Most Popular Android Apps and Games For December 2008

With only two months into its existence, the Android market, having just opened October 22, has grown slowly but surely. Down the line, a rumored G2 on the horizon could prove a significant boost in terms of what's being developed as well as what ends up getting downloaded. But for now, classics like Namco's Pac-Man and utilities like The Weather Channel's app and ShopSavvy continue to lead the pack of what's hot in the Android market.

In fact, the top lineup of Debcember 2008's most popular Android applications hasn't changed much since we reported November's numbers. Here are the 10 most popular Android apps and 10 most popular Android games for December 2008, based on number of downloads, number of comments, and average rating, according to a report by Medialets, a mobile analytics and advertising company.

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The Weather Channel
While Video may only be available through the pre-installed YouTube app (or other applications offered through Market), The Weather Channel has done a nice job of including video weather updates of your local weather featuring a meteorologist. You also get hourly, 36-hour, and 10-day forecasts.

ShopSavvy
Launched exclusively for Android on the G1, ShopSavvy by Big In Japan, Inc., uses the camera in your phone to scan the barcode of products and assists you with finding the best prices on the Internet and at local stores.

MySpace Mobile
Upload photos to your profile, check out band tour schedules, view and comment on photos and profiles, search and add news friends, send and read messages, and update and view mood and status with this app. It's also integrated with Shazam, the mobile music discovery service that helps you to identify songs by holding your phone towards an unknown song and connecting to the artist's MySpace page.

U.S. Yellow Pages Search
Android was the first OS that this application was built for, while both the iPhone and BlackBerry have to access the Yellow Pages on the mobile Web. With this application you can search local business listings and get addresses, phone numbers, and maps and directions.

Free Dictionary Org
As its name suggests, Free Dictionary is an app that allows you to search for definitions, synonyms, pronunciation, and spelling.

DailyHoroscope
Just click on the icon for your Zodiac and read your horoscope for the day. But that's all you get. Don't expect to view yesterday's horoscope or your horoscope from a year ago. The makers say that features like these will be coming soon though.

Ringdroid
This app lets you create your own ringtone by editing an MP3 track from your music library, or recording one directly from your phone. It's like Garageband for your Android phone.

Backgrounds & Wallpapers
By Stylem Media, this application lets you choose from over 50,000 Flickr images and unique designs of 40 categories, including sunsets, beaches, cars, sports, animals, games, people, flowers, city, movies, music, models, and love. Easily search wallpapers and wallpaper slideshows and then add them to your phone.

Compare Everywhere
Like ShopSavvy, Compare Everywhere allows use of your Android-enabled phone as a barcode scanner to instantly search online and local stores for the best prices. It also offers product reviews, music clips, and movie trailers. Create shopping and wish lists, and share them with friends.

Movies and Showtimes
Also by Stylem Media, Movies offers showtimes and IMDb ratings for films currently playing in theaters that you can search for by location. It includes maps and video trailers are coming soon.

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Pac-Man by Namco
Pac-Man was one of the first apps available for the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1. This version features three unique control schemes: Swipe Mode allows players to direct PAC-MAN's path by simply swiping in the direction you want to travel, Track Mode lets players zip through mazes using the phone's trackball, and Accelerometer Mode allows players to control PAC-MAN by tilting the phone in the direction they want to move. It's not a lot different from the arcade game, except for the price: players get full access to the game for free.

Solitaire
The Solitaire app by Ken Magic, though wonky upon official release, has gotten a lot better over time. It now also offers a timer and the ability to save games mid-session. Play options include Klondike, Spider, and Freecell.

Smart Tac-Toe
It's not the only Tic-Tac-Toe available on the Android Market, but Mobile Dynamix made its version just simple to play as it is on paper. Just touch where you want your X or O to go and voila, it appears. No fancy features making the game more than what it is. The board is structured with blocks in an 8 x 10 format, so you need to land five of your symbols in a row to win.

Slide Puzzle
This sliding tile game features a touch screen interface for sliding, a timer, multiple tile sizes, customizable images, image loading from both internal memory and the SD card, and a high scorers list. With most of its major bugs worked out, Slide Puzzle is already in its final release.

Texas Hold'Em
One of the first Android apps available as a paid app through Snake
Released as the first publicly-available application for Android, Snake was featured on the SDK as a sample. Like the classic that its named after, Snake takes your serpent in search of apples that when eaten make you grow longer and faster, making it more difficult to chase after more.

Brain Genius Deluxe
From Bonsai Blast developers glu mobile comes this collection of 24 intuitive touch-controlled games and bonus puzzles including Sudoku and Jigsaws. You'll quickly test your genius level, as you compare your score with that of other users.

Bonsai Blast
This action-puzzle game challenges players to shoot and match colored balls to clear them before they reach the Yin-Yang at the end of the level. The rich, detailed environments of earth, wind, and fire are controlled by using the touch-screen and accelerometer.

Tic-Tac-Toe
With a dozen popular iPhone and iTouch applications under its belt, Tic-Tac-Toe is PosiMotion's first Android release. Vying for Smart Tac-Toe's spot on the popular Android Games list, this version quickly earned 5-star ratings from users immediately following its availability. It features three difficulty levels, the ability to play against the computer or another player, and high-resolution graphics.

Chess for Android
Play in landscape or portrait orientation, making moves with the touch screen, trackball, or through the keyboard. Once a piece has been selected, all valid destination squares will become highlighted. A pawn promotion prompts the user to define the desired destination piece. And the GUI supports an "undo" feature, where up to eight plies (half-moves) can be taken back to correct mistakes. When using the free play option, the phone can be used as a "magnetic chessboard" to study games or play a game up to a position for further play with the chess engine.

Check back next month to see how the stats measure up for January.

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