Posts tagged android apps

10 Android Apps birthed by the Google’s dying Google Labs project

imageThe Android Market is home to plenty of apps, but a few of the best Android apps you know and love today actually got their start in Google Labs, a proving ground that is being shut down.

Research SVP Bill Coughran announced via the Google Blog that the company would shut down Labs in order to put more wood behind fewer arrows. For those of you who don’t speak metaphor, Google is going to focus its resources on fewer projects in order to make those endeavors stronger and grow faster.

Google’s plan of action is to end all Lab experiments and concentrate on making existing products better. This does not mean that innovation will stop because Googlers will still have time for pet projects and the company will continue to develop new products. However, the Labs program will shut down. “Many of the Labs products that are Android apps today will continue to be available on Android Market,” according to Coughran, and some technology will be incorporated into other products, so don’t worry about losing out.

I can understand why Google would take this course of action. More than a few people have asked why Google has similar products in competition with each other, namely Pool Party and Photovine both having their own photo-sharing services rather than work with Google+ or Picasa.

Regardless of whether you think that’s right or wrong, let’s take a quick look back at some of the Android apps that have emerged from Google Labs, and see how they’ll survive.

1. App Inventor

App InventorThis was the most interesting Lab product in my opinion. Designed to give people a chance to create very basic apps and get an elementary understanding of Android app creation, it originally made me think the Market would be flooded with crap apps. It lives today as just another way to mess around with Android. Play with it for yourself.

2. Finance for Android

Finance for AndroidBack in March 2009, Google decided to remind us all how much the recession was kicking our economic butts with an app that could track stocks, portfolios, and news stories. The app has continued to do that ever since, and now offers real-time quotes for U.S. markets, but hasn’t improved much . I’d like to see this project get some more attention since it’s been stagnant for so long, and some international market support wouldn’t hurt either.

3. Gesture Search

Gesture SearchIn March 2010, Google came up with a way to quickly scroll through contacts by gesturing with an “N” and jumping to the names with an “N” in them. It was available as an app and never integrated into the default contacts app, so I soon lost interest. To be honest, I doubt people really care if this is supported or not, despite the 4.5 rating in the Android Market. A lack of updates makes me think Google doesn’t care much either.

4. Google Goggles

Google GogglesGoogle Goggles was hard to say and even harder to dislike in December 2009. Everyone loved the ability to take a picture of a book, CD, or image and instantly perform a web search on that product, place, or thing. Everyone except me, who thought it was very slow and inaccurate. But I’ve since grown to love Goggles for its ability to scan barcodes, identify wallpapers, and even translate text. I’m fairly confident this is one Labs product that will continue to flourish and get lots of support.

5. Google Listen

Google ListenGoogle Listen arrived in August 2009 as yet another podcast app. What made it special was that users could manage their feeds online and sync, stream, or download episodes. Search was terrible and the controls never got a pretty makeover, but Listen is still a highly popular app thanks to its simplicity and online connection to Google Reader. My money is on this surviving, but I could also see Google eventually using the technology in the Music app or building its own iTunes-like podcast directory into the Android Market.

6. Open Spot

Open SpotOpen Spot seemed like it would be useful when it launched in July 2010. The app helped people in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands discover open parking spaces, saving them time and gas money by not having to drive all over the place looking for a spot. However, I hardly hear anyone talk much about this and it has received only 10,000 – 50,000 downloads in the Market, which is low for a Google app. Don’t be surprised if this guest gobbled up by the local team and becomes a Layer in the Google Maps app.

7. Places

PlacesOf all the Labs features, Places is the one I think has progressed the most and is likely to get the most support. Though it started as just a points of interest directory in May 2009, it has since grown to become a location finder that integrates deeply with Google services and has check-ins and offers to motivate people to use this over similar apps. This has already achieved big time status at Google and will continue to grow.

8. My Tracks

My Tracks My Tracks remains one of Google’s most useful apps long after its February 2009 debut. If you’ve ever gone cycling, hiking, running, or walking outdoors and wanted a tracking app to plot your course, there’s a good chance you did it with MyTracks. The app continues to be incredibly popular in the Android Market despite some third party applications that are just as good (if not better). I doubt we’ll see many new things come to MyTracks, but it will get bug fixes and maintenance updates.

