Restaurant.com tops Android Apps of the Week

by Kristen Nicole

Take a look at your monthly budget, and I’d bet a surprising portion goes towards eating out. Now it’s easier to save on the go, with Restaurant.com’s Android app to search for local dining deals. Color for Facebook also made a splash this week with a Verizon team-up and a revamped video-sharing app that leverages the carrier’s 4G network. CNN is spreading its Android app lineup to include travel news on CNNGo, while Lowe’s offers up mobile design tips with its fresh Android app.

Restaurant.com (Free)

Like daily deals? Where better to save than at your local eatery! Restaurant.com has gone mobile, bringing dining deals for more than 18,000 restaurants across the nation. Search for “Deals Near Me” or by zipcode or city, narrowing your results by distance, cuisine and price. You can see restaurant menus, descriptions, photos and hours of operation, along with navigation to help you actually get there. Best of all, you can purchase and redeem dining deals on your phone, skipping the printer all together.

Color for Facebook (Free)

The struggling video-sharing app was hoping integration with Facebook would build its user base, but its latest team-up with Verizon could serve it better. Color will leverage Verizon’s 4G network for some new capabilities, with a fresh version expected to hit Google Play on Monday. Instead of 30-second videos without audio, the biggest change to the Color app for Verizon is the ability to hear sound. Streaming over 4G also means improved quality and speed for video recording and playback. While this new deal is an exclusive one for Verizon customers, the carrier’s 93 million subscribers is a welcome pool for Color.

CNNGo (Free)

While CNN’s mobile news app already features a section for international happenings, the new CNNGo app repackages U.S. and foreign news with an angle well suited for the traveler. Focused primarily on Asia, Australia and Europe, the new app offers local news, image galleries and “how-to” videos for cultural and historic sites. Through CNNGo you can also share the travel stories you like via email, Facebook and Twitter. And if you have some news of your own to share, send an iReport photo or video from your device and see if CNN broadcasts your story through their network.

Lowe’s (Free)

The latest technology push from Lowe’s is a new Android app, complete with home improvement ideas and tools for planning your own DIY projects. The app features inspiring room designs from Lowe’s experts, and product reviews from other customers. There are even video tutorials for basic home improvements to help you through common processes. You can also use the Lowe’s app to track your own store activity and projects, including a purchase history for easy re-ordering and access to your Home Profile from the Lowe’s website. With the wish list feature you can save items you plan to buy later, or go ahead and make the purchase directly in the app for in-store pickup or delivery.

Picframe ($0.99)

Photo-sharing is one of the top activities on mobile phones, and the latest fad is adding effects to those digital snapshots. Picframe offers a range of frame templates for your favorite images, including multi-image picture frames. Throw three to five images into a single template and get to editing. You can change the frame color, modify the width and size, and choose square or rounded corners. Completed frame-ups can be saved to your device gallery, or shared with the world via Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram support. And given the popularity of Instagram on Android, I imagine Picframe will only continue to grow its own user base.

Facebook Messenger (Free)

Shortly after an update to the Facebook for Android app comes a noteworthy string of improvements to the Messenger app. The biggest change is the “read receipts” function, which lets you know when your sent message has been read. More location data has been incorporated into Facebook Messenger, as it’s displayed in-line as long as you have your current location enabled. Facebook’s struggling to keep up with the slew of group and chat apps that have invaded Google Play, trying to extend their network to the mobile realm with as many features as possible. Privacy remains an issue, however, as the “read receipts” cannot be turned off.

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