Apps Tunes Logo Affiliated Business News
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This week in apps has been a hectic one, with a new app that has you guessing the logos to major corporations, a Flickr competitor’s entry into the mobile app world, and the latest photography craze GifBoom, all making a splash not only on the Play Store, but on my device as well! So read on to see what’s happening this week in the world of Android.

Logo Quiz
First there was Temple Run, then Draw Something, and now Logo Quiz, the latest mobile game frenzy. As you may have guessed from the name, the main aim of the game is to guess the logos of brands familiar to tho
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se all over the world.
As I said above, these types of apps are the latest craze in the Android world and so the usual rush of apps mimicking identical functionality are to be expected, but the aptly named Logo Quiz still reigns supreme. It contains logos ranging from Shell Oil to Starbucks Coffee. I’ve been playing it a lot and so far have noticed little to no overlap of questions, so you can expect it to keep you entertained for hours on end!
Logo Quiz
500px
Hailed by many as Flickr’s first true competitor, 500px’s Android offering is a sight to behold. Apart from offering a beautiful and easy to use interface, it also sports some amazing pictures taken by truly talented photographers. Thankfully, the developers decided to make the app free, without ads that would detract seriously from the viewing of the pictures.
Whilst some will agree that this app benefits from larger screen estate (such as offered by the Galaxy Note or other Android tablets) it’s also a pleasure to use on a smaller scale and is definitely a leap forward for Android photo browsing apps!
500PX
The Avengers Live Wallpaper
It’s hard to go on to any movie news site without seeing The Avengers mentioned. Adored by critics and fans alike, this film made (and still is making!) a huge splash in cinemas everywhere. Having grossed millions before even being released in the USA, it’s certainly popular. If you’re a fan then this live wallpaper is perfect for you.
Although there is a free download, this only comes with the basic wallpaper; but for an extra $0.99 you can upgrade to the full wallpaper, sporting the full Avengers cast including Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man and Hulk. Performance wise this wallpaper isn’t too shabby either. It ran very smoothly on my device, and I can only imagine how well it could run on devices such as the Galaxy S II or the Nexus.
The Avengers Live Wallpaper
ViBe
A while back here on Android.Appstorm we published a post of the best ringtone apps. In that roundup several apps that added custom vibrations to specific contacts made an appearance, and if we were to re-write that roundup, we would definitely include ViBe. Apart from making setting custom vibrations easier and faster, it also has several discerning features that set it apart from the standard flurry of vibration apps.
Apart from the usual features, this app also integrates tightly into some major apps that deliver notifications. It currently does so with Handcent and Go SMS Pro and the developers are looking to expand this further by integrating into other massively popular apps such as Instagram, Twitter and Gmail.
ViBe
Gifboom
Instagram is so last week. Now it’s all about Gifboom. This app is taking the GIF community by storm, allowing users not only to easily create animated GIFs but also to view and share them with the Gifboom community. Although some users have reported that the app’s functionality can be quite sporadic, thankfully I have yet to experience a hitch.
For those of you who love GIFs (who doesn’t?!) you’ll begin to wonder how you ever woke up in the morning without being able to tap an icon and see a collection of user generated GIFs waiting to be enjoyed. Apart from offering its own network (á la Instagram), GifBoom also allows sharing to many of the most popular social networking websites around today, such as Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Overall this app will definitely reserve a special place in GIF lovers’ hearts (and homescreens).
GifBoom
Pocket Academy
Kairosoft’s latest venture in the Android market is very different than its other offerings. Rather than letting you control a glamorous space station, a game development startup, or even your own spa, this game lets you manage somewhere that everyone has been: a school. Although it’s hard to argue that managing a school in real life is actually fun, Kairosoft manages to make it so.
You can build dorms, classroom, locker rooms – basically most of the things that probably existed in your high school! This game is definitely one of Kairosoft’s better offerings (and you can definitely expect a full review here on Android.Appstorm sometime soon).
Pocket Academy
PicFrame
The quality of phone cameras improves by the day, and the craze of photo editing apps seems to keep pace. PicFrame basically allows you to put several of your images all into one via the use of frames. Not only does this make photography more fun, it also makes for a neat way to present your pictures to your friends and family.
PicFrame
So far I’ve used this app to showcase a few pictures from a recent trip (and even a few screenshots) and it has yet to let me down. If you use Instagram or are constantly using your phone as your camera and are looking for a way to present your images in both a functional and beautiful way than this app is definitely one you’ll appreciate.


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With camera lens and sensor specs getting more and more impressive, Android devices have easily become our go-to choice for point-and-shoot cameras. Photos on our phones keep getting better and better but the issue is with transferring and backing up those precious memories seamlessly.
The best place to automatically store photos is in the cloud so we can access them anytime and anywhere. Many apps and services offer this option but with only very little free space — 2GBs is ridiculous given the higher resolution sensors on cameraphones — and expensive additional space. Google+ will backu
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p photos with no storage limit, except it counteracts that by downsizing the image resolution. Wouldn’t it be perfect if we could back those photos up to our Google Drive account, making good use of the free space offered with the reasonably priced additional storage? Well, there’s a simple app called FolderSync to do just that.

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FolderSync comes in a lite version for free in the Play Store that does everything we need to set up our automatic photo backups. The interface can seem tricky at first glance if you don’t understand how it works so let’s do a step by step walk-through to explain the whole process.
Step 1: Get Familiar With What Makes a Sync
There are three different parts that make up a sync: the original file location, a cloud storage account (in this case, Google Drive account), and a folderpair. In the ensuing steps we will go through each one of the parts and soon you’ll see how simple it is to set them up to work together.
Step 2: Set Up a Cloud Storage Account
Foldersync supports a great list of accounts you can set up, from Dropbox and Skydrive all the way down to your own FTP server. Since we’re looking at taking advantage of our available Google Drive space, we’ll choose that option.
On the home screen, you will see the navigation options where you can choose Accounts.
Foldersync homescreen
Once you go to the Accounts screen, you’ll see a tiny cloud button in the lower left-hand corner with a small plus sign on it. Tapping that will give you the cloud services you can choose from. Simply choose Google Drive.
Setting up a Google Drive account
Attaching your Google Drive account is as simple as following the steps to sign in and validate it. Once you do, make sure you tap the save button in the upper right corner of the screen to save it.
Step 3: Set Up a Folderpair
Setting up a folderpair is simply telling the app which folder on your phone you want synced with which cloud service you just set up. You can have several folders syncing to several services all at once. What we want to do is to back up our photos on our Google Drive account, making sure none are missed.
Folderpair setup
From the drop down menu, choose Folderpairs. Tap the small plus button in the lower left-hand corner to add a new folderpair. Most of the fields here are pretty simple to figure out but let’s have a walk-through.

