You like apps. We like apps. The Android Market has tons of great apps, but sometimes they are hard to find. Let's take a look at some of our favorite applications from this past week together after the break.
After Twitter and Gmail, Read it Later is the application I use most on my phone and I'm completely addicted to it. If you haven't heard of the app before, Read it Later is a app that lets you save an article in an easy to read format so that you can, well, read it later.
The free version includes all the big features: A single reading list synced across all your devices (Computer, iOS, Android), Wireless downloads for offline viewing, and formatting articles in a clean, easy to read, "Text View" and the ability to change the font size and toggle "night mode" for easier reading in the dark.
Upgrading to Read it Later Pro ($2.99) unlocks additional features such as:
View your entire list (No limits on the number of articles that can be viewed or downloaded)
Search and Sort your list
Currently Reading (View all open/unfinished articles)
Scroll through articles using the volume rocker
I've used Read it Later Pro since it first came to the market and it's easily one my favorite apps to recommend to people, and that was before they offered a free trial version. If you enjoy keeping up with the news on the go, give Read it Later a try. I think you'll like it.
If you're into mind-benders, pay attention. What we've got here is Magic Cuts, a game born not only from the desire to make you furiously scratch your head, but also an academic paper about "dissecting planar shapes into two identical parts."
What results is an enjoyable romp, dragging lines about to slice shapes up into their identical halves. There's a whole plethora of things to halve, and some will definitely challenge you. The result is a seemingly simple game that's both fun and elegant.
Other than that, there's not much to say. It's free in the Market, so get out there and start slicing. QR code and download links are after the break.
After a series of successful beta tests, Dolphin Browser HD is now updated in the Android Market to version 5.0. There's a long list of features, both new and old that make it the web browser of choice for quite a few people, and with the latest free version all advertisements have been removed, giving users a premium app feature that many people have been wanting.
Besides the removal of ads, the look has been updated to what the folks at Dolphin are calling the "Fire UI," changes have been made to the Bookmarks menu and sidebar, the themes and add-ons have been updated, and the new tab button now open a a speed dial page where you can reach your favorites or re-open recently closed tabs.
If you are rocking a high density screen Android phone or tablet, you really have to give Dolphin HD a look -- there's a reason it has a 4.5 star rating in the Market, and we give it our own Editor's Choice tag here at the office. Dolphin HD is available in 16 languages, requires Android 2.0.1 or higher, and is free in the Android Market. Hit the break for the download link.
I have never understood why most Android phones refuse to automatically sync photos with Picasa. Android is extremely cloud-focused, with the deep integration with Google services that allow your data to be stored elsewhere so that if something happens to the device, your data will be safe. Photos seem like a natural step for this and it seems like Google could easily do it with their web-based photo service Picasa.
Until that happens, however, we have a wide array of this party options that can do this for us. DropSnap is the newest app of this nature and hails from CyanogenMod developers @optedoblivion and @ChrisSoyars. It does a very effective job automatically syncing your photos and videos to your Dropbox account.
The initial app is free, but there is a premium upgrade through an in-app purchase ($3.99) that will unlock the ability to automatically sync photos and videos taken from your device right to Dropbox.
It’s simple: when you open the app, you log in with your Dropbox account. Then go to Settings to set up which media folder the app is looking at and which Dropbox folder everything will be going to. Then everytime you take a photo from that point onward, it will immediately be sent to Dropbox. You can set it to only sync when on WiFi in case you want to conserve data.
It’s a nifty little app and one that works very well. I’ve tried Dropin and Sugarsync, but DropSnap provides everything I need and has been the one that I’ve stuck with the most thus far. The developers are great and will be listening to feedback carefully so don’t hesitate to make suggestions in the comments. Find the app links after the break.
SlingBox has announced that the SlingPlayer for connected devices beta will soon be coming to Google TV. that means users with a SlingBox Solo or Pro-HD will soon be able to use Google TV to watch programming from their SlingBox on any Google TV with an Internet connection, in addition to using the mobile version of SlingPlayer on their smartphones.
This is a great way to get more content on Google TV, which has seen content providers block access until they figure out how to license for it. Word is, the SlingPlayer for connected devices is more of a stand alone WebApp than a native Android application, and will be working it's way to other devices eventually. This also means you won't have to wait for Google to get Honeycomb and the Android Market onto your Google TV unit to try it out. If you want to try to get in on the action, hit the source link to sign up for the beta. We have a video demo of the app in action after the break.
Gamplay is simple. You've got a house. Zombies are attacking your house. And the only thing standing between you and the zombies are your plants. You start out with just a few basic resources. Your single-shot plants, the sun to provide some, well, sun for the plants, and sunflowers for extra sun. You collect suns to purchase more plants. The more plants you have, the more zombies you can kill.
And that's it. Plants vs. Zombies doesn't require quite as much strategy as some tower defense games, which is nice, but it can seem a bit too easy at times, at least in our initial time playing.
Plants vs. Zombies is available now in the Amazon Appstore (free today, $2.99 regularly).
The wait is over, folks. Plants vs. Zombies for Android is finally available. But it comes with a catch. First is that it's only available in the Amazon Appstore. No biggie. The other is that it's a whopping 75 megabytes. We can already feel your older phone creaking under the weight. (Never mind how long it's taking to actually download the thing. Lady Gaga's Amazon exclusive has nothing on this.) But for all those ones and zeroes, you get 49 killer plants and 26 varieties of zombies.
