Apps of The Week

Welcome back to another edition of our Android Central app picks. We've only got a few more of these before the end of 2012, so we're hoping to make the most of 'em. It's the holiday season, so of course we've brought a couple of seasonal apps here -- with a few of our usual great picks thrown in as well. Stick around after the break and see how we did this week.

Sean Brunett - Ski & Snow Report

Ski & Snow Report

As we descend into winter, many people are going to want to know what conditions are like at their favorite resorts. Look no further than the free app Ski & Snow Report. With the app, you can get updates at over 2,000 resorts worldwide. Other than how much snow is accumulating and what the weather will be like, you can view trail maps, view live webcams, post photos, view comments from other users, giving you more information, and filter by how much snow various places are seeing. If you’re a big skier or snowboarder, you’re going to want to get this app. 

Download: Ski & Snow Report (Free)

Chris Parsons - Christmas Countdown 2012

Christmas Countdown

It's almost time for Christmas and if you have kids they're no doubt excited. One thing I always enjoyed as a child was an advent calendar that allowed me to keep track of how many days were left and now that I have kids of my own, I always make sure they experience them as well. To go along with the real deal, there is now a fun little digital version that kids will enjoy thanks to the puzzles, poems and storyline. It's available as a full free download, though if you're looking to make it onto Santas nice list there is a paid version available as well that is ad free. Kids will enjoy it and who knows, maybe you will as well.

Download: Christmas Countdown (Free)

Andrew Martonk - Holo Lamp

Holo Lamp

Sometimes you just need a flashlight, and all you have is your phone. Nowadays you just want your apps to be "holo" designed as well (let's support the people who are doing it right.) Holo Lamp checks both of those boxes, and includes a couple cool features as well. You can select a plain lamp, or three different frequencies of a strobe lamp. There's even a simple toggle widget. It's free too -- you really can't argue with anything this app is offering.

Download: Holo Lamp (Free)

Jerry Hildenbrand - Car Dashboard

Car Dashboard

When Google removed car home from Android, plenty of people running stock or AOSP-based custom ROMs went looking for a good alternative. AC forums moderator cole2kb turned me on to Car Dashboard for mine.

It gives you all the data about speed, location and conditions you need, in real time while you're moving. You can also set custom speed alerts with sounds and flashing text. The app recognizes any dock setting, and can be started by any magnetic dock, ready to go as soon s it hits the car dash.

Probably the best part is the customization buttons. You can choose to add custom shortcuts to open any app on your phone, turn by turn directions to any place, or direct-dial shortcuts. It makes Car Dashboard the perfect travel companion. It runs on Android 1.6 and is available in both a free version and premium ad-free version from Google Play.

Download: Car Dashboard (Free); Pro ($1.99)

Anndrew Vacca - Facebook 2.0

Facebook 2.0

It's not everyday that a simple app update earns a spot on our Apps of the Week list, but Facebook's latest bump to 2.0 is about as good as it gets. Easily the largest and most dramatic overhaul yet, 2.0 brings an all-around better experience to Facebook on Android, with smoother performance and faster-loading news feeds and photos. There's also a new "stories bar" that uploads your feed automatically; click it for access to new items without having to reload as in versions past. There's a noticeable improvement in overall performance here and it's truly a must have for even the occasional Facebooker-- this is the app Android users have been waiting for.

Download: Facebook (Free)

Simon Sage - Contre Jour

Contre Jour

I really can't overstate how happy I am that Contre Jour is on Android. I've poured a lot of time into the iOS version, and even if it costs a buck more on Android, it's worth it. Contre Jour is a polished, classy, innovative puzzler with an absolutely sublime soundtrack. Seriously, take a listen. The gameplay is a really interesting mix of World of Goo, Cut the Rope, and Portal. Players have to use various level elements to move a tiny cycloptic blob creature around to gather up to three blue orbs scattered about without falling prey to pits, spikes, and other dangers. The art style is both dark and cute, and will leave a definite lasting impression. 

Download: Contre Jour ($1.99)

Richard Devine - Touchnote Christmas Edition

Touchnote Christmas Edition

I don't object to sending Christmas cards, not by any means, but I am terminally lazy when it comes down to doing it. So this year, Touchnote has been a blessing for me, allowing me to create and send custom Christmas cards right from my Android device. The application provides a series of templates, all you need to do is choose a picture, type a message, and let them do the rest. Very clear, very easy to use, very simple. Payment  can also be done via Paypal, which for someone like me is an added bonus. But I think I've found my new way of sending greetings cards to people. 

Download: Touchnote Christmas Edition (Free)


Reader comments

Apps of the Week: Ski & Snow Report, Christmas Countdown, Holo Lamp and more!


Whats with the Holo Lamp Flashlight App needing network access? I don't think I'm down with that when the Motorola Droid Light works great on my Galaxy Nexus and has the same features with a much more hideous UI and needs half the permissions. I saw about the ads and all but the seem to not be present so I assume the developer is now longer developing the app therefore not putting ads in the app anymore according to the apps description in the Play Store.

I agree teslaled is great. I have it set with nova launcher so I can just swype down and it turns it on/off

I have to totally commend Facebook for the upgrade. It's so far above the earlier versions it doesn't even seem like the same app. The speed is amazing and the UI is much more friendly. 4 1/2 stars

NO! I refuse to accept that Facebook has become any better. Sure the photos load fast, but the scrolling is as choppy as hell. With this reason, I say the FB android app still sucks

I commend Facebook as well. Their Android app went from almost unusably slow and unstable to pretty good. An app that took forever to load anything and force closed all the time is now nice and smooth. Love the UI changes as well.

JERRY!!! Thanks!! I just got the Pro Vresion of Car Dashboard!!! This is going to be awesome, I never watch my speed, so this will be a help. . . . kinda. Anyways still awesome.

How does Car Dashboard compare to Car Home Ultra? They look similar, but Car Dashboard appears to only have 4 shortcuts per screen vs. Car Home Ultra's 6. Wondering if its worth trying or if I should just stick with CHU.

If you own the full version of CHU, just stick with it. Nothing ground breaking about Car Dashboard. I will continue with CHU myself.

I was the one that pinged Jerry about it. I have personally never used CHU. Dashboard Pro lets you swipe to get to another set of shortcuts if you need more than 4. They could definitely add a few features though like changing the size of dashboard shortcuts.

"car home"? I've always wondered what this process actually was. It automatically starts itself anytime I've done a reset. Something that worked with the tele navigation app is all i could make of it.

+1 for Tesla led flashlight. Got mines combined working with the Holo Launcher locker app so it's a shortcut option whenever I unlock my phone.

My favorite is Car Dock Home v3. Allows you to make any size grid you want. Also can use widgets to make buttons something I haven't found in other car dock apps. You can also specify the size of each button to be double or triple or whatever size to accommodate different widgets. This plus allowing you to specify the grid size gives you lots of flexibility. There are optional speedometer, media keys, Bluetooth apps that enhance it. It doesn't automatically enter car mode automatically but I use NFC launcher anyway to set that plus other settings.