Apps of the Week

We have another diverse group of picks to keep you busy this weekend

Welcome back to yet another edition of the "Apps of the Week" post, where we bring together a group of apps that the Android Central writers have been using on a regular basis. App discovery can be tough with so many options out there, so our goal is to give you some personal recommendations on the apps we're using ourselves. This week we're looking at a few tools, a couple of good games to kill some time with and as usual some odds-and-ends.

Stick around with us after the break to see what we have for you this week -- you may just come away with a couple apps that you want to download on your own device. 

Jerry Hildenbrand - Couple

Android Central

Couple is a messaging app designed for you and just one other person. It sends messages and initiates calls, but it also does a lot more. You can share a whiteboard, send your location, send pictures, video and audio messages, even do something called "thumbkiss" where you touch the screen and align your thumb with your lovers, making the screen flash red. You're laughing, but your significant other probably isn't.

A dedicated messaging app for that special someone is just enough of an idea to work. People, especially on the sentimental side of the relationship, love stuff like this. But Couple takes it a step further by adding shared lists and a special list of dates that only you and the other half of your couple can see. You can even lock things up with a passcode in case you have more than one person you're coupling with.

Folks, if you have that special girl or guy that you're sweet on, install this and invite them to join you. It's actually pretty useful, and the brownie points you get from a thumbkiss are off the scale. You don't have to tell anybody you're using it, and neither will we. 

Download: Couple (Free)

Sean Brunett - The Simpsons: Tapped Out

The Simpsons Tapped Out

I’m not a huge mobile gamer. I enjoy a good game now and then but I honestly have never gotten very engrossed in a mobile game. That is until I came across The Simpsons Tapped Out. I also have to preface this by saying that while I enjoy The Simpsons, I was never one of those people who watched it every week. I don’t know the show and the characters very well. But I am obsessed with this game. The premise is simple: Springfield has been blown up and it is your job to rebuild it however you would like. It combines Sim City, the Sims and The Simpsons together in a game that has brought me back to play every day. You need to use the characters to earn money by making them do chores or errands, which will allow you to buy more buildings or decorations for the new and improved Springfield. The activities take some time, so in that way it is a highly addictive game. You can send Lisa to do her homework for 24 hours, knowing that in a day, you will have much more money. You can use your own money to buy donuts, which are currency that allow you to speed up the game or buy other content. I have not done that, I think I will stick to the completely free version. It is a fascinating game that will consume you, which can be good or bad. I must say that it is also the smoothest gameplay experience I have enjoyed on Android thus far. EA has done a tremendous job. I have not seen hiccups or pauses with this game yet, which unfortunately still characterize some games on the Android side. I highly recommend this to people who like this sort of game or those obsessed with The Simpsons. 

Download: The Simpsons Tapped Out (Free)

Simon Sage - Hiversaires

Hiversaires

Hiversaires is a relatively new abstract point-and click adventure game. It takes players through a stark world with few clues as to what's going on. Over time, you piece together a history and work your way through a series of winding hallways, looking for the next clue. Ominous glyphs and the occasional abstract map are your only real friends in this high-contrast maze. The soundtrack is really impressive, and goes a long way to setting a tense, surreal mood. If you've ever put time into the Myst games but are looking for something with a distinctly more modern feel, and you don't mind chewing on a puzzle for awhile, Hiversaires will certainly keep you occupied. 

Download: Hiversaires ($2.96)

Andrew Martonik - OpenTable

OpenTable

Most of you have probably heard of OpenTable or even used it once or twice, but I just have to recommend it again this week because I have a new-found respect for the app as of late. After moving into the city, there are so many little restaurants to go explore and see that it's almost impossible to stay up to date on what's out there. Rather than simply Googling around or using something like Foursquare, OpenTable has become a useful tool for finding restaurants considering the high percentage of them in the city that are part of the OpenTable network. You can get a great feeling for what restaurants are around, look at reviews, hours, prices and even menus before you book -- and when you've made your decision you can snag a reservation all in one app.

Sure it won't be the only place you ever look for a restaurant again, but right now it's the first app I open when I'm looking for a place to go grab a bite to eat.

Download: OpenTable (Free)

Chris Parsons - Duolingo

Duolingo

For the past little while now, I've been telling myself that I want to learn a new language. Of course, no one learns a new language in a day or two and overall, I never really acted on those thoughts until I came across Duolingo on the Google Play Store. I figured, hey I might as well start simple and if an app can help.. why not? Duolingo is free to download and goes from basic to advanced learning of several different languages including Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English. if you're looking to pick up the basics or even go all in on learning a new language, Duolingo might just be able to help you out.

Download: Duolingo (Free)

Richard Devine - Real Racing 3

Real Racing 3

I'm into racing in a big way, and I love racing games. Currently, nothing can touch Real Racing 3 for me. OK, I'd prefer to buy the game and not have an in-app purchase model, but the game is so good I can look beyond that. And, it recently got updated with even more great stuff.

You can now drive cars from Dodge and Lexus, which includes the almighty Lexus LFA. Additionally, the Dubai Autodrome has now been added to the list of circuits and over 50 new events are here to take on. The graphics are exquisite, the tilt-to-steer controls are accurate enough that you're not throwing your device around to turn corners, and it's just an all round great racing game. The bonus to the free download is that at least you get to try it out, before dropping any cash. 

