It's the last week of September, and the Android Central writers have another diverse set of app picks for your enjoyment. Have a look into space, play some games, watch your favorite sport and keep yourself from getting lost with these picks this weekend. And remember, Google is still running its $0.25 app promotion to celebrate 25 billion downloads. Read on, then head to the Google Play Store and grab a few great apps.
Sean Brunett - Space Images
I’m a huge space nerd. I’m fascinated by it and love to learn as much as I can about the unknown that is outside of our planet. One of my favorite things to do is to find good pictures taken of planets, stars, the sun and pretty much anything having to do with space. Fortunately, I was able to find the app Space Images, which aggregates photos from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The app lets you sort by latest, top rated, category (by planet, universe, etc...), and favorites. Once you find a photo that you really like, you have the option of setting it as your wallpaper, sharing it via email, Facebook, Twitter or saving right from your device. It’s not linked into the share API on Android, but lets you share to these outlets. It’s a simple app that does what it says very well. If you’re a space nerd like me, you’ll definitely want to check out this app.
Download: Space Images (Free)
Chris Parsons - Mini Motor Racing
You ever play those mini racer games way back in the day with the really crappy graphics and crappy steering? If you did, you know what I'm referring to. Mini Motor Racing captures that old school spirit but still ups the ante with some pretty awesome graphics and great gameplay that includes multiple levels, multiple cars and plenty of in game bonuses as well as online multiplayer for up to four players. If for whatever reason, you never played the old school versions -- that's ok. There is enough fun to be had in Mini Moto Racing that any one can pick up and give it a go. If you hurry, you might just be able to grab it while it's on sale.
Download: Mini Motor Racing ($0.25 during promo)
Andrew Martonik - WatchESPN
So you got dragged out of the house for some reason or another, and that important soccer game you need to watch is on ESPN. Yeah, you have a DVR recording for when you get back, but you want to watch it live. If you (or your friends *hint hint*) have cable through one of the major companies, ESPN has likely partnered to offer free live streaming through the WatchESPN app. Log in with your cable credentials and you'll have access to ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U, and a couple ESPN 3 streams. You can search by channel or sport, and the quality is quite good -- depending on your bandwidth. I wouldn't want to watch an entire game on here if I didn't have to, but it's a great app to have if you're a sports fan.
Download: WatchESPN (Free)
Phil Nickinson - Jetpack Joyride
Anytime an app sheds marketplace exclusivity is a time for celebration. And that's the case with Jetpack Joyride, one of my favorite time-wasting apps of the year. It's now available in Google Play for the low, low price of free, meaning anyone and everyone should be able to strap on a pack and fly through the lab. The game is simple enough to keep your attention, with enough missions to keep things interesting.
Download: Jetpack Joyride (Free)
Anndrew Vacca - Google Maps
Sorry, but I couldn't resist. After a week of backlash and public outcry, one thing has never been more clear: sometimes the best apps are the ones you take for granted. Apple's decision to remove Google Maps, and its subsequent public reaction, has proven that this standard, preinstalled app is, and will be for the foreseeable future, the gold standard. There's simply no other alternative as accurate, fast, intuitive, and downright essential as Google's Maps, and as iOS users have learned this week, the definition of a great app is one that you don't notice until its gone. Call me crazy, but there has never been a better time to call Google Maps my app of the week.
Download: Google Maps (Free and Pre-installed on Android devices)
Richard Devine - OneCast
Podcast clients are plentiful on Android, something we should be grateful for. The choice is excellent, and there's bound to be something to please everyone. Onecast could be that something. It's an extremely simple podcatcher, and part of it's visual appeal is the transparent layer that shows through your homescreen wallpaper.
That aside, the catalog seems plenty well stacked -- and as you would expect, the fine range of Mobile Nations podcasts is included -- and adding a subscription is as easy as tapping on a show that you like the sound of. It's free and ad supported, and for those of you who have been reliant on Google Listen in the past for a no-nonsense podcatcher, this one might suit.
Download: OneCast (Free)
Alex Dobie - Bad Piggies
It may be the obvious choice this week, but Rovio's new Bad Piggies game is definitely worth wasting a few hours with, if you haven't already done so. A spin-off from Angry Birds rather than a direct sequel, Bad Piggies follows the lil' green porkers as they construct a variety of ham-fisted contraptions (sorry).
Players are tasked with designing and piloting these craft, which are created in a 2D grid, though the world. The piggies must pick up eggs and magic boxes as they go, so the gameplay's a bit more involved than what you may be accustomed to in Angry Birds. Right now there are two worlds available to play through, in addition to an unlockable sandbox mode. Like all the best mobile games, it's a simple concept with plenty of expandability.
(Insert obligatory closing statement on Bad Piggies "bringing home the bacon" for Rovio.)
Jerry Hildenbrand - Tasks
Working here at Android Central means that you never have a day where something doesn't need done. Years of slacking have forced me to rely on electronic aids to help me remember the things I need to remember, and I finally found the perfect way with the Tasks app. There's no strange voodoo, it hooks into your Google account's task list (you did know you had one right?) and syncs everything up. It's simple, and has no other bells and whistles.
Why would you use Tasks over any of the other task list apps for Android? Easy question -- Tasks fully follows Android style guidelines, has both the Holo dark and Holo light theme built in, offers reminders similar to the stock Google calendar, and is fully compliant with the Android intents system -- meaning you can easily share data to and from the app. Add in a couple great looking and functional widgets (they resize as well) and you have a winner. Even if you missed it when it was on sale for a quarter, grab it from Google Play.
Download: Tasks ($0.99)
Simon Sage - Velocispider
Meet the Velocispider. He's part velociraptor, part spider, part cyborg, and all terrifying cannon-toting brood-protector. Tilt your Android device left and right to scuttle in front of your three eggs and defend them from all manner of airborne robotic monstrosities. Occasionally the wreckage resulting from your withering hail of energy blasts will drop power-ups which can provide extra health, powerful cannon upgrades, and other bonuses. Every once in awhile you'll encounter a boss of some kind, in which cases you may need to tap and hold the screen in order to charge up and release perfectly-timed power shots. Despite his partially-reconstructed adamantium-enforced skeleton, the Velocispider can only take so much damage; take too much, and you're toast. You're scored based on how many of your eggs survive the onslaught and how much damage you take in each wave of the attack. Velocispider is a fun, simple, cheap, mindless little game with an awesome premise and bitchin' 8-bit soundtrack. Check it out.
Download: Velocispider ($0.99)