It's a short month so this is going to end up being our last Apps of the Week column for February, but we think we've got a good set of app picks for you to make up for it. Even though we have folks in the air on their way to Barcelona for MWC, we've still got a full set of picks for your enjoyment from the Android Central team.
Read on with us after the break and see how we did with this week's picks.
Sean Brunett - Ski TrailMaps
There's still a lot to be had in ski season and what better way to view trail maps than on your mobile phone. I'm always wanting to view maps of different mountains and resorts so this app makes a lot of sense. You can browse trail maps by country and state, search for a specific one or view those nearby. You can also save your favorites for future viewing. When you find one, it'll open the trail map in an easy viewer so that you can plan which runs you want to hit. This app is great for any skier.
Download: Ski TrailMaps (Free)
Richard Devine - The Simpsons: Tapped Out
Don't ask me exactly why, but this week I've been playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out pretty much constantly. The concept is nothing new, but I think because it's The Simpsons, that's ultimately what hooked me in.
The story goes that Homer, through incompetence and playing with his myPad too much, blows up Springfield yet somehow survives the blast. From there on out it's up to him and daughter Lisa to begin rebuilding Springfield. And so you have it, Sim City a la Springfield. Or, kind of.
The only downside is that the game is riddled with in-app purchases, all designed to make you progress quicker if you empty your wallet. You don't need to pay to play though, so everyone at least gets a chance to try it out before thinking about spending anything.
Download: The Simpsons: Tapped Out (Free)
Jerry Hildenbrand - Nexus 4 Display Control (Root)
The Nexus 4 has a great IPS display (it's the same as the one in the Optimus G), but not much has been done to "calibrate" the color. We saw the same thing with previous Nexus phones, and I imagine it's either not important to Google or not cost effective to sort it all out. The good news is that it's pretty easy for third-party developers to fix.
You'll need to be rooted, but Nexus 4 Display Control works with the stock kernel and Android ROM. This was important to me, because I like running the stock ROM on my Nexus phones. Setting the color is easy, you just slide the sliders for Red, Green, and Blue. The changes take effect immediately. Once you get a set of numbers you like, you can save them to a file which can be loaded later of you want to experiment. There's also an easy one-click solution to get back to the stock settings.
While it may not be a real calibration, and there is no way to change the gamma, I've found it makes a big difference and I'm loving the warm colors I was able to dial my phone into. Give it a shot, and have a look in the forums to see what kind of numbers folks are using -- mine are 255, 225, 220.
Download: Nexus 4 Display Control ($2.49)
Casey Rendon - Relax and Sleep II
I’m one of those unlucky folks that is a very light sleeper. I started getting many more Z’s once I realized that leaving on a fan or air conditioner drowns out surrounding noises at night. Problem is, I don’t always have access to things that make these kinds of noises, or it becomes too cold to use them. That’s when I found Relax and Sleep. Recently updated to version II with a brand new Holo interface, this app has over 50 ambient sounds (including air conditioning!) that you can play alone or mix and match. You can save your favorite combinations as playlists, and even set alarms to fade sounds in or out at specified times. Whether you need to ignore sounds while reading, working, or resting up to finish Fitness Month strong, you can download Relax and Sleep II completely free with no ads.
Download: Relax and Sleep II (Free)
Michelle Haag - WootWatcher
I might be a bit of an addict when it comes to online shopping, and Woot is one site that I frequent on a daily basis. Woot has items up for sale on a daily and weekly basis in several categories, and sometimes hold what they call a WootOff, where many items go up for sale as fast as they can sell them. It can be hard to keep track of all these items, so when I found WootWatcher I was totally happy.
WootWatcher is a free app that offers updates for Shirt.Woot, Kids.Woot, Wine.Woot, Sellout.Woot, and now Moofi.Woot, Home.Woot, Sport.Woot, and Tech.Woot! You can enable push notifications so you will never miss out on that deeply discounted item you always wanted. This is especially handy during a WootOff, when items are listed and sold out quickly. While you can't make a purchase from within the app itself, you can click the buy button and instantly be taken to the site to check out. Pretty handy, and a total time saver.
Download: WootWatcher (Free)
Simon Sage - Cordy 2
Cordy, you adorable bastard. Every time I see you in a game, I'm all like, "I'm too grown up and serious to play a game about a tiny doe-eyed robot. Being friendly and helpful is for wussies." Thirty seconds later, I find myself leaping and bounding through a fantastic futuristic landscape, wondering what the hell I'm doing with my adulthood. In this particular case, Cordy pulls on all the right Sonic-era nostalgia in a fast-paced platformer with lots of hidden areas, nasty enemies, and unlockable content. The gameplay controls are simple and responsive, and the graphics remain as rich and smooth as ever. There's a free trial with four levels, and if that's not enough to make you plonk down $4.99 for the full version, then you're dead inside. Screw you Cordy, for making me feel like a gleeful seven year-old again.
Download: Cordy 2 (Free)
Chris Parsons - Metal Slug 2
Looking for a classic run-and-gun action shooter? If so, then there is nothing really better than the classic Metal Slug. Unless of course, you're speaking of Metal Slug 2! Ported from the original NEOGEO, Metal Slug 2 is builds off of the original while adding some new great features into the mix called "Mission Mode". New characters, new weapons and more will keep you pounding away at Metal Slug 2. It's $3.99 right now but it has tremendous replay value.
Download: Metal Slug 2 ($3.99)
Andrew Martonik - REI
When you live in the Pacific Northwest like I do, there's really no bad time to go see the great outdoors. For all of your camping, hiking, biking, canoeing and just about everything supplies, you can count on REI to give you a good selection. There are search categories based on brand, product, activity and even tag barcode via the integrated scanner. Once you find what you're looking for you can read reviews, get tech specs and find a store near you that has it in stock.
The REI app gives you an easy way to search and find what you'll need for this weekend's adventure, no matter how obscure.
Download: REI (Free)