March 31, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Since the Android Market began letting developers cash in on their creations, worthy paid apps have slowly trickled onto G1’s across the U.S and U.K. However, quite a few Android apps are decent but not worth the price. Even worse, some apps are just plain ridiculous and pointless.
Knowing which apps are worth your money can be tricky, and I’ve highlighted some that you may want to think twice about purchasing. Be advised that this is NOT a “don’t buy this” list. A couple of these apps are actually great and I personally own them. But whether it’s because there’s a free alternative, decent competitor, or it doesn’t make sense to own, you may want to think twice about pressing that “Buy” button.
1. Statusinator – $1.99
Facebook and Twitter command a large share of social networking traffic, so of course there will be apps that enhance the mobile experience for these websites. But do we really need a paid app for mundane social media activity? Statusinator uploads mobile photos and status updates to Facebook and Twitter for the low price of $1.99. That’s $1.99 more than it takes to do the same with Facebook Mobile, Twitter Mobile, TwitPic, Fbook, BuddyMob or one of several Twitter apps available for Android.
2. aHome ($4.99), dxTop ($3.99), and Open Home ($2.99)
Huh? Apps that already have glowing reviews are on a think twice list? Yes, and for good reason. aHome, dxTop, and Open Home are not on this list because of flaws. In fact, it’s the opposite: all three home screen alternatives get better with time. The problem is this continued growth makes it difficult to pick one app and stick with it. There are probably plenty of people who bought one app early on, only to discover that another introduced a feature that makes it more attractive. Even the currently free Sweeter Home is making strides towards one day catching up to the big boys. Let the dust settle and test each home screen alternative thoroughly before committing to one app too soon.
3. TeleNav – $9.99 monthly subscription
Here’s a thought: let’s put turn-by-turn navigation, business search, traffic info, and several other enticing features on a cell phone. Everyone will love it! Well, everyone except T-Mobile subscribers who get spotty 3G coverage in their area. Amazing features mean nothing if you can’t latch-on to a stable connection required to access them. TeleNav’s price can’t meet its value if you frequently travel in remote areas or markets with a weak T-Mobile presence. Think twice about your local coverage before signing over $10 every month.
4. Android7 Video Recorder – $2.95
Cupcake. We all know it’s coming someday – I know, I know – and video recording will come with it. That’s why it doesn’t make much sense to buy Android7 Video Recorder. The “video” produced by the app isn’t fluid or useful, so users are better off waiting until [insert overused metaphor of Cupcake coming out of the oven here]. Then you can record your frustrations and delight on an Android phone for free.
5. QuickOffice – $19.99
In other “Why didn’t we think of that?” news, QuickOffice was wise to bring Microsoft Word and Excel to Android. Too bad the app can only view documents and not edit them. QuickOffice says it will eventually be able to edit Office files, but paying $19.99 for a half-completed app that can’t view Office 2007 files just doesn’t seem right. It’s even less right now that DataViz’s Docs to Go can edit Word documents.
6. Guitar Hero: World Tour – $7.99
Gasp! Guitar Hero, one of the most popular brands in gaming, is a dud on Android! Don’t let the success of the Guitar Hero name fool you – this game gets stuck at times, the touchscreen response time is off, and the overall experience is lackluster. Translating console success to mobile gaming greatness is incredibly difficult, but Guitar Hero World Tour doesn’t seem like anyone had that goal in sight.
7. I Am Richer / I’m So Poor / Do Not Buy Me – $0.99 – $200
There’s a sucker born every second someone purchases one of these apps that prey on consumer boredom. Actually, prey is a bit harsh because people who buy these apps are fully aware that they are wasting money on a “status symbol” or pointless joke. I hope most of you are smart enough to not need to be told how silly it is to purchase these type of apps.
8. Soundboards (Any of them) – $0.99
I really wanted to browse through the market to find the soundboard that was least worth a download, yet alone a purchase. Then I realized that no soundboard app is any more ridiculous than any other, so it would be unfair for me to single one out. These apps are novelties that serve their purpose for about five minutes. That’s not enough comedic bang for the buck.
9. Tip Calculator Pro ($3.95) / Tip Even Calculator ($0.99)
I hate math just as much as the next man, but it’s just plain lazy to need a tip calculator app. How hard is it to load a free Android calculator and multiply your bill by 0.15 or 0.2 (15% to 20%)? Come on, people! If you’re really that set on using a tip calculator, at least use the free Tip Calculator or Dinner Itemizer.
10. Farting Apps (any of them) – $0.99 – $1.99
Farting. Really? Really?