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.
It’s unclear whether Clarisketch is a serious workplace tool or a fun messaging app. Perhaps it’s both. You use it by taking photos, then scribbling on them while talking: the app then turns that into a shareable “sketch” that friends or colleagues can watch, even if they don’t have the app themselves.
There are dozens of messaging apps promising greater privacy for their users, in the wake of last year’s NSA revelations. Wiper is the latest, throwing in voice calls for good measure. You can ping text and photos back and forth, with its schtick being a “Wipe” option to erase whatever you’ve sent to a friend from their phone.
For now, you’ll need one of Samsung’s Android devices to run restaurant recommendations app Tastemade. It’s a collection of one-minute videos shot by foodies about their favourite places to eat, with the app used to browse vids of restaurants near you, or shoot and share your own.
Wear Camera Remote (Free)
Wear Camera Remote is exactly what it sounds like: an app (currently in demo form) to control your smartphone’s camera from your Android Wear-powered smartwatch? “Mount your cell phone on something and use it to take better selfies, group shots, watch a live stream of your kitchen pot,” suggests the developer. A big day for selfie-taking group pot-watchers.
Brits getting their TV through Freesat satellite dishes now have an Android app to control their set-top box, browsing listings, setting recordings and using their device as a remote control. Design-wise, it takes its cues from other grid-based electronic programme guide (EPG) apps.
Dreamstime: Sell Your Photos (Free)
If you’re a prolific snapper on your Android smartphone, Dreamstime is one of the services aiming to help you make money from your mobile photography. It’s a stock photos library, with this new app used to register, upload images and track how much (or, yes, how little) money you’re making from them.
Watchup: Your Daily Newscast (Free)
Watchup is one of a clutch of startups trying to aggregate video news on your behalf, in this case, letting you set the time for, yep, “your daily newscast” to be compiled. It’s simple to use, including editing the topics you’re interested in, with the ability to read related articles for each story a nice touch.
Jink Beta (Free)
This is interesting, albeit a feature that could be built into existing apps: a two-tap way to share your location with a specific contact. The idea being that when you meet up with them – friends, children, colleagues etc – the sharing stops. Could be useful when meeting in crowded and/or complicated spaces.
Sprout Now (Free)
One for American parents, this: an official app for NBCUniversal’s Sprout children’s TV channel. The app, which is US-only, enables you to watch full episodes of shows, once you’ve signed in with your cable TV provider details. It’s an easy way to quickly access shows from your Android device.
I like the principle behind lettrs, even if I’m unsure how much it will catch on. It’s a messaging app, but one that looks a lot more like traditional letters sent through the post – deliberately. Its developers want to “bring back the art of meaningful communications”. LOL, as your parents would say (in a text).
Destiny is the official companion app for the console game of the same name, released in beta form by developer Bungie for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 recently. You can check on your stats, communicate through forums and private messages, and get news from Bungie on new developments.
Roblox (Free + IAP)
New to Roblox? It’s big news online, where it has a thriving community of people creating games, and more than 60m people playing them. Now it’s available on Android too, so you can browse and play the games, buy the Robux virtual currency, and chat to friends.
Magic 2015 (Free + IAP)
This is the latest Android version of deck-building card-battling game Magic, as you gather your deck and battle against AI opponents or real humans online. Experienced hands will likely already know about the new features, but for newcomers, there’s an accessible tutorial to get you up to speed.
Guardians of the Galaxy: TUW (£2.91)
A sign of mobile gaming in 2014: when a company like Marvel releases a new roleplaying game (RPG) that’s paid rather than freemium, it shouts “NO IN-APP PURCHASES” right at the start of its Google Play listing. Quite the selling point, but the game’s really good too: a deep-but-accessible adventure.
Lionheart Tactics (Free + IAP)
Back to freemium for Kongregate’s new Android game, although it’s also very good: a tactical RPG where you build a mini-army then send them out to battle foes across 50 different battlefields. You can also play online, with a neatly-handled leagues system to chart your performance over time.
Ruzzle Adventure (Free + IAP)
Word game Ruzzle has been a big hit on smartphones and tablets, but this is its official sequel for Android. The “Adventure” element sees a Candy Crush / Angry Birds-like structure wrapped around the core “swipe letter tiles to make words” gameplay, as you try to get three-star ratings in the hundreds of levels.
Game of Thrones Ascent (Free + IAP)
Another RPG, and another game from Kongregate, although this one’s based on one of the biggest TV brands of modern times: Game of Thrones. Your job is to build your reputation, complete quests, put rivals to the sword and – if at all possible – avoid tumbling into the sack with a sibling.
Nuts! (Free + IAP)
Nuts! is a “vertical endless runner” (i.e. more Doodle Jump than Canabalt) that sees a squirrel leaping upwards through an “Infinitree” completing challenges as he goes. The game was very well received on iOS, and looks impressive on Android too if you’re a fan of the genre. And/or squirrels.
Atom Run Premium (£2.49)
On iOS, developer Fingerlab makes excellent, inventive music apps. This is its expansion into games though: you race along as Elgo the robot, looking for atoms and molecules. It’s fast, easy to control and driven along by a decent soundtrack – perhaps not the biggest surprise, given the developer.
Bug Heroes 2 (£1.18 + IAP)
Finally, Bug Heroes 2: a colourful action game based on, yes, bugs. 25 of them, including a waterbug, a “grenade-launching worm” (hmm, that rings a gaming bell…) and a stinkbug. You complete missions, level up your characters, and can choose to play solo or multiplayer with friends.
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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