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Top 10 Android apps of January 2011

Top 10 Android apps of January 2011

To say finding the latest and greatest Android apps is a chore would be the biggest understatement of the year so far. And, although welcome, Google’s recent unveiling of what’s frankly a hugely underwhelming web-based Android Market does nothing to change that.

But fear not: mindful of the plight of Fandroids everywhere, has once again dived headlong into the depths Android Market to bring you the best apps of the recent crop. When we surfaced for air, this is what we came up with.

1. Smart Folders

Smart Folders Android

Smart Folders is an, erm, smart way to configure where all your content goes – be it the countless apps clogging up your app launcher, your contacts, favourite radio stations or photo albums – it will organise them all like a neat freak girlfriend or wife.

And you’ll need fret no more about folders congesting your screen. Just long-tap your home screen to bring them up only when you need ‘em.

2. Discount Calculator

Discount Calculator Android

Discount Calculator does exactly what it says on the tin. It calculates discounts for you in a snap and spares you the awkwardness of doing it yourself while you’re out shopping.

Simply enter the amount and drag the discount slider to see the difference in real-time. It calculates the tax, too, so you’ll know how much you’re really spending. This really is an indispensable tool, especially if you’re a on a budget or not a member of parliament.

3. Vevo

Vevo Android

Vevo is essentially YouTube for music. While that might sound a bit redundant, Vevo is, let’s just say, a more ‘legit’ way of checking out the latest and hottest music videos. And with over 25,000 videos from 7,500 artists, it’s a growing collection too.

On top of that, you’ll get a higher quality streaming than YouTube, along with exclusive videos, premieres and playlists for an all round premium music experience.

4. Touch Calendar

Touch Calendar Android

Tired of switching between calendar views to see what’s coming up? Touch Calendar can take care of that.

It amalgamates all your calendar events using colour-coded entries laid out in a single zoomable, scrollable screen so you have complete overview of your schedule for the entire month without having to cycle between month, week and day views as you have to with the stock Android calendar.

Of course, you can still search for entries manually, add events including repeating ones, and all that good stuff. But it’s the home screen widget that takes the cake and makes this a must-have companion for anyone with a relatively busy schedule.

5. Cricket World Cup 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011 Android

With the Cricket World Cup less than two weeks away, it’s time to get behind your countrymen and let those Aussies know how much you really loved thumping them in the Ashes and would love to do it again with the whole world watching.

But to do that you’ll need to know what’s going down halfway across the globe. Cricket World Cup 2011 gives you access to news and live commentary as it happens, plus fixtures, results and points tables – all the essentials you need to keep up-to-date with the sport’s biggest event.

You can also access a database of all the participating teams and their entire squad, as well as venues where games will be played, plus records and trivia to test your cricketing knowledge to its very limit.

6. PES Pro Evolution Soccer 2011

PES 2011 Android

Don’t like cricket? Then surely you like football. Otherwise you may want to check in with a hormone specialist soon.

Pro Evo, in case you’re not the gamer type, is one of the two long-running football franchises (forgot what the other one is called) and it’s back for another round with an updated roster, improved visuals and better animations to boot.

It’s also home to the prestigious, and exclusive, UEFA Champions League and Europa League tourneys, along with officially licensed clubs from all over the continent.

New players will enjoy the improved AI support, while PES veterans can challenge themselves with the on-screen control pad based on console versions of the title.

Alas, there’s no audio commentary so the offside rule remains a mystery. But other than that, it’s a smashing game all round.

7. Cover Art Grabber

Cover Art Grabber Android

If you like ripping music from CDs or procure MP3s in ways that gets copyright lawyers all antsy in their pantsy, then you might notice that not all your music has correct album art or the correct information, if at all. This makes the experience feel rather cheap and naked. And not in a good way.

Grab Cover Art Grabber and it will freely fetch those album arts and correct Id3 Tag information for you so you can have a less guilt-ridden time browsing your collection.

8. Kongregate Arcade

Kongregate Android app

Kongregate Arcade is a collection of over 300 free to play Flash-based games for Android smartphones running Froyo and beyond. Essentially, it’s a portal to the mobile Kongregate website ( that you can already access from the browser if you have a Flash compatible handset. The app just makes the makes the experience more seamless and convenient.

Although the genius folks in charge of what goes on and stays off the Android Market had the bright idea of pulling the app from the store only a day after its release, it’s back on there now and ready to quench your gaming thirst once more. Better yet, let those iFans know what Flash is capable of and kill two birds with one phone.

9. Ninja Rush

Ninja Rush Android

Ninja Rush is a frantic, fast-paced side-scrolling platformer with a simple objective: get your little masked menace as far as possible by jumping and swinging across platforms, while slaughtering as many samurai goons as you can with a healthy supply of shuriken (y’know, those stabby, starry projectiles) that you’ll pick up along the way.

The gameplay is pretty much a case of tapping to jump and double tapping to jump higher. Or tap a dedicated button to throw your ninja rope to escape perilous falls. You can speed up your dude by sliding forward or slow him down by sliding backwards.

It’s an instantly likable title with its charming doodle-like visuals. But best of all is that it’s free, so it’s a complete steal.

10. Go Launcher EX

Go Launcher EX Android

Go Launcher EX is essentially an alternative to the stock Android launcher. One that’s smoother, faster and I dare say it, sexier.

While custom skins such as HTC Sense and the abundance of widgets give Android a fair degree of customisability, it ultimately all tends to look all the same, take up too much screen space and worse, hog unnecessary resources that deplete the battery faster than powering the National Grid off a single AAA.

Go launcher EX gives the Android UI a fresh lick of paint to keep the love going with freely downloadable themes, a smoother scrolling experience all round and easier management of folders and tasks in the app drawer.

Of course, you can still install widgets to your heart’s content and they can be resized. And you know what the best part is? It’s gratis. That’s free, for those unversed in Latin.

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