Android Central Apps

We know why you are here, you are in need of your weekly fix, right? Need some new apps to check out, something new to install and play around with instead of doing house work? We understand, so without any further delay let's hit the break and check out some of our favorites from this week!

Andrew Martonik - Real Silent

Real Silent

I've been absolutely in love with my GSM Galaxy Nexus since I bought it in January, so much that I've chosen to stay completely stock, then on Ice Cream Sandwich and now on Jelly Bean. I've had to find apps to bring some of the functionality back to stock that I had gotten accustomed to on ROMs. The first thing I had to fix was sound management.

If I were writing the Android code (scary thought, I know) the default behavior when putting the phone's ringer in "silent" mode would be to silence every sound on the device. I've been embarrassed way too many times when my phone is on silent mode and I open a game or media player and the "media" volume is still on full blast. Not the best experience when you're in a quiet room. As long as Android keeps working the way it does, RealSilent is my fix. It's simple, and rightfully so. Open up the app and you have 4 options: you can mute media volume when it silent mode and/or vibrate mode, restore the media volume when coming out of silent and choose whether or not the alarm should be muted. The final result for me is that when I long-press my Galaxy Nexus' power button, and select the silent option, every single volume level on my phone is set to 0 without exception.

Download: Real Silent (Free)

Chris Parsons - Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts

With the death of Google Listen we looked at some podcast replacement apps and I just wanted to go ahead and highlight my personal favourite. Pocket Casts is a paid app that packs a lot of features for podcast listeners, including importing of podcasts from Google Listen. Quick skip feature, background downloading, audio & video podcasts, instant refresh of up to 100 podcasts and plenty more. The UI doesn't really play well on my Nexus 7 but it looks great on my Galaxy Nexus, if you're looking for a good podcast app and don't mind spending a couple of bucks, give it a go.

Download: Pocket Casts ($2.99)

Jerry Hildenbrand - NFC Task Launcher 

NFC Launcher

NFC on our Android phones is for more than just Google Wallet. We've seen Sony come out with their Xperia Smart Tag system  but it's worth noting that almost any tag and any NFC enabled phone can do the same sort of thing with a free app from Google Play. NFC Task Launcher will allow you to write commands to an NFC tag that do things like adjust your volume, turn Wifi (or other radios) on and off, set an alarm, even launch a Tasker task in addition to the things like sending SMS or opening a web URL we're used to seeing.

The "extra cool" factor is that you can string tasks together. You could stick an NFC tag in the cup holder of your car that shuts off Wifi, turns on Bluetooth, and fires up your favorite music player when you slip your phone into it and it bumps the tag. Then put one at your front door that reverses the entire thing when you get home. The tags will work with any NFC enabled phone, so one tag will allow multiple users to trigger the actions.

The app is really simple to use, and follows the Android light Holo design guide. The app is free, but of course you'll need to get some NFC tags, which you can do right from the app -- sellers in the U.S, Europe, and Australia are just a link away. Put the NFC radio to good use!

Download: NFC Task Launcher (Free)

Jared DiPane - Drag Racing (Bike Edition)

Drag Race

Simple games in which you can jump in for a few minutes of fun and leave them behind at any time are my favorites. Beyond that I tend to enjoy sports games and things that are outside of the realm of things I would actually do in real life. Drag Racing games have been around for a long time, I can remember many of hours spent pressing my space bar on my keyboard to shift gears as I raced through various levels. The bike edition is the same concept, but using motorcycles instead of cars, and it is quite addictive. Whether you have a couple of minutes, or a couple of hours, this is a fun game that will definitely have you wanting to play more.

Download: Drag Racing, Bike Edition (PRice)