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. Phil Nickinson — Local news
The news business definitely isn't what it used to be, but I'm still a big fan of it. And local news remains important. But let's face it, local news sites can leave a lot to be desired. Same goes for its apps. But a good many of us out there are in a market covered by Gannett — one of the largest news companies around, and also the owner (more or less — I'll spare you the details) of USA Today, which has a fine app. And so you might well find yourself loathing your local newspaper and its website while still being under the umbrella of a decent little news app. Plus a good bit of it is outside the paywall, which is nice.
2. Jen Karner — Spotify Music
Having instant access to the music you want to listen to, when you want to listen to it. Now I like music, a lot, and I've got well over 60GB carefully catalogued on my computer. I've never been able to get everything I want, and have access to new music as well. I've spent time with Pandora, and Google Music both, but by far my favorite player is Spotify. They have a ridiculously huge catalog of music including new, old, and small releases. I can listen to a full album, or make my own ridiculously convoluted playlists, and their radio function works quite well.
Spotify tries to make music more social as well. You can follow artists, and get notifications when new releases come to Spotify. You also have the ability to link up with Facebook and let your friends see what music you are listening to this week, and vice versa. Sharing playlists is easy, which means when you find an fantastic new artist it's easy to get your friends hooked as well.
3. Russell Holly — ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I don't like emoji, and I guess that means I'm old. I was raised on emoticons, and I prefer them when chatting. I wanted a faster way to type some of the more elaborate text-based emotion delivery symbols, and the Play Store did not let me down.
¯_(ツ)_/¯ does exactly what you think it's supposed to do. You get a keyboard with a single giant button, and switching to it is faster than copy/paste from elsewhere.
Don't judge me.
4. Alex Dobie — Month
I've delved back into the world of calendar widgets this week, having found myself once again using a phone that inexplicably doesn't have one preloaded. Anyway, the Month calendar widget by Candl Apps is one of the best I've found. The premise is simple: Month starts off by showing - you guessed it - a month view in widget form. From there you can tap individual days to get an attractive Material style pop-up of events and appointments. The widget is infinitely skinnable, so you're bound to find something to match your tastes.
The basic app is free, but an in-app purchase let's you get rid of all ads and unlock all the themes.
5. Andrew Martonik — LoungeBuddy
No matter how much you travel, spending time at an airport can be a rough experience. One of the few places left in an airport where you can find a quiet place to relax and enjoy your wait before or in between flights is in an airport lounge. Problem is, it's not always easy to figure out just which lounges you can go in, how much they'll cost or what you'll actually get inside.
LoungeBuddy is here to help you out with this conundrum.
This database of information on airport lounges lets you see all available lounges in 800 airports, see what amenities they offer, read customer reviews and find out how much it'll cost you to get in. Going a step further, you can give LoungeBuddy more information — like your airline status, travel credit cards and class of service — to see what lounges you may already have access to. If you find one you like, LoungeBuddy may even be able to let you pay for access right in the app so you can walk right in. And you don't have to spend a lot to use an airport lounge — as little as $30 can get you in, and it can be a lifesaver for a long layover.
6. Jerry Hildenbrand — Signal Spy
Signal Spy is a must-have for Project Fi users. It's simple, but what it does can really impact how good your Project Fi service is — it let's you choose which LTE network you are using.
Project Fi is supposed to be automatic and always pick the best LTE network (between Sprint and T-Mobile) wherever you are using it. And it usually does a really good job picking the network with the strongest signal. But nothing is perfect, and sometimes Fi just gets it wrong. Signal Spy is a Fi network (it only works for Project Fi users) monitor that gives you information about your current connection, saves records about your connection history, and provides a quick shortcut to the dialer menu that allows you to force which LTE network you want to use on Project Fi. In some places, this can make a big difference. Give it a try if you're a Fi sub!