Name: This is simply to identify what this folderpair is doing should you choose to set up more than one. You can name it something like “photos from phone” or something similar.
Account: This space needs to be the Google account we just set up.
Remote folder: It’d probably be good if you set up a specific folder in your Google Drive account before just placing the photos anywhere, so name it something you’ll remember like “photos from phone” then come back here and choose this new folder.
Local folder: This is for the folder on your phone that you want backed up. Most Androids have a folder on the SD card — whether it’s physical or the internal virtual one — called DCIM. To be safe that all of your photos make it to the backup session, choose the whole folder.
Sync type: Choose the “to remote folder” option.
Scheduling: This is entirely up to you. Choose when you want the backup to occur.
Sync options: Pay attention here because you’ll either get errors or you’ll miss some photos if you check or uncheck some of these wrongly. I typically ignore the first two boxes but the rest are imperative.

Make sure “Sync subfolders” is checked so all photos in the folders beneath the DCIM folder are synced.
Make sure the “Sync hidden files” box is unchecked or you’ll get errors. You don’t need any hidden files to backup your photos anyway.
Unless you want the photos deleted from your phone as they’re synced, make sure the “Delete source files after sync” option is unchecked.
I usually check the “Do not sync deletions” option because I don’t want to accidentally delete a wanted photo off my phone and then have the backup automatically deleted too — just a safeguard.



If you want to set up sync filters, you must opt to purchase the full version but that’s for another day. Finally, make sure you tap the save button in the upper right corner to save those changes.
Step 4: Start Your First Sync
Choose Sync status from the drop down menu to see a history of your syncs. Since this is the first time, there won’t be a list there but you will be able to start your first sync.
Sync status
To start the sync, simple tap the sync button in the lower left-hand corner of the sync screen. The first sync will probably take some time, assuming you’ve got a lot of photos and videos ready to back up. Once it’s done, ensuing syncs should be quicker as it only backs up the files added or updated since the last time.
Conclusion
Although it would be nice if there was a built-in feature with Google Drive to automatically back up photos in full-resolution, that doesn’t exist yet and Foldersync fills the void very well. Now you can backup photos to your Google storage in two different ways. You can either have Google+ send the lowered resolution version without it counting against your free storage, or you can use Foldersync to sync and safely keep the full-sized images.


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A few days ago I reviewed Google Wallet and talked a little bit about Near Field Communication (NFC). As you may have read, Google Wallet allows people to use their credit cards, gift cards, and reward cards without having a physical card on them. They can use the app to scan the card using NFC. Google Wallet also offers NFC-only coupons through participating businesses. I truly believe that with the help of Google, NFC will revolutionize how we use our mobile devices – and not just with financial information.
My friend and I, both Software Engineers, have had fairly lengthy discuss
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ions recently about uses for NFC and what it means for the future of mobile. We’ve discussed its current capabilities, its potential capabilities, and the possible issues that will arise.

Current Capabilities
I touched on these in my Google Wallet review. Right now NFC is capable of, and being used for, sending simple data like apps, directions, contact information, and more, as well as payment processing. The former is powerful because it can be (and is being) leveraged by application developers. Developers are using it to send business cards, transfer various files, and even read those annoying anti-theft tags that are found on some items in stores. Paypal is working NFC into the latest version of their app so one user can send funds directly to another’s account just by touching phones.
There are tons of developers creating more and more such apps every day using the technology that is currently out there. With the current capabilities of NFC, sites like Groupon and Living Social can integrate NFC coupons right into their apps like Google Wallet did. Barcode scanners for certain items may be rendered useless for the more convenient NFC reader.
Obviously the latter is the big ticket item as far as NFC goes. You can add certain credit, gift, and reward cards to Google Wallet and can “clip coupons.” The carriers (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile) have launched their own similar technology called ISIS. With more support from vendors, Google Wallet and similar apps have the ability to almost completely replace your wallet. The only thing you’d need to carry around is identification.
Speaking of which…
Future Capabilities
NFC could be used for so much more than just data transfer and payments. Imagine you’re planning a Disney Vacation (as it turns out, I am). You purchase your park tickets, reserve your hotel, buy your flight tickets, and you’re ready to go. Instead of printing everything off before you go to the airport, you get there and just wave your phone at the kiosk, where it asks you to enter a PIN that they issued to you. It then checks the tickets on your phone, as well as your identification, and you’re on your way. 
Once you touch down in Orlando and head to the hotel, you check in using your phone and they beam you your room key, all using NFC. Now you just wave your phone in front of your room’s lock and it unlocks. Finally, it’s time to go to the park. You go through the turnstile but instead of sliding your park ticket through a reader, you hold your phone up to it. You’re in, and your phone displays how many more times you can use your ticket.
Pretty cool, right? The truth is that all of this and more is possible with NFC. As long as vendors get a reader that supports NFC, capable phones can quickly and easily send information to those devices.  And I know what you’re thinking; everything I said might seem reasonable in theory, except for one step: the identification. It seems crazy and impossible that people would be able to identify using NFC. However, in the USA passports now have RFID chips embedded, something that was put in place back in 2005. Admittedly, there is the glaring problem of security and identity theft prevention.
Possible Issues
The biggest issue with NFC is also its biggest convenience: how easy it is to transfer data. There are probably apps being developed right now designed to try and intercept data via NFC. The comforting though is that NFC really is near field. You need to be about 7 inches or closer in order to get a read, with most apps now requiring an even smaller distance – Android Beam, built into Android 4.0, pretty much requires the devices to be touching. But there are other issues, especially with the future capabilities I described.
How would one ensure that they did not tamper with the data on, say, an NFC driver’s license or passport to change the owner’s age from 18 to 21? There would probably require photo verification, which would need human verification (at this point) or a facial recognition camera (in the nearish future). For tickets (for parks, planes, concerts, sporting events, etc.) there would need to be some sort of uncrackable vendor signature to ensure that the tickets are not counterfeit. There would also need to be a way to transfer ownership in case event tickets are sold on. These are just some of the issues that can arise from relying on devices for sensitive information.
Final Thoughts
What we have now as far as NFC is pretty cool; the ability to easily transfer information between devices is novel and the ability to pay with your phone is outright awesome. What we can have soon is mind blowing.
Having a single device able to grant you access to whatever you need is so futuristic that it’s both exciting and horrifying in equal measure. And while there are issues we need to look out for – specifically in the security arena – these are problems that have surfaced before and ones that can be solved by building off current solutions like encryption, vendor signatures, and more.
I’m really excited to see what NFC brings to mobile devices. If the story I painted for you comes to fruition, I’ll be a very happy man.


