August 26, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Welcome to Android Apps Alert Volume 71. We actually missed an episode last week, but we’re back to tracking the interesting and noteworthy apps from the Android Market over the past two weeks. Our theme is Ask Me, Dell Me, Max Me because those represent some of the apps featured in this edition.
Android Apps Alert features a couple of apps for crowdsourcing answers from others, an app for shopping with Dell, and a couple of apps for watching or controlling television. Let’s take a look at the new apps. Before we start, here are a few quick hits:
ESPN Bowl Bound 2011 - I raved about the ESPN Bowl Bound 2010 app and said that this is the kind of app that ESPN should have released at the beginning of the football season. The WWLIS must have listened because you can now grab this awesome app to track the NCAA season. The Android 2.1+ app has news, blogs, video highlights and ESPN analysts, Twitter feeds for ESPN writers, rankings, scores, and schedules. [Install Android app]
FEMA for Android – Let’s not get into the many jokes and political ramblings typically associated when discussing FEMA. Instead, let’s focus on the timely usefulness for this app that helps people get prepared for Hurricane season and other disasters. The app provides safety tips and shows how to prepare, apply for disaster relief, gets news updates through a blog, volunteer, and access maps to recovery centers and shelters. [Install Android App]
Marriott International – There are more than 3,600 hotels in 70 countries controlled by the Marriott hotel company. This app provides information and reservations for all of them. Users can also manage/cancel reservations and browse photos and maps for the hotel. [Install Android App]
Android 2.2+ required
Former web search engine and current Q&A search engine Ask.com has made its way to Android. The new Android app is simple way to ask a question and have them answered by the visitors or community members. When users log-in, a list of the most recent questions are shown, but registered users can also narrow those inquiries down by interest or within their connected circle. Users or answer questions by using the keyboard or speech-to-text. Ask.com also supports viewing of profiles and questions that users have asked or answered. Grab this if you want to hear from other people and not rely strictly on your Google Ninja skills.
Android 2.0+ required
Dude, you’re…forget it, you know the rest. The Dell Mobile app has arrived for Android users who shop at Dell a lot. The app is a well-designed way to browse the Dell.com website when looking for a new laptop, desktop, personal electronics, or accessories. There’s even a featured section that shows new deals and Shop Assist to help users narrow down their focus on new products. But since you probably aren’t going to keep an app around if you shop Dell.com once a year, you can also use it for support. Mobile has help topics and community forums for troubleshooting. You can move on to contacting tech support or sales reps if that doesn’t work. This app probably only makes sense to have if you love Dell and frequently shop or seek help from the company, so grab it if you have Android 2.0 or higher.
Android 2.1+ required
Free Lite, $0.99 Po
Do you have envy that HTC EVO 3D and Optimus Pad users can take 3D photos? Me neither, but you can still play around with 3D effects with this Android app. MakeIt3D creates 3D photos by taking images (from the camera or gallery) and then aligning them in ways to create a stereoscopic effect. The app even has settings to change alignment and colors until the user gets the image just right. The images might not be as clear and effective as ones taken on actual 3D cameras, but this can replicate the novelty on any Android 2.1+ phone. Get the Pro version to remove ads and watermarks.
Android 2.2+ required
Foursquare and Google Places are great for discovering places to visit and let your friends know where you are. But those location-based services aren’t always spot-on when in a new city or unfamiliar neighborhood. Localmind acts as a Foursquare-meets-Quora. Users can see check-ins and ask locals about the venue. So when looking for a decent bar, ask others and be told. Does the coffee house 2 blocks north have free Wi-Fi, or should you go to the one 3 blocks south? The app is great way to bring crowdsourcing to LBS, but it requires user participation. As such, Localmind’s usability will vary depending on the cities and areas users visit.
Android 2.1-2.3.3, US Only
Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and now Max Go — somebody really doesn’t want me to do anything but watch television programs and movies on my Android phone. Cinemax released Max Go to enable watching its programming on Android phones, similar to the app released by HBO weeks ago. And like that app, you must have a Cinemax subscription through your cable/satellite provider. Log-in and you’ll get movies, Max After Dark, Max Uncut, and a roster of video options updated each week. In addition to streaming content, Max Go also manages the stuff you want to see on bigger screens by creating a Watchlist of programs to queue. A 3G connection or better is required to stream video.
Android 2.1+ required
Hey, more reasons to space out on the boob tube! This one has no affiliation with Tivo, but it’s still a decent app for managing your Tivo set-up. Tivo Commander is a secondary remote option that can set and modify recording times, as well as manage playback options. The app has a remote control for browsing through the system, searching for TV episodes and movies, and has an on-screen keyboard that comes in handy for searches. Until Tivo decides to bring its iPhone app to Android (the company says it is), Tivo Commander is a good way to manage your watchlist.
Android 2.2+ required
The uptick in .gif images I’ve seen spread throughout the web since G+ debuted has been troubling. I’m about to add to that by telling readers about Gifinator, an app that creates animated gif ‘s by stringing together images from your cell phone camera. Users tap a screen repeated times to take pictures that are then grouped for the gif. They can then set frame speed, add effects like Sepia or black and white, or rotate the final image. Gifinator has a free lite version that only saves low-quality 160 x 120 images. Upgrade to Gifinator Plus ($0.99) to have the option to save 320×480 or 640 x 480 images.
Android 2.0.1+ required
Kona’s Crate is a game about quick-thinking, reflexes, and puzzle-solving skills. It requires that the player tap a left or right side of the screen to navigate a hovercraft to deliver a crate to Chief Kona . Tapping too hard will tip the hovercraft in either direction and cause the crate to fall. Players are rewarded for delivering the crate with speed, but being overzealous ruins the process. The game is simple but challenging and can be very highly competitive thanks to leaderboards and achievement hunting through OpenFeint. Try the free lite version and get the full $0.99 version if you like it.
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