Apps of the Week

Things around here have been pretty busy (if you haven't noticed) because of the Samsung Galaxy S4 announcement, but we still managed to get together some great app picks for you. This week is a little utility-heavy, as we have a great crop of apps that will help you get things done. There's still a couple of fun ones thrown in though, naturally.

Hang around after the break and see how our app picks stack up this week.

Michelle Haag - The Walking Dead - Dead Yourself

The Walking Dead

Every Sunday night, millions of people tune in to watch The Walking Dead on AMC. I am one of those people as it's a fantastic show with a great story and lots of good ol' zombie killing. AMC has released several apps to go along with the show, and the latest of these is called The Walking Dead - Dead Yourself. This free app allows you to take a picture and add all sorts of gruesome zombie effects to it, turning yourself and anyone else whose picture you can snap into zombies. The fun doesn't end there though, of course. You can upload your images to the public Walker Gallery where other fans can vote on them, as well as share to Facebook, Twitter, etc. Each week new content will be added, so the gory mouths, eyes, backgrounds, and props will never get boring. If you're into The Walking Dead or zombies in general, you should check this app out as it's quite entertaining. 

Download: The Walking Dead - Dead Yourself (Free)

Sean Brunett - Wallpapers and Backgrounds HD

Wallpapers and Backgrounds HD

I’m in a customization mood this week, so I want to feature a wallpaper app. I love to test a variety of wallpaper apps to see what they offer and if there are any unique photos within them. Even though Wallpapers and Backgrounds HD is very popular, for some reason I hadn’t tried it. It’s a great app, though, with a slew of great wallpapers to choose from. On the bottom of the app, you’ll see a menu where you can choose Recent, Ranking (the highest rated), Categories, Favorites, History and Settings. Once you find an image that you like, you’ll be able to set it as your wallpaper, set it as a contact’s photo, save it, share it or favorite it. It’s a great app if you want to give your phone a little more personal touch.

Download: Wallpapers and Backgrounds HD (Free)

Casey Rendon - MightyText

MightyText

If you’ve ever wanted to send text messages from your computer or tablet, you should definitely check this app out. Mighty Text lets you send text messages using your computer’s web browser or a tablet companion app. The best part about it, unlike a lot of similar apps, is that your phone does not have to be on the same WiFi network or connected via Bluetooth to send texts from your other devices. You can get call notifications as well, and even check your phone’s battery level! All contacts and their pictures are kept in sync making it easy to create new messages. Extra settings include enabling pop-up notifications, and if you’re using a web browser you can change the length of time to keep texts and switch view options. It’s hard to believe that all this works so well for the low, low price of free.

Download: MightyText (Free)

Alex Dobie - Feedly

Feedly

With Google Reader set to bite the dust this July, many of us will be looking for a viable alternative for RSS, and the best I've found is Feedly. Feedly is a news reader that plugs into Google Reader, and can display content in a magazine-like or list layout. Visually, its an elegant mix between a standard RSS reader and more visual apps like Flipboard.  It's attractive yet concise -- more images and better visual design than Google Reader, better information density than a straight-up aggregator like Flipboard or HTC BinkFeed.

Better still, Feedly says it's switching over to its own reader platform soon -- replacing the old Google Reader API -- and that those who sign in now through Google Reader will have a seamless transition to the new service. Definitely worth a look for any Google Reader refugees out there.

Download: Feedly (Free)

Andrew Martonik - Opera browser beta

Opera browser beta

We took a look at the new WebKit-based Opera browser beta a little while back, and I've kept it around on my phone as a worthy companion to Chrome Beta. It performs just as well as Chrome, and in many ways has more features like the new "Off-Road" mode. For browsing when I'm in bad coverage areas, Opera beta is just a better choice for me -- it offers the same performance when on the page and a faster way to get to that page.

I don't think it could ever be my primary browser because like many of you I'm so deeply integrated with Chrome Sync, but it's certainly worth keeping around for the right situation that needs a quick, lightweight browser.

Download: Opera browser beta (Free)

Jerry Hildenbrand - Shot Control

Shot Control

I've been recommending Shot Control for everyone running stock Android since I ran across it in Google Play last year. The stock Android camera app sucks. Even if you have a phone with good camera hardware (like the Nexus 4, believe it or not), the software that takes all the raw data and turns it into a picture is pretty bad at correcting things, and getting the right "shot" is hit or miss. I'm not talking features like the crazy scenes and filters you'll find in Sense or TouchWiz, I mean the way it adjusts things like the ISO and focus before it locks on. That is really important, and unless you're outside on a bright day the stock Android camera app doesn't seem to be able to get it right a lot of the time.