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Keeping track of your device’s data usage is of concern to everyone who is on a data contract with their mobile provider. In the contract you’ve signed there was a specification of how much data you are allotted per month, which can sometimes be alarmingly low. If they decide you have abused your data connection or exceeded your allowance, you get hit with monumental charges. This isn’t nice, of course, but they will use the ‘you agreed to it when you signed the contract’ argument.
By monitoring your data usage and identifying which applications are heavy use
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rs, you can reduce the risk of going over your data threshold. Onavo is an application which claims to do a good job of this for you, but is it as good as advertised?

Which App Is Doing the Most Damage?
Onavo’s best and intended function is to serve as a visual representation of your data usage, and it accomplishes this in a number of ways. When you’ve set up Onavo with your data plan, the first option on the landing screen is ‘Data Plan Advice’, which looks like this:
I get through quite a lot of data each month, which makes me thankful for my fairly large data allowance.
These bar charts help to give you a better understanding of how much data your device gets through per week. Rather than a single bar that moves up as your data usage increases over a month, several bars show the amount of data used each week. This helps you see your ‘busiest’ data week. By pressing Menu, you can switch to a monthly or even daily view, if a weekly view isn’t what you are after.
Onavo goes one step further than other data monitoring applications, with a feature called App Watch. Within this, your applications are ranked according to data usage, and receive an ‘Onavo rating’ based on the amount of data used by each of them. The ‘Onavo Rating’ is nothing more than a needle on an unmarked scale to show how severely the application is using your data. As you can see in the screenshot below and to the left, the most data intensive service is given a red needle by Onavo, and the second most data intensive one is given an orange needle. The scale itself is meaningless and doesn’t do any more than give you a rough idea of which application is the most risky to your data cap.
What is of use is the layer of information hidden underneath App Watch in App Profile. This is accessed by tapping on any of the services shown in App-Watch, and shown here as the screenshot below and to the right. The bar graph here shows data usage for an individual application or service, unlike the bar graph in ‘Data Plan Advice’ which only showed graphs representing the phones traffic as a whole.
You may be surprised which applications are the ones using the most data, I definitely was.
Widgets
Yet another feature that sets Onavo apart from other data monitoring applications is the three widgets they offer you. Regardless of why you are using Onavo, one of these well-designed widgets is bound to be of interest to you.
Using the screenshot below as reference, the first widget shows how much of your allowance has been eaten so far in that month. If you are on a small data allowance, this would be good for your most active homescreen pane. That way you are always aware of how much data your phone is getting through, and can decide whether that YouTube video is worth watching on the move, or if it’s better to wait until you get home.
The second widget, Live Data Usage, is more of a novelty; it will show your most recently used applications and how much data they got through during their use. Tapping on an application name when it rolls around will take you to that application’s App Watch page within Onavo. You can then continue examining the data usage in more detail.
The third widget is basically a shrunk down version of App Watch for your home screen. Like its in-app counterpart, it shows an application or service’s data usage for that month. However it only serves as a waving flag, and you have to tap on it to obtain more detail.
These are some very useful widgets indeed.
Other Nifty Features
When you first start up Onavo, you get to define your data cap and its renewal dates. (I know a lot of other applications also do this but there are still some which don’t, so I thought it worth mentioning.) Onavo will also block your data usage when you reach 99% of your data cap, or any other limit you specify.
Like most data monitors, Onavo has an ongoing notification feature to quickly show you how much data you have eaten through. It’s very useful if you don’t have much room on your home screen for the big widgets, or are just not a fan of them. The Ongoing notification feature sits quietly, and when you pull down to your notification pane it will say how much data you have used, usually along the line of ‘You’ve used 25% of your 3GB plan’. If you are getting close to your data caps, these statuses are likely to be warnings.
Onavo Extend
This is a separate application designed to shrink your data usage through compression. When first run, it asks for your permission to create a new VPN tunnel on your device. If you agree to this, all web traffic sent from your phone is first compressed. They claim it can seem to increase your data allowance by up to five times, and that seems to be the general consensus in the app’s reviews. I am unable to test it on any of my devices, unfortunately – I think it may require Ice Cream Sandwich, and my phone hasn’t received this yet.
All the good things I have seen said about it led me to put this mention of it here. If you find you like the regular Onavo application, this may be something to try out too.
Final Thoughts
Onavo could do with including a touch more detail here and there, but it is otherwise a very useful application, sure to be of use to anybody who has a data cap on their mobile contract.
To top it all off, this lovely application is completely free. The only ad is one provided by Onavo themselves on the landing screen of the application, asking you to share Onavo with others.
The AppStorm rating for Onavo couldn’t be anything less than 9/10. It has a useful purpose, and does a great job of serving it. If you have a data cap in your contract and want to be sure you don’t breach it, give Onavo a try.


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Internet radio usage has been on the rise with apps like Pandora and TuneIn Radio. The reason these apps have become so popular is because people like listening to music that relates to a specific song or genre.
The major downfall with most of the applications out there is that the playlists are generated by an algorithm, rather than actual human beings. This method unfortunately lacks personalization and doesn’t quite feel as intimate as music should be. Wouldn’t it be much more attractive to have your playlists created by real music listeners?
This is where 8tracks com
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es in. The entire program is centred around DJs who make playlists based on a specific genre. As the title implies, these playlists have to be at least 8 tracks long. This is quite a different concept and definitely provides a greater sense of flow from one track to the next. No longer will you have to be disappointed by Pandora’s or Genius’s choices of songs.

