A solid group of app picks to take a look at this week
It's another Saturday afternoon and that means another Apps of the Week column to read and enjoy. This weekly roundup takes an app from each of the writers here at Android Central and puts it on display, showing what's neat and interesting about it and why it stays on our devices week after week. It may not be the best-selling or well-known app out there, but if it works for us, we'll list it here.
So go ahead and take a break from reading that massive Nexus 5 review and find a few apps to relax with this weekend — you'll find a great list to choose from after the break.
Richard Devine - Deezer
My pick this week is more for the service than for the app, though that's not to say it isn't a pretty good Android app either. Deezer is a music subscription service in the same vein as Spotify, Google's All Access, Xbox Music and so on. It's starting to gain a little traction, has a fantastic selection of music and right now in selected territories there's a good chance you can get a subscription at 50% off.
I've just made the switch on this alone. Here in the UK the price is currently just £4.99 a month for the top package, down from £9.99. That's also half the regular price of the most popular competition here as well, so it's well worth checking out. And the Android app isn't bad either. It looks great, has the notification bar music player controls and will play music you've got stored on your phone or tablet as well. I've been a Spotify user for the last couple of years and so far I'm extremely happy with the switch. If you can get the promo pricing I strongly urge checking it out. Sadly at this point Deezer isn't available in the U.S.
Download: Deezer (Free, subscription)
Simon Sage - Anomaly 2
Anomaly 2 launched on Google Play this week a little behind the iOS launch, and the game is fantastic. There's the same reverse-tower-defense mechanics here, but the updated graphics, new transforming tanks, and multiplayer mode make this sequel more than adequate. In the multiplayer mode, one player gets to be in charge of the alien defense, complete with consumable special abilities. If you're looking for loads of tactical depth and eye candy to boot, Anomaly 2 delivers.
Download: Anomaly 2 ($4.99)
Jerry Hildenbrand - Network Signal Info
Network Signal Info will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about your data signal. And that's a good thing. Whether you're troubleshooting or just curious, Network Signal Info gives both an enhanced visual of your cellular network and/or Wifi network, as well as detailed data like network operator, network strength in dbm and ASU, country code, device ID, IP address and even DNS addresses. Add in some widgets that give this info at a glance, and it's a nerdgasm for people who geek out with network data and info.
The free version does a great job, but the paid version (it's $1.69) has a much better cell tower database, and a nifty mobile signal tracker function that generates a KML file you can import into Google Earth. Yeah, that's well worth a buck sixty-nine in my book. Check out the free version and see what you think.
Andrew Martonik - Fairway Solitaire
I'm all for action-filled, strategy and first-person shooter games, but sometimes you just need a simple puzzle or card game to relax with. For me, that game as of late has been Fairway Solitaire. Made by the folks at Big Fish Games, known for dozens of top games on mobile (and they're pretty good soccer players, too), Fairway Solitaire doesn't have a whole lot to do with golf or solitaire, but it's a fun game nonetheless.
You go through different courses grouped into tournaments, and the goal is to get rid of all of the cards in the deck. You start with one card face up, and match it with cards one higher or lower than it, racking up combos for extra points. You can pull out different "clubs" to help you through, play wild cards and master all of the games mechanics quite easily.
Its a great time killer that's easy to pick up, and best of all the full game unlock is just $0.99.
Chris Parsons - GT Racing 2
I’m a sucker for racing games and when I saw Gameloft had released GT Racing 2, the follow up to their popular GT Racing, I had to go ahead and give it a go. Gameloft touts the game as being the real car experience and while I don’t think it’s along the lines of Forza or Gran Turismo, it’s certainly a good start that can be improved upon. With real cars from over 30 manufacturers and 28 new challenges each week, GT Racing 2 will certainly keep you busy as the game grows. While I’ve not had the chance to try out the multiplayer as of yet, Gameloft makes it a highlight mention stating you can compete with your friends around the world. Like the original, GT Racing 2 is available as a free download but you’ll have to keep your eyes on in-app purchases.
Download: GT Racing 2 (Free)
Phil Nickinson - FlightTrack
Continuing on through the travel apps that I can't live without, Mobiata's FlightTrack gets a strong mention. When I just need to keep track of flights (and not other things like hotels and car rentals), there's no easier way than Flight Track. Pop open the app and you get a quick look at where you're going, the flight number, date and expected departure and arrival times. Layover times — ever important as airlines try to squeeze you through as quickly as possible — are clearly marked, and anything under and hour is hilighted in red. For those who prefer widgets, you can get the same information that way, too. For flight specifics, you can get more detailed travel info, including departure and arrival gates, time in the air, and airport information. It's also a great way to find alternate flights and airline contact information.
For most folks, the free (and aptly named) Flight Track Free should be enough. (It also has a nicer design than the paid versions, which has long been a bone of contention.) For those of us who need a more full-featured (but, again, more tired-looking) app, you'll have to pony up $4.99. And if you want integration with Tripit, you'll need to cough up another $4.99 for the FlightTrack Pro Upgrade. It's not cheap. But I wouldn't travel without FlightTrack.