9. Shopper

Shopper

I wondered why Shopper wasn’t just incorporated into Google Goggles when the app debuted in February 2010. Both were about scanning images or barcodes and performing search. But when you look at the recent changes to Shopper, with its Deals and comprehensive product search features, you can understand why Google choose to separate the app. Obviously this app will continue to get development and lots of changes in the future.

10. Sky Map

Sky MapSky Map was one of the killer apps I used to bring up when mentioning why someone should get an Android phone. I was even into astronomy, but the thought that you could put your phone up to the sky and get information about constellations based on your position in the world blew my mind. Sky Map launched in May 2009 and hasn’t been updated since December 2010, so its probably not going to get much attention. But given its cool factor and the fact that you don’t really need to add anything new to, I’m guessing we can at least count on some maintenance releases.

1Mobile Market

Description:

The 1Mobile Market helps you discover the perfect applications for your unique, mobile life.

– FREE apps and games only!

– Simple, clean interface

– Safe downloads

– Authoritative app and game recommendations handpicked by our dedicated editors

– Topic Articles recommending apps and games based on your interests and needs, updated daily

– Find all the essentials, plus hidden gems!

– Reliable, user friendly site

1Mobile Market can guide you to the highest quality, most ideal apps for your interests, needs, and tastes at any given moment.

Discover the perfect apps to build your mobile life!

Screenshots:

1Mobile Market 1Mobile Market 1Mobile Market 1Mobile Market

Download 1MobileMarket here

Android Apps Alert #60: It’s All in the Details Edition

Guidebook

Android 1.6 or higher required

Not every app can be as great as the one released for Google IO 2011, Guidebook can be more than adequate when attending a trade show, convention, or fan expo. Guidebook lists an events schedule with information on sessions or parties (that can be bookmarked) and background information on special guests. Users can also get notifications when that event starts, see maps of the event layout, or add exhibitors to a to-do-list to plan their day. Between sessions, you can even see the official Twitter stream supported by the event.

Guidebook is a crisp app that allows event organizers to supply information and build downloadable guides within the app. I highly encourage anyone attending a major gathering to download this app and see if a guide is available.

 

NewsRepublic

Android 1.5 or higher required

There are a million ways to get Android news, so why not try out method number one million and one? News Republic imports stories from the Associated Press, AFP, Press Association, and dozens of blogs based on the topics that interest readers. NewsRepublic, available for phones and tablets, has a “My News” section that gives users more control. So you can add a tab for football, gossip, Android, or enter any search term and see if a feed is available for that topic, person, or place. To put it simply, NewsRepublic is one of the best news readers for Android users.

 

BBC NEWS

Android 1.6 or higher required
Available only in the United Kingdom

The BBC News Android app has been a long time coming. While the BBC iPlayer app has pleased many with its streaming of live television and radio, Android users still want a text-based source for breaking news. That’s exactly what BBC News offers, delivering top stories from the United Kingdom and major events throughout the world. BBC News organizes stories according to category, and gives users the option to customize which topics get promote on the main screen. It also includes video, live streaming of the BBC News (Android 2.2+ and Flash required), and the ability to share with friends.

 

SwiftKey X Beta

Android 2.1 or higher required

Anyone who doubted SwiftKey’s placement among the best Android keyboards needs to try the new X Beta. SwiftKey was already incredibly accurate when predicting what someone means to type, and the inclusion of Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter makes it even better. After linking accounts, SwiftKey learns more about the user, so “Did you remember to walk…” will make the keyboard to suggest “Spot” since it knows that you are referring to your dog. SwiftKey also supports two themes and typing modes geared for accuracy or speed. Though SwiftKey is a paid app, a free beta version is available in the Android Market.

 

Contract Killer

Android 2.0 or higher required

How’d you like to kill someone? Digitally, of course. Contract Killer is a Glu game in which you play the role of an assassin, taking down high-profile targets through a scope. Players accept missions use controls to take accurate shots at drug dealers and other sorts of bad guys. Be patient and precise or you may take on fire or watch helplessly as the target escapes.

The action in Contract Killer is limited but still fun thanks to moving targets, henchmen who shoot back, and the need to acquire new weapons and ammunition. In-app billing can provide a shortcut to those upgrades, but it’s more fun to earn them on your own in this simple but fun game.

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Thrutu Android Review

It’s amazing that when you are on the phone to someone, your beloved mobile changes from a high-end multi-tasking portable device to something that barely makes phone calls.

It’s hard enough getting the touchpad up when you have the phone glued to your ear. And don’t get us started on sending anything while you are speaking to someone on the other end.

