Apps of the Week

We're in that slow transitional phase between CES and MWC, going through the motions of weird leaks and random product releases. Fear not, as the Apps of the Week posts will continue on regardless. You come here each Saturday to see what apps the Android Central staff are finding and using, so we do our best to find some great picks.

Hang around after the break and see how we did this week.

Richard Devine - Gumtree

Gumtree

No doubts many of our UK readers will be familiar with Gumtree already -- those "get it on Gumtree" ads are impossible to miss -- but they may not be familiar with the official app. The app is so nice to use, I've found myself browsing Gumtree listings more often than eBay of late.

It follows the latest Android design guidelines superbly, but beyond this it's just so smooth and snappy to use. Scrolling is superb, and the way the descriptions slide up and overlap the images is just really nicely done. Gumtree is a great example of how to make a simple, functional, but equally great looking and performing Android app. eBay could do worse than follow the example set here.

Download: Gumtree (UK Only) (Free)

Sean Brunett - Amtrak

Amtrak

Amtrak’s official app is a nice one to have if you find yourself traveling by train a lot. The app is not limited to only trains, but the bus system as well. This will likely be popular where it is used most, along the east coast in places like New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC. The app lets you plan your entire trip from your mobile device. Once you have trips planned, you can track the arrivals and departures of specific stations or trains. You can also use the app to show the officials your ticket. It’s a very handy app to have on-the-go, especially if you travel by train frequently. 

Download: Amtrak (Free)

Jerry Hildenbrand - Weed Farmer Overgrown

Android Central

A chance to show off your green thumb without getting in trouble with the po-po, Weed Farmer Overgrown is a virtual marijuana growing app that's currently in an open development beta. You fight bugs, fungus, dry conditions and the clock to grow your seedlings into something you can proudly harvest, then turn it all in for game currency. With that same currency you can buy better equipment, opening up more difficult strains of weed to grow.

The game is in an open development beta. While I'm not so sure I like being charged to beta test, I do enjoy keeping track of my virtual plants, keeping them well fed and happy. Because it's in beta, there are some bugs every now and then, but the developers are quick to update and so far I've seen no real show stoppers in the bug department. As an offset to the cost, beta testers are promised a unique beta tester surprise in their box of tools and gear when the game goes live.

If you liked the original Weed Farmer (and who didn't?) you'll love the expansion. It runs on devices with Android 1.6 or higher.

Download: Weed Farmer Overgrown ($5.95)

Andrew Martonik - OpenSignal

OpenSignal

If you like to nerd out on signal strength, tower locations and speed tests, OpenSignal has all of the bases covered. This app has been out there for a long time, but I bring it back up because it's recently undergone a full facelift with a new UI and set of features. Beyond just telling where towers are and you signal strength, OpenSignal can now track your minute, text and data usage. That may not be super relevant to anyone using a later version of android, but the app brings these features back all the way to devices running Gingerbread -- and on that software these are great features to have. The new features are now wrapped up in a holo UI that makes everything clean and easy to use as well.

You also get very useful crowd-sourced coverage maps through OpenSignal for all of the major carriers, which can be nice if you're interested in seeing how the other operators are in your area. It's definitely worth a look again if you haven't seen it since the redesign -- and when it's free there's no reason not to try it out.

Download: OpenSignal (Free)

Phil Nickinson - Quento

Quento

OK, so I'm double-dipping here, having just written about this app on Friday. Don't care. I'm enjoying the hell out of this little math game, which i saying something considering I suck at math. It's uses just the right amount of brain power for me to keep me occupied, but not frustrated. You might need to use even less between your ears, and that's cool. More important is that it's something a little different. Look for some cool new features in the months ahead, too, I'm told.

Download: Quento (Free)

Alex Dobie - A Reflective Organism

A Reflective Organism

Another excellent live wallpaper from Christoffer Green, "A Reflective Organism" turns your home screen into a shimmering, reflective mass, and uses the accelerometer to give the illusion of a 3D structure behind your widgets and icons. The basic version is a free download, but it's unlockable via an in-app purchase for $1. The full version allows all manner of attributes to be customized, including the same kind of custom color support found in Green's other live wallpaper, "A Liquid Cloud."

With so few decent 3D live wallpapers out there, this one's definitely worth a shot. It's available on the Google Play Store for devices running Android 2.2 and above.

Download: A Reflective Organism (Free)

Chris Parsons - TV Portal

TV Portal

Looking for something to watch and not having any luck picking something out? TV Portal allows you to watch free TV Shows and free movies on your Android device. There is a huge collection of TV shows and movies to choose from and browsing though them is easy enough. With any claim like free TV shows and movies, there is always the question -- is it legal? Well, the links are aggregated from around the web and far be it from me to tell you what to do on your own device and personal internet. Either way, the app is there and is great for catching up on missed shows, especially if you missed out on a whole season.

Download: TV Portal (Free)

Simon Sage - Gunslugs

Android Central

The creators of Meganoid recently released a new 8-bit-style side-scrolling shooting game called Gunslugs. It's a fast-paced, challenging romp with a positively awesome soundtrack. Players have to blast their way through waves of enemies to demolish bunkers, but to pull it off, they'll need to collect health, ammo, extra lives and weapons scattered across the varying battlefields. Make sure to keep jumping and use cover effectively, since once you're dead, you have to start over from scratch. Luckily, levels are procedurally generated, so every playthrough is a new experience. 

Download; Gunslugs ($2.64)

 

Reader comments

Apps of the Week: Gumtree, Amtrak, OpenSignal and more!

20 Comments

Damn, $6 for the Weed Farmer? Do you get real weed out of it?

Submitted by Barton82 on January 26, 2013 - 16:32.

Surely a future update to the app will give you the ability to dry it, roll it up, and fire it up. The resulting smoke will come out of your speaker!

Thanks for the referral to OpenSignal. I downloaded it and it looks and works great.

Oh, and "po-po"?

I found out about TV Portal on reddit.com/r/android, I guess the developer was giving out free passes so you wouldn't have to pay for the $1 pass. Still it was a dollar, so might as well use it. I remember a person asked him, can we get refunded the dollar if this app gets pulled. Pretty much it did a week later. Glad to see it's back. Now I can watch The Simpsons at work again.

Apps of the week are great but TV Portal has been removed from the market place for some reason.. Anyway I can side load it from someplace?