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. Justin Duino — Omni Swipe
I normally don't like making too many customizations to the near stock Android experience that I put on my phones, but sometimes there are apps that shake things up. Using Omni Swipe, you are able to swipe up from multiple locations at the bottom of your phone's screen and access favorite and most used apps, tools that let you toggle your flashlight and WiFi, favorite contacts, and even navigate through your notifications.
You can't tell that Omni Swipe is even running but with one quick swipe up, you'll have access to almost anything you might need. The app's themeable interface overlays nicely over any application you might be in and allows you to customize what you might want to access from within the different quick panels. With phone manufacturers making screens larger every day, it is nice to be able to access most of your important features and applications from a location that is not hard to reach when using a phone with only one hand.
2. Ara Wagoner — Ultimate Rotation Control
There are two things I miss from my first Android smartphone, a Samsung Captivate Glide I lovingly called Soarin. The first is a physical QWERTY keyboard and the second was full rotation. The Moto X doesn't have that out of the box, and so if I wanted to charge my phone while it sat in the cupholder of my car, or propped up against the monitor in the edit bay, I had to endure the phone being upside down and unreadable.
Ultimate Rotation Control's Forced Auto rotation mode allows me to use my phone when I'm holding it upside down, and while that might seem like a small thing to most of you, it's been blissful for me. It also gives me the ability to flip my phone and help stave off burn-in by putting the nav bar on the other end of the screen. The only screens that don't work with Ultimate Rotation Control have been the Active Display screen and sometimes the lock screen itself.
3. Russell Holly — Raise
I have a lot of family from all over, and frequently find myself with gift cards for myself or my kids to places we don't usually shop. Usually I find someone to swap for cash, but Raise offered me a new way to do things.
The app exists as a marketplace for buying and selling gift cards for dozens of stores, usually at some form of discount, and it's a smooth experience. With so many places allowing barcodes as giftcards now, it's possible to purchase a card while in line at a store and use it as a discount on whatever purchase you're about to make.
4. Jerry Hildenbrand — Hungry Shark Evolution
I now spend all of my free time in front of my NVIDIA Shield TV playing this. Rocket-powered sharks with lazer beams are something I can not ignore.
It's free to play. Install it and eat things. ALL THE THINGS.
5. Andrew Martonik — WifiMapper
Many people are already familiar with OpenSignal from its apps that offer up crowd-sourced mobile data coverage maps, and now the company has a new app to do the same thing for Wifi networks. WifiMapper does just what it says — it maps all of the Wifi networks, based on crowd-sourced collection, in major cities around the world.
You can look at a map and see every nearby Wifi network that has been logged, the name of the network and information on whether it requires a password. If you come across one that's already mapped you can give a thumbs up/down to note if it's still open, and leave more detailed information if needed. By default the app collects and gives general Wifi network information back to the service (which is how the database is built in the first place), but you can also turn that off if you're not interested.
While you may not find yourself always hunting for Wifi around home, if you're in a new city with bad cellular coverage, or abroad with no international data plan, having a good up-to-date map of confirmed Wifi networks is a great tool to have.
6. Phil Nickinson — Cardboard Crossy
OMG CROSSY ROAD FOR GOOGLE CARDBOARD.
If you happen to have a 5-year-old daughter who's obsessed with Crossy Road and loves Google Cardboard, do not show her this immersive, first-person version of Crossy Road.
You've been warned.