Though it may not seem (or feel like it from the weather), we’re already into a new quarter for 2013, which means it’s time to refresh our quarterly app guides! Last week, I started by updating our iPhone guide. Now, I'll tackle the ever-growing Android platform. If you’re looking to use your phone as a crutch during your summer vacation planning, you’ll want to make sure the programs below are installed.
Field Trip: While this app made the cut last quarter, I couldn't help but re-include it now for one major reason. Just this month, Google's team updated the app with support for interesting side trips in over 80 nations. Previously, most of the points of interest were reserved for users in the United States. Moreover, the app now automatically translates signs and descriptions with support for over 30 languages, which should help you feel more at home, even in a foreign locale. As a quick refresher, those with this app installed will be alerted to nearby attractions that are highly rated, adding a new twist to spontaneous exploration on vacation. Oh, and did I mention that it's completely free?
Google Earth: Google's best work (unsurprisingly) happens on its own Android platform, and Earth runs best on high-end Android phones. By and large, this app does two things – one, it's educational, and two, it makes you feel like a kid again. You can punch in an address to view it from space, and then zoom all the way to a street-level view. You can whisk up and down Yawkey Way if a trip to Boston just isn't in the cards, and if you're planning a trip, you can get a look at what to expect prior to leaving. Furthermore, it offers suggestions and photos of nearby attractions to hit based on the location that you're peering at. Think of it as an on-demand tour guide, and yes, it's also completely free to download.
Waze: For residents of large cities (particularly the Bay Area in California), this is one navigational tool I'd recommend trying in place of Google's stellar Maps program. Why? It's used by millions of commuters who are obsessed with traffic and efficiency. This app's primary goal is to get you from your home to your place of work in the quickest way possible, and it does that by offering route suggestions based on real-time feedback given by other Waze users. If a Waze user detects a traffic jam, he or she will report it and anyone presently routed in that direction will instantly receive an alternative solution. It works best in densely populated areas – places where a lot of Waze users are present – but since it's free, it's worth trying out during your next ride to work.
What are your favorite Android travel apps?