Thrutu knows your pain and has created a great little app that allows you to use your mobile as a smartphone while on the phone. Crazy, we know.

Thrutu brings new fun and function to the phone call. Share location, contacts, photos and more – all at the touch of a button. It’s so simple that you’ll wonder why phone calls couldn’t always work this way. Thrutu comes with five different buttons, each a fun and easy way to share information and media during a conversation. In the future, Thrutu will offer additional buttons such as social gaming, event planning or the ability to connect instantly via favorite social media channels. The potential for new sharing capabilities is limitless.

Pros & Cons:

Pros

  • Conveniently share contacts, photos, camera, and location with the person you’re talking to on the same call

Cons

  • Requires both parties to have the app to use the features
  • Not the apps fault but requires voice and data at the same time; sorry Verizon (3G) & Sprint (3G) folks :P

Features & Usefulness:

Thrutu is a convient way to share contacts, photos, camera, and location while on a call. Provided the other party has the app sharing things is a breeze. Say you’re on the phone with your loved ones and want to share a picture of your kids, this app makes it easy to share the photo (there’s no options to save shared photo however they’re saved to “Downloads” section of SD card automatically). By far the best feature is sharing contacts, as we know default Android does not make it easy to simply share a phone contact. Although many of this apps’ features can be done while on a call in combination of default Android and a few other apps, Thrutu makes it readily available and they are onto something really cool here.

U.S. carriers with CDMA bands such as Verizon (3G) and Sprint (3G) customers won’t be able to use the app due their lack of voice and data capabilities at the same time. Please note: Sprint 4G customers CAN use the app when on 4G. However with 4G LTE I was told by Verizon COO, Lowell McAdam, that application developers will be able to deliver data apps during voice calls… so you’ll have to wait for that market saturation.

  • Location: callers can see each other’s position update live on a map.
  • Camera: snap and share a photo during a call
  • Gallery: select and share a photo from those already stored on the phone.
  • Contacts: share contact details that will appear instantly in the other caller’s address book.
  • Prod: for the first time, you can convey touch in a phone call! Playfully poke the other person by causing their phone to vibrate during the call.

Ease of Use & Interface:

You plus the calling party need the app, which you can easily invite phone contacts to download it! Once on the call, there is a floating menu to the right, slide it open and you have the options to share location on Google Maps, share photos from camera or phone’s gallery, plus one-click contacts sharing, and poke (vibrate other callers phone… please don’t abuse it as it can be annoying)!

Frequently Used:

Once installed Thrutu will detect on every call whether the other party can Thrutu back or give options to invite them if they do not.

 

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Bonsai Blast Android Review

icon Do you have an Android based phone?  Do you like Zuma?  Do you not want to pay anything for a game? Bonsai Blast on the Android mobile platform is a major rip-off of Zuma and the many games like it, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  Unlike a lot of the casual games out there that have a tendency to just barebones it all, this one actually is very well made and the fact that it is free (there are ads that run on menu and load screens) is just the icing on the cake.  I guess you could just stop reading now knowing it’s free and good. Experience the Zen of gaming nirvana with this addictive puzzle game. Shoot marbles to match 3 or more and create combos to cause a chain reaction. Advanced features include using walls to ricochet marbles, chutes to guide marbles down winding paths, and swapping shooter locations with a single touch. Bonsai Blast combines simple game play, intuitive touch screen controls, and a beautiful “Zen garden” theme to deliver 90 levels of pure marble blasting bliss. This is one game you won’t be able to put down!

User Review:

By Todd


How many times do I have to complete Evening 24 before I get a Congratulations or at least a "Yeah, you’re done?!"

By Razz


Awesome for sure on hero.. kinda touchy on shooting .. but really fun .. beat the game and wish for more levels

Read more comments on the market

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Free
  • Simple, addictive gameplay

Areas for improvement:

  • More variety in level design
  • Multiplayer
  • A bit of a battery hog, like most games are

The first of these enhancements to grab your attention is the look of the game – it really is quite gorgeous in places. Bonsai Blast doesn’t throw around complex 3D or spectacular lighting effects, but it does make use of the G1‘s large, sharp screen in a beautifully restrained manner. The map-like level select screen is a fine example, rendered as if it were painted on parchment by some ancient Japanese calligrapher.

Fun Factor:

Bonsai Blast is one of the few fun games on the Android App Market. It engages you in the mystical Zen garden worlds as you try the stop the marbles from reaching the end.

