by Al Sacco

Five New Android Apps You Don’t Want to Miss

Jun 28, 20114 mins
Consumer ElectronicsInternetMobile

This latest batch of apps for your Google Android smartphone lets you stream your favorite TV shows and films, pay for your morning caffeine fix or just kill some time...and maybe a few zombies too.

You can never have too many great Android applications. And that’s a good thing, because there’s currently no shortage of crafty mobile developers pumping them out. So while finding interesting apps is easy, the challenge becomes finding quality apps that won’t negatively affect your device performance or put too much of a dent in your wallet.

Here are five Android apps that I use regularly. They work well, and best of all, most are available for free and none costs more than just a few dollars.

(Note: The recommended apps can be obtained via Google’s Android Market or Amazon’s Appstore for Android, though some may not be compatible with all Android handhelds.)

The Android How To Guide: Tutorials, Tips, and Updates

Netflix for Android


The new, official Netflix for Android app lets you watch Netflix’s impressive catalogue of streaming films, TV shows and other video on your Android handheld, anywhere you have cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity. The app itself is free, but you need an unlimited Netflix streaming plan to access video content. Then you just sign in, and you’re good to go. The app also lets you manage your Instant queue. And it tracks your viewing progress, so you can pick up films or shows on other devices wherever you left off. The downside: The app is currently only compatible with and available for nine Android devices.

Visit the Android Market for details on compatibility and to download Netflix for Android

Starbucks for Android


Starbucks’ new Android application is a must for all tech-savvy java lovers. The free app works just like a plastic Starbucks loyalty card; you simply register your card within the app, add cash for purchases and then your local barista can scan an on-device barcode when it’s time for you to pay. You can also check and reload your Starbucks card balance, monitor your Rewards, view recent transactions and locate nearby Starbucks stores, all using Starbucks for Android.

Download Starbucks for Android from the Android Market

Peggle for Android


Peggle, the popular pinball-like game for Apple iOS devices recently made its way to the Android platform. The point of the game is simple: Aim your ball at a screen full of red and blue pegs, and try to eliminate all of the red pegs in as few turns as possible. It’s not particularly difficultnot at first, at least. But the creative graphics and quirky audio, combined with surprisingly addictive gameplay, will have you shooting pegs for hours before you realize your smartphone’s battery is about to die. On that note: Peggle players will want to charge often.

Peggle is currently available exclusively via Amazon’s Appstore for Android for $2.49

Hulu Plus for Android


Like the previously mentioned Netflix app, Hulu Plus for Android brings a wide variety of your favorite streaming films and TV shows to the palm of your hand. Hulu Plus even offers some free content, including popular shows and movies, but the bulk of the streaming content is available only to Hulu Plus customers. (Hulu Plus costs $7.99 a month, though various free trial plans are also available.) Unfortunately, Hulu Plus is only compatible with six current Android handhelds, though support for additional devices is expected in the future.

Visit the Android Market for details on compatibility and to download Netflix for Android

Plants vs Zombies for Android


Plants vs Zombies for Android, another iOS transplant, is probably my favorite mobile game ever. The premise? You guessed it; you must battle off waves of cute cartoon zombies using a variety of plants, in an effort to protect your home…and, well, your brains. The game takes place in a number of environments, including your front yard, pool and roof. But like Peggle, the game’s vivid graphics and amusing audio—incoming waves of zombies are heralded with a crusty “The Zombies Are Coming!” chant—are really the best part of the app. Warning: Doing away with animated zombies is much more entertaining than it sounds, and you could lose the ability to be even mildly productive after downloading this app.

Plants vs. Zombies is currently available exclusively via Amazon’s Appstore for Android for $2.99