From music to magazines, Android devices are becoming media hubs. A number of brands, large and small, are turning to the Android Market for wider distribution, accessing millions of users all hungry for media apps. SoundHound launched a sister app for voice music search, while The Wall Street Journal and BBC News launched Android apps this week. Zinio, too, is hopping on the digital media trend, going after tablet users with the launch of its digital newsstand. Sports fans will want to check out the official French Open app as well.
SoundHound has launched a new app to the Android Market in an effort to add more value to mobile search. Named Hound, it’s voice search for the world’s music library, letting you simply speak the name of an artist or band for instant access to their info. A voice search will pull up their albums and songs, tour dates, album art, videos and bios. Alongside a song preview, you’ll also get lyrics, and an option to share artist info. Of course, there’s also links to purchase songs, connecting to digital marketplaces like Amazon’s MP3 store. Hound is an instant-access extension of its big sibling’s app, SoundHound. A song identification app, SoundHound works similarly to Shazam, listening to songs or even your humming voice to literally name that tune.
ooVoo Video Chat (Free)
ooVoo recently landed in the Apple iTunes Store, but Android users have enjoyed this video chat app for several months now. ooVoo offers free video calls over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks, supporting mobile-to-mobile and mobile-to-computer conversations. The app pulls in your ooVoo friends, showing who’s online and who’s available. You can also access your chat history, making for quick access to the frequently called. While Skype and Qik have dominated the Android Market, ooVoo gained attention for its early support of group video chat, enabling up to five people to join in on a single conversation.
The Wall Street Journal has finally made its way to Android phones, joining the ranks of traditional print media companies like The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. The Journal earlier released an app for Android tablets, indicating its interest in appealing to a certain type of Android user, an interest now broadened. The smartphone version lets you choose a news “channel,” accessing photos, videos and quotes. There’s a good amount of information you can access for free, but just as their web version, several feature articles are restricted to subscribers. You can sign up for free access, granting full access to all the app has to offer.
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BBC News (Free)
Another established media channel has found its way to the Android Market, though many in the US can't actually download it yet, probably because of licensing issues. The official BBC News app delivers global news to Android users, working for some tablets, though Honeycomb devices are not yet supported. The app requires Flash for live streaming videos, which is a nice option for this international news outlet. Choose your topics, spanning UK and international news, entertainment, technology, science and environment, to name a few. The meaty correspondent features and analysis are also accessible via this app. While the app itself is minimal in its social interaction, it would like to learn from your activity, giving you the option to share your stats with the app -- for market research, of course.
With mainstream publications seeking a digital revival, Zinio is bringing its magazine collection to the Android Market. The app is a global newstand of sorts, letting you downoad digital subscriptions or single issues of magazines. Sync them with your library on multiple devices, so you can pick up where you left off, and access your favorite titles anytime. The magazines, which include National Geographic, Esquire, Cosmo and thousands of other titles from the US, UK, Spain, Japan and beyond, are full-color, and interactive. Zinio was smart to launch a Honeycomb tablet version right out the gate, along with several other Android tablets. Smartphone users aren’t so lucky.
International tennis fan? Check out the official app for the French Open. The Roland Garros tournament, going on until June 5, is an annual classic that marks the beginning of summer. The new app, offered through Orange France, delivers real-time scores, live matches, and video highlights. Get player info, schedules, a visitor’s guide and streaming radio from the games. Though the app is available in two languages for Europeans and beyond, Orange France customers get special features, including live streaming for five simultaneous matches, notifications and unlimited 3G and Wi-Fi access.
adidas miCoach (Free)
Following a path similar to Nike, adidas has launched a personal coach app with real-time voice coaching to help you through your runs. The app comes with training plans to choose from, designed to help you build speed and endurance. The GPS-enabled coach app helps you pace your workouts, coaxing you till the end. For training athletes or those that need a little kick in the pants, adidas miCoach also features tracking and sharing options, giving you some boasting rights for your achievements. You’ll get stats of your progress, measuring distance, pace, calories burned and elapsed time. See where you can improve based on the app’s feedback, and even track your shoe usage with wear and tear alerts.