Android apps of the day [June 11, 2012]

Today’s Apps

  • Top Contacts [Display favorite and most frequent contacts in homescreen widgets for easy access]
  • Scare Your Friends [Scare people using your phone by making a scary image randomly appear]
  • Shopkick [Earn rewards, such as gift cards, simply by walking into stores]

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About Android Apps of the Day

Android has over 450,000 apps. With so many apps out there, app discovery (aka finding new and useful apps) is extremely difficult. With our Android Apps of the Day initiative, dotTech aims to change that. Everyday we post three apps, allowing our readers to discover new apps, daily. Enjoy! [Subscribe to our Android section to never miss an article: RSS Feed | E-mail]

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Apps for June 11, 2012

Top Contacts

Top Contacts is a widget app that displays favorite and most frequently contacted contacts in homescreen widgets for easy access. The widgets provided by Top Contacts display contact images (if you have set an image — otherwise default image is used) and contact names; tapping on a contact image or name opens your device’s default contact view, allowing you to contact that person via SMS, call, etc. Top Contact widgets come in three sizes, 4×1, 4×2, and 4×4. The 4×1 widget displays four contacts, the 4×2 widget displays eight contacts, and the 4×4 widget displays twelve contacts.

By default Top Contacts widgets display the most frequently contacted contacts. However, if you have any ‘favorited’ contacts (you favorite through your device’s stock contacts/people app) then those are given priority over most frequently contacted contacts. Another feature of Top Contacts is the ability to pull contact images from Facebook, if you don’t already have images set for your contacts. This feature, however, requires you to have an Internet connection and once this feature is activated (the feature is optional) your contacts data is stored online on Sony’s servers.

Price: Free

Version discovered: v1.11.0

Requires: Android 2.2 and up

Download size: 912 KB

Top Contacts on Play Store

Scare Your Friends

Ever open a link your friend sent that looked like an innocent game or video but in the middle of that game/video a hideous face appeared to scare the sh!t out of you? Scare Your Friends does something similar, except instead of your computer screen it does it on your Android device.

Scare Your Friends is an app that displays a hideous face, and plays an accompanying sound, on your Android device. The idea is to turn Scare Your Friends on before someone else, such as a friend, uses your Android device; and then while your friend is using your phone or tablet, Scare Your Friends automatically pops open the image and sound, scaring the shit out of whoever is using the device at the time.

Take note, however, you need to make sure to time Scare Your Friends properly. When enabling it (you must manually enable it prior to giving your device to a friend — you must enable it every time you want the face/sound to appear) you need to make sure to select a proper interval (starting as low as 15 seconds and going as high as 5 minutes) for the face/sound to appear; if you pick an interval that is too high (i.e. your friend stops using the device before the face appears) then you will miss your chance to scare your friend.

(Aside from picking the interval, you are given the ability to select which image to use [there are nine images to pick from] and which sound to play [six sounds are available].)

One feature I found missing in Scare Your Friends is a widget that quickly enables it. It can often be hard to enable Scare Your Friends from the main app without your friend seeing what you are doing. If Scare Your Friends had a 1×1 widget with a quick enable button then it would be very easy to enable it before giving your device to a friend to use.

Price: Free

Version discovered: v5.0

Requires: Android 2.1 and up

Download size: 2.7 MB

Scare Your Friends on Play Store

Shopkick

Most retail stores, brick & mortar or online, have loyalty programs rewarding you for shopping at their stores with gifts like free gift cards, etc. Shopkick is an app that offers a similar rewards program — except it works for multiple stores, not just one.

Shopkick is similar to traditional rewards programs; you redeem earned points, dubbed ‘kicks’, for rewards such as gift cards, Facebook credits, restaurant vouchers, movie tickets, etc. However Shopkick is unique from traditional programs in two ways. Firstly, as already mentioned, it works for multiple stores — it isn’t limited to just one store. Secondly, you earn points for just walking into retail stores. Yep, you read that correctly. All you have to do is download and install Shopkick, register an account with them (registration is free), enable GPS on your device, and walk into participating stores (the app tells you which stores are supported; major retailers are supported across the USA) — you automatically earn points. Other ways to earn points is to scan barcodes for products in stores (you can only scan barcodes for supported products; the app tells you which products are supported) and to make actual purchases. Take note, however, to earn points for purchases you need to have a Visa debit or credit card connected to your account and you must make the purchases using the Visa card (aside from Best Buy).

Note: As far as I can tell, Shopkick is for United States only; and it works best with an active Internet connection.

Price: Free

Version discovered: v2.5

Requires: Android 2.1 and up

Download size: 10 MB

Shopkick on Play Store

dotTechies: We have tested all the apps listed above. However, Android Apps of the Day articles are not intended as “reviews” but rather as “heads-up” to help you discover new apps. Always use your best judgement when downloading apps, such as trying trial/free versions before purchasing paid apps, if applicable.

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