That's what Shot Control does. You pick how you want to focus, what ISO to use, where to set the ev, and other camera nerd settings, then you can lock things like the exposure value and white balance down so they don't change. And it does it with simple on screen controls that stay visible while your seeing the camera view. I also have a thing with controls that are hidden deep in menus, and the latest update for Shot Control made them damn near perfect for me, placing a side-scrolling list under the camera view. If you like to take pictures and aren't afraid to mess with your camera settings, spend the three bucks and pick this app up -- it will soon be your default camera app.

Download: Shot Control ($2.99)

Simon Sage - Modern Combat 4

Simon Sage

Modern Combat 4 went on sale for a limited time, and for a buck, it's hard to go wrong. MC4 is still my favorite shooter game on Android. Mass Effect: Infiltrator is nice and all, but Modern Combat 4 really captures the feel of the PC and console games we all know and love, like Black Ops and Battflefield 3. Players earn experience through single player and multiplayer matches, unlock new gear, and fully customize their soldiers. As with any other Gameloft title, you can always fast track by buying premium currency through in-app purchases. If you need to let off some steam this weekend, definitely pick up Modern Combat 4. 

Download: Modern Combat 4 ($0.99 sale)

Richard Devine - Tu Go from O2

Tu Go from O2

Google Voice still hasn't -- and probably never will -- made it to the UK, which is a shame. Telefonica by way of their UK carrier, O2, has though launched their own Google Voice-eque service called Tu Go. In essence, it means that O2 customers can use their regular mobile phone number on other devices. Be it phones, tablets, anything that the app can run on should allow O2 customers to use their voice and text allowances from that device.

You can be logged in on up to 5 different devices at once, but currently the service is limited to pay monthly customers only at this time, so no joy for prepaid customers sadly. 

Download: Tu Go from O2 (Free, UK only)


Happen to miss previous editions of our weekly app picks? You can check them out right here. Our continuing weekly app coverage can also be seen right here as well.

 

Reader comments

Apps of the Week: The Walking Dead, MightyText, Feedly and more!

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I've used MightyText in the past on my One X+ and I've gotten notifications for MMS messages through MightyText and they would never even show up on my phone... so I got rid of it because of that... don't know if they fixed it or what but seems like a pretty big bug to me

I keep going back and forth, but I think I like MySMS better than MightText overall. Though they really do about the same thing. MySMS' main advantage is that it has a better cloud infastructure and keeps messages in the cloud, and offers SMS export to Evernote as well when you want to get older messages off of your devices and the MySMS cloud.

Why would they limit where you can install the walking dead app? I'm getting this app is not available in your country, even though the show is.

Yeah, fck this app! To limit the countries that can install this is horseshit. No love for expats. I say take any app off this list that is not worldwide for install!!!

I suggest zombie booth. It's really good too, plus it is animated so after you make the picture you can rub your finger across the screen and it will bite you and make growls and show blood splatter. Give them some love if AMC wants to be retarded!

me too. it's the best I've found. better than mysms and CrossTXT. Ability to show MMS on web and tablet app is awesome.

Not impressed by feedly on the phone or tablet. GReader is my choice for both phone and tablet. Web interface is freaking awesome! No doubt my Google Reader replacement.

Mightytext FTW! I sometimes hate typing on my phone. Perfect for me when I'm at work and don't want to pick up the phone.

My wife just got the jb upgrade on her RAZR and hates the built in camera app. I just told her about the camera app and she got all excited. Thanks, Jerry!

I took advantage of the sale price and picked up Modern Combat for my N7. The game seems cool but it suffers from the same problem as any game like this I've tried on a touch screen: the controls are so unresponsive that it is more frustration than fun. I really can't see how anybody plays these games on a tablet, let alone a phone.

Personal favorite of the week is anagram hero from sven. Still quite buggy, but fun while they work out the kinks.

Thanks for the heads up on MC4. I've been waiting for it to go on sale. I would have completely missed it.

-Suntan

Hey y'all, if you really wanna talk about a cool new app, you should talk about "papitrampoline". Somehow you can't find it if you don't spell it all together.
Is the best game out there for the price and storage space.
It's like 3 weeks old but hasn't made it to the last "apps of the week" articles.

I agree. The video review showing the old version (pre-v.3.0) showed all the controls in the upper-right corner, but the actual app now has the controls fighting for space against the filmstrip in a cluttered bottom strip leaving that quadrant empty most of the time. Too bad.