Download: Real Racing 3 (Free)


Happen to miss previous editions of our weekly app picks? You can check them out right here. Our continuing weekly app coverage can also be seen right here as well.

 
There are 23 comments

jimjr says:

Real Racing 3, OpenTable, Simpsons Tapped Out... must be a slow week. I think these 3 are repeats.

mwara244 says:

Duolingo is brand new, pretty cool too for learning another language for free. I hope to brush up on my spanish again, took it for 3 years in HS. This year marks the first year that more spanish/ latin/ hispanic babies were born in the United States than any other race. Also when I go to the Southwest English is a second language there to Spanish it seems. Just seems smart to be fluent in spanish to communicate better.

Also if you are a Star Wars fan, Star Wars Arcade is in the play store and open for free to anyone who wants to play it and Beta Test it. It's Beta right now, not bad, be kind to the Dev, he's a teenager who does this in his free time.

I have to agree, Simpsons has already been featured. Also, Open Table isn't new at all. That has been around since the G1 days.

OpenTable is hardly the same app today as it was back when the G1 was popular. And I think people get confused as to what "apps of the week" is to us. It's not always a showcase of brand new apps you've never heard of, it's ones that maybe have had significant updates lately, that we've come into using more recently, or we're sunk so much time and energy into that we just want to tell someone about how we use them. Apps of the Week is our time to talk about what we're using on our own devices, not a top 10 list of brand new apps.

Well then, I do apologize for being rude there my good sir. Now that I know this better. I shall have a better appreciation for the "App of the Week" section.

Wait until you hit level 25 (approx.) on Tapped Out. There is an issue on the Android side that causes the game to no longer communicate with the Origin servers and you can no longer play. EA is well aware of the issue, as many have opened tickets with them, but they refuse to do anything about it. This has been a known issue for months. So after you invest all of that time playing, you are suddenly kicked out of Springfield for good.

juggle says:

Must not be affecting everyone because I'm on level 29 and not having the problem.

I did have a problem about a week ago where I got logged out of Origin and then couldn't get back in - but it cleared up within 24 hours and I was back in.

What I wasn't big on was when they added the Origin login and finally added the ability to add friends. I liked that they were doing it...what I didn't like was that I had two games running concurrently on two devices and had purchased donuts in both - but when they added origin then when I logged in on the second device it overwrote my game with my game from my first device so I ended up loosing content I had paid for. Since then I haven't paid for any more donuts...but I'm still hooked and playing.

It doesn't however run very well on older devices. My Inc2 with CM9 for example pauses and crashes fairly often with it and after playing I have to reboot before I can play again or it's so slow it's unplayable. But I'm due for an upgrade and it's a problem I have with the ROM I'm running not just with this game.

TheDu9du says:

Since the list was pitiful this wk. My 2 contributions are: Heavy Sword, Karateka Classic, Contacts + , Contacts etc..(for those Nexus users, a must try).

Kvoth says:

I'm glad you're not an AC writer... and not just because you can't count past 2.

1LoudLS says:

lshidmtamsfo‎

deercreek says:

Karateka Classic? As someone who played Karateka on the Apple IIe and was upset that it wouldn't work on my Apple IIc, I'm going to have to check that out.

DWR_31 says:

I thought I just saw a blue Nexus!

balthuszar says:

so to those of you complaining about the list...let's hear yours, let's see you get yours published on a major android website...don't forget you have to give a description of the app and why you like it...oh and per your own standards, it has to have never been featured before

SuperJonCA says:

No, you are wrong. I don't come to android central to read reader comments. I want entertaining write-ups from the paid professionals at android central. This particular list isn't as bad as some of the others recently, but I understand the complaints.

Kvoth says:

Considering the HTC One is AC's "smartphone of choice", it seems strange that none of you are using it.

Thanks for the list BTW... glad you stuck to Apps of the week and not 'picks of the week' :)

hey Kvoth, get to Day 3 of The Kingkiller Chronicles, don't worry about A.C.

LukeT32 says:

I love Tapped Out also... if anyone plays add me.

Username luket32836

setkoapps says:

Hi Everyone! I have just finished my first game for android. It is called Color Catcher and is free. I would love to get feedback on what I can do to improve the game.

Please email me feedback at setkoapps@aol.com

Thank you in advance for your help

play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.setkoapps.games.colorcatcher

grydlok says:

Real racing 3 is good. It is one of those games that also should replace Asphalt7 for benchmarking on phones.

Uglyfido says:

My only complaint for Tapped Out, and the reason I finally gave up and un-installed it, is that there is no way to turn off the notifications and their associated sounds. I know I can just turn down notifications on my device, but then I miss the ones I want, like texts and emails. It really is a fun game, but I just couldn't take hearing Homer at 3am anymore.

You absolutely CAN turn off the notifications sounds in the game without affecting your normal text, email and phone call notifications... for whatever reason, Tapped Out notification settings are buried under a non-intuitive menu setting:

Click 'Get More' and you'll see an 'i' for more info -- select that and the options menu pops out... from there, turn off 'Push Notifications' (there might also be a volume slider)... and BOOM! No more 3am notifications.

martyah says:

Checked out Duolingo, but discovered it is *not* compatible with my Nexus 7. Is that true for all tabs, or just the N7?

15israellai says:

Just wanna say I love Duolingo. In fact I think I'm addicted to it.
I finally picked up the french I left off so many years ago.