Weekly Apps

Apps, apps and more apps! It's an appapalooza! And appstravaganza! It's appstronomical! OK. We'll quit while we're behind. But we're back with another week's worth of app picks, so slide on past the break and see what we've chosen this week.

Jerry Hildenbrand - USA Today tablet edition (free)

USA Today

As a recent tablet convert, I'm realizing that they are perfect for consumption. Web browsing, Twitter, USA Todayand reading the news are perfect use cases for a big slab of glass and touch controls. Granted, a lot of my news reading habits are pretty specific, but for general "soft" news I find myself opening the USA Today tablet app daily. The layout and function makes great use of my Tab 10.1's big screen, the controls are laid out well, and visually, the app is awesome. On the left pane is your list of stories, separated into categories you can select via tabs at the top. A quick button tap takes you a video browser or photo gallery, and with one press you can open a full article for reading on the entire screen. I highly recommend this one for anyone with a Honeycomb tablet, of any variety. It's free on the Android Market, and needs Android 3.0 or higher. [Market Link]

Chris Parsons - Duckhunt (free)


I'm an '80s kid. and as such, I rocked the heck out of the Nintendo Entertainment System when it Duck Huntfirst launched. While there are plenty of 8-bit wonders out there these days, nothing beats the classics. Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, Excite Bike -- but none of those more awesome then Duck Hunt. That mean ol' dog just drove me nuts as a kid, always mocking me when I missed.. making me always fire the gun in frustration. Sadly, I no longer have a working NES -- but, that's not a problem these days since available in the Android Market is an awesome port of Duck Hunt plus, it's free. If you're an '80s kid like me, head on over to the Android Market and grab it, now. [Market Link]

Joshua Munoz - xkcdViewer (free)


xkcdSometimes checking the latest comic isn't at the forefront of my mind, so when I need to get caught up, I turn to xkcdViewer. It's a pretty simple, no-frills app, but it gets the job done giving me an xkcd fix when necessary. It loads the latest comic by default, and from there you can favorite certain comic strips, navigate forward or backward with the arrow keys, or even jump to a comic at random. There's also the option to search by title and tapping the comic gives you whatever zinger mouseover text would usually be found on the website. It's a solid choice for any xkcd fan, and really, if you're reading about Android, you're probably reading xkcd, too. [Market Link]

Anndrew Vacca - FREEdi Youtube Downloader (free, Amazon Appstore)

Youtube Downloader

FREEdi Youtube Downloader is a great app that, despite the awful name, has skyrocketed to become the fourth most popular free app on the Amazon Appstore. FREEdi lets you download Youtube videos straight to your phone or tablet in either MP3, MP4, or AAC formats. Simply search for a video through the FREEdi interface, and long click to download. Once complete, the videos are stored within the app, giving you offline access that really comes in handy during those long subway commutes. Unfortunately, the interface isn't nearly as clean as the native Youtube app, and there's a slight (OK, large) chance that the app might be pulled. But if having your own collection of Youtube videos is your cup of tea, grab it while it's hot (and available). [Amazon Market Link]

Menno - Chalk Ball (€1.49)

Chalk Ball

One part Brick Breaker, one part JezzBall, I find Chalk Ball to be more addicting than any simple Chalk Ballgame has a right to be. You have a limited amount of "Chalk" and you have to use it to keep the ball from dropping off the bottom of the screen. Making a line requires chalk, so if you just do a line across the whole bottom every time, you'll quickly run out of chalk and watch helplessly as the ball falls off your screen. Above your line, chalk dots will appear, and hitting those will refill your chalk reserves. As the game progresses, different dots will appear, some of them refilling your reserves completely, while others will clone your ball for you. It's deceptively simple, but a lot of fun. There is a full version available, but if you want to try it for longer than 15 minutes, look up Chalk Ball Light in the marketplace. [Market Link]

Alex Dobie - GTasks (free, premium)


Proper Gmail Tasks integration is something that's still missing from Android, and GTasks is an Gtasksexcellent app that plugs this gap, allowing you to manage all your tasks on the go. The app synchronizes with your Google account, pulling down any existing tasks, and offers the same functionality that you get in the Gmail desktop interface, only with a vastly superior UI. Swiping left and right takes you between task lists, and other options for synchronization and clearing completed tasks can be accessed via the menu button. There's even the option to add notification reminders to your tasks, which is a great way to make sure you don't lose track of important deadlines. The basic, ad-supported version of GTasks is free, but the ads can be disabled by purchasing a key for around $7. [Market Link]

Sean Brunett - TiVoRemote (premium)


Do you have a TiVo and often misplace the remotes? Or are you just lazy enough that you don’t TIVOwant to get off the couch to get them? If you download TiVoRemote you don’t have to worry about any of those because you can control your TiVo right from your Android device. This app works with TiVo Series 3, HD or Premiere; it does not work with Series 2. Other features include the ability to add multiple DVRs, shortcuts for easy Guide filters and channel access. Both of the devices must be on the same WiFi network as that is how they communicate. It takes about 5 minutes to set up, but once it’s done it works great. The remote is very usable and it’s nice to be able to just have your phone or tablet and control your TiVo box. The app is $0.99 in the Android Market and in my opinion worth every penny. [Market Link]

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