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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Emerging Android Apps: SPB Shell 3D, Galaxy and Grabatron

Android apps were a mixed bag this week, with a variety of games an utilities all putting in strong showings on their respective charts. Adding further support to Xyologic’s theory that Android is a better, more profitable platform for utilities than iOS, this week SPB Software’s user interface utility SPB Shell 3D was the top grossing Android App this week.

This week’s top grossing Android apps

SPB Shell 3D – This week’s highest grossing Android app isn’t a game, its SPB Software’s user interface app SPB Shell 3D. The app costs $14.95 and allows users to change the UI of their phones, adding a 3D home screen and launcher, smart folders, 3D widgets and other visually impressive goodies. The app was last updated on Jan. 24.
Billing plugin for LE – Camel Games swoops to the No. 2 spot on the top grossing charts this week with the standalone billing app for its free-to-play location-based MMO Little Empire. Users who install the Billing plugin for LE app are able to purchase the game’s in-app currency MOJO. The app has so far seen more than 50,000 installs.
TurboTax Snap Tax – Just as Intuit saw the start of tax season boost its fortunes on the top grossing iPad charts this week, the season has been just as good to the company on Android. Its app, TurboTax SnapTax is this week’s No. 18 top grossing app. The app is free, but users must pay for a $19.99 in-app purchase to actually file their taxes. TurboTax SnapTax was updated on Jan. 24 to comply with the latest tax laws.
Farm Slot – Dragonplay’s Farm Slot holds the No. 21 spot this week. A free-to-play slots game that monetizes via in-app purchases, the app has seen more than 500,000 installs and supports registration via Facebook connect.
Enchanted Realm - Game Insight’s Enchanted Realm returns to the top grossing charts in the No. 24 position this week. A city-building game with a magical, medieval theme, Enchanted Realm boasts a complex storyline, more than 50 unique buildings, and the ability to share achievements via Facebook and Twitter.

This week’s top free Android apps

Roller Ball – The free charts didn’t show much variety until one left the top 10 this week, but after than point, a variety of new apps appeared with strong debuts. One of those apps is Words Mobile’s Roller Ball, an Android take on the classic game of skee ball. This week’s No. 14 app, the game has already notched up an impressive 500,000 installs.
SimSimi - Korean developer ISMAKER’s chatting robot app SimSimi was a left-field hit on iOS this week and its proven to be a sudden hit on Android as well, climbing into the  No. 28 position on the free charts. The app was last updated on Jan. 23 and has racked up more than 1 million lifetime total downloads, many of them in the past week as users flock to the app.
Tip-Off Basketball – Paris-based IoPixel’s app Tip-Off Basketball is another new app to our roundup this week. The No. 32 free Android app, the game is a finger basketball game with both single player and online multiplayer. The app features more than 40 levels and 100 achievements. Tip-Off Basketball also supports OpenFeint friends lists.
Galaxy – Moving down to the No. 39 spot on the free apps chart we find Magma Mobile’s simple connect-the-dots puzzle game Galaxy. The game challenges players to connect a series of stars without backtracking. The game has more than 200 levels and was last updated on Jan. 16 to add support for Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish and Russian.
Antivirus Free – Lookout – Lookout Mobile Security’s utility Antivirus Free – Lookout takes the No. 33 spot on the free charts this week. Boasting a user base of more than 15 million people according to its app store description, the app comes with a free trial of Look Premium, which adds safe browsing, remote lock and wipe and advanced backup features.

This week’s top paid Android apps

Osmos HD - Independent developer Hemisphere Games leads our roundup of paid Android apps in the No. 3 spot with its new-to-Android game Osmos HD. Making the leap from iOS, the game challenges players to enter what it calls the “Darwinian world of a galactic mote” where the only goal is to survive and grow. The game was selected for the PAX 10 and has notched up awards from IGN and the Independent Games Festival. Osmos HD costs $4.99.
[Update] Cut the Rope - Zeptolab’s Cut the Rope continues to be a standby hit on Android, making No. 4 on the paid charts this week. The $0.99 game was updated on Jan. 16 to introduce minor bug fixes and performance improvements.
Grabatron – Future Games of London slides into the No. 15 spot on our paid Android app roundup with its new $0.99 game Grabatron. In the game, players take control of an alien ship with giant retractible claw bent on wreaking some serious physics based havoc. The game features more than 30 levels of human decimating action and a global high scores list.
[Update] Plants vs. Zombies – EA Popcap’s adorable take on the tower defense genre Plants vs. Zombies is this week’s No. 32 app. Currently priced at $2.99 the colossal hit was originally going to be called Lawn of the Dead, but PopCap’s lawyers nixed the plan.
[Update] Monopoly – EA gets a second mention this week and closes our Android roundup with Monopoly. Currently the No. 47 paid app, the game is a faithful recreation of the classic board game. Now priced at $4.99 after the end of EA’s holiday sale, the app features three different levels of difficulty and allows users to save their game in progress.

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