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 — Caaaaardboard!
Showing off Google Cardboard to friends is cool when you've got the interactive videos in the demos, but games are a lot more fun. Caaaaardboard! is what happens when the folks who make Aaaaa! get their hands on some VR. The gameplay is similar, though with Cardboard you are now twisting and turning your head as you dive through the score marks.
The high score marker makes it great for getting people moving at a party, since everyone knows the combination of alcohol and feeling like you're falling from a rooftop go so well together.
2. Jen Karner — Libib keeps track of your library
Libib is a library management app, that makes life easier for anyone trying to keep track of their physical library. I'm not sure how long it's been available as an android app, but I absolutely love it.
You can manually add books, look them up by author or keyword, or-my new favorite thing-scan their ISBN number to have all the information filled in for you. For anyone who has been trying to keep track of their books, movies, or video games on an excel spreadsheet this is fantastic. You can also keep separate libraries for different types of books or other media, sort your library by title or author, and tag entries easily.
3. Jared DiPane — Fleksy
One of my least favorite things about my LG G4 is the default LG keyboard, but luckily using a different keyboard is not a problem. After trying out a bunch of options, like Swiftkey, Swype and others, I decided to give Fleksy a shot, and I have been enjoying it since.
There are many great customization options, various themes, and even a GIF keyboard. Fleksy recently made the keyboard free, with paid themes available in the store, letting me change it up if I feel the need. If you aren't satisfied with your current keyboard, or just are interested in giving something else a shot, grab Fleksy and let me know your thoughts.
4. Phil Nickinson — Project Fi
"Wait a minute! Project Fi isn't an app everyone can use!" And you're absolutely right. It's not. But the Project Fi app is something everyone should get to experience, especially if you've been subjected to the mess that is any accounts app from any U.S. carrier. And so it deserves a little love from us. The Project Fi app is smartly designed, easy to use, and basically makes me not hate my carrier. (Or carriers, in this case.) Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint are all on notice here. Your app should be this pleasant to use. Period.
Plus, if you're a Fi subscriber, it now works on more phones than just your Nexus 6, which is handy.
5. Andrew Martonik — Giphy for Messenger
Though I've worked hard to centralize most of my chatting to Hangouts, there's no getting away from the fact that I need to have Facebook Messenger installed to keep up with the conversations there.
There's actually a lot to like about Messenger as a whole, but now I've discovered the Giphy app that integrates with Messenger, letting me quickly search for and send animated GIFs in my chats. Everything from popular to obscure is here, and it's awesome. Don't just send smilies and stickers anymore in Messenger — send some quality GIFs.
6. Justin Duino — Stocks
There are hundreds of ways to check on stock prices — including the functionality built right into Google Now — but when an app is designed amazingly, you tend to use it. I use Stocks as my go-to stock price tracking application because it looks better than any of the other stock trackers thatI have used from the Google Play Store.
Stocks has a clean user interface that makes the user experience great. Besides its dark theme, there is not much to it. You can add your favorite stocks, view the streaming quote prices when markets are open, view a stock's history for the past year, and read news about the selected stock. Stocks is free in the Play Store and if the app wasn't enough of a reason to download it, there is a pretty great widget to go along with it.
7. Alex Dobie — ChineseSkill
Learning any new language isn't easy, even if you're just arming yourself with the basics for a short trip overseas. And after muddling by with only a handful of phrases during a trip to China and Taiwan earlier this year, I decided it was time to improve my understanding of the language. ChineseSkill is a simple game-based app that aims to teach the basics of Chinese Mandarin grammar and vocabulary, along with tools for mastering pinyin and tones. There's also a downloadable "survival kit" with useful words and phrases around different topics — for example food, health, entertainment and... err... flirting. The basic app is free, and there's the ability to use traditional or simplified Chinese character sets, and sync your progress across devices. While much of the focus is on spoken, not written Chinese, there are optional periodic character tests too.
Whether you're traveling to China or just looking to brush up on your skills, ChineseSkill is a really great free option.
8. Jerry Hildenbrand — Kitchen Stories
I like to cook, but I sorta mostly suck at it unless there is a grill of some sort involved. I freely admit this, and because I know I suck at the cooking, I'm always on the lookout for apps that might make me suck a little less. I'm really liking Kitchen Stories.
It has a great UI, runs nicely, and has features that help discover new recipes, save your favorites and even help build a shopping list. It's all done up really well. But the reason it's now my go-to is because of the photo instructions and videos.
I need all the help I can get, and watching someone doing it the right way on my phone or tablet while I'm standing at the kitchen counter helps a lot. If you like to cook — especially if you want to get better at it — Kitchen Stories is one you need to try.