10
Aug
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In a maneuver that the New York Times describes as "an effort to give economists, policy makers, business owners and citizens greater access to real-time data on the health of the nation's economy," the US Census Bureau recently released its America's Economy app to Google's Play Store.

The app, which is available in separate downloads for tablets and phones, gives users a quick look at a wide range of economic indicators, from business inventories to construction spending, homeownership rate, monthly wholesale, and a heaping handful of others. As one reviewer laments, however, the app does not offer some important indicators like labor force participation rate.

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"Number junkies," or those otherwise inclined to obsessively follow economic indicators, will likely find the Census Bureau's Play Store contribution to be an indispensible source for fast, easy glances at major economic statistics. Besides just looking at numbers, users can share statistics via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail, view trends, release schedules, and even set up extremely handy notifications for individual indicators and custom views.

It's worth noting that while the app is available in tablet and phone variants, only the phone version works with the Nexus 7, at least for now. To start ogling, crunching, or otherwise enjoying quick access to major US economic indicators, just hit the appropriate widget below.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • tehsusenoh

    Don't forget the widget!

  • http://www.sethgoldstein.net/ Seth G.

    Link?

  • storm14k

    I wish folks would just build the apps native. I don't know if this is a web app with a native front or some sort of iPhonizing library but the performance of it annoyed me right off the bat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

    Haven't tried the app, but one thing that irritates me the most, is when people release a tablet version and a phone version. Fragments and really old (since the beginning) Android versions have made support for large and small screens extremely easy. There should be no excuse for two separate apps, and don't bring me the bs that it's because Crapple does it like that (there's a reason why, psst, it's crap).

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      I'm not sure if it's much of an issue with this app, but a lot of apps do it to keep the size down. It's not much of an issue on recent flagship devices, but a lot of older devices and even some mid-range devices are still suffering from having a small amount of space for app storage. If the tablet app uses graphic resources that are different from the phone app, it's reasonable that users don't want to have a bunch of graphics installed on their phones/tablets that they don't need.

      Since these apps are 10 MB and 11 MB (phone and tablet, respectively), and the actual application code is probably no more than about a meg, it's possible that a combined version could be as large as 20 MB. Some sharing of images could lower that a bit, but it's hard to say.

      The Play Store does support a special feature where you can deliver apk's selectively by device specs, but I've heard it's somewhat unpredictable (some device specs may not be handled correctly) and a few developers have complained that it's a management nightmare.

      • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

        True, but I believe in a phone version you still need to add the hdpi (and sometimes the xhdpi) images. And usually the difference (especially in an app like this) is only about 2 or 3 mb.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          That's why I mentioned that the graphics may be different on the tablet version; not that the resolution is different, but that the images themselves don't match. I admit, I'm just not interested enough to examine them, I'm just saying it's plausible. I do agree with you, Fragments and the Android Layout mechanism were created to give a solution to the problem of having two (or more) versions of an app sitting the store.

          I'm just not sure if it matters all that much when the app is free. Ultimately, you get a smaller download, and it probably just takes them an extra couple of hours or a day for them to do updates (which I suspect this app isn't going to get very many updates anyway).