Our weekly app picks
It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.
Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!
1. Russell Holly — Android Device Manager
I rely on the ring function in Android Device Manager more often than I'm comfortable admitting, but I almost always use the browser version. During the recent snowstorm we had here, my home office dropped well below freezing and I remembered there was an app I could use instead.
Since you don't have to have the app installed in order to access the location and ring functions, you can still use the app to find any of your Android phones or tablets. It almost feels like one of those things that should be installed by default, but either way this is a tool everyone should have nearby.
2. Alex Dobie — AirBNB
This might seem like a no-brainer, but if you use AirBNB with any kind of regularity, you really should download the company's Android app. The official AirBNB app wraps up all the major features of the short-term rental service into an attractive, Material Design-influenced package. For guests, the app offers a quick and easy way to search specific cities or areas for accommodation, with filters to narrow down the selection. And there's also quick access to starred listings, messages and upcoming trips. If you're a host, the app also lets you manage your own listings and respond to messages from guests.
It's really useful to have all this information to hand when you're checking into an AirBNB, or just looking for places to stay while on the move. And the process of requesting and paying for a place is streamlined and efficient too.
3. Phil Nickinson — NYT VR
You've seen the video of the star-spangled youngsters Trumping the crap out of that Trump rally in Florida, right? Well if it wasn't embarrassing enough in standard format (OK, it wasn't just "in Florida" — it was in my hometown, about a mile from where I current sit), the New York Times has included it in its latest story in the NYT VR app for Google Cardboard. "The Contenders" isn't all about Trump, of course, (in fact it leads with Cruz and Sanders), and it's very well done, telling 11 stories so far, from nature and the industrial future, to dropping food in impoverished nations and the Paris terror attacks. And if you don't have Google Cardboard, you can view it normally as well. Give it a look.
4. Jen Karner — Where's my Water? 2
Where's my Water? 2 is a fun puzzle game of a different variety than you usually see. Your job is to get water, or in some cases vapor, to the Alligator family. You'll have to challenge your brain through several different modes of play, each of which requires a different strategy to rise to the challenge. You'll never need to worry about energy or asking friends for help either, to move forward you just need to collect enough duckies and the path will open.
The earlier levels are easy, but once you get going they get trickier and trickier. If — or more likely when, you get stuck you can get a hint, which ends up being ridiculously handy. You can also connect to Facebook if you want to compete against friends, and it's a great game for kids as well.
5. Ara Wagoner — Yahoo Weather
I go through a lot of widgets, especially for weather, but Yahoo widget tackles a small niche for me: it's a picturesque peek at the place in the world I'm always wishing to be at: Walt Disney World. Yahoo Weather plugs into another Yahoo property, Flickr, in order to put geo-tagged photos to the locations you plug in. This means if you're in New York, you see pictures of New York in the sun or the snow.
Or, if you're interested in the weather in Bay Lake, FL, you can see pictures of Walt Disney World. I've got a Yahoo Weather widget on my home screen with the current conditions for the Most Magical Place on Earth, and thanks to the refresh button on the widget, I can just hit refresh and pull up new photos while I'm bored or longing for my old stomping ground. This widget will not leave my home screen in the foreseeable future... or at least until after my next vacation.
6. Andrew Martonik — Authy
I know this app has been highlighted before, but I'm finally able to pick it personally as I've broken down and moved to Authy from Google Authenticator. As the number of accounts I have with two-step authentication increases, it gets to be more and more difficult to switch between phones (which as you'd imagine, I do often). With Authy, you register your two-factor accounts into the app and they'll actually sync across devices — Android, iOS, Chrome — so you'll have your codes everywhere. No more scanning QR codes, no more SMS verification; you just have your two-step authentication on whatever device you're using.
The app isn't the prettiest out there (let's be honest, neither is Google Authenticator), but the functionality is what matters here. Being able to seamlessly switch devices without worrying about being locked out of an account is wonderful.