Video below will demonstrate game in greater detail:

Features:

Bonsai Blast features 2 modes: Adventure and Survival. Adventure takes you through over 90 levels of Bonsai Blasting. At higher levels, you can bounce marbles of walls to score connection combos. Survival is a barrage of infinite marbles stacking up, try to see how long you can last! Bonsai Blast has all sorts of hidden features as well such as; in-game hints, shooting treasure chests reveals extra points, and there’s even strategies to gain extra points with the combos.

The other obvious feature is the touchscreen implementation. Rather than using a directional pad or joystick to aim your marbles you simply touch in the appropriate direction. Now this can take some getting used to, as the nature of the game dictates a level of accuracy that my hardened gamers-thumb struggled to match at first. It is workable, though, and you will find yourself adapting before too long. It also helps that you’re not directly punished for ‘missing’ a shot.

The Android platform’s accelerometer feature is not forgotten either, which will either be good or bad news to you, depending on whether you enjoy twitching like a loon and scaring your fellow public transport users on the daily commute. Here it’s used on some of Bonsai Blast’s varied power-ups, such as a cloud of play-freezing Darkness that needs shaking away. A well implemented vibration informs you when you’ve achieved the task, sparing you from unnecessary flapping.

There are a few technical issues, with our G1 unit struggling a little during some of the more intensive passages of play, such as when the screen was full of marbles or – in particular – when we fired off a stream of fire marbles to whittle down the line. In the case of the latter, the action slowed to a crawl as our handset strained to cope with the pyrotechnics. We would expect the relatively modest demands of Bonsai Blast to be well within the capabilities of the well-specced G1, which might suggest a slightly rushed release on Glu’s part.

Addictive:bonsai-blast-play-1

This Android game is definitely addictive especially when playing the Survival mode, as the marbles are non-stop and your goal is to prevent them from reaching the end.

Graphics:

The graphics are basically what you would expect from a game like this.  It is nice and colorful with a good amount of detail, but nothing that will wow anyone.  They are all you need for a game like this so I won’t fault it for it (and it’s far from ugly).  The sounds and music are the same story as well.  We aren’t playing for these, but they are nothing to scoff at. Glu Mobile has made sure the graphics in Bonsai Blast and other Android games are superb. The colors are bold and bright, effects are cool and the worlds they create are vibrant yet Zen like.

Control, Accelerometer, Vibration & Sound:

Bonsai Blast doesn’t use the built in accelerometer but control, vibration and sound qualities are superior. You simply tapp the screen where you want the marble to shoot and it fires; really accurate and responsive.

 

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Missed Call Android Review

icon Description:

The Missed Call Android app is a great way for you to be able to customize and personalize the way that you get and receive messages.  Instead of there only ever being a little flashing green light, you can change the colors and intervals in which it shows up.

Features:

  • The missed call app for Android allows you to customize and make your missed call notifications more flashy than ever
  • You can customize a variety of different things including the LED and the intervals and colors that it flashes in, as well as sounds and vibration notifications
  • This app can be used to not only keep track of your missed calls but can be used to keep track of incoming calls, text messages, calendar events, and even your bluetooth
  • The truth of the matter is that the default Android settings leave something to be desired with missed notifications.  It only ever shows a flashing green light when you have missed something
  • You will be able to configure the intervals for all of your LED lights and colors, as well as the intervals for you vibrations.  You can also choose to have the sound occur in intervals
  • Make sure that you remember to stop the LED function by sliding down the window status bar that is located on the top of your Android phone

Missed Call Android App is a great tool for notifying you of any missed Call, SMS Text Message, Blue Tooth service, Calendar service, and even Application service. You have the option to show the Notifications status icon and to Auto-start the app.

Missed Call Android App fills a void with Android which by default doesn’t offer adequate settings to be notified of missed calls or SMS text messages. There is just a flashing green LED light. Missed Call Android App allows you to configure notification services,  LED color and LED intervals, vibration and vibration intervals, sound… plus option to choose sound file, and repeat notification options.

The calendar notifications are not 100%. At the moment when an event reminder pops up you will get your custom LED notification. All the other notifications are disabled. In addition you have to stop the LED by sliding down the window shade status bar!

You have to deactivate the notifications in the default messaging applications or any other application that organizes your SMS. If you don’t do this you will get two notifications!

