Maxim, Outdoor Photographer, Surfer and Wine Enthusiast. It of course also has a shop where you can buy a single issue or subscribe. The magazines look great on the app and it has a wide selection to choose from. Recommend for anyone who loves magazines but hates to carry them around. [Market Link]

Jerry Hildenbrand - Opera Mobile (free)

Opera Mobile

For the most part, I'm fine with the stock Android web browser. It's fairly slim, works well, and included on all devices -- all things I like. That changed when I started using the stock Android Honeycomb Operabrowser. It's a bit more feature rich, and has a lot of new code, which means there are some bugs to work out. I won't rehash it all, but check out the tablet forums and you'll see what I mean.

I tried the various third-party browsers, and decided Opera Mobile fit me best. It gives you a desktop like experience (which is nice on a tablet) with plenty of options, is still fairly quick in the rendering and performance department, and keeps itself standards compliant. Web pages look exactly as they should, including Flash and javascript elements. Even when all the kinks of the stock Honeycomb browser get worked out, it's going to have to show me a lot to get me back. Opera Mobile works on all devices running Donut or higher, and like the PC version, it's free. [Market Link]

Kevin O'Quinn - Screenshot ER 2 (Free / $2.48)


Screenshot ER 2's claim to fame is that it'll work where other screenshot apps won't. I can't vouch for screenshooterevery device out there, but I tried three other apps, all of which either didn't work or weren't compatible, before I found this one. It has three different options for taking screenshots. It has the familiar "snap on shake", with the added bonus of making the shake sensitivity adjustable. I've used other screenshot apps on other devices that don't have this and ended up with a ton of screenshots of the incoming call screen. You can have a persistent button in the notification area, or you can take one from within the app itself. One other notable feature is that you can save your screenshots as PNG or JPEG files, which should make sharing in the forums that much easier. Screenshot ER2 is available in the market as a free demo that watermarks your screenshot, or for ~$2.48 without the watermarks. [Market Link]


Reader comments

Android Central Editors' app picks for July 23, 2011


I can't lay off Archipelago either AND I HAVE A PROJECT DUE, DAMN IT!

Hot tip, if you're in a one on one situation let the AI go first (unless they're really far away). As soon as it commits half its original island's forces to that sweet fat island nearby, you release yours to arrive at the same one just afterwards. It will have to take the initial hit of removing the native inhabitants and its expeditionary force will be diminished. So then your full expeditionary force can win it instantly, leaving the AI more depleted and you in control of two of the best islands. In 90% of cases you'll win quickly after that because you just keep taking over whatever ones it picks. Kind of not really a challenge. That's why I like multi AI opponents.

Also, islands seem to have a max growth capacity. So a smaller one may stall out at 20 or something and then just sit there, and larger ones have larger limits. But if you send half of a stalled island's troops to an island that still has room to grow, you can grow more on the small island. It's also good to pick an island in your rear and use it as a dumping ground for every other island's excess. That way every other island can keep growing so you always have the most possible troops.

Lately I use the swipe gesture to select all my islands at once. Then I go nuts on the attack. Every island sends something at the target at the same time and then the next and the next. It's a great way to cock the hammer and then be ready to strike or defend in an instant.

The other game I'm cracked out on right now is Sinister Planet, which was also free at Amazon one day recently. Holy crap is that hard. It's a neat mix of 1980s 2-D space blaster games like Asteroid and Defender and Galaga. The controls are not great because your thumbs obscure some of the action and mean that you'll miss that guy coming to kill you or that gem or upgrade you need. It takes a lot of practice and can be frustrating, but I still can't lay off it.

Oh, also, you can take out somebody else's planes in the air if you hit 'em. This isn't always good because you want them to keep troubling your other enemies while you take that virgin island, but if you time it wrong you'll accidentally cross paths with them and cancel out much of your or its numbers in the air. Other times they sort of cancel each other out if you're both gunning for each other's turf at the same time. So if somebody just targeted your island, instead of swarming your ships from everywhere to that island, send them head on at the guys attacking you - target the islands they came from over and over with swipe waves including everyone. That way you catch them in the air instead of being on defense.

Also I like "insignificant island strategy". The other guys are going to wear eachother down fighting for control of the biggest islands. While they do that, I take over as many of the small and medium ones as possible to get those troop engines cranking. Pretty soon I can start ganging up on larger local islands using some of these smaller ones and consolidating my overall territory.

Also, when I know I'm going to lose and am down to a single digit island, I send them wave after wave at the bad guy's biggest, saying, "From Hell's heart I stab at thee!" in my best Khan voice as I go down in flames.

Really enjoyed the game but did anybody else see a huge hit to battery life once Archipelago is installed? (happened on my Xoom & DInc) -- not so worried about it on the tablet but definitely had to pull it off of the phone.

On Cyanogen 7.1.0 RC 1 /Evo 4g I have not had any power issues. For me it is a game that is light on the battery when playing, and no load when not. For what it is worth, C7.1.0RC1 seems to work fine, and is very light on the battery. There is a version of C7.1.0RC1 for the DInc. Might want to give it a try, but you do lose Sense.

Galcon is a much better looking and more feature-rich game similar to Archipelago. I am not sure which one came out first but I know Galcon has been on the iPhone and PC/Mac for years.

I did a video review of Galcon back in the day...

I'm digging the Opera Mobile recommendation, with one exception: how do you get Lastpass to work on it?

Edit: Never mind. Figured out how to do it, but have since discovered Opera Mobile doesn't handle certain aspects of some websites too well, like trying to leave a comment on an Engadget article...can't be done with OM. So, I'm still looking for the perfect Android browser.