Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

Sony’s Reader tops Android Apps of the Week

by Kristen Nicole

The cloud sector had an interesting run this week, rising in rank in the Android Market. Spanning the consumer and enterprise spaces, cloud services are providing mobile access to digital books, desktop files, DJ mixes and Facebook chat. The cloud has always been an integral part of mobile apps, but growing consumer demand is pushing the envelope on features, social networking integration and more. Here are this week’s top Android apps.

To the cloud!

Sony launched an e-reader in the Android Market this week, giving more options for bookworms. Simply named Reader, this free app grants access to an online bookstore and library. As with standard e-readers, you can customize text font and color, add bookmarks and notes, and highlight passages of importance.

Box.net started out as a consumer cloud storage service, but now it’s headed to the enterprise. A major update to its product line and its name (it’s dropping the “.net”) means new features for you to check out. With VMware integration, real-time sharing and an app marketplace, now’s a good time to check out its Android app, free to download.

HeyWire launched a social cloud tool this week, raking up thousands of downloads its first day. By MediaFriends, this app combines text messaging with online chat (including Facebook) and even Twitter integration. You can send messages to just about all your friends, even if you don’t have their phone number saved. With multilingual support, this free Android app is a digital Tower of Babel.

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WordPress has updated its Android app, with the very useful capability to share post URLs to other apps. Just tap the post title and you’ll see the new sharing option, which loads compatible apps from your phone. Free, this blogging app has also been updated with QuickPress shortcuts, which will get your writing up to speed even faster.

Music madness

Songbird’s secret project has finally revealed itself—a beta release for Android not yet available in the Market. The music app has a powerful search tool to browse by artist, album, song, genre or playlist. Photo streams play along with your music, and you can “Like” a track on Facebook. Free to try out, this Android app is a promising one for music lovers.

Play.fm has also broken its Android seal, with a streaming selection of DJ mixes delivered straight to your phone. It’s got global appeal, with mixes from over 180 countries, bringing the best from famed clubs and festivals. The full app service requires a subscription, but comes with filtered search, audio skipping and more.

Everything else

NASA Spinoff launched a couple of weeks ago, and it’s reaching for the stars. Growing in popularity, this geeky app brings daily news feeds from the latest in NASA tech that’s made its way to the public sector (think Tempurpedic mattresses). The free Android app has a searchable database, marked maps and a historical timeline, bringing the decades-old publication to the mobile sector.

The Baltimore Sun is the latest print newspaper to go mobile, bringing up-to-the-minute coverage of Maryland, from breaking news, business, entertainment, sports and weather. Access bloggers and columnists, flip through archived photos, and stay on top of the local scene. It looks like The Sun is seeking some funds with this app—you’ll have to pay $1.99 for such premium content.

Mobile app developer group Outfit7 has hit a major milestone this week, reaching 60 million downloads across the iPhone and Android marketplaces. Their success has a lot to do with our favorite Talking Friends, like Tom Cat. He’ll repeat everything you say, in that whiny little voice of his. He’s interactive, too, letting you poke and pet him for hours.

There must be a lot of responsible tax payers on the Android Market. A week after launch, the IRS2Go app has surpassed 10k downloads. Free, this tax app is a resource for tax filing information, with updates on your refund and other items. This handy app does everything but file taxes for you.