Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

Milo local shopping and other top Android apps of the week

by Kristen Nicole

With the holiday season approaching, there's little spare room in your schedule and your budget. That sentiment is felt across the board, as top-performing apps and newly minted ones are in the shopping and utility categories. Good thing for you, as apps like Milo and Mint keep you on the straight and narrow.

Local utilities

Milo's local shopping app is unique because it's partnered with retailers to get their actual inventory. You search for products you need, and Milo tells you which nearby store has it in stock. With the free Android app you can also do product detail comparisons, see ratings, and view summaries of which retailers currently have your item.

GM's OnStar has teamed up with Android to offer a series of apps for car owners. You get a bunch of tools in a single app, including OnStar access, roadside assistance, a GPS parking reminder and local search. You can check your car stats, schedule service, and even pull up your owner's manual. Free for OnStar users, GM is starting with myChevrolet and myCadillac in the Android market.

SCVNGR's local game app has gone global, giving you more ways and places to have fun. For each local challenge, you earn points and badges. Share tips and news about local venues with friends. The latest update for this free Android app brings a new activity stream, the ability to add comments, a social map and improved search.

Media center

The Dolphin browser has gone HD, with enhanced graphics capabilities for experiencing media on your Android smartphone. Designed for multimedia browsing, Dolphin's family of apps have been in high demand since Android's early days. This latest browser comes with page management from the address bar, bookmarks and multi-language support.

Hellotxt makes a mobile center of your social media activity. The free app comes with a mobile feed that includes friends' updates from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and more. You can also reply to or retweet messages, as well as post updates of your own, complete with video and photo attachments. Hellotxt for Android can geotag your posts, as well.

FourTracks has brought a new recording studio to Android, enlarging the market's fairly dismal offerings. With this free app you can record sound, from your voice or an instrument, then mix up to four audio tracks, with basic functions. FourTracks supports WAV and OGG files, which can be sent to friends.

The organized life

Mint.com recently underwent a major site update, making this the perfect time to try out the Android app. Managing your budget has never been easier. Set goals; track checking, savings and credit-card accounts; monitor your cash flow; and stick to your budget no matter what. The Mint.com Personal Finance app is free for Android users.

Catch Notes is a note-taking tool from the makers of 3banana. It's a feature-rich app out to rival Evernote, with image-capture, location-tagging and free sync and backup to Catch.com's web site. Free, this Android app comes with a widget, auto-organization with hashtags, and password protection for your notes.

Turn your Android into a scanner, with CamScanner. Just snap a photo with your camera phone, and it's auto-cropped and saved. From there, you can create a PDF, or share an attachment via email or SMS. Files can also be synced with a number of services, including Google Docs, box.net, Dropbox and Evernote. Best of all, the app has dropped from $4.99 to free.