Tip on how to disable SMS notifications in other apps.

If using SMS apps like the default Messaging or ChompSMS:

  • Open Messaging app
  • Tapp “Menu” button
  • Tapp “Settings”
  • Tapp “Notifications”

User Review:

By Julie

Works great with my rooted Inc…..this was supposed to be factory equipment ! No more missed sms or calls….
By Kim

Used to work great on droid1 v 2.1. Since 2.2 it crashes after I awknoledge the missed call. Prevent the crashing and I will 5-star it again.

Read more comments on the market

Usefulness:

Missed Call Android App is very useful for those who are frustrated by not receiving adequate alerts of missed phone events. Gripe Alert: Although some alerts can be a little annoying as you have to slide the window shade down to stop the LED blinking light, this reassures that the app is doing its job.

Ease of Use & Interface:missed-call-options-checked

Upon launch, Missed Call Android App is an app of settings menus you can configure to suit your alert needs. Operating the app is intuitive, and allows you to delve into more advanced settings.

Frequently Used:

Intended for daily use (plus it auto launches upon reboot and runs in the background).

Conclusion:

The missed call app is the best way for you to customize and personalize all of your missed notifications.  Whether it be a missed call, a missed text message, a calendar item, or bluetooth, incoming calls and so much more.  You will have more than just the stupid flashing green LED light that usually accompanies a missed call or some other kind of notification.  You can configure your notification services and change up the LED colors as well as the LED intervals so that you know what kind of notification that it is.  You can also add sound to the notifications and put them on repeat or choose other sound files from off of the phone.  There are also a lot of other options that you can take advantage of as you delve deeper into the app and find out more of the options that you can configure and customize.

 

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Power Manager Android Review

icon

Power Manager Android App adds NEW power settings to the phone (e.g. screen timeout during a call, etc.) and allows you to quickly view and change other phone settings depending on different conditions (e.g. low battery). Have you had to rue the battery life of your Android based smart phone because it never lasts a full day? If so, it is high time you must have had Power Manager in your mobile phone. As the term suggests, Power Manager apps for Android lets users manage the power settings, according to the current power level, thereby ensuring maximum life/charge out of the mobile.

User Review:

By Charles

This app is great,dont let anyone tell you otherwise! I get notified when power manager is running, fantastic, saves battery life! HTC Desire. Chunk
By Sun

get da paid version, its worth it!! I’ve had for 2yrs, it saves, it alerts, & it helps! ALOT!! u gt wht u pay for, ppl always want "everythg" 4 nothin

Read more comments on the market

Features:

Power Manager Android App features many ways to save battery juice for your Android phone.  It comes with pre-configured “Profiles” or you can customize your own. Profiles are power settings based on phone usage or events. For example, “Low Power” profile will dim the screen and turn off Wifi, Bluetooth and GPS locations for you automatically. In customizing your own Profiles, you can set events with “Triggers” such as Battery, A/C, USB powered, etc.

How Power Manager Apps works?

The Power Manager Apps for Android combines a visual panel with the currently running power hogging applications that is enabled in the phone, wherein control over these aspects is managed using preset conditions, such that the user can always keep tab of where he is leaking power. Pressing the Monitor Active button let the app manage the settings for the user.

The users can also manage the settings manually. That is, by varying the four settings under the control panel – A/C powered, Low battery. Browsing mode, and Battery powered – users can toggle between battery life and performance, turn low battery settings on, turn max performance setting on, and turn computer powered performance on respectively as required. Each of these will toggle on/off the options in the control panel corresponding to that setting. The reset button resets the settings to its default.
Also, users can directly switch off the desired features from the control panel. Power Manager Android Apps also enables users to have automatic presets for each profile in the phone.

Here are the options and their functions if the users were to manage power manually,

  • Battery Powered – Dims the screen, alongside disabling the locations.
  • Low Battery – Dims the screen and turn off WiFi, Bluetooth and locations.
  • A/C Powered – Brighten screen and enable WiFi locations.
  • Computer Powered – Ability to set specialized settings.
  • Browsing Mode – Keep the Android awake while the keyboard is open, plus enable WiFi and locations.
  • Initial Settings – Restore the original settings. I.e. the settings as it were when this Power Manager app was first installed in the phone.

Usefulness:power-manager-main-screen

Most useful for the poor battery life of the T-Mobile G1. G1 users are haunted with the battery life woes and Power Manager Android App can alleviate some of that pain by managing unnecessary power usage automatically.

