Netflix tops Android Apps of the Week

by Kristen Nicole

Every so often, Android’s Market is graced with a premier app once reserved for iPhone users. Brands like Netflix often take longer to release Android versions due to the separate requirements for Google’s mobile OS, but when the long-awaited apps finally hit the Android Market, it’s always a good sign. Also moving to validate Android’s marketplace is ESPN, with a live-streaming app to keep up with sports news and game updates.

Netflix (free)

Netflix has finally made its way to the Android Market, representing a defining move for the company and Google’s mobile marketplace. With accessibility being Netflix’s competitive advantage, an established presence on Android is a necessary move, albeit not a swift one. Launched late last week, the Netflix app is initially limited to a handful of Android devices, including the HTC Incredible and Evo 4G, as well as the Nexus One and Nexus S, all requiring Android 2.2 or higher. Access your movie queue, resume films where you left off, and generally enjoy the app’s vast catalog of movies and TV shows whenever, and wherever you want.

WatchESPN (free)

WatchESPN delivers live streaming access to events and programs, letting you take the familiar news desk with you on the go. From the NBA Playoffs to The Masters, you’ll get up-to-the-minute news, highlights and analysis with this newly released app. Your favorite shows, including SportsCenter, PTI, SportsNation and Mike & Mike are streamed through this app as well. Navigate to news about your favorite team, staying abreast of the updates that matter to you. As with many cable-gone-mobile channels, ESPN is limited to Bright House and Time Warner customers, though Verizon FIOS and High Speed Internet users can access the full content of this app as well. You’ll also need Adobe AIR to run WatchESPN -- the restrictions are high, but the end-result is worth it.

Next Issue (free)

Next Issue brings Android tablet users a collection of magazines, which can be purchased as individual issues or periodical subscriptions. The magazine titles are a short stack in this preview app, but Android users are hopeful for more publications to catch on to the tablet craze. Unfortunately Next Issue is only available for Samsung Galaxy tablets, offered through Verizon’s Vcast app store. But Next Issue’s preview launch is significant because it looks to bring Android tablets on par with the iPad, attracting publishers to the digital forefront. Until Next Issue extends its Android device support list, try Issuu for an array of mobile magazines on-demand.

PayPal (free)

Paypal’s expanding its mobile payments offerings, adding check deposits via photo-snapping. The version 2.8 update lets you take a photo of a check and submit it to PayPal, bypassing the bank (and bank fees) all together. Already available to iPhone users for several months, the update to PayPal’s Android app is a welcome one. Looking to become a mobile wallet service, PayPal’s been rather dedicated to its mobile layout. With PayPal’s app you can send and transfer funds, make payments and split the bill on-site. The update comes at a vital time for Android consumers, with data security coming into question every day. Having a trusted brand in the Android Market is a helpful first step, while Google also added Trust-e certification to the Market itself this week.

Bible (free)

The most popular book in the world is quite well-known amongst Android users, too. The Bible app by YouVersion has hit 20 million downloads across all supported mobile platforms, making the “good book” a success story even in the digital realm. The ability to search Bible verses alone is a perk when you’re talking about a book with well over 1,000 pages, with offline access making it a highly accessible app as well. The Bible app is actually several Bibles in one, with a number of translations and versions to suit your needs. There’s multiple languages supported as well, from Chinese to Bulgarian. Whether you’re keen on research or religious the Bible app is a great resource.

TuneWiki (free)

TuneWiki has come a long way since its initial app launched nearly two years ago. The music app has gone social, playing music, streaming internet radio and videos with synchronized lyrics in over 40 languages. The social layer enables songs to be shared amongst friends, so you can see what they’re listening to in their SongBox. TuneWiki gives you the run-down on music already stored on your device, filtered by artist, song or playlist. There’s a couple discovery tools as well, including the Song Map and Top Charts, giving some baseline recommendations for exploratory purposes. Create your playlists, edit artist info and scrobble your songs to Last.fm.

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