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Top 10 Android apps of the year so far

Top 10 Android apps of the year so far

1 Digg

digg android

Digg is a social news website that allows users from all over the world to share and discover just about any sort of news you can expect to find on the internet. With the Digg app for Android, you can be in the know from anywhere on the go.

The interface is simple and easy to use. Stories are displayed in a list view, with tabs at the top to sort through the top, recent and upcoming stories. When you tap on a story from the list view, it displays the story along with comments from Digg users, with tabs to view all comments or only the best. There is also a tab to displayed related stories.

You can login using your own Digg account and dig or bury stories as you please. However, it’s not currently possible to submit your own stories, which will hopefully be added in a future update. That said, it’s still one of the best free news apps available for the Android, so definitely pick it up.

2 Pocket Empires

pocket empires

Pocket Empires is a real-time MMO strategy game where you assume responsibility for creating, building and expanding your own virtual civilisation.

To get started, you’ll need to choose of two nations in the game, select a gender for your main character and a name for your empire. From there, you’ll be presented with a land where you can start building structures, perform research and harvest crops and other resources.

Everything is based on persistent gameplay, so performing research or travelling requires time. Eventually, however, you’ll be able conquer other towns and creatures you encounter in the world map.

Players can interact with each other online. And there’s also a global leaderboard for the top 100 players. The addictive gameplay will provide you with hours of entertainment. If you’ve played and enjoyed other persistent strategy games before such as Age of Empires and Civilization, this will be right up your alley.

3 Opera Mini

Opera Mini is arguably one of the fastest mobile browsers out there. Employing a special compression technology, it uses the Opera servers to compress data transferred in real-time by up to 90 per cent. This means that browsing on the go is not only faster, if you’re on a limited or pay-as-you-go data plan, it’s also more cost-effective. Plus, if you’re on a slow connection you can improve the loading time further by setting the image quality lower, which can be restored by simply tapping on an image.

Users of Opera on the desktop can easily synchronise bookmarks and homepage by enabling the Opera Link support. The user interface of Opera Mini also greatly benefits from the user-friendly attributes of its desktop counterpart.

It’s a great alternative to the stock Android browser and it doesn’t cost you a penny. All of which makes this download a no-brainer really.

4 Doodle Jump

iPhone users have been enjoying this ridiculously addictive platformer since last year, powering it to over 3 million sales. Now, at long last it’s available for download to Android users.

The objective of Doodle Jump is very simple. You have to help this strange four-legged creature called the ‘Doddler’ progress through levels by jumping on an endless series of platforms to rack up as high a score as possible without falling.

Platforms can move sideways, making it challenging for you to adjust your jump’s trajectory. You'll also come across platforms that contain springs, trampolines and sometimes ‘helicopter hats’ that propel the Doddler further up the screen. Some platforms can break under your weight, so you have to be on your toes.

There are also enemies in the level that you have to eliminate by landing on top of them or by firing rockets and lasers that you can collect on platforms. However, there is no actual ‘finish line’ in this game. The game only ends when you fail to land on a platform or an enemy, or fall victim to more unusual circumstances like getting sucked by a black hole or abducted by a UFO.

There are different versions of the game players can choose, including: normal, Halloween, Christmas, Rain Forest and Space. If you’ve been craving something decent to pass the time on your Android phone, now you have it.

5 Google Earth

google earth android

Google Earth is another great app in Google’s wide repertoire of innovative software. In a nutshell, it’s a 3D virtual globe that displays detailed geographical information and satellite imagery of our fair planet.

The app takes advantage of Android’s voice recognition capabilities to search just about any location in the world. So if you need to locate the Great Pyramids, you only need to say it.

There is multitouch support enabling pinch-to-zoom gestures. The Android version is the only one to include a road layer that displays road labels layered on top of the satellite imagery being viewed. This makes browsing a whole lot easier.

6 Bookworm

bookworm android

Not to be confused with the game of the same name, Bookworm is an app that basically lets you keep track of all the books you’ve ever read or intend on reading.

Books can be entered by manual input, searching online or by simply scanning their barcodes using the phone’s camera. Once inputted, you can rate a book and comment on it. You can also sort and filter your book list.

It’s a simple but useful app for the bookworms out there.

7 Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a robust Twitter client for professional users. It allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts, schedule tweets in advance and track statistics to measure the success of your tweets.

One of the unique features of this app is that you can create custom streams for specific tags and searches, which will display tweets matching those keywords - making keeping track of important topics a breeze.

Of course, you can create lists to organise your followers for each account. There's also integrated image uploading and URL shortening functionality, which includes onboard click-through statistics. The Android version also supports background notifications, which can be toggled for individual streams, meaning it’s less hard on the battery life.

The app comes in two versions: a regular version that includes all the features including unlimited accounts and click-through statistics, and a free version that is limited to three Twitter accounts and includes in-stream advertisements.

8 Load Monitor

load monitor

Load Monitor has a simple purpose, to monitor your Android’s load average to improve its overall performance. It also alerts you if the load on the system is too high for a prolonged period of time, as it can not only does this slow down your phone, it drain the batter faster too.

Basically Load Monitor is just a useful tool to have around if you use your Android handset a lot or have trouble figuring out what’s causing it to perform sluggishly, so give it a try.

9 de Blob

deblob android

de Blob is a unique little game, which puts you in control of a blob that you have to roll around in a drab, washed-out city. It turns out some evil corporation called INKT is responsible for draining the city of all its colour and it’s up to you to restore the metropolis to its former glory.

You can control the blob using both tilt and touch control. By rolling over the ‘leech bots’ spread around the city, you can change the colour and size of your blob. Different colours can be mixed together to create new ones. Every building you bump changes its colour automatically. Rolling over pools of water will wash off the colours and shrink your blob, which can be necessary to access narrow alleyways.

Of course, there are various obstacles in your way as you try to revitalise the city to its former state of liveliness. Not least of which are time limits. And buildings require your blob to be of a certain shade and before they can be coloured.

Your blob will also be drained of its colour if you come into contact with agents of the INKT Corporations roaming around the city. Fortunately, you can eliminate the goons by bouncing on top of them.

The game comes with two modes: Revolution and Free Splash. Revolution is basically the campaign mode where must colourise the city block by block. Free Splash allows you to replay the individual blocks to achieve a higher score within the time limit.

10 Slide Screen

slide screen android

Slide Screen is an alternative to the default home screen on your Android and provides a slick, user-friendly interface to meet all your information needs from one screen. This means your call history, messages, emails, appointments, news, stock updates, Twitter and Facebook feeds are seamlessly merged in one place.

The defining feature of the interface is the centre slider bar from which the app derives its name. It contains basic information such as the current time, date and weather. You can drag this slider vertically to prioritise which category of information to display on top or under it - all of which are colour-coded to make them easily identifiable.

If you drag the slider all the way up or down, you will be able to tap the filter mode icon to display only a specific category of information, i.e. your emails. Tapping on an item will directly take you to the corresponding app. You can even add app shortcuts and view the app launcher from the same screen.

The app comes two versions, a Pro version which includes everything described above and a free version which contains an ad at the bottom.

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