So Appy Together: This Spring’s Best New Android Apps

Get appy with this season’s five best Android apps! Turn into a cartoon, firm your tush, and take a stroll around New York City’s most peaceful parts. When you’re done, sit on a bench and navigate our listings straight from your phone. 

BlackBook City Guides [Free]:So perhaps we’re “tooting our own horn,” blaring it, perhaps. But when you’re the leading non-user generated City Guide on the whole market, why not shout it to the world! This little app gives you access to the insider-scoop, pictures, and special offers in 65 cities worldwide – written by locals, for locals. Find out where the best seaside seafood spot is in the French Riviera, which hotel has the gasp-inducing view of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, and what New York salon gives you complimentary shots of moonshine.

Peaceful Places: New York City [$9.99]: Serenity in New York – sounds like an oxymoron or charmingly antiquated folk tale. Before this app, it was. But with 100 Peaceful Place: New York City, serenity in this city actually becomes a tangible destination.  In the 345 pages, author Evelyn Kanter guides you to the 129 most restorative, diverse, and hidden oases across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. Stroll through the tucked-away parks, promenades, and gardens, and pursue the dainty shops and quaint streets few know about. All the spots are classified according to area, alphanumeric, and category – and most of the sites are free, which is calming in itself. 

Cartoon Camera [Free]: Maybe you’ve always coveted Marge’s frizz-free, beehive bouffant on The Simpsons. Or perhaps you’ve secretly wished your cat looked like Garfield. Yearn, no more! With this app, your entire world becomes a colorful cartoon. The app transforms everything you see through your camera lens into real-time sketches of cartoon, sepia, dark and light strokes, and edges. Capture the image with a click of a button, auto-focus, and zoom in on an especially cartoonish and fuzzy piece of lint under your sofa.

Fitness Buddy [$.99]: "Fitness Buddy?" More like the "Goodbye, My Expensive Personal Trainer" app. For under $1, you gain access to 75 curated workout routines for men and women, each customized to whichever goal you wish to achieve (firming your tush, getting a six-pack, etc.) There are also 1,700 equipment and body part-targeted exercises, and thousands of high-def videos and photos so you can actually understand what the heck you’re trying to do. The best part: you can track and graph your progress based on your body weight and body measurements.

Crackle [Free]: When you’re stuck on a 12-hour family car trip to Yellowstone National Park, or your roommate and his "friend" are snogging and hogging the sofa in front of the TV, Crackle is your escape. Watch full-length Hollywood movies and TV shows using your Wi-Fi and 3G connection. Browse by genre, and gorge on episodes of Seinfeld and Groundhog Day for free, in the comfort of your own personal space. Twenty new movies and TV shows are added monthly, so expect a whole bunch more additions to your very urgent to-do list.

A Robust Roster: The Best New Android Apps

Usher in the beginning of spring with seven of the best new android apps on the market. Find a spot under the shade of a tree, grasp that ‘droid in your hand, and just press "install." Soon, you’ll be playing the trombone, managing your TiVo, and creating your own app. Ah, the good life. 

IBONE [$1.99]
Winner of the “Best Musical Instrument App” in the 2009 Best App Ever Awards (there is such a thing), this standard has finally joined the Android club, eliciting more sonorous waves of trombone sounds from passersby and their phones. Users can not only play along with music from their own customized collection, but also choose from the iBone Songbook. With a lot of touching, blowing into the mic, and sliding of the fingers, you too can make beautiful music. Arthur Pryor would be proud. (Google him.)

MYLIFE [Free]
Launched as part of a $35 million campaign to promote personal relationships via their site, MyLife lets you plug into multiple social networks, like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, all in one place. No more opening each individual app—a daunting task, we know. With all major social media newsfeeds pulled in, and a database of 700 million user profiles to view, this all-purpose hub allows for optimal stalking of ex-friends, estranged family, former flames, and people you cannot tolerate but are strangely fascinated with.

