A couple tools, a game and a few odds and ends to keep you busy this weekend
We all love to discover new apps, but no matter how much the Play Store tries to highlight the quality ones, with hundreds of thousands to choose from it can be a daunting challenge. The best app recommendations we often get are from friends and family about an app "you just have to try". We try to help out with this app discovery problem every week by showing off one app from each of the Android Central writers -- the ones that we're using on a regular basis.
Hang around with us after the break on this Saturday afternoon and find a few new apps to install on your devices for the long weekend.
Sean Brunett - Wag.com
My fiancee and I are getting a puppy next week, so as you can image, we have been preparing like crazy. One website that has saved us a lot of time is Wag.com. Wag.com is the pet site operated by Quidsi, which is owned by Amazon. It offers pretty much anything you could want for your pet, including food, treats, beds and toys. Aside from the website, I have been using the Android app because it’s pretty fantastic. The UI is simple and easy to navigate, which can’t always be said about shopping sites. Once you get in the app, you’ll immediately see a menu for you to choose which animal to shop for. Once you select one of those, you can browse different categories. I have shopped for the puppy often on my Android devices and the checkout experience has been fantastic, as you would imagine for a company owned by Amazon. I highly recommend checking it out for those with pets in their lives.
Download: Wag.com (Free)
Jerry Hildenbrand - SphereShare.net
We've long said that Photospheres need a way to be broken out of Google+. There's nothing wrong with Google's social media excursion, but the fact is that some people don;t want to use it, and were missing out on seeing the really cool Photospheres that some people were making. When Google released an API to view them, we knew it was only a matter of time.
That's where SphereShare.Net comes into play. It's a place where users can upload their Photospheres into a gallery, and it's accessible from the web on any browser or from the dedicated Android app. Mark your shared Photospheres public or private, browse the open galleries, view the locations on a world map, and rate the ones publicly shared. It uses Googles new single sign-in API as well, so there is no complicated sign-up needed. If you're into Photospheres, whether just looking or creating and sharing, this is the new community you'll want to be part of. The app is free, but a 99 cent in-app purchase removes ads and your premium account will let you download Photospheres that have been shared with the world right to your own gallery.
Download: SphereShare.net (Free)
Simon Sage - Blip Blup
The twisted minds that brought us Whale Trail have cooked up a super-simple puzzle game called Blip Blup. Players have a limited number of taps on a square grid to fill an entire maze. Colors radiate outwards from wherever you tap, and are blocked by walls, though they can move diagonally across squares. As you progress through the nine packs of maps, new types of squares start peppering the levels, which generally just make life more difficult. The minimalist art and music keep Blip Blup very interesting, and the unique puzzle mechanic keeps things interesting throughout your progression. You've got 120 puzzles to chew on for free, so long as you can stomach the occasional interstitial ad, or you can shell out $1.99 to kill the ads and get an extra map pack. Blip Blup is a fun, thoughtful, and polished brain teaser that is bound to keep you challenged.
Download: Blip Blup (Free/$1.99)
Andrew Martonik - Sensorly
A few weeks back I was looking for some information on whether or not T-Mobile was testing LTE in my market of Seattle, and was introduced to Sensorly as a tool that would help me find out. Ever since, this app has been installed on every one of my devices as a great tool to have for testing and general geeking out about wireless networks. Sensorly is a crowd-sourced database of coverage from all of the major carriers in the U.S., but importantly it separates out the maps by 2G, 3G and 4G so you can granularly look at coverage. The maps aren't definitive expressions of coverage because they're user-submitted, but it will often give you a better idea than the official (or should I say "theoretical") coverage maps from the carriers themselves. Markets with a good number of contributors are very well mapped.
If you want to help out others and join in on the data submission it's super easy as well, giving you options to map your trips and report back the towers that you hit. There's also a good speedtest tool included in the app too, if that's your kind of thing.
Download: Sensorly (Free)
Alex Dobie - Night Flare Live Wallpaper
Creating a great animated live wallpaper app isn't easy. You need to come up with an animated background that looks good without being too visually busy, and manage performance constraints across a wide variety of devices. Night Flare Live Wallpaper by Vectors and Pixels is an app that manages to juggle all these variables with ease. The animation itself is relatively simple -- colored orbs and sparks floating through a cloudy multicolored background. It's reminiscent of Google's "Bubbles" live wallpaper, as well as the old HTC Sense Bokeh animation.
Like all the best animated wallpapers it's endlessly customizable, and also comes with a wide selection of presets to choose from, including "Rainbow," the one in the screenshot above. For only $1 on the Google Play Store, you couldn't ask for much more. Night Flare is available for Android 2.1 and above, and it's definitely worth a look if you're on the hunt for a great live wallpaper.
Download: Night Flare Live Wallpaper ($1.00)
Chris Parsons - Concert Vault
Wolf Gang's Vault. I'm sure not a lot of folks have heard of it but the site houses a massive library of music and live concert videos and was at one time referred to as "the most important collection of rock memorabilia and recordings ever assembled in one business". It was compiled by the late concert promoter, Bill Graham. Once offered to all for free, Wolfgang's Vault is now a paid offering.
Arguably, the app is in need of some polish but it is free to download and with free 7-day trial you can check out all the content available and decide if it's worth the $3.99/month or $39.99/per year. Aside from just offering up a whole slew of audio content from rock, blues, jazz, folk and country legends it also offers access to the catalog of video as well. In short, if you're a fan of any of the above genres of music, this app is worth the time to check out. It's a gold mine for content and you really do need more than the 7-day free trial it offers to make your way through it.
Download: Concert Vault (Free, Subscription)
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.