Google Catalogs tops Android Apps of the Week

by Kristen Nicole

Everyone’s looking to optimize their apps for Android’s growing tablet user base. Google Catalogs brings a convenient spread to your mobile device, creating a retail hub for stores like CB2 and Williams-Sonoma. Zillow and Songza have also received updates, taking advantage of extra screen real estate on Android tablets. Other notable launches this week came from Sonos, Delta, Buy.com and AirDroid.

Google Catalogs (Free)

Google’s been building out its media and retail services, layering books, movies and music directly into the Android Market, and now we have a Catalogs app. It’s differentiated from competitor’s magazine subscription offerings and has a lucrative tie-in for capturing more consumer preferences as well. Released for Android and iOS tablets, Google Catalogs is a shopper’s haven, centralizing an array of digitized mailers. Teaming with Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Urban Outfitters and several others, the new Catalog app comes out just in time for holiday shopping. They’re interactive too, with search, save and share features.

Zillow Real Estate & Rentals (Free)

Finding a home or rental is easier than ever with databases like Zillow available on your Android device. Now optimized for Android tablets, Zillow takes advantage of larger screen real estate to pack in property information. Learn everything you need about home prices and apartment rates in various neighborhoods, viewing photos, reading the descriptions and going over a property’s history. There’s also a nifty comparison tool to shop two homes side-by-side. Zillow’s keeping pace in a competitive market, where Trulia has already established its real estate and rental apps for Android and iOS tablets.

Sonos Controller for Android (Free)

The Sonos home entertainment system is one of the most connected in the market, and it’s just gotten better with a freshly updated Android app. New is the ability to set alarms, waking yourself up with a favored playlist. There’s also increased control over music library management, and even improved Twitter integration. Slacker Radio is the newest music service to be incorporated into the Sonos service, while Spotify support has been updated as well. Sonos recognizes the possibilities in creating a personalized interface for home entertainment, leveraging your data-hungry companion, that little Android device.

Fly Delta (Free)

Just in time for the busy holiday travel season, Delta updated its Android app to include its baggage-tracking program launched at ticket counters earlier this year. The new option to “track my bags” is on the home screen, enabling you to scan your baggage ticket with your device camera. You’ll then get regular updates as your bags are checked plane-side, and even get an alert telling you which baggage carousel will spit out your luggage. And making things a little easier for Delta, you can pay for your baggage check-ins through this app as well. But Fly Delta’s Android app isn’t just for tracking bags. You can also view your seats, check your flight status, view flight maps and manage your SkyMiles account.

AirDroid (Free)

What if you could control your Android phone through a web browser? AirDroid’s new Android app lets you do just that. Manipulate files on your device and transfer them between your computer and handset, all without touching your phone. You can read and send texts, install and uninstall apps, preview and delete photos, search and create contacts, customize ringtones and alarms, and just about every other function your phone holds. Sometimes it’s easier and more convenient to do all these things from a computer’s browser than a small handset. AirDroid supports Android devices with version 2.1 or higher (but not 4.0 just yet), and Chrome and Firefox 3.6 or later.

Buy.com (Free)

Another app to take advantage of a booming mobile retail market, Buy.com launched a new shopping app for demanding consumers. The self-proclaimed “Internet superstore,” Buy.com must’ve noticed the sharp increase of retail purchases now being made on mobile devices, especially this time of year. The new Android app lets you browse millions of products from every category under the sun, with reviews, comparisons and even daily deals. Strengthening its appeal to modern shoppers, Buy.com’s app is also integrated with their Super Points reward program, earning credits with purchases and site activity.

Songza HD (Free)

Songza’s getting serious about its Android outreach, ramping up efforts in light of an increasingly competitive mobile music market. The HD version of Songza is updated for Android tablets, including the Kindle Fire. Featuring countless curated playlists, Songza’s free music service has a collection for every occasion without the bother of listening limits or commercials. Search by activity, genre, decade or mood, and collect your favorite playlists, sharing them across Facebook and Twitter. You can create a playlist too, but this isn’t yet an option for the mobile app, you’ll have to head back to the main website.