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.