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Apps of the Week

It's that time again - Android Central's editors are showing off their favorite recently discovered apps. This week we've got some social stuff, we've got some gaming, and a dash of productivity. Let's dig in. 

Boid for Twitter (free)

Boid

Chris Parsons - It's not often I suggest a beta for folks to try out, but Boid is an exception. Sure, there are a lot of Twitter clients out there, but I have trouble picking one that is minimalistic but has everything I really need. Boid offers that. It's only available on devices running ICS, but when you install it, I think you'll fall in love with what it is and what it will be once it comes out of beta.

Download: Boid for Twitter

YouMail (free)

YouMail

Anndrew Vacca - I've been using YouMail since my very first Android device, the HTC Droid Incredible, and it has been a wild journey. The app has grown and matured along with Android to become a must-have for just about anyone. What started off as a bare-bones attempt to aggregate voicemail into a useful app has turned into a feature-rich, aesthetically-pleasing experience. Today's YouMail features smart greetings that adapt to your caller, call ditching which gives a "service disconnected" greeting to unwanted callers, and integration across tablets, smartphones and desktops. Plus, it's still one of the best visual voicemail systems in the business. If you haven't tried it yet, or you only know the YouMail of years prior, it's time to take it for another spin.

Download: YouMail

Dark Knight Rises Theme for Go Launcher EX (free)

DKR Theme

Sean Brunett - The Dark Knight Rises opens next week and I’m pretty excited; OK, I'm very excited. So much so that I tried out this theme for Go Launcher EX and have been very pleased with it thus far. If you’re as pumped as I am for the final film in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, you should definitely consider this theme, particularly if you’re already a user of Go Launcher EX. The theme sets the wallpaper to one of Batman in Gotham and has about 40 customized icons. Some of my favorites include the default browser icon, the phone icon and the Facebook icon. I’m a huge fan of launcher apps, but stock ICS has worked so well for me that I’ve never switched to another launcher full-time. This Dark Knight Rises theme might change that, at least until next week when the film opens!

Download: Dark Knight Rises Theme

Tasks (free / $0.99)

Tasks

Jared DiPane - I have been all about trying to be more productive and remembering the small things that I need to do on a daily basis lately, so I decided I needed a nice task list. One thing I really wanted out of a task list was the ability to sync to Google Tasks since a large part of my day is spent at a computer with Gmail open. Tasks is a great application that is built around Google Tasks sync, and works amazingly. Adding tasks, marking them complete, making lists - all of it was just so easy. If you are looking for a great application to sync with Google Tasks to keep yourself a bit more organized, this is something you will definitely want to take a look at. There is a free ad-supported version as well as a paid one which only sets you back a buck.

Download: Tasks

Major Mayhem (free, IAPs)

Major Mayhem

Simon Sage - Amazing Alex was a bit of a let-down this week, and though the iPad gently called its siren song with a new version of Tiny Wings, I was really impressed with Major Mayhem that launched Friday morning. It offers fast, furious action with liquid-smooth graphics and a megaton of character. Gameplay is super simple - just tap on your targets and your gun-toting soldierman opens fire. Best of all, Major Mayhem is free with some unobtrusive in-app purchasing options if you want to get seriously decked out. 

Download: Major Mayhem

Tegra Zone (free)

Tegra Zone

Jerry Hildenbrad - A lot of you have grabbed a shiny new Nexus 7 over the past couple days, and everyone knows that the Tegra 3 chip inside it makes for the best gaming available on any mobile platform. But the best games are from developers who have worked with NVIDIA and built games that take advantage of CPU optimizations specific to the Tegra 3. Like it or hate it, it doesn't change it - they kick a whole lot of ass. But (and there's always a 'but') the limited storage on the Nexus 7 means you can't just install them all. You need a way to look through the optimized games and pick the ones that you think you'll like best. That's where the Tegra Zone app comes in. It's a showcase of every app developed for the Tegra platform, and you'll find description and video to help you pick and choose what to fill your precious few gigabytes with. It's free, and it's easy - deciding which games to get is the hard part.

 

Download: Tegra Zone

Songza (free)

Songza

Kevin O'Quinn - Songza is a music streaming app in the same vein as Pandora or Slacker, but with one really great twist:  it chooses music for you not based on your artist selection, but rather your mood, activity, decade, or culture.  Songza does a surprisingly good job choosing music for any chosen selection, too, and it has just about any mood you'd ever be in. You have the requisite thumbs up and thumbs down too, so you can customize audio streams to your liking.

The app is well laid out, following the Holo theme guidelines pretty well.  Another plus is that it doesn't have any audio ads, which means your mood won't be broken by a 30-second advertisement every six songs like with other streaming music apps.  All-in-all, this is a great app for anyone that has a hard time deciding what they want to listen to when they're in a particular mood.  After all, aren't you picking music based on mood?

Download: Songza

Twidere (free)

Twidere

Richard Devine - "Oh no, another Twitter app," I hear you say, but don't dismiss it just yet. Twidere offers something different to users who aren't lucky enough to be on Android 4.x yet: a Holo-themed UI that is compatible right back to Android 1.6. There's plenty of good-looking new Twitter apps starting to appear, but only for ICS and Jelly Bean. Twidere brings some of those good looks to everybody else.

Looks don't get you everywhere though, certainly not with Twitter clients, but luckily Twidere is also pretty darn powerful. There's a whole bunch of features that the avid Twitter-er would expect, including a huge variety of image preview supports, including Instagram, yfrog, twitpic, weibo - the whole lot. There's also some handy filters on board for blocking unwanted tweets, multiple account sync, link expanding... the list goes on. Twidere is free, open source and supports tablets (a somewhat hidden gem as far as Android Twitter clients go). Give it a whirl, there should be great things to come from Twidere in the future.