The User Interface
When you first launch 8tracks, you’re greeted by recent mixes that were made. These mixes come from a variety of different genres and DJs. While browsing through the recent mixes, you can see the genre of the playlist, the DJ who made it, and what others think about the mix. This lets you easily see what mixes you might want to listen to so you don’t play a mix that you won’t like. This is a great way to discover genres of music that you usually don’t listen to.
The 8tracks home screen
You can then click on ‘refine results’ to bring up a list of possible genres. This is a great tool because it allows you to listen to a mix to complement your current mood. It is also great if you are looking to expand your musical listening to foreign genres. This is a great way to browse mixes because it is a very simple way to keep in touch with the music you love while still allowing you to branch out if you would like.
Once you decide on a mix, clicking on it will take you to the main mix page. Here you will be able to see how many times this specific mix has been played. In addtion, you can also see how many times a listener has listed the mix as their favorite. These is helpful information because it allows you to gauge how popular or how new a specific mix is. You will also see a description of the mix and who the DJ is.


A single mix's page
One truly amazing feature of 8tracks is the ability to communicate with and follow DJs. If you are listening to a mix that you are particularly fond of, you can chose to follow the creator of the mix. You can do this by clicking on the DJ’s name on the main age of the mix. This will bring you to the profile of the DJ. Here you can see the DJ’s stats like number of mixes, number of followers, and how many DJ’s they themselves are following.


A specific DJ's profile
This is a unique feature and is actually very useful. If you like a particular mix, then the odds are you will like other mixes by the same DJ. On the DJ’s profile is also a list of other mixes they have created. You can very easily go from one mix to another because the mixes are connected by the specific DJ and the specific genre.
The Listening Experience
So now that you know how to get around the user interface, you’re probably wondering how the actual listening experience is. Since I have discovered this application, I have fallen more and more in love with it every day. I am constantly disappointed by the songs that Pandora chooses to play and I always find the Genius feature in iTunes to be very impersonal. I have to admit that DJs on 8tracks are very talented. They seem to recognize exactly what people look for in a playlist.
The only downside of the playlists themselves is that they are not infinitely long like in other internet radio apps. You can’t simply put it on and have it play all day without stopping. I would love the ability to link specific playlists in a non-stop play cycle. I do find it kind of annoying to have to pick a new playlist once the one I was listening to is over. However, I realized this is a small shortcoming because the playlists themselves are so good.
Another unfortunate aspect is that, although there is a decent number of genres to pick from, I find myself wanting more. I am a musician and am very interested in many different genres. They have everything you would expect – like rock, jazz, funk, and country – but are missing some of the more abstract genres like fusion and avant-garde. I suspect that this will change once more people begin using the application and more DJs begin to emerge.
A truly great aspect is that you can use different views while browsing playlists. There is the ‘All’ tab, which shows all recent mixes that have been created. The ‘Home’ tab is great for keeping up with your favorite DJs, acting as a news feed and showing all the recent mixes that the DJ’s have created since you started following them. The ‘Liked’ tab, as you can probably guess, shows all the playlists that you have personally liked. Finally, by pressing Menu, you can switch to the ‘Featured’ playlists. This will show you what’s particularly popular right now and what the developers recommend.
This is the Featured Mixes view
Social Features
A great feature that puts 8tracks ahead of other internet radio applications is the ability to share your musical tastes socially. Being able to follow your favorite DJ’s is something that truly makes the listening experience unique. It lets you connect with the DJ and bring a whole new level to social music. In the socail age that dominates the world today, it is very cool to be in contact with people who share your taste in music. It brings people together that wouldn’t normally know each other because they share the same musical taste.
When you are listening to a playlist, there is a Share button, which lets you share the playlist via bluetooth, Gmail, messaging, or Google+. The last option is a very cool feature especially since Google themselves is making a big push to incorporate Google+ into as many aspects of Android as possible. It’s rather fun when you get a couple of friends using 8tracks in conjunction with Google+; it lets you see what your friends are listening to and, consequently, which DJs they are following.
Example of Google+ post
Final Thoughts
In a music world ruled by computers and automated services, 8tracks is a breath of fresh air. I have listened to computer generated playlists so much, I really didn’t realize how bad they were until I began using 8tracks. This is an application created by music lovers for music lovers. It makes being a DJ somewhat of a status symbol.
Now that I have discovered such an amazing way to listen to music, I can’t see myself ever going back to applications such as Pandora. 8tracks has developed a listening experience that truly feels personal and creates a much more intimate atmosphere.


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Waking Mars is an innovative and engaging adventure game that sees you re-awakening life on a sleeping planet. While exploring caves beneath the surface of Mars, you stumble upon a complex and symbiotic range of plant life. You have to explore and connect a huge and peculiar ecosystem in a magnificent warren of caverns. When you then get trapped deep under ground, you have to rely on the flora and fauna to survive! If you like playing fresh and rewarding games on your Android device, read on for the f

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ull review.



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Premise

The year is 2097 and you are on Mars, following the work of a previous explorer who went missing. What you discover is a rich and diverse ecosystem of plantlife quite unlike much of what we see on Earth. The plants are symbiotic, that is, they rely on each other to grow and spread. However, you soon discover that you can give them a helping hand, gradually linking cave after cave of alien horticulture!


Plant seeds and grow new lifeforms

Plant seeds and grow new lifeforms


Things then go absurdly wrong as you are suddenly trapped within the caves with seemingly little chance or opportunity of contacting the surface. However, you soon realise that the plants you are cultivating might just save you. This launches an extraordinary adventure of discovery that signifies a highly original concept and wonderfully engaging gameplay.


Say goodbye to the surface!

Say goodbye to the surface!


Controls

The game controls are both intuitive and responsive. You simply touch and press the direction you want to move in. When this means you are traversing across the ground you simply walk. When it requires moving upwards, your jet pack kicks in and you ascend and descend accordingly. On the bottom left of the screen there are navigational and objective tabs which pause the game and on the bottom right is your inventory.


Inventory

Inventory


The inventory contains pods and items you have collected while exploring. When selected, you can fire a pod towards other plant matter which spawns more plants and pods. By doing this you essentially propagate the spread of the plantlife and generate new avenues of collecting pods and finding new life. This underpins much of gameplay as life and the results of reigniting life becomes more complex in nature.


Build research

Build research


Gameplay

So gameplay is a combination of exploring the caverns and discovering new life by exchanging pods. Successfully doing so often creates new passages to explore. Sometimes you are left in a cavern and need to escape it. There is often a puzzle element to gameplay where you have to work out how best to proceed. While it is still relatively linear, it requires the use of logic to progress.


