The Android Market can be a bit messy when it comes to finding good value apps, so we’ve done the hard work for you. In this year’s list, apps that make your smartphone even smarter, great games and plenty of entertainment options for your buck. Most of them offer trial free versions too, so you won’t be left out of pocket if they’re not for you.
Artwork: CC Chris Panas
Pano is an app that allows you to create on-the-spot-panoramic photos by snapping a series of side-by-side individual shots. The app doesn’t need separate computer software to stitch your photos together – it can merge on the device up to 16 photos into a 360-degree high-resolution photo saved directly to the camera roll.
Get Pano ($3.06)
Roboto is an engaging action game where you navigate platform jumps and shoot off of skatepark ramps as the teen robot character tries to impress the pretty robot he is in love with. The graphics look great and you get various game challenges, including boss battles and other mini games.
Get Roboto ($3.99)
Vignette allows you to create artsy photos with your phone’s camera, with 84 effects and almost 60 frames to choose from. You can use retro effects or Polaroid-style frames too, and the app supports the full resolution of your camera, so you get high-resolution photo results ready to print or share.
Get Vignette ($3.99)
SwiftKey Keyboard is an alternative keyboard for your device, with a twist. The keyboard learns the way you type by scanning your SMS messages to see what words you’re most likely to use, so it can accurately predict what words you want to type – making the whole typing process considerably faster.
Get SwiftKey Keyboard ($1.99)
Tasker makes your smartphone even smarter by allowing you to customize sets of actions based on triggers such as time, day or location. For example, you can automate your phone to decrease the ringer volume and brightness automatically when you get home, or to switch off Wi-Fi when you leave home.
Get Tasker ($6.49)
SketchBook Pro turns your Honeycomb tablet into a canvas ready for you to draw or paint on. The wide range of tools and brushes available can help you create true masterpieces (it uses the same paint engine as its professional desktop counterparts), or just keep your kids entertained for a little while.
Get SketchBook Pro ($4.99)
For any self-respecting baseball fan, the MLB Android app keeps you updated on your favorite team, and you can stream live games if you have a MLB.tv package. When at a game, you can check in, see interactive venue maps and you can also customize the home screen with a designated MLB team.
Get MLB at Bat 11 ($0.99)
Fieldrunners is popular tower defense game with more than 400 levels across four battlefields, so you won’t get bored quickly. There are seven different weapons to defend your territory and the game has been recently updated with better graphics and tablet support too.
Get Fieldrunners ($2.99)
If you often get calls or texts at the wrong time, Priority Call Filter does what it says on the tin. The app allows you to select the people you want to be available for, depending on time or day. If someone’s not on your list, their calls or messages are silenced, but not sent straight to voicemail, so you can still see who is calling.
Get Priority Call Filter ($0.99)
Dubbed as a DVR for the Web, Read It Later allows you to bookmark webpages or videos and access them later (even offline) in a stripped-down, easy to read interface. All your bookmarks are synced across devices where you have the app installed, including Android, iOS, Chrome and Firefox.
Get Read It Later ($2.99)
Locale is a powerful phone automator that allows you to manage settings based on predefined locations. You can set specific ringer types and volumes for work, home or any other locations detected via Wi-Fi or GPS. Additional paid extensions can give you extra functionality to control SMS messages or headphones.
Get Locale ($3.99)
Domino Run is a challenging puzzle game that requires you to place your dominoes in the correct order and then topple them. There are special domino types to help you bridge gaps or destroy platforms, in a total of 70 levels of increasing difficulty levels across three worlds.
Get Domino Run ($2.28)
Instead of converting your movies to play on your phone or tablet, you can use Plex to stream them wirelessly directly from a PC or Mac (with the free companion app). The app interface combines your own media (music, video, photos) with popular online content from various sources too, and you can spend your time watching video rather than waiting for it to convert.
Get Plex ($4.99)
LogMeIn Ignition allows you to remotely access your PC or Mac from an Android phone or tablet, so you can control desktop software or access files from the multitouch display. The app uses a free desktop counterpart for basic control functions, or you can go pro (free 30-day trial), which also allows you to do file transfers or print remotely,
GetLogMeIn Ignition ($14.99)
It might be ironic to pay for an app that gets you a free app everyday, but you can save some good cash this way. This app sends you daily notifications and details about the free app of the day offered in the alternative Amazon app store, so you don’t forget about your daily freebie.
Get Amazon Free App Reminder ($1.30)
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