Aug 09 AT 6:18 PM Angie Wimberly 36 Comments

Staff Picks: Wordfeud, Agenda Widget, AutoZone

During some of our recent posts listing the top Market downloads, some of you asked for more personal recommendations. Considering this week’s list included gems like women jogging in place, we couldn’t agree more. So today we’re back with a list of hand-picked apps and games for your downloading enjoyment.

This post also marks the start of the new format for the Staff Picks column. Each week, a handful of Android and Me staff will select real apps and games currently installed on our phones. These picks aren’t from download numbers or user reviews, these are apps we use day to day and think are worth sharing. Now, go forth and download!

Clark’s Pick
Wordfeud Free

Wordfeud is a multi-player word game you probably already recognize as Scrabble, Literati, Words with Friends- it’s a pretty big (and growing) list. Luckily that doesn’t stop it from being totally awesome.

Wordfeud takes the classic letter-tile game and throws it into the cloud, allowing users to network up and play a turn-based game at their own pace. The player’s don’t need to play at the same time (or even the same day). When a player takes his turn, his opponent is notified. The lazy pace of the game, along with the fact that you can run up to 20 games simultaneously, make Wordfeud a perfect casual, time-killing game.

The only drawback I could find is that this is clearly a fresh release. There have been some server issues and some people have complained about the lack of a paid version (the free version is fully ad supported) but overall I’ve had pretty good luck with the app and think it’s amazing for a new release. The dev seems involved, responding to questions and even releasing a couple updates to the Market already. Check out the official site for more info.

Wordfeud is available now and is quickly shaping up to be one of the best casual games in the Market. The gameplay is familiar and solid, the UI is highly polished, it even has push notifications to tell you when it’s your time to play.

Angie’s Pick
Agenda Widget

With Launcher Pro being as nice as it is, I had to abandon Sense on my EVO. This didn’t make me miss too much from my old Sense home screens, except for the calendar widget. I thought that the Sense calendar had a nice display, but I found that Agenda Widget was a really good replacement. Launcher Pro has a calendar widget, but you have to pay for it, so this is a good free option.

I know that a calendar is still just a calendar, but I really enjoy the functionality of Agenda Widget. I honestly don’t have many other calendars to sync, but whatever your situation, Agenda Widget offers options. It allows you to view events and tasks from other popular calendar applications, such as Google calendar and (Google) Exchange Activesync (see all supported apps on the developer’s site). I also tried to use it to show my Facebook events, so I could be a good friend and remember everyone’s birthday, but that was too many birthday listings for my taste.

One thing that makes this app a little different from most other calendar widgets, is that it lists out your events, rather than a traditional month display with specific days marked. You can customize many different things about how the events are displayed and the settings (as well as the button to add a new event and a refresh button) are easily accessible along the bottom of the widget.

It also has a ton of display options for how large the widget displays on your home screen. I personally like the 4×3 because it takes up the majority of the screen, but leaves me a little breathing room between the widget and the Launcher Pro icons at the bottom. It is just nice to have this many display options: 2×2, 2×3, 2×4, 3×1, 3×2, 3×3, 3×4, 4×1, 4×2, 4×3, and 4×4.

I had an issue of getting my events to show up once I updated to Froyo, but all I had to do to get the widget working correctly again was to uninstall and reinstall. The developer has support forums where you can submit issues, and he seems to be responding to the majority of people.

That is the main gist of Agenda Widget, but everyone manages their tasks differently. If you are looking for something a little different for your calendar widget, give it a shot and let me know how it works for you — it’ll be good to hear from others out there if this is a good way to go.

Taylor’s Pick
AutoZone

AutoZone app

AutoZone finally ported their iPhone app to Android and the first release is a welcome addition to car fans. Users can easily find stores based on their location, search for parts using the vehicle selector, and get unlimited access to AutoZone’s free vehicle repair guides right on their phone.

When opening the app for the first time, users are prompted to select their vehicle and favorite AutoZone location. After selecting your default vehicle it is then quite easy to look up parts and accessories. Since the app knows your location and stores around you, it can provide real-time pricing and availability at your preferred AutoZone store.

If you ever get stuck in a pinch, the free repair guides could help you get back on the road. Vehicle-specific guides are available for most models and include detailed information and graphics for those who choose do-it-yourself repair.

Overall, I think the app is a good start but it could use some enhancements. I really like the ability to find the part numbers I need, but it appears you can only search the inventory of one store at a time and need to perform a new search if you need to select a different store. It would also be nice to order parts to my home, similar to what is available on AutoZone.com.

This is a must download app if you are a customer of AutoZone, but even other car junkies should probably find the parts look up useful too.

To help gauge reaction to our recommendations (and to drive tension between the staff) we thought it’d be fun to take a poll with each batch of picks. Do the above apps tickle your fancy? Leave a comment or vote in the poll below:

Angie is a designer and illustrator living in Austin, Texas. She's a graduate of the Communication Design program at Texas State and joined us full-time after a two-year run at a design firm here in Austin.

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