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New Apps Worth Downloading: Redbeacon, Hotels by Orbitz, Funky Smugglers

by Phil Hornshaw

Today’s crop of new Android apps can make stressful activities a little easier. Up first is Redbeacon, an app for finding contractors for projects around your house. Second is Hotels by Orbitz, which can make it cheaper to book a hotel room on the fly. Finally, we’ve got Funky Smugglers, a swiping game about grabbing smuggled items off passengers as they walk through an x-ray scanner.

Redbeacon (Free)

RedbeaconWhat’s it about? It can be tough finding a trusted contractor to do a project around your house, which is why you might find Redbeacon useful. The app walks you through describing your project, and helps find quotes on price.

What’s cool? Contractors found through Redbeacon are guaranteed, which means that the service backs you up to $1,000. The app can make it a lot easier to deal with a notoriously difficult situation in finding a contractor, and it’ll help you learn about the important parts of your project in terms of price.

Who’s it for? Anybody with a project that needs doing and is looking for someone they can trust to do it.

What’s it like? Give Contractor Talk Forum a try for more information about contractors, and Contractors for Android Tablet for a directory that might help you find someone to hire for your project.

Hotels by Orbitz (Free)

Hotels by OrbitzWhat’s it about? Travel site Orbitz’s new app is designed specifically to help find the best prices on hotel bookings and to make setting up those bookings easier. The app is designed primarily as a comparison tool, but also offers a lot of exclusive deals and features.

What’s cool? The thrust of Hotels by Orbitz is that if you need a booking immediately – like tonight – the app can help you out. In addition to having the ability to search for hotels and compare their prices across multiple different options, you also get special mobile-only deals for using the app that can save you even more money.

Who’s it for? Anyone traveling, especially when you need a place to stay and you haven’t had a chance to prepare. Finding somewhere to bunk down can be especially tough when you’re on the road, but at least this way you can try to save some money.

What’s it like? The primary Orbitz app also contains hotel booking capabilities, as do other travel apps like Travelocity, Expedia Hotels and Priceline. And then there’s Hotels.com, which specializes in hotel bookings.

Funky Smugglers ($0.99)

Funky SmugglersWhat’s it about? A ‘70s visual style sets off Funky Smugglers, in which you’ll watch an x-ray scanner as travelers leave a plane. Your job is to catch the dangerous items they’re smuggling, snag them by swiping the screen, and toss them to score points.

What’s cool? The groovy vibe of the soundtrack and visual style is one thing, but Funky Smugglers is a fun take on titles similar to, for example, Fruit Ninja. You have to grab dangerous red items from the travelers, while avoiding green ones. The more items you snag in one go, the more points you earn, but if you take too long you’ll get hit with damage. There’s also online multiplayer that lets you team up with other players and compete with both Android and iOS users.

Who’s it for? Funky Smugglers is a pretty simple concept, and it’s great to play in short bursts and for a few minutes at a time. You’ll also find elements to enjoy if you like online multiplayer.

What’s it like? Fruit Ninja feels like a similar concept, and there are other cool games that require speed and precision in finger movements, such as Flight Control.

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