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The Month's Best Android Apps

Android apps keep getting better, and – well let’s just cut to it. You need this month’s apps: better Twitter, neato new ways to search your phone, and a super awesome platform game for diehard Android fans.

Touiteur: Dumb Francophile name that you’re bound to misspell looking for it in the market, but a really nice Twitter app for Android. Not quite as full-featured as Twidroid, but the interface might be the best yet on Android. Slickest move? The pulldown menu to tweet, which works just like Android’s window shade for notifications. Free and pro versions.

Opera Mini 5 Beta: Remember all that Opera Mini hotness I showed you on the iPhone? Well, it’s already on Android – if you tried version 4 and didn’t think it was so hot, Mini 5′s a totally different bag, and worth giving another spin. It’s fast, smooth and on the Droid or Nexus One, totally flies.

TMZ: Oh dear god. It really is the full TMZ experience, formatted for your Android phone. The videos, the slideshows, the interstitial ads, they’re all here. And of course, the delicious, delicious TMZ taste we all know and love. It’s a little laggy though, even on the Droid.

Google Earth: Well, it’s only available for that small, select group of people with Android 2.1 on their phones, but at least Google’s finally brought Google Earth to its own smartphone platform. It’s the Google Earth you know – zoomin’ round the world is still awesome – but in some ways, Google Earth’s even better on mobile, with voice search and multitouch.

Google Gesture Search: Voice Search might be the future, but Google’s Gesture Search is pret-tay damn spiffy. A universal search app that crawls your contacts, apps, bookmarks and music, you just draw the letters of the word you’re looking for, and it starts pulling up results. Thoroughly accurate while I was messing around with it. I wish it had a homescreen widget, so I could start drawing without firing up the app.

Pong Time: I’ll let the video do the talking, since there’s not much to add: It’s a Pong Clock. Free.

ThickButtons: A lot of people have tried to make Android’s touch keyboard better, but Thick Buttons might’ve come the closest yet. Here’s how Jason broke it down:

How it works is that ThickButtons visibly enlarges the keys that the phone predicts you’ll type next, so if you’re typing the word “Annoying” and you get to the “o”, it’ll enlarge the letter “Y” (among other letters it thinks you can possibly hit next). The iPhone actually does this invisibly, but ThickButtons does this… visibly.

The problem is that sometimes it predicts the wrong letters, and then you have to snipe out the one you actually want. Still, if you really hate the Android keyboard, this might help you get over it.

Replica Island: A must-buy retro Android platformer. Even Jesus says so:

Platform game. Retro look. 40 levels. The Android mascot as the main character. Free. If you’re an Android fanboy or fangirl, you have to play Replica Island. Don’t expect to buttsmash any iPhones, though.

Did we mention it’s free and works on any Android 1.5 phone and above?

ZumoDrive: ZumoDrive gives you free gig of space in the cloud from which you can stream video, music, photos, Office docs, PDFs and share files using the ZumoDrive app. Hard to argue with that.

AIM for Android: That’s right, there’s an official AIM app for Android. It’s surprisingly un-ugly and straightforward to use, in case you’re not interested in a multi-protocol IM client like our current fave, Meebo. The change your status button in Android’s notification window is a nice touch, actually.

Doodle Jump: A most urgent addition to the list, Doodle Jump is addictive mobile gaming perfected, which is why it’s perpetually one of the top 10 paid apps for iPhone. Exceptionally simple, and controlled almost entirely by your phone’s accelerometer, you tilt the phone side to side, directing Doodle from one platform to the next as he continually makes his way upward. When you miss, you die. Then repeat. Though $1.19 on the iPhone, on Android, it’ll run you $US4, but you know what? It’s almost worth it.

Other Android News
PayPal Bumping Is Coming to Android

Knocking Live Video App Streams Video Between iPhones and Androids

File-Syncing Service Dropbox Finally Getting Android App

SlingPlayer App for Android Coming This Winter, Will Stream Over Wi-Fi and 3G

A Fancy Google Buzz Widget Makes It Usable

Rhapsody’s Upcoming Android App

Android Native Development Kit Makes 3D Game Dev Simpler With OpenGL ES 2.0 Support

Android 2.1 and Your Phone

Flash 10.1 and Your Android Phone

Quake III, Running on a Droid

If Android Was Born Today, This Is What It Would Look Like

This list is in no way definitive. If you’ve spotted a great app that hit the store this month, give us your firsthand impressions in the comments. And for even more apps: see our previous monthly roundups here. See ya next month!

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