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.
Parallels Access (Free + subscription)
Parallels is already well known to people using remote-access software on other devices – for example to get to their work computer from home. Now there's an official Parallels Access app for Android devices, accessing files and applications on Windows and Mac computers. An annual subscription covers up to five devices.
Only available in the US for now, this is Facebook's latest standalone app: a Snapchat-style way to quickly share photos and video clips, with the twist that you can't see what someone has sent to you until you 'sling' something back. Useful? Fun? It's very early days, so hard to tell if it'll be a hit or a Poke-style flop.
Nike+ FuelBand (Free)
Nike has been much more focused on iOS than Android for its mobile fitness activities, but now it has finally launched an Android app for its FuelBand tracking device. As long as you own a compatible device (the last three Samsung Galaxy smartphones, Google's Nexus 5, an HTC One or Moto X) you can pair the app with your FuelBand to see stats, pretty graphs and friend leaderboards.
AutomateIt Pro (£1.43)
The latest useful Android utility here, from developer SmarterApps. It automates some common tasks on your device, from keeping it quiet at night to changing the volume depending on whether you've got a headset plugged in or not. But you can also dig deeper, using its system of triggers and actions to set your own "rules".
Path Talk (Free + IAP)
Path made its name as a social networking app, but now it has launched a dedicated messaging spin-off that's hoping you'll "replace SMS and Facebook" with it. Lofty aims: it matches other messaging apps with its mix of one-to-one and group messaging, digital stickers and voice messages. Extra features: messages are deleted from Path's servers 24 hours after being sent, and the app makes it easy to ping music, maps and your location to friends.
Sicher (Free + IAP)
And more messaging, this time from developer Shape, which made the popular IM+ app among others. This is a "Made in Germany" messaging app promising end-to-end encryption of your messages and sent files, with group chats, and the option to set messages to self-destruct.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock (£1.29)
If you regularly wake up like a bear with a sore head, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock may be the answer. The app runs in the background on your Android device while you sleep, using its sensors to gauge when you're at different points in your sleep cycle. Then, it wakes you up in a 30-minute window before your desired alarm time: so you're bright as a button, not grumpy. In theory...
Oyster – Read Unlimited Books (Free + subscription)
Oyster is another app that isn't available in the UK yet, but the US startup is worth keeping tabs on. It's one of a clutch of 'Spotify for books' (sometimes Netflix is the comparison used) – you pay a monthly subscription for unlimited access to a catalogue of more than 500,000 e-books. Being UK-based, I haven't been able to try it yet, but judging by early reviews, it's pretty slick.
In The Night Garden (£1.99)
Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, the Tombliboos and Makka Pakka have made their way to Android in their own app, released by P2 Entertainment – which handles similar duties for Peppa Pig. Here, that means five simple, colourful mini-games for pre-schoolers featuring their favourite characters from the CBeebies show.
SalientEye Home Security Alarm (Free + IAP)
Apparently big in Brazil, this home-security app is now hoping to find fans in the UK too. The idea: you install it on a spare Android smartphone, turning it into a wireless home-security camera, detecting motion and then able to shoot photos and videos, send you SMS and email alerts, or sound an alarm. Security, yes, but also cracking for spying on what your cat and/or dog really get up to while you're out.
Boom Beach (Free + IAP)
Boom Beach is the third game from Supercell, the developer that's enjoyed huge success with Clash of Clans and Hay Day. Like those, this is a freemium game: you have to build an island base and invade those of other players, with a military theme and plenty of potential for strategic planning.
Lumosity (Free + IAP)
Lumosity is a popular brain-training game – well, a suite of games really – which claims 60m players already on the web and iOS. Now it's on Android too: an accessible collection of mini-games designed to stretch your grey cells, and track your progress over time.
Warhammer 40,000: Carnage (£4.99 + IAP)
Longtime fans of Games Workshop's tabletop game will be excited about this Warhammer 40,000 mobile game, but it's good enough to appeal to newcomers as well. It sees you playing a space marine, blasting... well, blasting the bejaysus out of everything around you, while upgrading your kit.
Stick Soccer (Free + IAP)
Something more casual here, just about in time to capitalise on World Cup fever. It's the work of Stick Sports, following its previous Stick Cricket and Stick Tennis games. Here, you're flicking a ball to score goals – one of a growing number of "flick-to-kick" mobile games. One neat feature: you choose your country then see your points count towards its total in a global contest.
Castle of Illusion (£5.88)
This is the work of Disney: a 2014 update of Sega Mega Drive game Castle of Illusion, which I lost many hours to back in the day. You play Mickey Mouse, off on an adventure to rescue Minnie. It's one of those games that will give you a flood of nostalgia: a faithful port, with controls tweaked for touchscreens.
Topia World Builder (£1.18)
When it came out for iOS in 2012, this game got a lot of attention due to the involvement of Glenn Corpes – who helped create legendary god-game Populous. Now it's on Android, and the gameplay still justifies the interest. You're still playing god: shaping a planet and then watching animals breed, fight and die.
Powerpuff Girls: Defenders (£2.38)
Earlier this month, Cartoon Network announced that it would be developing new episodes of its Powerpuff Girls cartoon – the first since 2005. But in advance of those, here's an official mobile game for Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. It's a fun action-adventure as you explore its Townsville setting, unlock new abilities and battle big bosses.
Dungeon Gems (Free + IAP)
Mention of "dragons, fantasy and puzzle action" in the Google Play listing makes the inspirations of this Gameloft game clear: lucrative title Puzzle & Dragons. As in that game, you're fighting monsters by matching shapes – runes in this case. There are 220 heroes from which to marshal your party, and – as ever for this genre – in-app purchases to speed your development if desired.
Turn-based chariot racing? It may not be one of the more popular game genres, but in Qvadriga it looks very nicely done indeed. Your job is to run a chariot-racing team in ancient Roman times, maintaining and upgrading your charioteers and horses, while plotting various crafty tactics to unseat (literally, obviously) your opponents.
Simon the Sorcerer 2 (£2.69)
Finally, a bit more nostalgia: a classic adventure game from days gone by, ported to Android by developer MojoTouch. It follows the port of the first Simon the Sorcerer game, with both focusing on a pre-Potter boy wizard. The humour hasn't dated badly, and the game has been well-redesigned to work on touchscreens.
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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