Android Apps

Android Apps Alert #42: Racers and Doom Guy

November 21, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

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You know the drill by now. Apps come out, we track ‘em, you download ‘em and let us know if they can sink or swim. In this edition of Android Apps Alert, we’ve got a game for racing through city streets and an app to help you race through the real world. There’s also an app for fun with music, a cool new live wallpaper to bring back memories, and a widget to join the list of apps that received updates this week.

One of those apps happens to be AppBrain, which is experiencing some problems following Google’s update to the Android Market. We’re still awaiting to see how this will affect things long-term, but for now, we’ll keep posting AppBrain links for people still able to use FastWeb. Let’s hope AppBrain can resolve its issues or something equally useful is able to replace it.

Soft Race

Some people can press start on their running app of choice and start moving, but others may desire some added motivation. Soft Race is an app that creates virtual races between runners. Users can define a distance and track how long it takes to reach, then compare their performance to other users or their own personal bests.

Soft Race can match users with invites, personal history, or people who report similar speeds, creating an atmosphere that is more competitive and fun for some people. Users can create custom race tracks for running, skiing, kayaking, rowing, walking, and bicycling. It even supports backup/restore data on SD cards, stats, and maintaining a racing diary.

Install this app

Doom Live Wallpaper (BETA)

Take a trip down memory lane and watch as Doom takes over your home screen, much like it took over many of your adolescent and early adult days. This live wallpaper for Android 2.1 or higher shows scenes from the classic shooting game. Every time that someone unlocks their screen, he or she will be greeted by the Doom Guy evading beasts by side-stepping and shooting them down.

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My Piano (Android 2.1+)

A phone is no replacement for a wondrous grand piano, but that doesn’t mean you can still have fun turning your Android into a music maker. My Piano is a virtual keyboard that plays various forms of piano: Electric, Grand, Home, or Rhodes. The app also supports other instruments like synthesizer, organ, acoustic guitar, or even recording your own samples through the phone’s microphone. Tapping on the keys will play a chord and allow users to create melodies that won’t match Dr. Dre, but will still be phone and entertaining. Android 2.1 or higher is required for this app.

Install this app

Recommended by: sweeterskins: The My Piano app is fantastic. Lets you record a quick snippet of audio and then maps it as samples to the keyboard. Fun! #androidapps

Clockr (Free Lite, $1.49 Donate)

Minimalist clocks and widgets are becoming the rage in Android, and Clockr continues the trend by offering a simple clock that tells the time by spelling out numbers. At the time of this writing, it is 1:14 PM on a Saturday afternoon, which means that it’s “oneFOURTEEN” according to my Clockr homescreen widget. The time can be set to display with a certain font color or shadow; positioned, left, center, or right; have a semi-transparent background; or set to open an alarm, clock, or any other Android app you desire. If you enjoy it, consider getting the donate version that also shows the date.

Install this app

Parkour Roof Riders (Free Lite, $1.99 Full)

Parkour, or “freerunning” as it’s often called, is a form of movement that doesn’t let objects stand in the way of reaching point A to point B. If a dumpster is in the way, you jump over it; if a vegetable stand blocks your path, dive through it. That is the principle that guides Parkour Roof Riders, a simple game that proves to be more challenging that you think. Players must go through the stages of this slide earning points for jumping over, under, or through objects to earn points and make it to the next round.

Each trick requires different on-screen gestures and a combination of timing and creativity will be necessary to make it. Parkour Roof Riders has street level and rooftop scenarios, and there are online leaderboards to see how you stack up against others. Download the free Lite version to gauge your interest in the game, and then get the $1.99 full version that has two no ads.

Install this app

Google Skymap

UPDATED APPS

PowerAMP added larger album art for tablets, improved equalizer controls, a 4×4 widget, and increased buffer for OGG/MP4/APE files. [Download]

AppBrain completely revamped its design to be more intuitive and faster. It now has a desktop widget, reviews and recommendations in-app, and Facebook single sign-on. Sadly, Google has pushed an update to the Android Market that breaks Fast Web Sync. We’re still waiting to see how this will affect our integration of FastWeb install links. [Read More]

SMS Backup+ is a great app that backs up your text messages to Gmail, so there’s always an easy to manage backup. Now, you can also backup MMS attachments and call logs in your Gmail. [Download]

Adobe PDF Reader was updated to support tablets, text search, go to page, and better adjustments for fitting to the screen or scrolling through documents. There’s now also support for several languages other than English. [Download]

Google SkyMap got Time Travel and multitouch. [Read More]

Google Maps got several new location-based features, including recommendation engine Hotpot. Rate places and it will recommend new places to go, as well as let others know what you think. [Download]

Pulse News Reader is a visual RSS reader that just went free. [Download]

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