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Field Trip tops Android Apps of the Week

by Marty Gabel

There was a good selection of apps to choose from this week. Leading the charge is Field Trip from Google’s Niantic Labs which can help you discover unusual and too-often-missed things close by. We’ve also got the lowdown on PassWallet (an Android take on Apple’s Passbook), a smart update to the New York Times, the prettiest accounting app you’ll ever see (Xero) and the official offering from Amtrak. Keep on track with our Android Apps of the Week.

Field Trip (Free)

This new app is unique to Android and well worth a look. Field Trip runs in the background on your device and when you get close to something interesting, it pops up a card with details about the location. It could be a fun place to shop, an historical site or a new place to eat. The content comes from some great sources like Arcadia, Zagat, Cool Hunting, Flavorpill and Atlas Obscura and could be a great companion app if you’re in a different part of town or traveling somewhere new.

PassWallet (Free)

How long PassWallet will be allowed to remain in Google Play is yet to be seen, as Apple may not like the fact that it can import files from Passbook in iOS 6 and store them on your Android. The app offers a way to store all your tickets and coupons in one place like boarding passes, theater tickets, coffee shop loyalty cards and more. Merchants include Walgreens, Fandango and TicketMaster. Appolicious Advisor, Kristen Nicole, took an extensive look at PassWallet this week and compared its services to Google Wallet.

NYTimes update (Free)

The New York Times Android app got freshened up this week, which will be very welcome to many subscribers who probably relied more on its mobile website version in the past. The app now complies to Android’s ‘Holo’ design standards but apart from the refreshed UI, there’s also more intuitive navigation using the Action Bar, the ability to dictate comments via Android’s voice-to-text services, passive customization of the blogs you visit most, and an updated widget which includes images.

Xero (Free)

Excitement over an accounting app? It’s an easy target for jokes, but there’s no denying: Xero is one of the smartest-looking, yet fully functional, finance and accounting apps we’ve ever seen. Its design is clean and slick but it’s still plenty powerful, letting you track your finances and easily manage your cashflow. You can check bank balances, invoice customers, upload receipts or submit expense claims and it integrates with multiple payroll, CRM and inventory management systems so it’s versatile, too. Oh, did we say it looks nice?

Amtrak (Free)

Amtrak now offers an official Android app. It allows you to easily plan and book a trip on Amtrak trains and buses, check the arrival/departure time of trains, display your e-tickets, modify your reservations or search for station amenities and hours of operation. If you’re a regular customer, it’s easy to connect to your Amtrak Guest Rewards account, but even those who rarely ride Amtrak trains could find it useful when traveling across North America.

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