A game and a couple of tools highlight this abbreviated list of picks
The combination of Google I/O going on in San Francisco and BlackBerry Live in Orlando this week has our team a little sparse, but we think there are a few great picks to be seen this week regardless. Whether its just four apps or ten, we do our best every weekend to bring you apps that each of the Android Central writers have been using regularly the previous week.
Stick around after the break and see how this week's picks stack up against the rest.
Sean Brunett - Hubble Space Center
As the weather improves, there are definitely going to be great nights to go stargazing. The Hubble Space Center app will let you educate yourself on what you’re seeing during these stargazing nights and learn more about the cosmos in general. The app presents four main options in its home menu: News, Gallery, APOD and Info. News presents the latest headlines in the world relating to the Hubble telescope, Gallery gives you an excellent collection of images of space, Info tells you about the Hubble Center app and APOD stands for Astronomy Photo of the Day. It’s a great app that I highly recommend for any Hubble telescope enthusiasts or anyone interested in astronomy in general.
Download: Hubble Space Center (Free)
Alex Dobie - Sonic the Hedgehog
The original Sonic the Hedgehog arrived on Android this week, courtesy of an official port by SEGA and developer Christian Whitehead. Far from being a glorified emulator, Sonic 1 for Android has been remastered in the same way that Sonic CD was, with fast, 60-frames-per-second gameplay, graphics designed to take full advantage of 16:9 displays and the ability to save games. The spin dash ability has been ported back to Sonic 1, too, and you can even unlock Tails and Knuckles as playable characters.
If you're up for some old-school, fast-paced platforming action this weekend, this 16-bit classic is definitely worth a look. It's available on the Google Play Store for devices running Android 2.3 and up.
Download: Sonic the Hedgehog ($2.99)
Richard Devine - Field Trip
Field Trip isn't a new app, however it's worthy of mention this week for one key reason. It is now available in over 80 countries worldwide, and in over 30 different languages. It will also automatically translate any cards not written in your native language. Impressive.
So, for those who aren't familiar, Field Trip is developed by the Niantic Labs team at Google, the same people who developed Ingress. It works in the background, and is designed to alert you to things of interest that are around you wherever you are. Shopping, eating, places of historical interest, all are covered, and you can customize the notifications to be as frequent or infrequent as you desire. Field Trip can also detect when you're driving, and talk to you about places of interest as you pass them on your route. It's free, so if it's now available in your country, give it a whirl.
Download: Field Trip (Free)
Andrew Martonik - Uber
When I moved to Seattle I made the decision to not bring a car with me. Not only is it impractical to try and park a car downtown, it's also ridiculously expensive. Public transit can get you most places, but sometimes you want something with a little more style. That's where Uber comes in, a black car service that's entirely based around using an app to manage your rides. Rather than calling a car service to arrange a pickup and tell them where you are, you simply open the app and let it get a GPS lock, then with a couple of taps you'll have a car on its way to pick you up. You see in real time on the map where the car is and how long it will take to arrive, and when you're dropped off you simply pay directly from the app -- no messing with cards, cash or tipping the driver, it's all handled from the phone.
The app was recently updated to make some serious improvements to usability and interface performance as well, which you would expect from a premium service like Uber. You can sign up for the service easily with your Google account in just one tap, and even use credit cards associated with Google Wallet to pay for your ride.
If you're in one of the very few cities that has the new "UberX" service, you may not have to pay an arm and a leg for the car service either. Similar to other ride sharing services (such as Lyft), UberX pairs up regular people willing to give rides in more efficient cars, and charges you less because of this. Whether you need a quick lift across town or want to go to dinner or a show in style, Uber is pretty much a must-have app in the city.
Download: Uber (Free)
Michelle Haag - GymPact
If you're like most people, you need a little motivation sometimes to get your butt to the gym for those dreaded workouts. Nothing keeps people accountable like money does, so how about a little friendly wager to keep you sweatin' to the oldies? Gympact helps you earn cash for working out, whether you go to the gym or do outside activities such as running or biking.
It's simple to use. Download the app, then make a pact for how many days you will commit to exercise each week. Wager some cash that you'll pay up if you don't make those days, and make sure when you go work out that you check in via the app as your proof that you were there. Not at the gym? No worries, import GPS-verified running/biking activities with RunKeeper. At the end of the week either rake in the rewards for meeting your goals, or shell out a bit of dough to all those that did make it.
I'm pretty sure no one will get rich by using Gympact, as the payouts aren't huge, but if you need a little bit of extra push to get off your tush, this may be just the thing for you.
Download: GymPact (Free)