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Best Android Apps Paperback – May 7, 2010
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O'Reilly makes some of the best tech books around, so we were super excited to hear about their new title Best Android Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders.
-- Jason Chen, --Jason Chen
About the Author
Mike Hendrickson has held a variety of positions in the publishing industry including, Product Development Manager, Editor, Executive Editor, Editor-in-Chief, and Associate Publisher. Two constants are that he has always enjoyed managing people and being involved with cutting-edge technologies. At O'Reilly, he is the Publisher for the Open Tech eXchange division, where he is working to grow existing print market share while expanding into new online and in person markets.
Brian Sawyer is a Senior Editor at O’Reilly Media, where he manages theMissing Manuals division. He is also the author of Kindle Fire: Out ofthe Box and coauthor of NOOK Tablet: Out of the Box and BestAndroid Apps. You can him find him on Twitter at @briansawyer.
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This is an interesting book and starts out by going through the best overall apps for the Android platform. After that the book is broken down into sections (business, communications, lifestyle, entertainment, games, utility/tool, and reference apps) and they go through the best apps for each thing.
At the end of the book the QR Codes are listed in alphabetical order for all of the apps that were presented in the book. If would have been nice to have the QR code right at the bottom of the app after it is discussed, but the page it is on is referenced so it's not a big deal.
This book goes through a broad range of apps. We are talking any thing from sky maps to server access, to app organization to clothing organization. Some of them you will never need, some of them you already use, and some of them will be extremely useful to you. The authors do a pretty good job of providing free alternatives as runners up to the apps that cost something.
The format is basically the app name, cost, developer, version, a quick description of the app, and then many screenshots of the how the app works. There are a ton of screen shots in this book and it is a very effective way to see the apps.
A couple of the apps that they mention that I totally agree with as being awesome are:
- Newsrob (RSS feed reader)
- MyCloset (clothing organization)
- Astrid (task manager)
- Pandora (internet radio)
- Weatherbug (weather app)
- Many Others
There are a couple that I was disappointed that they didn't include. They also didn't mention Hungry! which is an awesome grocery shopping app that I use all the time. I frequently use Calorie Counter which allows you to keep both food and exercise diaries. But that is a pretty short list and I definitely did find some apps in this book that I will find useful in the future that I didn't know existed.
Now the question is, is it worth spending the money to buy this book? That depends on the type of person you are. If you are like me and already spend a lot of time going through apps as they become available then this guide may not tell anything you don't know. The other thing to consider is that there are a number of websites that list the top Android Apps for this or that and those are free (if possibly biased or skewed to a certain demographic group). If you are the type of person who doesn't want to spend a ton of time looking for apps but wants to get the most out of your Android phone then this book could be very useful to you.
This is a book that will be outdated quickly as the app market is constantly changing, so that is something to consider. The screen shots are great and will really help you decide if an app is for you, especially if it is one you have to pay for. Having the QR codes in the back is convenient and saves you the time of searching for them in Android Market.
Overall I think this a great book for people who want an overview of the apps provided in Android Market and who want to be pointed at apps that are reliable and useful.
The iPhone set the standards for apps, and after a brief hiatus when it first came out, the apps began to appear. The iPhone now has over 200,000 apps. Steve Jobs frequently points to the large number of apps as a reason to own the iPhone.
While Android based phones have only been out a little over 1 1/2 years, the app store already has about 70,000 apps, and is growing daily. And as reports indicate that up to 100,000 Android based phones are sold daily, there is little question that the market for apps will continue to grow.
If you own an Android Phone, you need this book. It answers the question, what do you do after you learn how to place and receive calls. It lists 10 categories (Education/Reference, Entertainment, Games: Arcade/Action, Games: Casual/Puzzle, Lifestyle, Media, Productivity/Tools, Social Networking, Travel). The choices are based on competition held at the Android Developer Challenge (ADC), run by Google. Large prizes are given to the apps that are voted to be the best by Android users and a panel of judges. The writing is clear and informative, the recommendations are practical and to the point.
I don't as yet own an Android phone, so I can't comment from personal experience on the apps chosen. But an app review does suggest the strength of the Android developer community. And the diversity and evident quality of the apps makes me think that my next phone will be an Android based phone. And don't forget, most of these apps will very likely be usable on upcoming Android based devices such as tablets as well.
A tip, a quick search of the web will allow you to view the results of competition at the ADC, and list even more apps that were considered prizeworthy. And expect the Google web site listing the prize winning apps to continue to be updated.
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