We've got a jam-packed week of app picks for you guys today. Everyone around Android Central is chiming in with their favorite app. This is another diverse week where we hit all the different app genres -- games, sports, productivity, tools and more. The best part about these picks is they're all either completely free, or have a free version. That's how we like it, folks. Read on.
Chris Parsons - Bombshells: Hells Belles
A classic arcade style bomber game with some decent graphics and awesome game play. With over 200 planes to potentially make use of and online multiplayer, Hells Belles will have you taking to the skies for some serious dog fight action. You'll want to keep in mind though that the game does require quite a bit of space (450MB) and if you're really looking to get deep into it, chances are you'll spend some money on in-app purchases. For me, it's a great causal game to play while wasting some time but it can be a serious game if you invest. Need to see more before you dive in? You can check out the trailer for it here.
Download: Bombshells: Hells Belles (Free - In app purchases)
Jerry Hildenbrand - Tasker App Factory
So you have this ass-kicking Tasker profile all set up, and you know a couple other people (or maybe a whole lot of other people!) would really love to use it. You could turn them all on to the Tasker app and teach them how to import profiles and scenes, then set things up to run them, but wouldn't it be great if you could just package everything up as a stand-alone app they could install?
You can with this add-on. Tasker App Factory is a plug-in that takes just about any Tasker setup and creates an app out of it, that anyone can install -- even if they don't have Tasker on their phone. Make no mistake, these are signed APK files that you could even upload to Google Play and not just some script that only a nerd could run. I find it's perfect to add a little automation to my wife's Android phone without having to explain the Tasker concept and how to work it to her. It's really easy, and the fact that it's a free add-on makes Tasker even more worth the $7 it costs. You have to check it out if you're a Tasker user, and I know a good many of you are!
Sean Brunett - ESPN Radio
I'm a huge sports fan and I love listening to Mike and Mike in the morning, which is a talk show to start the day. Before smartphones if one of your local stations didn't carry ESPN, you'd be out of luck. Sirius is another option, but if you don't want to pay the monthly fee, there are a few Android apps that will bring you the content for free. The ESPN Radio app brings you live streams from over 35 ESPN stations across the country. With the app you can also listen to archived podcasts, play-by-play of some games and create custom stations. You can even download a playlist you've created so that you can listen offline. They recently updated the app, which has definitely improved the experience. There are still occasionally some issues with streaming but this is a great app if you want to get your ESPN fix.
Download: ESPN Radio (Free)
Andrew Martonik - Gyro
A couple weeks ago, I talked about the app Drop7 as a great time waster puzzle game. While I keep my Drop7 game going regularly, if I have a good block of time on my hands and want to get stuck in a game, I choose Gyro. In a very “arcade” style game, you spin around a 3-colored wheel and match up with the colored dots coming in at different rates. You get extra points and power ups for chains of dots, and the pace picks up over time. There are a few game modes, but even on the normal mode it’s one of those games that you can play over and over trying to beat a high score and it never gets boring. Perfect for time wasting. Perfect for frustration.
Download: Gyro (Free)
Alex Dobie - TubeMap
Unless you're a veteran Londoner who's lived in the city all your life, working out the best route between various places on the Underground can be a tricky and time-consuming task. There are plenty of web-based utilities to help you plan your Tube travel, but having a native, Android-based app is even better. TubeMap is one such application, and it comes with a bunch of useful features to help you get around London.
The main view is a large, zoomable map of the entire Underground network, and from there you can press the menu button to access more features. These include status updates for each individual line, the ability to find individual stations based on name or location, and departure time lookups. There's also an area where you can plug your Oyster card details in and check your balance on-the-go. If you live or work in London, or are just a regular visitor, it's an indispensable tool.
TubeMap is free and ad-supported, and available for devices running Android 2.1 and above. If you don't like ads, you can upgrade to TubeMap Pro for 69 pence.
Richard Devine - ReaderHD
Part of life on staff here at Android Central involves a whole lot of reading RSS feeds, for which Google Reader is the tool of choice. Pretty much since forever, I've used the official Google Reader application on my Android devices, but some recent and unexplained jankyness has forced me to look elsewhere. Turns out to be a good move as I've now discovered Reader HD which is available for Android 3.0 and up. As such
Available in free and paid versions, Reader HD offers a wealth of customisation options to tailor the experience to your needs. One of which is a dark theme, and everything feels better with a dark theme. The UI is clean and simple, with traditional list view complimented by an optional magazine style layout. For tablets too, there is an option to use the phone UI when in portrait mode, which is perfect for reading on the Nexus 7. The controls you would expect from an RSS reader are all present too, to control auto-syncing, managing subscriptions, and it supports listening podcast feeds. Well worth a look if you rely a lot on RSS feeds to keep up to date with the news.
Simon Sage - Battery Doctor
Battery Doctor is a free utility that not only gives you an accurate diagnostic reading of how much battery life you have left, but also gets you into the habit of smart battery-saving habits. A notification tray bar provides an estimate of how many hours of usage are left, while drilling into the app will allow you to quickly disable features and see how much time you can save by turning them off. If you're experiencing particularly steep drain, Battery Doctor also ranks apps based on their battery usage. One of the more helpful features I've noticed is the tone the app emits when your phone reaches a full charge; way too often do I leave gadgets plugged in for longer than they need to be. Battery Doctor is free, and it's a very polished experience all around. Try it out!
Download: Battery Doctor (Free)