Download: Twidere

As always, we welcome feedback on the kinds of Android apps you'd like to see in this weekly feature. Are there any big ones we didn't cover here? What would your personal picks be? Through next week, feel free to drop us a tip on the hint line if you find a particularly awesome app. 

 

Reader comments

Apps of the Week - Boid, Songza, Tasks, and more

40 Comments

Skip Boid and try Tweet lanes. Similar look with actual features. Boid is pretty devoid of most useful features. Though I guess if a dark theme really matters that much.

I concur with this gentleman. TweetLanes is top notch. Looks great, has great features (let it be known that he is still working on it and adding features, follow his twitter @chrismlacy and he keeps you updated of his progess) I am not associated with it at all...just a fan.

Boid crashed at 1st and then was awfully buggy. I'll wait on this one. TweetDeck is my favorite option still!

For the small amount I use twitter, TweaKdeck is all I need.
All I want is the lightest weight client I can find.

Youmail service disconnected announcement doesn't really fool anyone since it rings your phone for many rings before jumping to voice mail, which is not how a service disconnect works.

The for pay human edited transcription creeps me out a little. Somehow having a Google computer doing that in Google Voice doesn't bother me at all.

The latest version of the YouMail App automatically rejects Ditched (aka Blocked) calls straight to YouMail. Callers get sent straight to the disconnected message.

Also, why is it creepy? YouMail partners with medical transcription companies are who are all HIPAA compliant, which makes them very private and legally accountable. If you've got any kind of medical history, chances are, it's already been through them.

Tasks should become a standard Google app. It's that good, and follows the Android design guidelines perfectly.

I used Gtasks for two years and recently started using Tasks by Team Tasks... Franky Tasks is a vast improvement in usability. GTasks improved a bit when they did the ICS UI update but Tasks devs just "get it". They follow ICS design guidelines to the letter and don't incorporate anything too superfluous to a basic to do list app. GTasks just has too many annoying little quirks like that habit of dropping your text cursor at the bottom/end of a task whenever you go to edit it, super annoying when you want to edit a long note. Tasks does lack one major feature GTasks has had for a while, search, a dev told me it's in the works tho. Things like re ordering tasks are just so much easier on Tasks tho.

I never thought a free streaming music app would ever replace Pandora for me. Songza has done it. Songza is great but Pandora is partially to blame for the switch due to their ever increasing ads.

Dunno, a lot don't, HTC phones didn't until ICA/Sense 4... I think Samsung phones have had a basic tasks/notes app for a while, no clue if it with Google Tasks or Evernote like HTC's now does. Moto phones didn't come with one either up until Froyo, wouldn't know after that. What did yours come with? Make?

Stock Android has no notes/tasks app either so no Nexus has one, along with most tablets. ASUS bundles Super Note but that's not really a to-do list sort of app.

I would really like to cancel my carrier voicemail. Unfortunately Youmail does not work on my Galaxy Nexus. I have Jelly Bean and the push notification does not work. I have messed with it for hours and no matter what I do the app will not show new voicemail until I enter the app drawer and open the app, then it will update and show an new VM. I would love it if the app worked, but it doesn't.

GTP20 (and others with Jelly Bean) - we'd love to fix the issue you're seeing, and you're not the only one (we saw two reviews mentioning the same issue), but we haven't replicated it so far, and it's working fine on the Galaxy Nexus we have at YouMail.

Would you be willing to work with us to help fix it? We'd need you to do a clean uninstall (wiping all data), reinstall, log in, get someone to leave you a message, and see that it doesn't work for your phone (you don't get the push). You could then send us a log (menu, help, menu, send debug log). With some actual data from someone having the problem, we'll fix it ASAP, and we're pushing updates to the app now every week or two.

BTW - a number of people have reported that the update to 4.0.X breaks notifications for other apps as well: http://androidforums.com/samsung-galaxy-nexus/582628-jelly-bean-push-not... So it would help us to know whether or not you updated or got a Nexus that included Jelly Bean from the start.

so I'm guessing I can add Songza to the long list of streaming music services that don't work in Canada. Lucky I installed Google Music when I was in the states on a holiday - my fallback

I was actually excited to finally install the Tegra Zone App finally. Never had a Tegra device before. A lot of good games on there.

Boid is buggy beyond belief and I struggle to find why so many people supposedly in the know seem to think it is so wonderful. I tried Twidere and it is very nice, Tweetlanes is shaping up very well too and is very stable for a beta/alpha or whatever it is.

It's buggy because it's beta. Most people 'in the know' have a GNex with stock Android. It only crashes on Sense devices, and we're working on fixing that.

Songza really is great. I've been using it for about a week now and I haven't even thought about using Pandora in that week.

I have not used the other apps listed yet, but Tasks is excellent. I have been using it since its day one release. It is easy to sync with your Google Tasks, the design is clean, the functionality is second to none, and the widgets are truly usable. I used to be a Astrid fan, but when Tasks came along, Astrid was replaced with no second thought.

If you ever need to make a list for shopping, todos, and so forth, Tasks is for you.

Two apps, one of them bloated and the other overpriced if you wanna remove ads, to do what Tasks does by itself far more elegantly... Ok. I used GTasks for a long time because it was the simplest tasks list app I found that sync'd with Google and didn't have a bunch of stuff I didn't need, but it was never very elegantly designed, Tasks easily puts it to shame IMO.

So does anybody else have problems with Major Mayhem? On my Galaxy Nexus running Jelly Bean, after playing the game for about 15 minutes, the graphics start to crap out. Screen tearing, mashed up textures, random lines. And if I don't shut off the game in about 5 minutes of that happening, it freezes the whole phone and makes it reboot! Never had anything like this with any other Android game.

Anybody have this? I'm guessing there's an issue with Jelly Bean...