Top Emerging Android Apps: Virtual Cities, Daisies, Calculators and Cameras

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By Kathleen De Vere Comment

This week’s Android charts showed much more variety than they did last week, but older apps still continue to dominate the paid, free and top grossing lists, as there were very few new releases arriving to challenge them. Games once again proved to be the most popular genre, with offerings from Kairosoft and Gameloft doing well after going on sale. Older games from EA, Glu Mobile and Fractive saw steady growth. The utilities showed greater turnover, with new camera, calculator and productivity apps seeing their first chart appearances.

New Titles With the Top Free Android Apps Chart:

Tetris Free (update) - The #10 app is EA’s free version of its perennial favorite Tetris, a mainstay on the free app charts that has racked up over one million installs since its debut on August 24th. The free version includes all the same gameplay that the paid version has – players must assemble complete rows from falling tetriminos before the blocks reach the top, but is supported through in-app advertising.

Drag Racing (update) – Moving down to the #15 spot is Drag Racing. The immensely popular game allows players to choose from more than 50 different types of cars to create a totally customized racer (everything down to the gear ratios can be adjusted) and then challenge other players in head to head drag races. The game monetizes through the purchase of Respect Points and by disabling in game ads. Drag Racing was developed by Android exclusive developer Creative Mobile, but they are currently working on iOS and Facebook versions of the app due to its runaway success.

Lane Splitter – Motorcycle racing game Lane Splitter has climbed up to #20 on the charts after seeing a massive upswing towards one million downloads in the last 30 days. The goal of the game is to successfully weave a motorcycle through ever changing traffic, avoiding walls, cops and careless drivers. Facebook integration and a global leader board add a social element to game play, and players can unlock new characters and motorcycles through $0.99 in-app purchases (or all 4 extra characters for $1.99). Lane Splitter was developed by independent Santa Clara based studio Fractiv.

Workout Trainer - The last free app in our roundup is Workout Trainer, currently sitting in the #30 spot after being selected as one of the Android marketplace’s featured apps.  Workout Trainer guides users through workouts with timed audio, and step-by-step photo and video instructions. Users can share their workouts through Facebook, Twitter and email, and connect with other users to get recommendations. Workout Trainer was developed Skimble, a fitness focused developer who were a top 3 finalist in the Innovative Web Technology category at SXSW 2010.

Google Googles – Google’s augmented reality search engine saw a big jump in installs after an update on September 14th that allowed users to search directly from their device’s camera. Currently the #31 free app, Google Googles can recognize landmarks, scan QR codes, solve Sudoku puzzles and translate words in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. The app doesn’t support searching through facial recognition, but in April CNN speculated that this feature would be available to the public, a theory that Google quickly debunked.

New Titles With the Top Grossing Android Apps Chart:

Pocket League Story (update) – Soccer management sim Pocket League Story is the #15 top grossing app, bolstered by a 45% off sale that’s dropped the price to $2.99. In the game, players take a new team from obscurity to the championship through careful management of everything from players to sponsors, and of course, by playing a little soccer.  Released on September 7th, Pocket League story is the latest game by Japanese developer Kariosoft, who were last seen in our roundups after they released Grand Prix Story for iOS.

Bug Village (update) – Showing steady growth is #26 ranked Bug Village, one of four games from Glu Mobile on the top grossing Android charts this week. Bug Village tasks players with creating a perfect village for ants and bees. Players attract residents to their insect utopias by building houses, and keep them happy by adding decorations, feeding them cupcakes and protecting them from enemy bugs like Ant Lions. Bug Village is free to play, and monetizes through in app purchases. Glu Mobile made the news in August after they announced a major restructuring, seeing the vice president of marketing and the chief creative officer departing.

Office Suite Pro 5 – Another application (there are currently three on the top grossing chart) that allows users to view and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations on their Android devices, #31 grossing app OfficeSuite Pro 5 has seen a big spike in popularity over the last 30 days. Updated on September 17th with an improved user interface, an email reader module and new toolbars, the app aims to give users all the same features they’d get on a desktop. Released on August 25, OfficeSuite Pro 5 costs $14.99 and was developed by 10 year old US/ Bulgarian based developer Mobisystems.

Virtual City - The #37 top grossing app is Virtual City, the latest offering from Swedish developer G5 Games. Virtual City is a management game in the same vein as Civilization – players must construct everything from shopping malls to space shuttle launch centers to create a perfect virtual city, but the game also includes 18 missions for players to beat and 50 distinct levels with specific goals. While Virtual City is free in to install, after completing the tutorial levels, players must grade via in app purchase. Previously available for iOS, Mac and PC, Virtual City made its Android debut on September 1st.

Virtual Pet: Origami Daisy – Promising to the be the easiest flower one will ever grow, Virtual Pet: Origami Daisy is the #23 top grossing app this week, having seen strong install growth in the last 30 days. In this simple game, players compete to grow the tallest virtual daisy in the world. While the gameplay and graphics are basic, players can purchase items in the ad-supported app to help their flowers grow. According to the reviews, the real draw of the app is connecting to other players through the in-game chat. Virtual Pet: Origami Daisy is the work of Adam Schmelzle, a one-man developer responsible for a whole series of virtual flower growing games.

New Titles With the Top Paid Android Apps Chart:

Paper Camera - The #1 paid app this week is image editor Paper Camera.  Unlike other photo apps, Paper Camera can apply a variety of cartoonish filters like halftone, sketch and neon in real time to the camera’s feed, as well as adding them to photos users have already taken.  Paper Camera costs $1.99 and is the first Android app from UK developer JFDP Labs.

EVAC HD - At #3 is EVAC HD, a high res update of developer Hexage’s award winning game EVAC. A Pac-Man style of game that mixes arcade, puzzle and stealth elements, EVAC HD challenges players to escape from a series of brightly colored mazes, avoiding enemies while hunting down power-ups and setting traps. Players unable to beat a level can move forward through optional in-app purchases, however the whole game can be beaten based on skill alone. EVAC HD was released on September 15th, and while currently ranked on the top paid app charts, the game is free for a limited time.

N.O.V.A. 2 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance (Update) - Gameloft’s popular sci-fi FPS is #6 on the Android charts thanks to a back to school sale that’s discounted the game to $0.99. N.O.V.A 2 features a robust single player campaign, a variety of multiplayer modes that allow up to 10 players to compete online or locally, and worldwide leaderboards. The game has previously been on our charts as a top grossing iPhone app.

ADWLauncher EX (update) – Another old app that’s climbing up the Android paid charts is ADWLauncher EX, currently sitting at #7 after a mention on LifeHacker dramatically boosted sales. ADWLauncher EX is an app that lets Android users customize their home screen, giving them the power to install themes, create customized shortcuts, add hidden dockbars and adjust everything from animations to colors. ADWLauncher EX costs $3.15 and was created by indie developer Anderweb.

Financial Calculator - The #15 title is Financial Calculator, which has seen installs skyrocket since a September 18th update that made the app free for a limited time, with the option to upgrade in-app for $0.99. An app that lives up to its name, Financial Calculator lets users calculate complicated financial equations like amortization, annuities and net present value. Financial Calculator was developed by Joaquin Grech, an amateur developer and finance consultant.

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