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101 Recommended Apps (Part 4)

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20.  Winds of Steel

Price: $3.99

Watched HBO’s The Pacific? Now play the same war, but this time in the skies. Based on the air battles of the Asia-Pacific region in World War II, Winds of Steel is a superb mission- style accelerometer game for plane- spotters and anyone impressed by the machinery of war.

Winds of Steel

Winds of Steel

It’s packed with historically accurate detail, from the main menu’s 1940s theme tune and a “we interrupt this broadcast” radio announcement on the bombing of Pearl Harbor, right through to the levels themed on actual pivotal battles from the war.

A touch repetitive and slow moving at times, the graphics are seriously lacking on this otherwise compelling game. Not a game to play in the gaps between your daily chores, Winds of Steel demands some serious attention - not least by the developers who are on the cusp of delivering a truly great game.

21.  Viber

Price: Free

If you have enough friends who also use Viber, it can become a brilliant comms app.

If you have enough friends who also use Viber, it can become a brilliant comms app.

The price of making calls from a mobile may have reduced over the last few years but the rise of Wi-Fi on smartphones has meant that charges can get reduced to next to nothing if you are savvy enough.

One of the newer and best apps for doing this on Android is Viber. The app enables you to talk and text as much as you like, and all it wants in return is a slice of your 3G or, even better, use of your Wi-Fi connection.

The app took mere minutes to sort out. After loading it up we were sent a code, which we added into the app. It asked if we wanted it to check our contacts for other Viber users and once we did this, we were hooked into the Viber network.

It’s as simple as that. As this is free, what surprised us was that there was no in-app advertising, and the user interface of the app was impressive.

Like all communication apps, you need to have other friends using it to benefit but Viber allows you to publicize you are on the app through the application itself.

22.  Tweetcaster Pro

Price: $4.99

Tweetcaster Pro delivers more than you’d get from other Twitter apps

Tweetcaster Pro delivers more than you’d get from other Twitter apps

There’s a number of Twitter apps that offer a way into the micro-blogging site on your phone but very little else.

Tweetcaster Pro is different. It’s as slick a Twitter app as you could want for Android, with a Ul that’s well laid out. You get a surprising number of features for your money.

For a start, you get your normal options, including the main feed of tweets, ones that have mentioned you and your messages, and you can check your favorite tweets.

So far so samey, but drill a bit deeper and you’ll be able to filter out tweets (great for when you don’t want to know the footie results) and you can look through the trending topics. And if you fancy a bit of Twitter-watching, you can find out who is tweeting in your area.

But the best thing about Tweetcaster Pro is the fact that you can have multiple accounts - this means the app is a must for those who separate their work from their pleasure on Twitter.

23.  The Cat in the Hat

Price: $3.99

The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat

“I know some new tricks,” said The Cat in the Hat. Dr. Seuss’s classic story of a hat-fancying feline is one of those timeless tales that work in just about any medium (except as a Mike Myers live action movie), so it’s great to see this digital book land on Android with a host of interactive goodies.

If you have a toddler or two knocking about, this app can’t come more highly recommended. Based around high-quality original illustrations, which zoom out to reveal the page, you can either read the words yourself or have them read to you by the narrator. There’s also some great background audio (for instance, doors opening and rain) and a satisfying page turn and accompanying sound when you flick to the next part. You can also touch the characters or items on the screen and the app tells you what they are. It’s a really cool interactive tool.

Oceanhouse Media is also serving up a host of other classic Dr. Seuss tales like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. They’re all great if you’re on a journey with the young ‘uns and you’re all out of books, and probably just as much fun for you as they will be for the kids.

24.  Telmap Navigator

Price: Free

Telmap Navigator

Telmap Navigator

There are three things a good satnav needs: accurate mapping and clear driver directions, speed camera info, and traffic updates. This delivers all three pretty flawlessly. Downloads of traffic info can take a while, and seem to occur more often than you expect, but performance isn’t affected.

Directions are clear and accurate, and although a few fixed cameras were missed, the vast majority were correctly indicated. On the downside, audio directions can be a little tardy in complex situations, and advance roundabout directions can be unclear, requiring last-minute lane changes.

A recent revamp included a slew of social integration and integrated content from Barclays Cycle Hire, Good Pub Guide and Top Table to name a few. In addition, a car locator option enables you to save your parking spot’s location, brilliant for unfamiliar parking situations.

Is it better than Google Navigation? Yes, but there is a cost attached to this, depending on your network (it’s available through Orange Maps, Vodafone Find & Go, and 02).

25.  JetVD: YouTube Aid

Price: Free

JetVD: YouTube Aid

JetVD: YouTube Aid

With smartphone screens getting larger and the use of OLED becoming more and more prevalent, it is now a joy and not a annoyance to watch video on a small screen. Google knows this, which is why it’s putting a YouTube app (the video company it owns) on to pretty much all Android phones.

But, unless you are using Wi-Fi, streaming video content eats up your 3G data bundle faster than you can say Lightsaber Kid.

Despite its unfortunate name, JetVD (VD?) makes it easy to download YouTube videos to your Android device, ready to watch later.

The app enables you to search YouTube through its search bar. It doesn’t let you search visually, so you need to know what you are looking for when you load the app up. Searching is quick, though, and once you have found the video you want, you have four quality options to choose from; these range from 3GP and FLV files, to MP4 and HD at 720p quality.

Once you choose your poison, the app starts downloading and you can see the progress in your status bar. To find videos you have downloaded, go back to the menu screen of the app and it is there for you to watch.

JetVD works like a charm. We just hope that Google turns a blind eye to the app, as similar applications have disappeared from Google Play before.

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