TIVO [Free]
Admit it: there’s no feeling as desperate as when you’re at work and it suddenly dawns on you that you forgot to set your DVR to record the latest episode of Bachelor Pad. Stupid! Not to worry. With this long overdue app, your phone transforms into your cable remote, allowing TiVo and non-TiVo DVR users to browse a 14-day schedule, manage and schedule future recordings, and comment on shows on Facebook or Twitter. The app also lets you search for on-demand shows from Netflix, Blockbuster, or Amazon Instant Video. Control your DVR, control your life.

PAUSEAPP [Free]
Promoting an uninterrupted life, PauseApp presses “pause” on all mobile distractions by giving you a breather from calls, texts, and critical emails from your boss. Calls go directly to voicemail, texts and emails are held in purgatory, and auto-replies are sent when prompted. Except for five essential contacts of your choosing, no one else can reach you, so decide carefully. It’s a refreshing dose of 20th century-style privacy in this overloaded I-just-ate-a-tuna-sandwich-so-now-I’ll-tweet-about-it age.

VIMEO [Free]
When you’re dying to watch that home video of your friend’s failed attempt at krumping—or want to upload it for the world to see—this mobile version of the popular video platform allows you to do just that. Personalize your channel viewing preferences, browse and comment on videos, add and edit your own, and upload your raw footage in high-def. Don’t thank us—we’re sure your friend will.

WIKIPEDIA [Free]
You can finally look up the genus of the helmeted guinea fowl and the mysterious origins of the bicycle chain without ever opening an actual encyclopedia. As if Wikipedia needed an introduction, this crowd-sourced, 20-million-article game–changer comes with more features than the actual website. You can save articles for offline use, view any single entry in a different language (try Esperanto), and share them with your pals to prove that there really is a sport called dwarf tossing. The best part: it’ll be accessible the next time Wikipedia decides to go dark.

ANDROMO APP MAKER [Free]
Think you can create the next Angry Birds, but don’t have the money, time, or coding chops? There’s an app for that. Andromo, coined “The App Maker for Everyone,” is a platform where you can create and customize your app’s appearance and add features like YouTube videos, Flickr galleries, social media feeds, and more. Whether you’re a business owner, musician, student, or podiatrist, Andromo gives you the space to communicate and promote whatever idea you have and add it to the Android Market for sharing. With over 700,000 Android devices activated every day, your app will be seen, so don’t slack.

Cell Phone Companies Increasingly Appealing to Fat Americans

As mobile technologies expand, so do Americans. And with two-thirds of us pretty darn fat and getting fatter, the cell phone industry is about to explode. Fortunately, the innovative minds behind creating the sleekest and thinnest portable devices have taken our pudgy asses into account.

Enter:  the “Ice Cream Sandwich,” Google Android’s newest operating system.
 
Outfitted with buttons that glow, swipe-able photo galleries, a faster browser, and a platter of other performance-enhancing accoutrements, the Ice Cream Sandwich has been deemed positively “enchanting.”
 
Enchanting? I’m practically drooling all over my desk. My iPhone and stash of dark chocolate Kit Kat bars are soaked in my residual, viscous slobber. I don’t know whether I want to dance my grubby little fingers upon its resizable home-screen widgets or merely stuff the bite-sized bugger in my mouth.
 
But believe it or not, the Ice Cream Sandwich is not the first deliciously-named morsel of mobile technology. In fact, it’s preceded by a long line of ancestors (two others) that bore strikingly healthier gastronomic titles.
 
In 1996, there was Nokia’s “Banana” phone, which was fashionably futuristic enough to make its big screen debut on Keanu Reeve’s ear in “The Matrix.” Fast forward ten years, and Verizon debuts its indulgently sweet LG Chocolate, which in its dark variety is as good for you as exercise.  Today, Google is serving up the Ice Cream Sandwich, which has no known health benefits except eliciting dopamine-enhancing memories of summers spent bike riding, and that painfully cute time your fourth-grade crush wiped some rainbow sprinkles from your cheek with his napkin.
 
