Android Central

Let's all gather around the air conditioner, take few minutes and relax. Depending on your location the summer has been kicking some serious heat off this year, so let's spend a few minutes together and check out some of our favorite applications. Just past the break you will find apps like WeatherEye, My Movies Pro, Ski Safari, and a few others that we are greatly enjoying. Let's see what they are all about.

Richard Devine - World Snooker Championship

Snooker Champ

I'm a huge Snooker fan, albeit not so hot at playing but I've long loved the game. I'm still stocking up on games with my Google Play credit , and so imagine my delight when I found an official World Snooker Championship game.

It's a little difficult to control on a small screen, I will say that, but that's the only negative. Stick it onto a table and it's much more user friendly.

The physics are realistic, the venue and the computer players are realistic and it's a lot of fun to play. There are various game modes as you would expect, including single games up to Championships. It's pretty challenging without being too difficult, and eventually you do learn that 100% power isn't always the best shot!

Download: World Snooker Championship ($1.60)

Chris Parsons - WeatherEye

Weather Eye

No doubt, there is a ton of weather apps to choose from in the Google Play Store. One of the older names, Weathereye, has brought a whole new UI to their app recently and it looks great especially for those who like a more minimal approach to weather apps. Four widget options are now included along with 12 of the best weather icon sets available. Plus, the function of adding your own icon sets has been added in. The app is free but it has ads. A pro key to remove ads is available for around $2, depending on your region.

Download: WeatherEye (Free)

Phil Nickinson - Ski Safari

ski safari

Warning: Do not play this game if any of the following conditions applies: You have a family, life, desire to leave the house or need to eat and bathe on a regular basis. Ski Safari is one of those "distance" games in which you try to do something for as long and as far as possible -- in this case, ski your little dude down a hill before the avalanche catches you. There are challenges that let you promote your skiier -- catching penguins in mid-air, doing backflips on abonimable yeti, hitch rides on eagles -- the usual stuff. The game's simple enough that you're not going to want to put it down.

Download: Ski Safari ($0.99)

Jerry Hildenbrand - Fruit Ninja Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots

¡Olé! Who loves a quick game that wastes the five minutes you have to waste while waiting for life to happen every day? I do! Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots (which I'm going to call PiB from here on out) is a great game for it. It takes the great game play from Halfbrick's legendary Fruit Ninja games, mixes it up with scenery and cheeky humor from DreamWorks' Puss in Boots animated classic. All the melon smashing, berry slicing, and apple blasting goodness is there, with a completely new mode called "Bandito" where you face random challenges to advance to the final act -- where a piñata waits for you to whack the living daylights out of.

There's free unlockable content, and global leader boards if you're into that sort of thing. More importantly, the game's fun as heck, and the dialog (Stay juicy my friend!) is campy and hilarious. Well worth a buck!

Download: Fruit Ninja Puss in Boots ($1.02)

Anndrew Vacca - NBC Olympics


The NBC Olympics app was featured in our round up of the best apps for Olympics fans, but it's hard not to recommend this to just about everyone. Those bored by the games will find a whole new experience within the app, which gives you quick results for the day's events, as well as a schedule, medal counts,  and live coverage of a select event of the day. But what I enjoy the most is what the app turns into during primetime: essentially acting as a second screen, the app will feature pop up facts, additional stats and information, and more to submerse you even deeper into what you're watching on TV. It completely changes the viewing experience and offers those who can only stomach so many table tennis matches a whole new level of entertainment. A minor glitch, though: you will need a higher-end device, as the app has been known to crash from time to time on lower-end phones. Regardless, even for the casual Olympics fan, this is worth a look.

Download: NBC Olympics (Free)

Sean Brunett - My Movies Pro

My Movies Pro

I'm a big movie fan and collector. As the collection grows, however, it gets increasingly difficult to manage. I had no desire to start a spreadsheet of my own, so I sought an Android app and i found My Movies Pro. Ive only been using it for a little while, but I've been thoroughly impressed thus far. It focuses on one thing and does it really well: organizing and keeping track of your movies. When adding a movie to the list, you can choose the specific one that you bought (Blu-ray, DVD, Collector’s Edition, etc...) and you can also choose whether you own it, rent it or just want to get it later. What I like most about the app is the way it displays the collection. It shows your movies on a shelf in a way that’s really nice to look at, and if you don’t like it, you can choose the list view. I have been really enjoying this app.  The price is a bit steep at $5.99, but try the free version first and then decide if you want it; it’s definitely worth it in my opinion.