Crawl to discover new spaces

Crawl to discover new spaces


The game has an undercurrent of mystery which examines what happened to the previous explorer and the hidden life-potential of Mars. The narrative expands as you discuss things in cut scenes with other characters in the game. This all creates an entertaining and intriguing game which is hard to put down. It’s perhaps not addictive in an ‘Angry Birds’ way but it certainly keeps you riveted. Additionally, it is easily a game where you can waste a great deal of time.


What is also nice to see is a game that sees you creating alien life, instead of ruthlessly destroying it. While ever since space invaders games have required you to blast everything in sight, this encourages you to explore and grow alien life in an innovative way.



Graphics and Sounds

The visuals of the game are rich and very detailed. Gameplay is essentially in 2D but the environments and animations are immaculately designed. It struck me as a little similar to the graphics you can see in Grabatron — such is both the two dimensional and cave-exploring gameplay. Each of the plants you find offer entirely different animations and movements and these are rendered in a smooth and sympathetic way.


Grow and spread life

Grow and spread life


There are plenty of realistic sound effects in the game which help bring it to life (quite literally). This is combined with a beautiful score of music which, according to the Google Play Store description is both original and critically acclaimed. Together these add an element of outstanding quality to the game, which perfectly compliments the graphics and gameplay.


Overall Impressions

I don’t think I have played any game quite like Waking Mars and it’s incredibly refreshing to discover something so original. The Google Play Store is flooded with tycoon style games, retro-games and more and more ‘running’ games which take after the popularity of Temple Run. Waking Mars though is very, very different to pretty much anything else I have encountered before. Sure, there’s a resemblance to Grabatron as previously mentioned, but how many games can be described as an exploratory, extra-terrestrial horticulture mystery?!


Explore and cultivate

Explore and cultivate


The game is really made up of various components which make it rather difficult to categorise. There are elements of puzzle game here and it’s undoubtedly an adventure game. With the need to explore and combine plants together, you might further be reminded of the various alchemy games available. That said, it still feels very unique and gameplay is genuinely inventive.


Map view

Map view


Conclusion

Waking Mars is an enjoyable and engaging game which is stimulating to play and highly original in nature. For less than $2, you get a beautifully designed game with a lustrous soundtrack, addictive gameplay and an intriguing plot narrative that will keep you engaged all the way through. If you like games that are capable of really immersing you with fun and compulsive gameplay, you should definitely give Waking Mars a go. This will sound like a terrible pun, but it really is out of this world!




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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’re probably aware of the battle that has been raging between the iOS and Android platforms. Loyalists on both sides have been taking turns throwing punches at each other. For a good few years, the one punch Android fans were having a tough time deflecting was about the visual quality of apps on iOS. Make no mistake: to this day, iOS apps trump their Android counterparts in the aesthetics department.
Things have been changing pretty rapidly though, and since our first roundup of beautiful Android apps, a huge n
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umber of new contenders have arrived. Here, then, is a look and some more Android apps that are gorgeous to look at and – in most cases, if not all – also do a stellar job of functioning as well as they look.


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1Weather
Widgets have been Android’s trump card over iOS since the beginning and apps like 1Weather are the reason widgets make so much sense. An absolutely gorgeous interface, crisp visuals and hig quality implementation make it one of the best ways to check weather, period.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: 1Weather
Developer: OneLouder Apps





Action Method
Coming from the guys at Behance – one of the most respected design portfolio services out there – you’d expect Action Method to shine in the looks department. And it does not disappoint. The subtle use of color, gradients and drop shadows make it as elegant a productivity solution as any. Why wouldn’t you get things done?

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Action Method
Developer: Behance LLC





AirDroid
Right, so AirDroid is not primarily a phone app. But the interface, colors and overall look of this desktop app for managing your phone is so good, I wish they’d expand more on their phone interface – which is not bad itself – and bring some more of that bling right into my hands!

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: AirDroid
Developer: SAND STUDIO





Alarm Clock by doubleTwist
doubleTwist has been a name to respect in the Android media player space, so when they came out of the blue with a fairly unrelated alarm clock app, I was a bit apprehensive. Fortunately, the app brings the same quality and sleekness that made their media player so popular to a much more rudimentary app and quickly rendered most other alarm clocks old and clunky.

Price: $1.99
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Alarm Clock by doubleTwist
Developer: doubleTwist ™





Alfred
Often referred to as the “Pandora for the real world”, Alfred is an app that recommends new places based on what you already like. The fresh and lively interface make browsing through your recommendations easy, and make you want to keep coming back for more. A beautiful combination of light and dark grays, and primary color accents give the app a unique look that is hard to miss.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Alfred
Developer: CleverSense





Any.DO To Do List | Task List
Todo list apps are a dime a dozen on Android, but I can safely say that none come close to Any.DO in the look and feel department. Silky smooth looks – accentuated by an absolutely gorgeous font – and buttery animations that just work on pretty much any Android device make Any.DO the best way to make lists on Android. And the shake-to-remove-completed-tasks is just the cherry on the sundae.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Any.DO To Do List | Task List
Developer: Any.DO





Audiotool Sketch
This one is not for everyone, but it you are into making music, there is no better way to do that on an Android tablet (or the Galaxy Nexus, apparently) than Audiotool Sketch. A clean realistic interface complete with responsive controls and multi-touch functionality make it the perfect companion to any musician’s toolset.

Price: $3.99
Requires: Android 3.0 or above
Google Play Link: Audiotool Sketch
Developer: Des Pudels Kern GmbH





avast! Mobile Security
Like Windows, Android has proven to be a hot bed for malware over the last year or so and there has been a flood of security software. If you like your security app to look as good as it works, avast! is an option. With a virus scanner, firewall, phone tracker and a whole lot more packaged in a nice dark and orange package, this one is a nice deviation from the boring old antivirus apps of the past.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: avast! Mobile Security
Developer: AVAST Software





BabyBump Pregnancy Pro
BabyBump is a pregnancy app that meant for soon-to-be parents to track and share their progress. With a pretty pink interface, detailed illustrations, comprehensive descriptions and pretty graphs for data visualization, it makes the whole process pretty simple and sleek.