Yes, it seems mobile marketing has evolved to meet our own increasing levels of gluttony. What’s next? The “Philly Cheesesteak?” The “Fried Oreo?” The “Baskin Robbin’s Large Heath Bar Shake?” Ah, when all else fails, just swig some water, take a walk, and grab an Apple.

Our Current Crop of Favorite Android Apps: Tumblr, Google Goggles, Goings On

Goings On: The New Yorker [Free] Traditionalists might sneer as their beloved, 85-year-old weekly traverses the great smartphone divide. “Blasphemy!” they’ll cry to no one in particular, because everyone else will be out on the town, in galleries and theaters, jazz clubs and dance-halls, soaking in the finest culture New York City has to offer. And it will all be thanks to The New Yorker’s new app, a tip-top distillation of the famed magazine’s beloved “Goings On About Town” section. As a bonus, a stable of the magazine’s artists and writers will contribute their favorite in-town happenings, plus it has some distinctly smartphone-esque advantages: in-house maps and GPS, critic-guided audio tours, and zero smudging.

Google Goggles [Free] Ladies and cyborgs, the future is upon us. The latest sign that the machines are rising comes from—who else—Google. The don’t-be-evil empire’s latest innovation is their Goggles platform, an image recognition application that fills in the increasingly scarce blanks. It’s the Information Age kicked up a notch. Can’t remember the name of that big lady holding the torch? Snap a photo of her, and let Google Goggles do the rest. Searching… searching… Voila! It’s Angelina Jolie dressed up as the Statue of Liberty! Or something.

Steak Time [Free] As any self-respecting carnivore knows, cooking the perfect steak is a veritable artisan craft. It can take years of preparation and studying to achieve that perfect pinkness. Well, guess what, meat-heads: the good people of Omaha Steaks want to make sure you never ruin another ribeye, with a beefy app that covers the ins-and-outs of grilling. On top of the 100-plus recipes you can browse through, there are how-to videos, a Steak 101 section, and that precious timer, ensuring a steer will never again die in vain.

Tap Resort Party [Free] Case of the Mondays got you down? Of course it does! Your job sucks. But have no fear, faceless office drone, because we have an app for you. Tap Resort Party is the ultimate tropical getaway, where you get to play head honcho of your own island paradise. In the same vein as the everlasting Sims franchise, TRP wants you to colonize your island with happy-time attractions. Just sit back and watch the tourists flock. The happier they are, the more money you make. The more money you make, the happier you are. As Johnny Depp once said, “Money doesn’t buy you happiness. But it buys you a big enough yacht to sail right up to it.” He was totally talking about this app.

Tumblr [Free] Tumblr is still trying to carve out its niche in a social media landscape dominated by hashtags and wall posts, but their revamped app is a step in the right direction. Featuring a snazzy new look, the ability to manage multiple Tumblr accounts at once, and a user-friendly interface, it should help attract those outliers weary of devoting themselves to yet another online identity. The internet’s creative types have already caught on—Tumblr is on the forefront of the blogosphere. What are you waiting for?

Pano [$1.99] No matter how sophisticated your smartphone may be, its camera can never quite capture the perfection of the human eye. Pano, however, brings it one step closer by giving you the capability to compose seamless panoramic photos. By stitching together up to 16 shots, Pano lets you create digital vistas that can stretch up to 360 degrees, and actually eclipse what human beings, in all their biological supremacy, can see. The iPhone’s version has won mantels of awards and made best-of lists, and now you Androiders can finally see what all the fuss is about.

SoberApp [Free] Putting your life and the lives of others, for that matter—at the mercy of an app might be risky business, but that’s exactly what the creators of SoberApp expect you to do. Essentially a device that lets you know when you’re too drunk to drive, or even trickier, sober enough to try it, SoberApp tracks your Blood Alcohol Content based on your age, weight, and how many PBRs you’ve shotgunned. In the event that you’ve had enough, the app will help you locate a cab. But if it’s a serious buzz you’re chasing, it will also help pin down nearby watering holes. Depending on your neck of the woods, SoberApp will adjust its findings based on local laws. The message here: drink responsibly, sort of.

