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It seems this is the year popular iPhone apps make their way to Android. Instapaper is following in the steps of Instagram and Flipboard, taking their sweet time developing an Android app but doing it with a bang. The Play Safe app also had a notable launch this week, creating a kid-friendly interface to minimize inadvertent damage when the rugrats get a hold of your Android device. Ticketmaster also found its way to Android, with mobile ticket sales and concert information on the go.
Several apps have offered Instapaper integration, for those of you that have the content repository on your computer or other mobile devices. Pocket (formerly Read It Later) has been a great alternative for Android users, but faces some serious competition with the arrival of Instapaper on Google Play. With Instapaper you can save websites for later, offline reading, optimized for your mobile device. There are options for how your content is saved, too. For instance, you can choose to save text only, stripping away the full-sized layout to get to the meat of an article. It’s a distraction-free way to read content, with adjustable fonts, text sizes, line spacing and moveable margins. Organize your content into folders, share the best articles with your friends and switch to dark mode for reading at night time.
Play Safe (free)
There’s two reasons why parents will want the Play Safe app for their Android devices: it protects children from remiss content, and it protects the data on the device itself (no more accidentally deleted files or phone calls). With Play Safe you can determine which apps your kids can access, with a child lock to protect your phones from curious fingers. It doesn’t completely change the interface of your device, but keeps kids from accessing certain apps, like those you use for work with saved reports, or games that easily rack up real money with virtual purchases.
Ticketmaster has found its way to Android, with an app that lets you purchase tickets on the go. It’s great for those last minute purchases, saving all the confirmation data you need to get into the event. The app also serves up regular news on concerts, shows and other events, along with alerts for sales and last-minute ticket deals for your favorites. Search for the event you want across categories and genres, and discover nearby events to fill in some down time. Track your orders, get venue details and add an event to your calendar after you’ve purchased your tickets.
Mobile entertainment is all the rage, with Netflix, HBO and even Comcast streaming content to your Android device. But what’s still missing is a central solution to search and manage it all. Verizon, always striving to be your mobile media hub, has launched a new app called viewdini, a discovery portal that spans several content providers including Netflix, Hulu, mSpot, TV sites, movie studios and cable operators like Comcast Xfinity. It’s designed around a search tool, returning results for title, topic or cast. From there you can see which services offer streaming mobile video, and whether it’s available for free, as part of a subscription, to rent or for purchase.
Open Garden (free)
With our growing collection of personal connected devices, Open Garden is a peer-to-peer networking tool that interconnects your gadgets even when you have no Wi-Fi. Install the app on your device and computer and you’re good to go. It’s like tethering your laptop to your mobile Internet, just without the wires and configuration. When multiple devices running Open Garden are in the vicinity, they’ll all connect into a mesh network. Though there’s still room for improvement with this app, it’s super simple to use and can come through in the clutch.