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 — Monument Valley
Monument Valley is no stranger to this weekly roundup, and it deserves a revisit this week as we now have new levels to play. (And that address one of the few but chief complaints of this game: It was a little short.) And if you've yet to try Monument Valley, now's a great time. Ida's Dream brings new puzzles to conquer. And they're just as as beautiful and three-dimensionally challenging as you'd expect from an award-winning game such as MV. So set aside a few hours and give Monument Valley and Ida's Dream a go. It's worth every penny.
2. Jerry Hildenbrand — Rovers Floating Launcher
Rovers Floating Launcher isn't a new idea. We've seen similar projects as far back as the Nook Color, and the multiple Pie launchers last year. But Rovers has taken things to the next level in design and ease of use.
It's a sort of a floating action button that sits on your homescreen. You can move it around so it's not in the way, and when you tap it you can do "stuff." Some really cool stuff. You can launch apps, set shortcuts, put your favorite contacts or even application folders in a well-designed and very material pop up launcher. It's also very customizable in the looks department, and easy to set up. The best part? No root or flashing or any "deep" additions to the operating system — Rovers Floating Launcher is an app from Google Play that installs like every app.
Rovers is free, and completely functional. But you can buy extensions that allow for things like more colors and more "rovers" (buttons) in your launcher. These extensions are 99-cents each, or you can buy them all for $2.49. After using Rovers both with and without the extensions, I'm going to say you'll be happy if you buy them.
I'm not the biggest homescreen customization or crazy launcher using type of guy. But this app is very well done, and has quickly become one of my favorites.
3. Andrew Martonik — MyTSA
When you travel, information is your friend. The more you're aware of your flight status, weather conditions, traffic to/from/around the airports and what to expect once you're in an airport, the better. If you travel frequently you likely use something like TripIt, Expedia or just Google Now, but another app to consider installing is MyTSA.
While other apps can give you expected delays for your particular flight, the MyTSA app can give you actual information for security line delays — which can often be worse than a flight delay in itself. If you're sitting in line, you can also help others out by giving a status update of how long you're waiting and at which checkpoint. If you're not a frequent traveler, you can also get information in the app about what you can and can't bring into the airport, as well as general airport information. It's a free app, and while the interface isn't great it's funcitonal and filled with information — give it a try.
4. Russell Holly — Vanguard V for Google Cardboard
I'm a sucker for the old school arcade-style rails shooters, and we've seen a couple of these come to Google Cardboard recently. Vanguard V puts you partially in control of a low-orbit battlesuit, and you use Cardboard to dodge obstacles and line up missile strikes as you fly.
It's a short, free excursion across space, and makes for a perfect demo app if you're trying to show Cardboard to someone who really doesn't care about a mouse and a red hat.
5. Alex Dobie — Field Trip
Created by Google's Niantic Labs, Field Trip is best described as an app for exploring the world around you. The app can help you find cool, unique or hidden points of interest — either on a full-screen map view, or as a notification when you get near something worth checking out. Places expand out into a full-size Materialized card view, letting you flag them and find them later. The latest version includes support for Android Wear, so you can view cards and notifications on your watch as well.
Whether you're exploring an unfamiliar city, or just looking to find local gems in your own part of the world, Field Trip is a worthy addition to your app loadout. It's available for free for phones running Android 2.3 and above.