Instagram is hands-down the top Android app of the week, with one million downloads in its first 24 hours after hitting Google Play. The popular photo-sharing app was one of the most highly anticipated Android launches in recent months, and with an early sign-up option released last week, hundreds of thousands of Android users were ready for Instagram’s launch. A couple of digital reader apps also launched this past week, including Flud and Zite, while Google released the Authenticator app to better secure your personal data.
Finally available for Android users, Instagram is already topping charts in the Google Play Store. Instagram is known for its collection of filters that add retro effects, making for a more dynamic montage than the digitized defaults that have replaced our physical photos. What makes Instagram such a success is its social components for sharing and searching, with cross-site posting to Facebook and Twitter, as well as hashtag searches that let you see all images tagged with a particular keyword.
Check out our video review of Instagram here.
Flud News (Free)
Another app that’s making its way beyond iOS is Flud, the social news reader. Similar to Pulse, Flud keeps a running stream of news from your social networks, letting you build up your own custom feed instead of simply pulling updates from Facebook and Twitter. Create your stream from Google Reader and other networks, along with a reading list of recommended items. You can push out stories to these social networks, though most Flud users will share stories primarily with their in-app followers. Competition amongst social news readers is high, and design is a focal point for such apps, including Flud. The app features a sleek design, discovery tools and topic-driven streams.
Zite is a digital news reader as well, with a focus on web articles instead of social networks. The free app is personalized, offering suggestions based on your reading behavior. Generating a custom “magazine” of content, you’ll also gain access to blogs and videos, making Zite a helpful discovery tool as well. Also topic-driven, Zite’s “artificial intelligence” approach to premium content is based on the feeds in your Google Reader, and continues to learn your preferences with Pandora-like voting as you browse through articles.
Google Authenticator (Free)
Being more proactive about your device security, Google’s released a 2-step verification tool to better protect your account from hijacking. Google Authenticator adds another layer of security to your Google Account by signing in with both a code generated by the app, as well as your password. You can set up automatically with a QR code, which you scan to generate a new account code. There’s support for multiple Google Accounts, with separate verification codes to use during the sign-in process. You can manage your Authenticator through your Google settings, keeping your personal data safe even if your password is stolen.
Alarm Clock by doubleTwist ($0.99)
doubleTwist is known for its device-syncing media player, but it recently launched a beautiful alarm clock with a simple design and handy features. The alarm clock wakes you up to a tune of your choice, with two modes for your home screen clock. There’s an additional two modes for the alarm, based on an exact time or your sleep cycle, which helps you determine an optimal wake-up time based on your sleep patterns. You can set multiple alarms, recurring alarms and custom labels and snooze durations for each.
Rite Aid (Free)
Rite Aid may be late to the Google Play Store, but its new Android app helps you manage your prescriptions and save on in-store purchases. With a store locator and access to weekly circulars, you can find the nearest store for your specific needs, like a drive-thru pharmacy or in-store clinics, as well as current discounts and an optional shopping list directly in the app. You can also use the Rite Add app to refill your prescriptions by scanning your medicine bottle, access refill history and sign-up for their reminder service (which will text, email or call you when your refill is ready for pickup). Link your wellness+ card to the Rite Aid Android app to track your rewards, and pull up coupons through your smartphone to use at checkout.