Price: $2.99
Requires: Android 1.5 or above
Google Play Link: BabyBump Pregnancy Pro
Developer: Alt12 Apps, LLC





BaconReader for Reddit
Reddit is by far one of the most popular sites on the web and those who use it regularly swear by its power. There are a number of Reddit clients for Android, but BaconReader stands out with its extensive feature set and a beautiful interface. For those who find Reddit’s web interface too simple and barebones, this app can be a nice change of pace and I actually recommend it over the official website – something one can’t say too often.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.0 or above
Google Play Link: BaconReader for Reddit
Developer: OneLouder Apps





Barclays Pingit
Barclays Pingit is an Android app that lets you transfer money to anyone in the UK directly from your phone – whether you have an account with Barclays Bank or any other bank in the country. As has been a trend with financial apps lately, the app makes excellent use of the parent company’s branding with a nice clean white and blue interface and some nice fine details thrown in to create a pretty streamlined mobile user experience.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Barclays Pingit
Developer: Barclays Bank PLC





Bump
Bump has been around for a while now – letting users bump their phones together to instantly exchange files, contacts and other information wirelessly. They recently launched an entirely redesigned interface with some social features, media management and a more reliable core functionality. It also works across Android and iOS platforms.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Bump
Developer: Bump Technologies, Inc





Bzzy
Let people know you’re busy in style with Bzzy. The app’s premise is as simple as it gets – it is a text-message auto-responder that sends out messages on your behalf when you’re busy – like driving or watching a movie. The interface, likewise, is minimalist but drop dead gorgeous. (And, dare I say, unlike anything else I’ve seen in a mobile app to date.) If you are a stickler for brilliant visuals, this is one app to check out for sure.

Price: $0.99
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Bzzy
Developer: PixelMEDIA, Inc.





Conmigo
There are tons of finance and money management apps out there, but what do you do when you want to track all the money people owe you or that you owe others? You use Conmigo. The app lets you easily manage expenses you share with friends and family, letting you always stay on top of who owes whom how much. The interface is non-traditional and overly orange, but it does a good job of keeping all the information you need always at your fingertips.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Conmigo
Developer: Conmigo Team





CoTweet Enterprise for Android
CoTweet is a social media engagement platform that helps organizations of all sizes engage and track conversations about their brands on the real-time web. If you are an enterprise customer, the Android app is the perfect companion that keep you posted on all the updates and lets you manage your workgroups right from the phone.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: CoTweet Enterprise for Android
Developer: CoTweet





Cyworld (싸이월드)
Okay, this one is strictly for the Korean speaking folks, but I couldn’t resist keeping it out of this list for its beautiful interface and vibrant graphics. Cyworld is a South Korean messaging application that lets users exchange messages and media with their friends, comment on photos, and so on.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.0.1 or above
Google Play Link: Cyworld (싸이월드)
Developer: SK Communications





Do it (Tomorrow)
We’ve already discussed how awesome Any.DO is for a full-featured todo app, but if you prefer to keep things nice and simple, you might want to give Do it (Tomorrow) a try. All you get are two lists – today and tomorrow – represented by the left and right pages of a diary respectively. Add items by typing them in, strike them off when you complete them or move them over to tomorrow. Simple, clean and beautiful.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Do it (Tomorrow)
Developer: Adylitica, Inc.





Doit.im
And nope, we’re not done with todo apps yet. Doit.im is different from the ones we’ve covered before in that it is a client for a web app of the same name. Like its web version, the app is extremely polished and comes with pretty much every feature you could ask for to help you get things done. Of course, everything is synced online with the web app so you have access to all your data from anywhere you want.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Doit.im
Developer: SnowOrange.com





easyJet
easyJet is the Android client for the UK-based budget airline company, which lets you manage your flights with easyJet from the phone. Search for and book flights, manage bookings, get schedule updates and track flight status all from a brilliant orange and white interface that stands out from the crowd.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: easyJet
Developer: easyJet Airline Company Limited





Feedly
Feedly has been my choice of feed readers on the desktop as well as my phone for quite some time now, and for good reason. Although a lot of news reading apps synchronize with Google Reader, I’ve found none that do it as seamlessly or beautifully as Feedly does. Feedly does a brilliant job of laying out updates to your subscribed websites in a minimalistic interface, letting you easily scan through and manage them while on the move, or even share or save them for later.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Feedly
Developer: Feedly Team





Fitbit
The Fitbit Wireless Tracker is a neat little piece of gadget that you clip on to yourself while exercising, and it keeps track of what you’re doing – like the number of steps you take, calories burned, sleep hours, etc. The Android client lets you keep view, manage and analyze all this information and also add more data manually, things like what you eat, drink etc. The interface makes it super-easy to see how things are going and where you need to pay attention moving forward.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Fitbit
Developer: Fitbit, Inc.





Foursquare
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about FourSquare and are possibly even using it right now. The Android client for the app has been a benchmark in mobile UI design for some time and only continues to get better. With the trademark blue color, unique icons and an overall consistent feel the FourSquare Android app is one of the best I’ve seen.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Foursquare
Developer: foursquare





Friendcaster for Facebook
What Baconreader is to Reddit, Friendcaster is to Facebook. Developed by the same team at OneLouder Apps, Friendcaster is by far the best third-party Facebook clients out there. With a smooth, ICS-inspired look, a snappy interface and more features than you can shake a stick at, there is hardly a need for me to bother with the official Facebook app on my phone anymore.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Friendcaster for Facebook
Developer: OneLouder Apps





GO Weather Widget
The GO Dev Team is very familiar to Android fans. They have been credited for some of the best apps on the platform to date and the GO Weather Widget only carries that legacy forward. The widget is pretty customizable with multiple layouts available and with a whole host of themes you can make it look exactly the way you want. Note that you need to have GO Launcher Ex running to get the widget.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: GO Weather Widget
Developer: GO Launcher EX





Grocery Smart – Shopping List
Grocery Smart is a nice little shopping list app to make your grocery shopping experience a breeze. The beautifully designed app lets you categorize your shopping list so you know you will not be scooting all over the food store trying to pick up things at random. It also has a section of saving your discount card details, and you can sync between multiple devices so everyone in the family is always on the same page.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Grocery Smart – Shopping List
Developer: Handmark





Hipster
The perennial wait for Instagram to hit Android meant there was a huge void to fill in the Android universe for a photo sharing application. There have been a lot of contenders, but hardly any that can beat Hipster in the looks department. The app lets you take photos of wherever you are and then share the location and the images with friends and family, like picture postcards. Yes, there are filters. And they’re pretty nice.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Hipster
Developer: Hipster