Ease of Use:

It couldn’t get any simpler to use, simply download the app and it runs in the background. The predefined Profiles start working immediately based on what power setting you’re running. Setting up Profiles are pretty intuitive; simply tapp the power settings you desire based on Triggers.

Frequently Used:

Intended for use as long as your Android phone is powered on.

Interface:

The user interface is simple and easy to use. Plus you can easily toggle Profiles or settings in a few tapps.

Overall, Power Manager is a much needed app for Android smart phones, especially if one uses the phone heavily for official/personal work throughout the day. At $0.99, it is only priced very reasonably, especially given the features the Android application brings to the users.

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AppBrain App Market Android Review

icon We are constantly searching for the perfect apps for our Android smartphones. Browsing through thousands of applications in the Android Market to locate the appropriate app is not an easy task. Fortunately, you have a free Android application named AppBrain App Market that will help you to discover the finest applications in the Android Market.

User Review:

By Summer
I love looking at all the apps. There are some good and some bazaar. Keep’em coming. Thanks. Samsung Vibrant Galaxy S.
By Sam
Thanks for removing access to account permissions and making the appbrain review pages optional! Reinstalled.

Read more comments on the market

Pros & Cons:

Pros

  • Manage and sync Android App installs and removals via the Web or phone

Cons

  • Would be cool if you could completely control installs via the Web for free apps

Features:

Best way to find new apps on Android.

Make the Android market usable, and find your next favorite app, live wallpaper or widget:
– App recommendations
– Hot apps of the day
– Find apps with a price drop
– Share apps (eg twitter/facebook)
– Browse on www.appbrain.com and install apps with a sync instead of barcode scanner

Current hot apps of the day in the market:

1. MapQuest
2. NIght Vision Cam
3. Phonebook 2.0
4. XDA Developers
5. Network Info II
AppBrain is the best way to discover great apps in the Android market and to manage your apps.

Manage apps features:

– Quick uninstall
– Fast sync widget to access AppBrain from the desktop
– app2sd functionality to move apps to sd (app 2 sd)

Discover apps in the Android market:


– sort by hot apps today, hot apps this week, highest rated apps, price drops etc
– Filter apps by free apps, paid apps, price reduced apps, app2sd enabled apps
– Fast search over the entire Android market

AppBrain Market Sync Android app is the mobile counterpart to AppBrain.com, an Android Market view website that allows you to Search and Sync apps from the Web to your Android phone and vice versa!

AppBrain.com has statistics on your apps downloaded including costs, free vs paid percentage, total storage size, plus a breakdown in categories. You can share your app list publicly or keep it private. You can even uninstall apps from via their website. See Android developer download stats and who’s producing the most downloads, highest ratings, and total apps available in the Market.

Usefulness:AppBrain-Market-Sync

This app is extremely useful! Many users like to research apps while on their computers then download them. Manage your Android apps via the Web then have the sync app execute tasks while on the go.

Ease of Use:

Signup using your Google account and download the AppBrain Market Sync Android app on your phone. After all that first time stuff is taken care of search their website for apps you want to download. When you’re done placing your apps in queue to download, launch the AppBrain Market Sync app to download and install the apps from the Android Market. If you placed Paid apps in the queue you will have to complete the checkout on the phone before downloading.

With AppBrain App Market, you can easily find your favorite app, widget and wallpaper in the Android Market. It recommends apps and offers hot apps of the day. You can find apps based on price. You can even share the apps with your friends on social network sites.

Overall, this app has a lot of features that the Android Market does not currently have that enhances the app browsing and sharing experience. At the time of this review the AppBrain App Market Android App is free.A Thumbs Up.

HOMERUN BATTLE 3D Android Review

icon Description:

One of the best Homerun Derby game apps to date.  I mean, who doesn’t like to hit home runs?  This brings the adrenaline rush of a big hit right to your mobile device.  You can face off against competitors to strut your stuff and hit a few out of the park.  The online capabilities of this app are probably the most addicting as you can play anyone from across the world and challenge their batting skills.  This game was ranked the Best Sports Game of 2009 because of its ability to entertain and it’s impressive performance.  It has amazing graphics that are comparable to the Wii and also contains smooth gameplay.

HOMERUN BATTLE 3D DOES! Play ONLINE match up & go head-to-head against the world’s best BASEBALL SLUGGERS. Winner of Best Sports Game of 2009 from IGN.com and Touch Arcade. Possible performance issue for 1 gen devices.