BlackBook City Guide Now on Android!

The BlackBook City Guide has enjoyed a long, happy life on the App Store as a free iPhone app, and in that warm and welcoming manger has spawned many children (15 spinoff apps and counting). And now we’re pleased to announce that we are going forth and multiplying on the Android Market, where you can now download the BlackBook City Guide app as well!

This entirely new platform was created from the ground up with a whole new purpose-built core — it’s wicked fast and comes complete with all the standards that have made the iPhone version so popular. Over 20,000 curated, editorial venue reviews of nightlife, dining, hotels, shopping, and health & beauty, spread over 60 worldwide destinations. Foursquare check-in, the usual Facebook and Twitter sharing, and of course you can read the BlackBook news feed directly on the app. Download now!

May’s Must-Have Droid Apps: Lapse It, Spinal Tap, Oprah

Lapse It [$1.99] Who doesn’t love watching a flower bloom in a visually delightful, the-passage-of-time-blows-my-mind kind of way? That’s what we thought. Try your hand at playing God (or Heidegger) with Lapse It. Shoot your own time-lapse videos using your phone’s built-in camera. With amazing resolution and daring eff ects, capture everything from a busy a ernoon on Madison Avenue to the sun setting over the Hudson.

Spinal Tap Soundboard[$.99] The Droid now goes all the way up to 11. Unleash your inner rock star with the new Spinal Tap Soundboard. Featuring the best quotes and sound bites from the film, the app delivers jokes, one-liners, and deadpan observations that are sure to have you reliving your days on the road with Motörhead. As Michael McKean’s David St. Hubbins famously said, “I’m sure I’d feel much worse if I weren’t under such heavy sedation.” We couldn’t agree more.

Oprah Mobile [$.99] Unless your name is Stedman, you can never have too much Oprah in your life. Spend more time with the queen of daytime television (and the world, really) using Oprah Mobile. Watch highlights from your favorite episodes (Tom Cruise’s public meltdown, anyone?) and backstage interviews with your favorite stars, and read articles from O, The Oprah Magazine, all while listening to Miss Winfrey’s radio show, featuring her favorite co-host, Gayle King.

Guitar Lessons [$.99] Everybody wishes they could shred like Steve Vai or Jimmy Page, but who has the time, money, or willpower to sit through proper lessons when you could be collecting groupies right this second? Now you can take your very own private guitar lessons using your Droid, without having to step out of the house. With tons of easy-to-use instructional videos to watch and learn from, the pros will help you perfect your plucking skills in no time. Wait a minute—Is that “Crazy Train” we hear?

Cookie Locator [Free] From Samoas to Tagalongs to the perfect, elegant Thin Mint, Girl Scout Cookie month is better than your birthday and Christmas rolled into one. But sometimes, as anyone who lives in a four-story walk-up knows, getting your hands on the goods can prove difficult. Not anymore! With the Girl Scout Cookie locator, find cookie sales in your neighborhood and discover who’s hoarding all the Caramel DeLites. Not sure what you’re in the mood for? The app offers a helpful quiz to determine your real cookie personality. (We just hope to god you’re not a Peanut Butter.)

Revolver TV [$1.99] If you’re looking for some serious rock reading, you’re in luck. With the Revolver TV app, get exclusive content from the loudest music rag around. Read articles, listen to tracks, and watch videos you can only find here. See your favorite artists perform live and go behind the scenes as you enjoy exclusive backstage access. New videos are constantly being uploaded, so you’ll always have the latest rock royalty right at your fingertips.

Google Sky Map [Free] Whether you’re staring up at the cosmic unknown from a city rooftop or contemplating the star-covered abyss in the mountains, let your Droid be your window to the sky. Using Google Sky, point your phone at the heavens and the app will show you stars, planets, and constellations visible (if it weren’t for all that light pollution) from where you stand. Learn to identify all the celestial objects in and out of view as you tap into your inner Galileo.