I think it is time to start a new tradition here at AndroidSPIN. Something I’d like to call “This Weeks Downloads”. It should come as no surprise that we download and install more apps than the normal person. We search the Play Store from top to bottom. We snag the newest and hottest titles and we get the ones many haven’t heard about. We play games, we test, we try and we ponder. Last time I checked, I have installed well over 3,000 apps. That was a few months ago. I am sure that I am over 4,000 by now. That is the history of installs, not current installs of course. That is what led me to think that this particular ‘findings’ type article might be a good thing to start integrating. Some apps we see are garbage, others have some promise and others are just great. So lets take a look brief look at a few apps and games that I have installed this week. Give you a brief description and a first hand thought about the app based on a few days of usage.
Currently holding the #1 spot in the paid gameing spot, is Ruzzle. Not hard to figure out that they took Puzzle and added an R. The game is developed by MAG Interactive. Not a company name you might be familiar with since this is their first app in the Play Store. Apparently Ruzzle is pretty popular on iOS. It is a fun and face paced word game. You see 16 letters tossed out like Boggle and you have to use your finger to swipe out words. Vertical, diagonal, side-ways and any other ways you can create your words. As long as the letter touch in some fashion you can use it. Each letter has a value that adds up to your final score. You can gain more points with triple letter, triple word, double letter, double word tiles. Think Scrabble. You can practice, play against friends whose user names you know or challenge random players. You play a total of three rounds, each gaining more bonus letters. When all three rounds are over you get a final score. Either you win or lose. The free version is ad-supported and is a bit annoying, but lets you play no matter what. The paid version kills the ads and gives you access to stats and a few other things. All-in-all, it is extremely addictive and a whole lot of fun. I regularly get involved in two or three games against random players at a time. When it is your turn for the next round, the game lets you know. That feature is really nice. Especially since many of us are busy often. I personally can’t seem to put it down for very long and find my self opening it for a few rounds.
Highlight is a location-based friend discover app. This ia another app by a first time developer named MATH CAMP, INC.. The app lets you sync your Facebook and Linkin connection. Pooling all the friends and connections you have in both networks into one bog pool. It then takes those fiends and connections and looks for other interesting and cool people to share with you. All based on your location. Go to the store and find someone who loves The Walking Dead too or maybe someone who loves Samsung and the Galaxy S III. It alerts you to people with similar interest and people you already know. Letting you know that they are near you at the time. You can send out a message to them, High Five them and post updates to potential new friends and old friends. Of course, much of this is based on them having the app also. While you will find people who don’t have the app that part of your current connections, if they have that app, it helps out a ton. While I like the idea, getting people to install another app to connect is a bit tricky. The UI isn’t the easiest to grasp. I sent a request to EVERYONE I know to join, purely on accident. In my small town and local area, I don’t see much use for it. No one travels here on purpose and i hardly leave my home. I can see this being extremely handy in large cities and at conferences and events where a plethora of people of interest and friends might make an appearance. It is still worth a gander though. You never know who might be close to you.
I snagged Nemo’sReef simply because my near 3-year-old son loves Finding Nemo. The game is developed by Disney. it is not their first app, nor will it be their last. They have plenty of popular games out such as Where’s My Water, Temple Run: Brave and Pirates of the Caribbean. To be brief, Nemo and his dad, Marlin set out to build the coolest reef in Nemo’s class. You get to continue the Nemo story line in a new adventure, at least till Nemo 2 hits later this year. You get to see Dori, Gill, Bloat, Bubbles and other characters from the movie. You can collect 50 kinds of fish, build a beautiful reef and underwater life. The games graphics and animations are colorful and fun. The only thing missing, is audio voices from the movie. That might be too much to ask, but I hate to read character dialog, I want to hear it. Seems like a fun game that parents and kids (capable of using a device) can have fun with. Honestly, I find my self watching Disney and Pixar movies even when the kid is sleeping. Don’t look a me like that, I know you do too.
I honestly opened it and started the tutorial before I was pulled on family matters. The thought of Nemo and the rich graphics are enough to keep it in my mind though. The next few free minutes or hour I have, I do plan to get my self pretty involved in the game. Lets face it, underwater scenes and fish have a calming effect on a person. At the very least it should be pretty relaxing to look at and play.