Recent changes:
– The free match-up numbers have increased from 5 to 20 times.
– If you are updated from 1.3.0 or under to 1.3.2, your data will not be initialized.

One of the other big successes that comes along with Homerun Battle 3D is that it does a good job utilizing the accelerometer.   You use it to aim your hits in the strike zone.  As you time your swings, you will tap the screen at the same time as you press x to nail a homer almost every time.   The game also offers background music, vibration, and unique sound effects to help you feel like you are actually in the ballpark.  Get your baseball gear on and start slugging away!

Pros & Cons:

Pros

  • Awesome and Addictive Homerun Derby 3D game
  • Picture-in-picture online match-ups
  • Online scoring and ranking
  • Customize uniform and player as you gain more achievements
  • Well rounded game, really shows off Android software and hardware

Cons

  • Can get repetitive, gets more interesting as you play  online against others
  • Large download for internal memory (20MB+)

User Review:

By Eric

They just did an update and I can now play it on my mytouch. Before the the update, it wouldn’t even load the game, it would just freeze up. It is a fun game when you want/need to kill some time.
By Duck

Was a 5 star game until the new update wiped out all accomplishments, gold balls, and items purchased. Wth. I was so close to purchasing full version.

Read more comments on the market

Features:

  • Includes a single player mode as well as a multi-player battle mode
  • Multi-player battle mode allows you to compete in the homerun derby with other players online
  • Picture-in-picture matchups online, so you can see your competitors
  • Ability to customize your player: these customizations include the face, hair, skin, body type, cleat, glasses, jersey, shoes, pants, eye patches, helmets, bats, gloves, and more.
  • You can continue to customize your player as you win achievements
  • Can use the Gold Balls to buy different items
  • Able to view the Online scoring and ranking system
  • Great usage of the accelerometer

Homerun Battle 3D Android Game is one of the best Android games to debut from iPhone! Go solo or battle others online in a Homerun Derby. See your competitor side by side with picture-in-picture online match-ups. Customize uniform and player as you gain more achievements. Use the Gold Balls to buy customization items.

Player customizations include:

  • Body: face, hair, skin, etc.
  • Look: jersey, pants, cleat shoes, glasses, eye patches, etc.
  • Baseball equipments: bats, gloves, helmets, etc.

Video: HOMERUN BATTLE 3D for Android

Fun Factor & Addictive:

Facing off against opponents online is very addictive.

Graphics:

Comparable to the Wii, awesome display!

Accelerometer, Vibration & Sound:HOMERUN-BATTLE-3D-Profile

Use the accelerometer to aim hits in the strike zone. Timing is everything, tap the screen in combination with x to score homers every time. Also features vibration, background music and sound effects.

Conclusion:

This game has some impressive graphics and is a very addictive 3D Homerun game.  It is very balanced, and does a good job of showing off the hardware and software of the Android.  Some of the options such as picture-in-picture match ups online and being able to customize your player and uniform, help the game to stand out above other smartphone apps.  On top of that there is online scoring and ranking, which keeps you always wanting to beat other people’s scores.  Overall, it is a good app for the price and will give you hours of quality entertainment.

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Words With Friends Android Review

Words With Friends. The #1 mobile word game Words With Friends Free is now available on Android. Play Words With Friends Free, the #1 mobile word game, with both your Android and iPhone/iPad-toting friends. Experience for yourself why millions of players are addicted to the word building, triple score seeking, chat bubble sending goodness of Words With Friends.

THE NEWS

We have some great news for you Scrabble lovers out there! Words With Friends, the insanely popular iOS game created by Zynga, has finally come to Android, after months and months of excruciating waiting.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, Words With Friends is one of the most addictive games on the market today. It’s well made, and allows you to play with your Iphone friends too.

As of about one day now, it is finally available for all to try. There are some user reports of a few bugs being present, but they are forgivable. Check the link out below for the developer’s site, and the link to the Android Market.

Being that it is cross platform means you can play up to 20 simultaneous games and dominate your iOS friends, all at the same time. Additional features include In-game chat and push notifications will keep you addicted, no doubt. We’ve already played a demo of it on the Xoom, and it looked and felt amazing. Should be good on your Android smartphone too, so fire it up, and get ready for some serious brain flexing!

