Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A Year of Quick Catchup for Android Offerings

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A Year of Quick Catchup for Android Offerings

Article excerpt

With devices using the Google operating system reaching a dominant position, deeper-pocketed app developers have turned their full attention to them, with some tempting results.

In 2010, Android apps were rarely in the same league as their Apple counterparts, so beyond the entrants in that year's Top 10 list, there was a steep drop-off in quality.

But in 2011, with devices using the Android operating system reaching a dominant position in the world's smartphone market, deeper-pocketed developers turned their full attention to them. The result was a slate of new apps, games not included, that could more seriously challenge Apple's best.

GOOGLE MUSIC Google's music service (free) lets a person upload 20,000 songs from a PC or Mac to the cloud; the app instantly plays those tunes and playlists, so there is no longer any worry about plugging a mobile device into the desktop computer to pick up the latest purchases for the next workout or commuting trip. Wireless syncing is also available through Apple or Amazon, but with less free storage.

WEBROOT SECURITY AND ANTIVIRUS Apps for Android phones often reach the market without testing for malicious software. That is not the case for Apple apps, or Android apps offered by Amazon. WebRoot (free) automatically scans a phone for viruses and blocks malicious Web sites and SMS messages. It includes a device locator feature, which is activated from the company's Web site.

SWIFTKEY X If your thumbs do not fly on a mobile keypad, and newfangled typing options like Swype do not work for you, SwiftKey X ($3) is a great option. The app scans a user's Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and SMS accounts to build a list of the most used words. It then adds that data to predictive algorithms to offer suggestions, so the entire word does not need to be typed.

ANY.DO There is no Web component to this reminder service, but Any.DO (free) is still tremendously useful and smart. Any.DO includes an auto-fill feature to save keystrokes, and tasks can be rescheduled by dragging entries from one day to the next. Reminders come reliably on schedule, and when a task is complete, the entry can be crossed out with a swipe of the finger. …

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