This is one that has been around for quite a while. Many of you know it, have used it, or hate it. Others though, might not even know what it is about. GO Locker is technically a companion app to GO Launcher EX. Which is why I didn’t want to use it. Simple because I was on a stock Samsung Galaxy S III and wasn’t interested in install a new launcher, setting it all up and re-learning what I have used since I bought it. Not that I have never been rooted or custom ROM’d. Just don’t have the time to be irritated and play around with my phone much. It came to a point the other day where I was just ready for a change that didn’t involve the long and arduous task of rooting. So I turned to some apps that I knew about. GO Locker being one of them
GO Locker offers up the ability to change your devices lockscreen looks and feel with ease. You can find tons of themes and looks to fit your device use or personality. I snagged a few free themes that suit me quite nicely. The trick to using GO Locker with other launcher apps like NOVA and APEX is understanding how to use it and change it. For me, I installed GO Locker and GO Launcher EX. It is really a must because you can’t change themes in GO Locker without GO Launcher EX installed. So you install both. Don’t spend the time to try and use GO Launcher if you have o desire to do so. You need it to get to the GO Locker themes and settings. Once you get them both running, navigate to the themes sections in GO Launcher EX. Find the lockscreen theme you want and set it up exactly how you want it to be. Don’t go and set GO Launcher as your home app though. Just set it as “Just Once”. Once you have the lockscreen exactly how you want it, set your primary home app as whatever you use. In my case it was Nova. Now I have a GO Locker lock screen that I like for now and it opens to Nova, not GO Launcher EX. Plus there are tons of lockscreen themes you can pick up for free in the Play Store. Android is about choice and customization. It has changed a lot since Android 2.2 and 2.3. Many things are possible without the need to root and custom ROM your device. It never ceases to amaze me.
Not to be confused with Google Current, Current Caller ID is completely different. Current is a Caller ID replacement application created by WhitePages. I discovered this app after signing up for the Threads Caller ID beta app. They are pretty similar, with different lay outs. Current syncs your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn connections to your device. Most of which you already have up and running. What makes this app so fun and cool is the fact that once you sync the three, any time someone calls you that has one or all of the social connection to you, you get to see a detailed look at what they are up to before you even answer. You can see their last Facebook post, last Twitter post and what they put up on LinkedIn. You also get to see their current weather in their area and top news story for the area. Giving you a ton to talk about as soon as you answer the call. Downside, the weather and news is based on the numbers area. So if a friend has a Portland Oregon number, but lives in Florida now, you see Portland weather and news.
The app offers up some pretty cool and amazing additions though. You get a widget that will display your top 8 most contacted friends, be it text messages or calls. You get to see stats on your history with people over the last 90 days too. Like longest call, average talk time, best time to call you and best time to text. All based on your history with the person. You can even see how your text correspondence wights out. Apparently I send my wife WAY more texts that she sends me. Kind of weird. You can directly call or text the contact from the stats page or even pull up a map of their address. It is a great app that offer a whole heck of a lot for that magical price of free. It has plenty more settings and abilities to play around with that might just push you over the edge on using it.
It is nice to see a persons info when they call you. When Simon called I made sure to mention that it looked like thunder storms were rolling in. He didn’t skip a beat and said they were and it was super windy. He asked later how I knew that and i let the cat out of the bag. Depending on what is happening or going on in someones life, it could help you make that extra connection. Maybe they posted that they are pregnant, or just got fired, or got a promotion. You can be in the know without having to constantly follow the social feeds to know. I kinda like it.
Give any or all of them a shot if you feel like it. I will do my best to share any new, or recently new again, apps every Thursday night. Be sure to leave a comment below about any that you try out or have used to let other know your thoughts on them. I am sure some will be loved and other will be hated, but remember I have only just installed these this week and am still playing with them myself. Their images, videos and description warranted the download at the time at least.
I am the proud father of three, 3, 9, and 12. I recently upgraded from the Samsung Galaxy S3 to the Sony Xperia Z. Having so many kids warranted a change of pace. Let me tell you, it is mind blowing. I love Android, I love tech and I love my family. Not in that order though. I work hard, play even harder and take care of all that are around me when I can.