So get your download on at the link below, as the game is free today.
There is a lot of wireless back up / restore, locate and wipe applications available in the Android Market. But a lot of the time, getting all those solutions into one application is hard. You'll often find one app may have some of the features while; you'll need to download another in order to get all of what you seek. SmrtGuard Mobile Security for Android is looking to close that need for multiple apps by offering a all-in-one, complete solution for wireless back up / restore, locate, wipe and more.
Recently, SmrtGuard released version 5.08, which has the SmrtAdvisor feature: As soon as you download and install any third-party application, SmrtAdvisor feature will alert you if the application can uses your location, read/fwd your SMS/MMS, read/change your contacts, control your 'key strokes' remotely.
Oh, not to mention it has a full-featured call blocker and SMS blocker, which means you don't need to buy another app for block calls and SMS. The best part is that it even blocks unknown and private callers.
Wireless back up / restore, locate, wipe - Security for your device even when lost.
Application Transparency – Know what you are downloading, and report to SmrtGuard if you see something suspicious.
Permission Pattern Malware Scan – Uses permission pattern scanning technology to identify potential malware and disguising as a free app you recently downloaded.
Uninstall Notification – Along with our free companion application installed, SmrtBeacon, you will be notified if SmrtGuard is uninstalled. Likewise, if SmrtBeacon is uninstalled, you will be notified too.
Ability to export any backed up data.
SmrtGuard Mobile Security is turning 2 years old today -- Memorial Day 2011 -- and they are giving away 50 subscriptions to Android Central readers who are new to SmrtGuard. To enter, it is simple: Download SmrtGuard from the Android Marketplace. From SmrtGuard application, activate you account and then you are automatically entered!
Apps on apps on apps on apps. Just can't ever seem to get enough of great applications on your device can you? Well us either, and that is why we love to share with you, our favorite readers, some of our very own favorite applications. Hit the break and let's take a look at what we've got this week.
The Amazon Appstore is pushing out a minor update this evening, brining it to version 1.14. Besides a few compatibility fixes and the ever-present "stability improvements," they have implemented a new system to help prevent accidental app buying. Now to purchase an application users will have to verify their choice, instead of the application purchase and download happening immediately after a mis-click. This should cut down the number of accidental purchases -- all those $0.99 apps really do add up. I've done this myself, so I welcome the change.
If you don't get the push notification about the update, you can manually initiate it by pressing the menu button, then opening the Amazon Appstore settings, where you're given the option to manually check. It's clicktastic!
EA makes some outstanding games, and getting them on sale is a great way to have some fun with your Android phone. I'll be grabbing Worms in a few hours, what games are you guys looking forward to trying? Sound off!
TouchType this morning announced Swiftkey X, the latest iteration of its on-screen keyboard which is now in public beta status. Long known for its word-prediction capability, Swiftkey's got a new look, and new features.
First and foremost is the setup process. Swiftkey's new guide will walk you through downloading a language pack, installing and enabling the keyboard, and then the option of tying into your Facebook, Gmail or Twitter accounts.
Swiftkey has also seen improvements to its "fluency" engine, specifically with the addition of "Personal Input Modeling," which adjusts the touch-sensitive regions of the keyboard depending on how accurately you type.
Pretty cool, eh?
Now the important part: Swiftkey X is available on any smartphone running Android 2.x or above. It's a free upgrade for current paid users, and it's downloadable in the Android Market. We've got video with the Swiftkey folks as well as the full press release after the break.
Netflix just got itself a little update in the Android Market. First and foremost, new phones are officially supported, with the LG Revolution, Motorola Droid and Casio G'zOne Commando getting access. That brings the total number of supported devices eight, including the Droid Incredible, Nexus One, EVO 4G, T-Mobile G2 and Samsung Nexus S.
There also are a few bugfixes, including:
Fixed application failure on startup when phone's embedded storage space is almost full.
Removed check that prevented attempt to playback on unsupported devices.
And we've noticed that the volume's not as low as it used to be, so that's nice, too. If you've got one of the supported phones, get your download on in the Android Market. We've got links after the break.
Google today officially announced Google Wallet and Google offers: The search giant's foray into mobile payments. Teaming up with MasterCard, Sprint and Citi -- and using MasterCard's PayPass system -- Google Wallet is being put into beta mode starting in San Francisco and is scheduled for full launch later this summer.
The concept is pretty much how it sounds -- turning your NFC-enabled smartphone into your wallet. Credit cards use several layers of encryption, and you'll basically tap to pay using MasterCard's PayPass system.
Google debuted its Wallet services on the Sprint Nexus S 4G (the Nexus S is still the only smartphone in the United States with NFC). Launch the app, and it asks to connect to your account. Then you'll have to enter a PIN. You'll then enter your card information, again, a Citi MasterCard, for now. Note that this is different than merely storing your credit card information on the phone -- it's provisioned through a third party.
Don't have a Citi MasterCard? And don't want one? Google's also including a prepaid card that will let you add funds from other credit cards. But that's not to say you won't be adding other companies' cards in the future -- Google Wallet is an open platform.
More on security: If the phone's screen is turned off, NFC is turned off. And NFC also is inactive until the Google Wallet App is launched. It's got a tamper sensor as well, and will withstand laser attacks. Really. Google said so.
Google also announced Google offers -- deals done through Google, naturally.
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