Historious Athens
Ever wondered about the history behind a country or city you were visiting? Enter Historious Places, a travel guide (currently only for Athens) that focuses on the history of the place. If you are visiting Athens, take this app along and it will point you to historical places near you, provide directions and give you all the information you need to make the most of your visit.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 – 2.3.7
Google Play Link: Historious Athens
Developer: iMellon





Hybrid Stopwatch and Timer
Hybrid Stopwatch and Timer is just what it sounds like – a timer and stopwatch app – but with an incredibly detailed UI the likes of which are rare to find on a mobile platform. The app simply does what it says, so there’s not much to talk about regarding features. In the looks department, though, this one is a piece of art.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Hybrid Stopwatch and Timer
Developer: Javier Salmona





Instant Heart Rate
The first time I heard about Instant Heart Rate, I honestly thought it was a joke. How could a mobile app tell what your heart rate is? But it does. Place your finger on the phone’s camera and the app will identify the heart rate by looking for tiny variations in the blood flow of your finger. The concept is brilliant, the functionality just right and the interface gorgeous.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Instant Heart Rate
Developer: Azumio Inc.





Instinctiv Music Player
Music players on the Android platform abound, many of them way better that the stock music player in most aspects. Instinctive Music Player is one of them that does an incredible job in the looks department. Every function, every control and icon is thoughtfully crafted, making for a much improved and satisfying music management experience.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Instinctiv Music Player
Developer: Team Instinctiv





Intimity-Tracking my own cycle
This one’s strictly for the women. Intimity is an app that lets women track their cycle and predicts the fertile and ovulation phase. You simply log in your vitals and the app will get to work with reports and visual indications of your status through a neat and pretty interface.

Price: $1.59
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Intimity-Tracking my own cycle
Developer: Twinbo





Labelbox
There are tons of photo editing and filter apps on Android, but what if all you want to do is add some pretty labels to an image before sharing it with the world? Labelbox makes the process easy with a pretty good collection of label designs and fonts. Don’t like what you create? Just shake the phone to start over!

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Labelbox
Developer: Stepcase





Mario Batali Cooks!
The developers of Mario Batali Cooks! call it the most advanced and comprehensive cooking app yet. Even if you’re not a big fan of cooking yourself, there’s merit in checking out this app for its unique take on the UI for a mobile application. Easy navigation, clean visuals and beautiful photographs make the app one of the best food-related apps on Android.

Price: $4.99
Requires: Android 1.5 or above
Google Play Link: Mario Batali Cooks!
Developer: High Five Labs Inc.





Money Tab
Mint.com’s mobile app is the king of the hill when it comes to finance apps on Android, but there are always new contenders trying their hand at the market. Money Tab is the latest entrant in the arena and it makes a great first impression. A clean, ICS inspired user interface, beautiful typography, visual cues for each category… what’s not to like?

Price: $0.99
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Money Tab
Developer: Talionis Software





MyHeritage
A few years ago, genealogy apps were all the craze. They don’t crop up as frequently any more, but every once in a while you come across one that seems just perfect. MyHeritage guns for the top spot in genealogy apps with a very strong feature set, letting you build a family tree and sync it with their web app so you can connect with your family’s accounts and share the same data across family members and devices.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: MyHeritage
Developer: MyHeritage.com





Onavo Extend
The Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android now comes with a built-in data usage monitor, albeit a very basic one. If you need more control over your mobile data plan, Onavo Extend can help you squeeze the maximum juice out of it by compressing all incoming and outgoing traffic. You can also continuously review and analyze your usage with detailed reports and beautiful graphs.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 4.0 or above
Google Play Link: Onavo Extend
Developer: Onavo





Pageonce – Money & Bills
Another finance app that has been making the headlines for some time now is Pageonce – Money & Bills. Unlike Money Tab, Pageonce comes with a fresh, colorful UI that makes money management on your phone as pretty as it gets. The app also connects with all your financial accounts and automatically tracks your income, expenses, bills and credit cards, all from one consolidated interface.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.0 or above
Google Play Link: Pageonce – Money & Bills
Developer: Pageonce





Path
Path made a lot of big splash with their gorgeous new interface in version 2 when they launched simultaneously on iOS and Android late last year. Loved by many as the closed social network that allows only a limited number of friends, the app has made quite a mark for itself. The unique flyout menu for post types is a very nice touch to a beautiful app that works equally well on both platforms.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Path
Developer: Path, Inc.





PlayerPro Music Player
PlayerPro Music Player is another contender in the music players space for Android, which takes the visual approach a few notchees higher with multiple skins – something you don’t see too often in mobile apps. Of course, the does not fall short on the features front either with pretty much everything you would expect from an established – and expensive, if I may say so – Android app.

Price: $4.99
Requires: Android 2.0 or above
Google Play Link: PlayerPro Music Player
Developer: BlastOn LLC





Power Tune-Up
With the infinite control that Android puts in your hands over the mobile operating system, there’s no end to how much you can tweak it to your advantage. Power Tune-Up from Bitdefender lets you optimize your Android device for maximum performance, battery life and data usage. Choose an option and toggle settings on and off to your heart’s content using this sleek little app and take control of your device.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Power Tune-Up
Developer: Bitdefender





Project Noah
Project Noah is an app aimed at nature lovers, letting them discover local wildlife and allowing citizens to participate in related research projects. Through it’s unique user interface, you can share photos of plants, birds, and so on with fellow enthusiasts, access location based field guides, and join field missions that interest you.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Project Noah
Developer: Networked Organisms





SanDisk Memory Zone
No matter how much space you have on your phone or how big an SD card you get, there is always going to be a time when you run out of space for that new kick-ass game you want to play. Enter SanDisk Memory Zone, an app that lets you control, manage and organize your files from the phone as well as the cloud. The app gives you a clear perspective on what’s hogging your phone’s memory and connects with a whole host of cloud services to help you back up files and clean things out to make room for more.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: SanDisk Memory Zone
Developer: SanDisk Corp.





