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News and music titles top Android Apps of the Week

by Kristen Nicole

In an era where anything can be news, and every song imaginable can be played from the cloud, Androids have become our on-demand connection to the world we want to live in. Google Reader tops the week’s best list, making it the latest to be launched as a stand-alone mobile app, while a slew of music apps have been updated in the Market.

Read on

Google has brought news feeds to your Android, with a stand-alone Google Reader app. It comes with most of the bells and whistles, including folder management, shared and starred items, an exploration tool and access to items shared by friends. Free, this new app has been a long time coming.

Pulse News Reader has held the market on feature-rich feed readers, soaring past the 50k mark and steadily receiving updates. Pulling streams from your social networks, newspapers, magazines and blogs, this reader is easy to navigate, and even easier on the eyes. Making things easy on the pocketbook too, Pulse News recently dropped its price to free.

Rock on

With a desktop and mobile app update, Winamp now lets you manage your music library from your lap or hand. Sync music from one device to another, using Wi-Fi or USB. You can also stream the music without transferring to a local library, delivering a true on-demand access point for your personal cloud of tunes. This Android app is free.

doubleTwist has updated its Android app series as well, bringing some device syncing options similar to Winamp’s. With a new feature called AirSync, you can pull songs from your iTunes playlist, for music, videos and photos. You’ll need the doubleTwist Player to run this feature, and AirSync capabilities will cost you $1.99.

Roll on

Move swiftly from one errand to another, researching prices, locations and products on the fly. The free Barcode Scanner app will help you on this quest, with frequent updates making it dependable and savvy throughout the holiday season. Get direct links from QR codes, save items of interest, and share items with friends. Free, this little Android helper is cheaper than an elf.

AisleBuyer is expanding to the Android Market, with the launch of the Magic Beans app.  Free, this shopping aid takes an inventory of your cart items, tallying them as you add to your basket. Skip the checkout line and pay from your phone. The Magic Beans toy and baby gear store is the launch partner for AisleBuyer’s move to Android.

Autodesk comes to Android with SketchBook Mobile, one of the most comprehensive drawing tools in the Market. The professional-grade app comes with a full set of sketch tools, with a clean interface for conveying creative spurts. Smooth brush strokes, color wheels and symmetric drawing tools make for a streamlined experience. Sink your costs and get the full version for 99 cents. This app runs on multi-touch devices only.

Beat the Traffic keeps you moving through holiday bustle, with traffic updates and conditions in your area. Reroute when needed, search for alternate paths to your destination, and plot your most efficient drive. With the $3.99 premium version, this Android app delivers traffic camera images, real-time maps and additional details on traffic jams.

Talking Santa has just rolled onto the scene, giving you some holiday cheer with playful whimsy and gifts to gain. A virtual goods app with plenty of distractions, this top performer delivers a digital Santa to tickle and shake. You can even give him milk and cookies. Record a custom animation to send to friends, or post them on Facebook or YouTube. This Android app is free.