As ever, prices are correct at the time of writing, but may have changed by the time you read this. (Free + IAP) means in-app purchases are used within the app.
Pitched as “your complete personal media hub”, Cooliris looks just as slick on Android as its existing iOS version. It’s an app for browsing the photos you’ve uploaded to various services, from Facebook and Instagram to Flickr and Twitter – as well as seeing what friends have been posting. All in a slick touchscreen interface.
IFTTT is an excellent tool for connecting up different web services using simple “If this then that’ instructions – hence the name. You can automatically save Instagram uploads to Dropbox, or trigger emails when an RSS feed is updated, or… well, there are thousands of possible “recipes” created by other users, which you can then use too for your own accounts.
Google is separating out its Google Drive service for smartphone users: this is the standalone app for its word-processing Google Docs. It look a neat, accessible way to create and edit documents. Interestingly, the initial reviews are much more positive on Android than on iOS, where people are complaining about being forced to use the new app.
The second standalone app from Google Drive – with Slides to come soon – this is the company’s online spreadsheets software, competing directly with Microsoft’s Excel. Like Google Docs, Sheets is easy to use and offers most of the basic features you’d expect – with scope to add more in forthcoming updates.
This is only for US Android owners for now: Yahoo’s online video service that’s in the early days of trying to compete with YouTube (yes, very early days…) It streams cips from shows including South Park, The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live, as well as Yahoo’s own shows and videos from BuzzFeed and The Onion.
Google’s Slides may not be out just yet, but LinkedIn-owned presentations-hosting service SlideShare has just released its first Android app. It’s for browsing the company’s catalogue of presos, which are helpfully sorted into categories including technology, education and design. They can be saved for offline viewing and shared on various social networks.
Many disabled people and their friends and families will know about Euan’s Guide already: it’s a website aggregating reviews of public venues around the UK for their accessibility. The app offers its content for Android, including identifying places nearby that have been reviewed.
The latest in an increasingly long line of messaging apps promising more security, in the wake of the last year’s NSA revelations. Chadder enjoys the patronage of tech veteran John McAfee – one of the more sensible news stories involving him in recent times – promising a simple-to-use encrypted chat app.
Still spooked by the recent Heartbleed security scare? CM Security Heartbleed Scanner is the latest Android app aiming to tell you if you have vulnerable apps on your device, so you can go looking for an update (or, alternatively, switch to alternatives).
Finally for apps this week, a simple productivity tool that makes it quicker to switch between your five most-used apps, with a “floating bubble” interface that hovers over whatever app you’re using. It minimises neatly, can be moved around the screen, and won’t interfere with other navigation elements.
Trivia apps are hugely popular on smartphones at the moment, and BBC game-show Pointless is hoping to capitalise with its new Android game. It sees you trying to find “pointless” answers – getting correct answers that as few other people know as possible – competing against Facebook friends or other Android owners. Very addictive.
Hazumino is a marvellous idea: part endless-runner game and part Tetris-style block puzzler, where you have to run, jump AND build. Cutesy graphics and a nagging chiptune soundtrack make this a treat, with simple gameplay but a big just-one-more-go factor to keep you playing.
The original Bridge Constructor game was a big hit on mobile, but now it’s going back in time to the Middle Ages. Your job is still to build bridges, but now they’re being crossed by soldiers and knights from olden times. As before, you have to construct bridges that will bear the necessary weight: although a fun twist is the new mode where you have to design shonky bridges that will plunge enemies to their doom.
Classic game franchise Metal Slug made its name with side-scrolling action romps. Now, as it shifts to free-to-play, it’s trying a new genre on for size: tower defence. You choose from more than 60 units – unlocked over time rather than all available at the start – with online multiplayer to test your skills against players around the world.
City Domination is the latest in a series of games exploring virtual strategy based on real-world locations. As with rival game Life is Crime, this is a mafia-themed title: “a multiplayer Risk in your city” where you build a gang, conquer real-world locations and then defend them with your mob – fighting against other players, or joining them in massive clans. Intriguing, but too early to judge how much it’ll catch on.
I’m a sucker for a deep space sci-fi saga, and Starborn Wanderers looks like it has potential on Android. Your job? Only to explore the universe, battle space pirates, mine mysterious ores, and upgrade your ship as you go. Another game where you’re only scratching the surface in its first few days: how it evolves over the coming weeks and months will define how it does.
This is a lovely-looking game that takes inspiration from any number of turn-based strategy titles in the past. You get to develop both a hero and their army, battling various fantasy creatures through a story-driven game with boss battles thrown in to break up the regular action.
More swords and sorcery, but this time with a match-three puzzling element. And while the mix of RPG and puzzles isn’t a new idea, it’s very well done here: a mixture of solo and multiplayer action where you match tiles to win fights. And it’s fully paid: so no in-app purchases, which does make it stand out from the puzzle-RPG crowd.
Deity Quest doesn’t try to hide its inspiration: Nintendo’s Pokemon. But in the continued absence of that game from smartphones, it may pick up a few fans. You explore, capture “followers” and then fight in six-on-six battles. It’s not quite Pokemon, but there’s fun to be had.
Finally this week, a simple but fun word game from developer Blue Ox Technologies, where you have to sort words into categories while spotting misleading “Red Herring” words. It has a simple drag’n’drop interface, and is a perfect stress-reliever. Extra puzzles can be bought using in-app purchases.
Those are our picks, but what have you been enjoying on Android this week? Post your recommendations (or feedback on these) in the comments section.
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