Sincerely Ink Cards
Remember the days when greeting cards were made of paper and we used snail mail to send them to our friends and family? Smartphones and the internet have changed all that, but if you still crave good old-fashioned dead-tree wishes, Sincerely Ink Cards has you covered. Use photos from your phone to create a beautiful card with whatever message you want to add, choose from a whole host of layouts and actually get a printed version of it sent to whomever you want.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Sincerely Ink Cards
Developer: Sincerely Inc





Snaptastic (Photo Editor)
There are tons and tons of photo editing apps on Android and new ones keep getting added every week. The one photo editing app I’ve actually stuck with for more than a few months is Snaptastic, for its easy, intuitive interface and just the right mix of features that I need to quickly tweak my photos and share them on a whole slew of online services directly.

Price: $4.18
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Snaptastic (Photo Editor)
Developer: MCurrent





SPB Shell 3D
When SPB Shell was released, the welcome from the Android community was overwhelming – in spite of the insane price tag of nearly $15. A lot of users felt the price was justified given how beautiful the custom launcher made their Android home screen experience. With some incredibly detailed 3D animations and effects, nifty launcher features and overall eye candy, this is arguably the best looking launcher on Android.

Price: $14.95
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: SPB Shell 3D
Developer: SPB Software





Speedtest.net
Speedtest.net has long been the best way to check your internet bandwidth on the desktop, so when they released their Android app, everyone sat up and took notice. The app bring the same glossy blue and grey interface the website is known for. The speedometer UI and animation are super-smooth and you can also save your results and analyze them with a nice chronological chart of test results over time.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Speedtest.net
Developer: Ookla





Jamie's 20 Minute Meals
Another cooking app that nails the visual part perfectly well is Jamie’s 20 Minute Meals. After its huge success on the iOS platform, the app is finally available for Android and it doesn’t disappoint. If you are a fan of quick fix meals that don’t take too long to make but taste amazing, this one should be right up your alley. That everything is stored locally and you don’t need a data connection to access recipes is definitely a plus.

Price: $7.99
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Jamie's 20 Minute Meals
Developer: Zolmo





Wallbase HD Wallpapers
Wallbase has emerged lately as one of the most popular wallpaper sites on the web. Their Android app lives up to the hype with a beautiful interface and a ginormous collection of wallpapers that should meet pretty much anyone’s needs. Just a word of caution though: the collection has its fair share of NSFW images, so make sure you keep your finger over the “sketchy” toggle button to keep them out of your stream.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Wallbase HD Wallpapers
Developer: Tim Clark





WHERE
Looking for a place to hang out? Try the WHERE app to find nearby restaurants, bars, stores and more. WHERE is a social network for places. Find, rate and suggest places that you like and get recommendations on what else you might like, wherever you are. And while you are at it, get special offers and deals for your favorite hangouts.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: WHERE
Developer: WHERE Inc.





Wunderlist Task Manager
And last but not the least, arguably the prettiest cross-platform todo list app ever created: Wunderlist. Since the app debuted on the web and iOS last year, it has steadily gained its fair share of fans. If you are looking for a todo list manager that works on pretty much any desktop or mobile platform out there, syncs seamlessly between all of them and looks gorgeous while doing all that, Wunderlist is by far the best choice out there.

Price: Free
Requires: Android Varies with device
Google Play Link: Wunderlist Task Manager
Developer: 6 Wunderkinder GmbH


Now I’m not even going to try considering this an exhaustive list by any means. With the feverish pace of development on Android, there is no way one can scour through everything and keep up with all the new apps releasing every day to find the best looking ones. So if you find any that aren’t up here but do take the aesthetics quotient on Android a few notches up, lets hear about them in the comments.


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What Do You Think of “This Week In Android”?

For the past few weeks, we have been running a new column on the site entitled “This Week In Android” where we recount the most interesting news tidbits from the week in terms of software updates, new device announcements, and app updates. It was designed as a light recap of general news, to keep you up-to-date on the latest Android happenings, since we usually do

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n’t cover these in our regular posts.


However, we know that you, as an Android.Appstorm reader, come to us mostly — and almost exclusively — for our app and game reviews and roundups. That’s why, after a few weeks of foraying into “This Week In Android”, we’d like to know your opinion about the new column. Did it pique your interest, or were you skipping it as you prefer to get your Android news from other more timely and elaborate sources? Would you be more interested in a change of format that skips the device and software news to focus solely on app and game updates and releases?


Please take the time to vote and share your opinions in the comments below.




67
Ice Cream Sandwich ports are already beginning to surface.  This time, xda-developer member ‘kwiboo’, has created a pretty stable Ice Cream Sandwich custom ROM for the Nexus S and its variants.  There’s a few things that need fixing, like missing  data usage statistics and USB mass storage support.  Look for these to be fixed soon. [...]
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We have long witnessed some juicy rumors about the upcoming HTC flagship device in the Android arena and now is the time to put these rumors to rest as we have hard facts about this highly anticipated device that some consider to be a worthy competitor to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy SIII. As most people in the industry believed HTC just announced the specifications of its soon to be released HTC OneX device. At the heart of this new baby is a recently released Tegra 3 SoC which we discussed about a lot in the past. Tegra 3 is actually a 5-core device – 4+1 where the additional core will be use
Read More
d when device don’t demand heavy duty number crunching power to save energy in those scenarios. Among other major feature include the gigantic 4.7-inch screen with an equally fitting 720p high resolution display based on the IPS technology. Device will support 1GB of RAM as well as integrated 32GB of internal storage (26GB will be available to the users). HTC OneX will come loaded with a 8MP rear-facing camera with HTC ImageChip technology to take clearer snaps even under low-light conditions. In terms of camera device will support simultaneously taking pictures while capturing 1080p videos. LED flash supports 5-levels of automatic brightness controls. Front-facing camera is 1.3 MP shooter supporting 720p video shooting.
HTC OneX will also come with a newer version of the Sense with a much deeper integration of Dropbox. HTC OneX buyers will also get the Dropbox deal with a 25GB of storage capacity for 2 years! Connectivity options include quad-band GSM and quad-band 42Mbps HSPA+. It also seems that device 1800mAh battery cannot be replaced as well as no place to insert additional memory card. But at this point in time we are not completely sure about these last two details.
As for the release date, device should be available globally in April 2012. So just few quick weeks more to wait for this Amazing HTC OneX!
On the performance front it will be interesting to see that how it compares to the already available devices like Samsung Galaxy SII and Galaxy Nexus etc. considering that apparently this packs quite a punch in the performance department in the form of quad-core Tegra 3 based awesomeness. We will update you on the real world performance numbers as soon as we have some real figures.
[via]