We're fresh off of Google IO 2011, where we got a look at some favorite old applications, as well as some new ones. There's just so much to choose from these days, and that's a good thing. Let's hit the jump and take a look at some of our picks from this week.
Jerry Hildenbrand - Google I/O 2011 Live Wallpaper (free)
Google IO may be over until next year, but that's no reason not to have Bugdroid gracing your desktop! Google IO Live Wallpaper by KittehFace (they were at IO, by the way) is a really cool way to show off Android's live wallpapers, and everyone loves a space tunnel simulation, right? It's pure eye-candy -- install it, set it as your wallpaper and watch him fly. A tap on the screen will get you a barrel-roll, or a turbo-boost, or maybe just a friendly wave. They're all equally cool with the exploding Google IO logo zooming by. And KittehFace does a great job with a complex live wallpaper, it runs well on most any higher spec phone. Crank the cool factor up to eleven and show your love for bugdroid. Google IO Live Wallpaper runs on Android 2.1 and higher, provided your device supports live wallpapers, and the screenshot tearing is just the result of grabbing the screen -- the wallpaper itself is butter smooth. [Market Link]
Anndrew Vacca - PassItForward (free)
If you're carrying around two or more phones, whether because of job requirements or just a good ol' fashioned addiction, PassItForward is an essential. The app allows you to forward all incoming text messages to the phone number of your choice—ideal for receiving your personal texts on your work phone, or vice versa. To make things even sweeter, PassItForward has a scheduling option that allows you to schedule which days to forward, and what time to start and stop. There’s no limit to the number of texts you forward, though if you have a limited plan, you can set a max number of forwards right on the app. Upward and… um… forward! [Market Link]
Sean Brunett - Graphicly Comics (free)
With Thor and Captain America headlining the summer movie lineup, it shows that comic-based films aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. You may want to read the actual comics that have inspired the movies, and thanks to Graphicly, you can do so on your Android device. Graphicly features over 2000 titles from 150 publishers and is a free app on Android. They have made the app ubiquitous and because of that are allowing you to access anything purchased from their other apps, including the one for iOS, Chrome and Windows Phone 7. So if you’re a comic fan and haven’t checked out Graphicly yet, I highly recommend doing so. It provides a great experience alongside an enormous library. While you wait in line for the next big comic movie, take out your Android device and check out the origin story. [Market Link]
Jared DiPane - Gas Buddy (free)
Gas isn't a cheap anymore. And if you've got a nice big old truck, it hurts even more. Gas Buddy is a great free Android application that helps you locate the cheapest gas in your area, and even shows you how to get there. Sure it may seem silly to drive a bit further to save 10 cents a gallon, but when you are putting 20 + gallons in a tank, that's money for a cup of coffee right there that you saved. So, head into the market, and check it out. [Market Link]
Alex Dobie - BBC iPlayer (free)
The BBC iPlayer has been available on the web for some time, but the Beeb recent stepped up its game with an official Android app, offering similar functionality in a sleeker, more accessible package. The iPlayer app gives users access to the same range of catch-up TV as the web interface, with the added bonus of live TV broadcasts thrown into the mix. You'll still need Android 2.2 and Adobe Flash to watch shows through the iPlayer app, which may be disappointing news for anyone still languishing on Eclair, but on Froyo or Gingerbread the picture quality is great, and the tiled UI is really easy to navigate. The "For You" section, which recommends new content based on shows you've recently watched, it also a nice addition. BBC iPlayer is currently available to UK users only, but fortunately if you are in the UK, you can grab it from the Android Market free of charge. [Market Link]
Joshua Munoz - Minecraft Canary (free)
Minecraft Canary offers a full recipe list for everything in the game, ranging from weapons to food to even wool and smelting. No more cumbersome alt-tabbing involved when you're at your crafting table. Minecraft Canary also has a "Canary" option, where you pick if it's dawn or dusk and the "canary" tells you how many real-world minutes need to pass for the sun to rise or set. Now you'll know exactly how long to hide from the zombies and skeletons! Minecraft Canary also has a fully detailed "Game Info" menu that can clarify just about any mechanic you might be wondering about. With this, you'll be prepared for anything the game can throw at you, so craft on, blockheads, craft on. [Market Link]
Chris Parsons - iMediaShare (free, premium)
I love content -- be it movies, music, tv shows, podcasts whatever. I love it all. I also love being able to take it all with me wherever I go. For that, I use iMediaShare which basically turns my device into a remote control for any DLNA/UPnP media player. With it, not only can I share personal content such as pics and videos taken with my device, I can also share any content from the web as well. iMediaShare requires no additional hardware and no cables. All you need is your Android phone, internet-enabled TV and a WiFi network and if no internet enabled TV is available, it also works with video game consoles. When all set up, you can sit back and share any content from your device or from around the web plus, it comes in two versions. A free ad supported version and a premium version for only $4.99 -- give it a shot, you'll be pleased with how it works if you're looking for a way to share content from your device with others. [Market Link]
Menno - Gentle Alarm (free trial, $2.85)
I'm not really awake until I have that first (or second) cup of coffee in the morning, but until Android @Home let's me start the beans grinding from my phone, I have to depend on an old fashioned alarm, which is my phone. Gentle Alarm actually sets 2 alarms when you set one. The first (by default) goes off 30 minutes before your main alarm, and at a fraction of the volume. It's soft enough so that if you're in deep sleep, it won't wake you, but if your sleep cycle is ending you'll wake up for it. The main alarm will go off at the time you set it to, so you won't be "late" if you sleep through the first song. The app is highly customizable, allowing you to select volume, fade time, ringtone, etc for both alarms. You can even set it so that the main alarm won't turn off until you solve a pattern puzzle, where you can set the difficulty and time limit for solution. I'm not a morning person on the best of days, but at least now I'm not jolted out of bed to start the day on the wrong foot. The App is $2.85, but there is a trial version available as well. Until my phone controls my coffee pot, I think I've found the next best thing. [Market Link]
Kurt Schutte - SMS Backup & Restore (free)
Plain and simple, the name says it all. I like keeping my texts for various reasons and there's surely others of you who like keeping all of your text messages intact as well. For this, I use SMS Backup & Restore. This app gives you a host of options you'd wish for when backing up or restoring your messages including scheduling backups, previewing backups, selecting only chosen conversations, and, of course, restoring backups. It saves the created backups on your SD card so it's removable, transferrable, emailable, whatever! One of the nice features of this app is that root access is not required so everyone can use it! So whether you switch phones often, need to reset your device, flash a ROM every other day, or just like to keep things backed up for good measure, check out SMS Backup & Restore available for free from the Android Market. Also available from the same developer, Call Logs Backup & Restore. It does the same thing, but with your call log. [Market Link]
Everything you need to know about the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G
The Pixel 4a is now available, the Pixel 4a 5G is coming soon, and we've rounded up everything you need to know about both phones. Let's dive in!
What to expect from Amazon's September 2020 Alexa & Ring hardware event
Amazon is set to host its annual fall hardware event on Thursday, September 24. Here are a few devices that we might expect to see at tomorrow's event.
How does Samsung's S Pen work so damn well?
There are other reasons to want a Galaxy Note, but if you want a good stylus experience, it's really the only phone that has one. That's because Samsung has made the S Pen part of the phone through both hardware and software.
Open your eyes to the world of Linux with the best laptops
Linux has been around forever, and you don't need a desktop computer in order to tinker around and use it. These are the best laptops made to run Linux and come in many different forms, and some of the options may surprise you.