Bing tops Android Apps of the Week

by Kristen Nicole

This week was big for Android app announcements, with Microsoft Bing coming onto the scene. The new search app seeks to beat Google on its home field, making a power play for mobile search.

Other top Android apps include Scoreloop's gaming recommendations and PocketCloud's Android launch at VMworld's U.S. conference.

Big news

Bing has launched a search app on select Android devices, partnering with Verizon for the release. Search locally, perform a map query, or find the latest trends on Twitter. Free, the app includes speech-recognition, and provides a channel for Microsoft to encroach on Google's mobile territory.

Scoreloop has launched a stand-alone Android app, providing a community for discovering and recommending games to your friends. Scoreloop-supported titles that you play are shared with friends in a news feed style, adding a social mechanism to the recommendation system. This free app will also provide cross-promotion for game developers.

Wyse has launched PocketCloud on Android, demonstrating its cloud app at the VMworld conference this week. Free, the app is designed to offer remote access to your computer, supporting Windows and Macs. Acting as a virtual machine, PocketCloud also comes with VMware View and VNC Protocol.

Media and local trends

For the education sector, Shmoop's launch might be of interest. The publisher has launched summaries for 500 new titles on Android, each acting as its own app. Priced around $1.99, the ebooks look to make book-reading relevant for teachers and students by connecting analysis points to current trends and occurrences.

Libox has set out to make your media device agnostic, providing an interface for accessing music, photos and video catalogs from your mobile device. So far, Libox is only available for iPhone users, who might appreciate its multitasking capabilities more than Android users, who are accustomed to such features. Libox is working on an Android release.

Adobe has updated its free Photoshop Express app, upgrading to version 1.3. The new version enables video playback from Photoshop's web library, including slideshow mode. Videos from your online account can also be shared on your mobile, via email, with support for Facebook photo upload as well.

TappLocal is taking up the latest in geo-location trends, serving up real-time deals and hyper-local mobile ads. Currently in closed beta, the app will work toward connecting consumers with retailers and brands at the point of sale. Look for many more apps of this nature to hit the Android market.

Hands-free

State Farm has released an Android widget that helps drivers keep their eyes on the road. Called On the Move, the new widget automatically responds to incoming text messages, so you don't have to be bothered with them. Free for customers, you can use a default message or compose one of your own. Just turn on the feature when you're getting ready to drive.

Another hands-free app is BuzzVoice, which is officially launching on Android this week. The free app creates playlists from your favorite blogs and web sites, reading the news aloud. Great for car rides or morning jogs, BuzzVoice operates through text-to-speech recognition to expand audio feeds beyond podcasts.