August 27, 2012

Android Apps - Paid Edition

   Perhaps by now you have had some fun playing with your free Android apps. Let's talk about what money can buy you now.
   Before we get started talking about apps we should get out of the way that once you start buying stuff in the Play Store you will set have to set up account info. Basically the process is simple. You put a credit card on file. This card can then be associated with your Google or Gmail account (they are the same thing in case you didn't know). Once you have a credit card on file you are now utilizing the Google Wallet system. This comes in handy if you buy stuff from websites that allow you to checkout using Google Wallet. It's nice in that you don't have to have the website store your credit card info as Google let's them charge it without them keeping the card info.
   I'll start with Google Play Music. Yeah, technically it's free. In fact it might be one of my favorite free apps. Here is how this one will work. First, since you have an Android phone already (I assume), you kind of already have this. If you ever try to buy any music in the Play Store you have this. But I want to make sure you utilize it correctly. You see Play Music is more than just an app for your phone. It's a music system. Start by going to play.google.com on your computer or laptop and clicking on "My Music". Once there you may have to set it up. This should be a few clicks at most. Once complete look for the "Upload Music" button on the right side of the screen. Follow the instructions to download and install the Google Music Manager. It'll be worth it.
   The Google Music Manager is a very small program that uploads your music library to the cloud. What this means is that you will be able to access your music from anywhere there is an Internet connection. This is really good. It takes some time to upload a music library. It took me about 5 days actually. Times will vary depending on the size of your library. The good news is that you don't have to worry about losing your tunes again. They will be stored forever for free.
   Now, back to the app. The reason this app is on my paid app list at the top is that buying music from the Play Store is a really great experience. A lot of the music I have purchased on sale at $4 or $6 for an album. Now the selection isn't perfect, for instance they still have basically no AC/DC, but it is growing. The part I love is that once you buy something it is instantly added to your library. If you want to download it later, no problem. The app makes offline a one click option from an album menu and for a computer the website allows you to download your entire library if you want in 1 click(ish).
   A couple of games I recommend are the Cut The Rope series. I think there are a couple of games now. They are relatively low cost. I think I paid 99 cents for each of them. They are great little puzzle games you can play to kill a few minutes while waiting in the laundromat or for a movie to start.
   Another game I found to be a real time waster is Plants vs Zombies. This game is great. Hours of playtime. What I found to be really interesting about it is that this game cost me $1.99. A long time ago I was interested in buying the PC version but was always turned off by the $19.99 price tag. It amazes me that the phone version costs a tenth of that and is the same game.
   One last game to talk about. A friend recommended Where's My Water to me a while back. It's great. I think it's $1.99. I would say it's about as entertaining as Cut the Rope. Just be careful because this one is a battery drainer. Also it doesn't run great on older phones though it does run through the use of downgrading water effects.
   A couple of honorable mentions. Though free I recommend the Amazon and Papa John's Pizza apps. Nothing like ordering a pizza from your car on the drive home from work. Amazon will come in handy when you want to do some price comparisons while you are out.
   That's about it. I also own a Sudoku app that I paid money for. I used the free version for over a year. I paid money for it because I figured they people who made it did so good that they deserved my dollar. Otherwise I don't own very many paid apps. If you have any you would recommend leave it in the comments. I'm always looking for apps that cost money that are worth the price. I'm always looking for recommendations.