Download: My Movies Pro ($5.99)

Alex Dobie - 500px


If you like cool photos, you'll want to check out the 500px application for Android, which brings content from the leading photography sharing site to your Android phone or tablet. In addition to browsing popular, upcoming or "fresh" images and slideshows from 500px, the app also lets you search the site's virtual gallery and keep track of photos uploaded by you or your friends. If you've just picked up a super-high-resolution phone or tablet like the HTC One X or ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity, this app is a great way to show off your shiny new screen.

The 500px app for Android is available for free on the Google Play Store for phones and tablets running Android 2.2 and above.

Download: 500px (Free)

Andrew Martonik - Starbucks


If you followed me on Foursquare, you'd know that I spend more time at coffee shops than I do at home. If you're like me, it's pretty much required that you have the Starbucks app installed on your phone. It tracks your Starbucks rewards, lets you refill your account via credit card and provides you with a map of all Starbucks locations near you.

The main reason to install the app though is for mobile payments. Any app that can shorten my time at the register and get me closer to my delicious quadruple venti extra hot caramel macchiato is a good thing. Until Starbucks decides to implement Google Wallet NFC terminals, I have to keep using the Starbucks app if I want to pay with my phone. To pay, just tap a button to display a barcode, which you then hold up to customer-facing scanners at the register. I've yet to find a location that isn't setup with the self-scanners, and it saves that extra time of handing over a card or cash to pay. Oh, and of course you feel like you're in the future every time you do it. I wouldn't want to pay for my coffee any other way now.

Download: Starbucks (Free)


Reader comments

Apps of the Week - WeatherEye, Ski Safari, My Movies Pro and more!


There was a good reason I switched from Starbucks app to My Coffee Card Pro.

But because its too hot for Starbucks at the moment, my mind is coming up blank when I try to remember what that reason was. Might have been when the Starbucks app ballooned to 8 freakin meg and got wonkey for a while.

It is a huge mistake to just discuss My Movies without realizing all of the additional functionality that it provides for services outside of the phone.

The My Movies pro app is made by the same company that is behind the My Movies media Center Plug in, and the My Movies Windows Home Server Addins. It is not only great for cataloging a collection on your phone but manageing movies throught a home, Converting movies to use on different resources, and provides you a web based access list as well. I know I just scraped the surface, but the point is unlike some apps that may just catalog a collection there really is allot more to what My Movies can do then just the android app.

how is the my movies pro useful?

Just run XBMC, store all your stuff on the PC, have the same collection view-able on the big screen and also on your android via the XBMC app (and actually launch the media). (Confused here about it's purpose?) Seems like a big waste of time to set up.

It seems to me that it was brought up here as a good catalog tool for a movie/TV collection on the phone. The point I was trying to make is that it can actually be allot more then that.

XBMC is a younger app from what I understand. The My Movies app pre-dates it by quite a bit. My Movies was originally made for Windows Media Center in Windows XP 2005. My movies has the ability to manage media for several different platforms as well. It can actually create and manage metadata for XBMC clients as well.

Best way to sum it up is XBMC replaces Media Center, but still may need metadata information from something like My Movies. My Movies itself doesn't really play your content but just manages all of the details and media information. A quick run down of what I mean is

I have a WHS 2011 server, a Dedicated HTPC, 2 desktops, a laptop, Moto Xoom, Galaxy Note.
1. The WHS rips, converts, acts as a central storage repository, manages database metadata information for all of my media(audio, and video)
2. The dedicated HTPC, my desktop, and laptop talk to the database on the server for content information and display it in Media Center, I get full movie metadata on them, cover art and backdrop images.
3. The Xoom, and Note have the pro app for me to manage/review the collection when I am not home. Generally I have used them to review the collection before I pick up a movie I may already own. Recently a function was added to download converted content to portable devices.

With WHS and the My Movies Online Library function all of this is kept in sync as changes are made. I would say the Online Library functionality adds some extra fetures but honestly, I haven't really used it.

There is allot to my movies that you don't realize until you really start to use it. It can be so much more then a movie catalog app on a phone.

Does the XMBC app fill in all the metadata for itself? It might now, but that was originally the base functionality that My Movies was built on I think, as an add on to XMBC... I'm sure there's some overlap in functionality now but My Movies is indeed very comprehensive if you're serious about cataloguing your movie collection.

Yeah, the 500px app is definitely worthless. It will not allow you to set as wallpapers? What is the point? If you want great HD wallpapers, download pic speed wallpapers. It rocks.