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Highlights and lowlights from the Google Play Store’s “trending” section, fast-moving freebies and more.
Hits and misses
Welcome to the first edition of a weekly feature on Android apps – where we’ll tell you what’s hot, what’s not, what’s free, what’s expensive, and what might give you a really weird virus that turns all your on-screen text into Korean. Enjoy!
Top paid Android app of the week
SwiftKey, as it often does, tops the paid charts this week – but perhaps more exciting is the news that there’s a new public beta of a version with slide-typing (think Swype).
Top free Android app of the week
Another relative no-brainer, Facebook’s Android app sits comfortably on top of the “free” category. The Social Network also added a free messenger app – which doesn’t require a full profile on the site – this week.
A gesture-based calculator
Makina, a free calculator app that you use via gesture, has a great look and feel to it. OK, it’s a fairly basic calculator, but it’s definitely got room to grow as well.
Freaking 3D live wallpaper
3D Live Wallpaper, available for $1.60, does pretty much exactly what it says on the label – animating your images in 3D and making them into live wallpapers. Dali would’ve loved it.
A big honking Gmail deal
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Google came out with a new version of the official Gmail app, adding pinch-to-zoom and gesture support. Enjoy the ability to angrily flick spam messages off into the aether.
Attention, Etsy shoppers
Online shopping powerhouse Etsy now offers an Android app, allowing you to brutally punish your credit card wherever you are.
From the “trending” section
Google Play puts apps that have seen a major upswing in installs during the past 24 hours in the “trending” section of the store. However, this seems to be a calculation based on percentages rather than raw value, so you get some strange stuff on there. First up this week is AppLock Free, which apparently lets you set pattern locks on specific Android apps. Also, it apparently needs a lot of permissions and serves ads unless you buy the premium version for $2. Sounds…great?
Trending: Zoo Keeper Battle!
This looks like a particularly low-fi cross between Animal Crossing and Pokemon, but it’s apparently a simple match-three-things puzzler instead.
Trending: Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings
An interesting-looking puzzle/adventure game (a genre I’ve always felt works well on mobile devices), Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings is a freemium title that boasts of having won an award from Pocketgamer.
Trending: Ready Steady Bang
They don’t get a lot simpler than this – a free game that tests your reflexes in a pared-down, grayscale old west. Draw, turkey!