The Wikimedia Foundation has finally released an official Wikipedia app for the Android Market, and just in time, too. The mobile version of Wikipedia was one of the few ways you could access the popular Wiki’s content during its site black out, part of the Foundation’s protest against the proposed SOPA bill. Airbnb also had a notable launch this week, giving you a mobile outlet for listing and searching homes for short-term stays.
An official version for Android, Wikipedia’s free encyclopedia has been optimized for the most prevalent mobile platform in the world. With more than 20 million articles across 280 languages, Wikipedia is one of the most highly referenced bodies of content ever created. With the mobile app you can search for articles, save them for later reading on or offline, and toggle between languages. If you’re out and about, you can search for relevant articles based on your location, and easily share items with friends. Wikipedia may finally have its own Android app, but it’s no stranger to mobile. The Wiki is referenced in dozens of Android apps as a reference tool for local search, amongst other things.
Airbnb’s popular service lets you turn your house into a nightly hotel, offering it up for short-time renting. The new Android app comes in response to growing mobile searches, as nearly ten percent of its traffic comes from mobile users. Airbnb has rental offers from around 19,000 cities and towns in nearly 200 countries. This is especially useful for travelers abroad, with the added option of saving information locally. For travelers that may not have access to Wi-Fi, having itinerary and rental information available offline is a necessary perk. With a recent round of funding for over $100 million, Airbnb is able to further its mobile goals, revamping its mobile website in addition to the new Android app.
Another voice-assistance app for Android users, though Dragon Go! is a little less “sassy” than its iPhone counterpart Siri. From Nuance, a company known for its voice recognition/speech-to-text capabilities, Dragon Go! is out to help you with a variety of queries. It will help you make purchases, answer questions, offer navigation and solve match problems. Dragon Go! is really setting out to be a hub for search and other basic tasks, offering direct access to several mobile web sites and services from YouTube to OpenTable, Pandora and ESPN. You’ll get accompanying search results in response to your queries, aggregating search and other content to answer your questions instead of merely providing a page of blue search links.
NBC may have hastened its way into web broadcasts, but they’ve been slower to the mobile scene. Nevertheless, here’s NBC’s new Android app for video highlights from your favorite shows, along with exclusive photos, show-based games and trivia and a schedule of upcoming episodes. The dashboard can be customized for your interests around news and network programs, offering a mini mobile portal for all things network-related. There’s no access to full episodes just yet, but there’s plans for this in the works.
Star Trek has inspired plenty of real-life technology in the past three decades, and Android apps are no exception. Tricorder is an entertaining homage to the Star Trek gadget that kept space explorers aware of their surroundings. This sci-fi measurement tool displays real data streaming from your Android’s sensors, displaying a series of on-screen graphs. It’s a fun novelty that’s well-suited for the geeky Android user (isn’t that all of us?) and Trekkies alike.
D33P is known for their Facebook photo apps in the Android Market, and the latest is specific for your Facebook Timeline. The new profile format on the world’s most popular social network is spreading across Facebook’s millions of users, offering another way to personalize your home page. The Facebook Timeline Covers app lets you format images specifically for the Timeline, pulling images from your Android photo gallery or camera, an online library or your Facebook account. From here, you can set your cover photo as well as your profile photo, previewing your progress at each step.
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