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Top Gear: News drives Android Apps of the Week

by Kristen Nicole

The British invasion made its way to the Android Market with BBC launching a Top Gear: News app for car lovers. Lifestyle apps are making waves too, with HauteLook revealing its new Android app. For mobile banking, U.S. Bank finally joined the Android party, while MyMobi lets you keep tabs on your family members on-the-go. The iPhone 4S’s Siri sparked interest in voice-activated assistant apps, and Sonalight’s Text By Voice gained some extra attention this week.

Top Gear: News (Free)

American love for the BBC grows stronger every day, as the British network debuts several television shows in the US, and a slew of Android apps to match. From fun Doctor Who games to straight-laced news apps, BBC is growing its footprint in the Android Market. It’s latest is Top Gear: News, an app I’m pretty excited about as a lifelong car lover. The app delivers daily updates, videos and opinions from the snobbish trio, along with exclusives and previews of upcoming shows. Best of all there’s recent reviews for tested cars, giving you a “real” look at the vehicles that make the world go ‘round.

U.S. Bank (Free)

U.S. Bank joins a long line of financial institutions with Android apps, enabling mobile banking for millions of users across the nation. Deposit checks, pay your bills, check account balances and transfer funds between accounts. There’s also an ATM locator and an account view to drill down on transactions, helping you manage your money anytime, anywhere. It’s become standard for a bank to offer an Android solution, so this week’s launch is surely a perk for the many U.S. Bank customers out there.

HauteLook (Free)

More flash sale sites are finding their way to the Android Market, HauteLook being the latest. With members-only prices and 48-hour sales events, this new app makes sure you don’t miss out on deep discounts from top designers. Get alerted as soon as a sale hits, with browsing and purchasing options directly from your phone. View a gallery of past purchases and preview upcoming events. HauteLook is the latest in a growing sector of flash sales apps for Android, following the recent launch of Fab.com’s Android app.

iOnRoad Augmented Driving (Free)

Augmented Reality is finding more use cases as mobile devices become more prevalent in our everyday lives. iOnRoad is a car safety app that uses your Android camera and real time imaging to detect cars in front of you. It measures time gaps to warn you of upcoming dangers, helping you avoid crashes. iOnRoad is an example of how AR can be used to replicate built-in features found in many cars these days, saving you money and enhancing the broadening capabilities of the Android device itself. iOnRoad works best with a car mount holder, leveraging the company’s RoadAware algorithm to create a safe alternative any driver can use.

Sonalight Text by Voice (Free)

Siri is a fun tool for iPhone 4S users, but Fandroids aren’t ones to be left out. Sonalight’s Text by Voice is an app that leverages speech recognition to help you complete tasks on your phone without touching it or even looking at the screen. The app is specific to text message management (it’s not a personal assistant), but it will promote safe driving habits with the ability to read incoming text messages and jot down your replies. You can set an auto-responder for incoming texts, and enable the app to auto-launch when you start driving.

Moby by Contigo (Free)

With the school season in full swing and Halloween right around the corner, there’s no better time to grab a family locator app to keep tabs on your kids. The Moby Android app is designed to let family members stay in touch, creating a private family locator to show everyone’s location on a map in real-time. You can check-in to locations, alert family members of an emergency and streamline communication. With an emphasis on privacy, MyMoby also takes your device’s battery life into consideration, optimizing the app for phones in use or idle mode.

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