Robot remotes and eyes-free navigation, Android highlights this week

by Kristen Nicole

For the nerd in you, Lego Mindstorm's got an Android app that will control your toy robots from across the room. A guide of another kind is Google, with two new apps designed for the vision-impaired. WalkyTalky and Intersection Explorer will narrate your local surroundings from Google Maps.

Here are this week's top Android apps.

Local and entertainment apps

WalkyTalky and Intersection Explorer are two new apps from Google, offering descriptions of local surroundings. The free Android apps offer spoken details about nearby addresses as you walk by, list surrounding intersections, and guide you to a given destination. These are part of Google's Eyes-Free project.

Whrrl is a mobile groups tool that lets you find nearby activities and people with shared interests. The free Android app helps you to make your surroundings more relevant to you, with check-ins, tips and social search tools. Join a Society that matches your preferences, get recommendations, and share photos and updates across the social web.

Search nearby restaurants that deliver, with GrubHub. View full delivery menus, and order direct from the app. One of the best features of GrubHub is the ability to filter based on which restaurants are currently open, as well as restaurant type and city.

MINDdroid is a new app from Lego Mindstorms, turning your Android into a remote control for your NXT robots. Turn and tilt your phone in the way you want your toy Android to move, and watch it go. The MINDdroid Android app is free.

mwine hopes to be your mobile sommelier, with wine searches resulting in three recommended wine types. One of the first Android apps to support AIR since Adobe launched its compatible app last week, mwine's free app pairs wines with foods, based on your search. Voice search is also supported.

Utility and search apps

Yahoo Finance has brought its financial news and portal to the Android, making its way up the charts within a week of launch. Track companies in your portfolio, receive daily market summaries, and check industry news. The free app provides Tech Ticker videos, and offers management tools for your watchlist and Y! Finance portfolios.

Letting Android users compete with Apple's FaceTime, Tango brings free mobile video calls over 3G, 4G and wifi. With newer Android phones that include front-facing cameras, the Tango app pulls from your phone contacts and supports in-app camera-switching.

WolframAlpha's gone mobile, with an Android app launch this week. It brings its knowledge computations to your phone, helping you find solutions beyond the typical search query. As search becomes hyper-localized, WolframAlpha has a great deal of potential. The full Android app costs $1.99.

Mopapp is a new app for retailers, bringing a management interface for tracking sales, revenue, profits and other metrics, while they're on the go. As the retail industry becomes more involved with tech, mobile management apps like this will become popular business tools. Mopapp is a free app, optimized for Android.