Pros & Cons:

Pros

  • Highly anticipated and super fun Scrabble game
  • Play random boards or opponents or invite your friends
  • Features a Chat

Cons

  • Very glitchy, sometimes showing combined screens if playing more than one opponent :mad:
  • Notifications system needs work
  • Has very intrusive ad screen and offers no paid version (yet) to get rid of them

The game-play itself is fairly straight-forward: move letter tiles onto spaces on a board in such a way that they are 1) all in line2) touching an existing word on at least one edge of one tile3) forming a non-proper word anywhere tiles are touching.
Your points, based on a number displayed on each tile, are a sum of all the points on all the tiles contained in any new words that were created by the placement of your tiles and any modifiers.  The board is set up pretty much like Scrabble.  You have to start in the very middle, and there are spaces on the board that multiply the point value of either a single letter tile or an entire word.  The trick to the game (aside from knowing a lot of words and how to spell them) is to take as much advantage of these multiplier spaces as possible, and to prevent your opponent from doing likewise.  Everybody knows how to play Scrabble, but it’s not like you see a lot of people whipping it out on the subway or when they’re supposed to be paying attention in business meetings.
The beauty of the game lies in the way it connects opponents.  You can play anyone else on the network (one of the results of Zynga acquiring the game from Newtoy is that now Android users can now play with iPhone users and vice-versa) if you know their user name or can search by email address.  Scrabble-type games existed before this, but WWF cuts through the submenus and options clutter to push you and your opponent’s moves quickly.  You can have multiple games going at once with one or several opponents, committing all your tiles for your turn and getting the phone back in your pocket with a minimum of effort.  All plays are checked against the on-board library, so there’s none of the social engineering that makes Scrabble fun for budding con-artists, and you can keep shuffling tiles around and submitting them until the library finally accepts one and sends it.
Personally, my only complaints about the game are the fact that no player stats are available and your game history is limited, and that there is no penalty for bombarding the library until you blindly come up with a word like “glime”.  There is no solitaire version, although you can set it to pass-and-play, in which you take turns with an opponent using the same phone (great for fast play, and to make sure your opponent isn’t looking things up).  There are tons of cheat sites and apps available for people to suddenly seem brilliant at Scrabble, but there is no way to prevent that other than choosing better friends.
The game comes in free version supported by ads, and an ad-free pay version ($3.99).  The ads come after your turn, and the game is certainly enjoyable even with the inconvenience of advertising, but I do prefer the uncluttered pay version.

Features:

Words With Friends is Zynga, creators of uber popular Farmville and the likes on Facebook, brings much anticipated iOS crossover game initially demoed on Motorola XOOM tablet. Right off I must admit it disappoints expectations as it is very glitchy, meaning if you are playing more than one opponent words on the game board mixes totally throwing you off… here’s an example. Another popular game like this which does a much better job is Wordfeud. Unlike this game Words With Friends is missing handy feature to “Shuffle” the words which tend to jog recognition of possible word combinations (you have to shuffle yourself).

Fun Factor & Addictive:

Aside of the gripes, online multi-player Scrabble-like games like this are hugely successful and addictive. You can play at your own pace, even set notifications to alert you when it’s your turn (but the feature could use some work). You can play random boards even against random players, or invite your friends from your contacts list. Even play friends on iPhone and iPad!

How to Play Words With Friends:Words-with-Friends

Just like Scrabble you’re presented with letters to make words on the game board. The best strategy is to spell words that result in high scores taking advantage of Double Letter (DL), Double Word (DW), Triple Letter (TL), and Triple Word (TW) squares. The blank space is a bonus piece, when you lay it down you have the option to choose any letter. Tip: Double-tap the game board to zoom in and out.

Game Board Legend:

  • DL = Double Letter
  • DW = Double Word
  • TL = Triple Letter
  • TW = Triple Word
  • Blank Space Bonus = Free Letter Choice

The graphics for this game are crisp and easy on the eyes, Zynga did a good job on this as it beats out a lot of other scrabble games with the look and feel. Things took a turn for the worse when they changed the rules of scrabble, they also have changed the board around making it bigger and all of the bonus tiles have been scrambled. A couple other rule changes you should know as well, the first play doesn’t get a double score, in words with friends you have unlimited attempts at making a word.

So with all the rules changed and the board changed, for scrabble lovers its kind of an insult. Some other features good, bad and indifferent:

Nice to be able to invite your contacts list to a game.

No leaderboard, no records, no scores. 

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