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. Jared DiPane — Photofy Photo Editing Collage
Taking pictures is only half the fun, sometimes editing them can be even more fun. Several times, I have taken a picture that I liked, but not loved, and then edited it and fell in love. Photofy is a great, free photo editor option for Android, that brings with a number of options for users. With more than 30 free filters, and 90 free fonts, there are a ton of possibilities to change the look of your picture. Photofy also offers crop, adjust, blur, sharpen, photo mirror, Instasquare, blur, shape mask and much more.
Whether you want to do a simple edit, or make a collage, you can easily do it inside Photofy. The free version of the app does watermark your images, but if that bothers you, you can pay 99 cents to get rid of that. If you like taking pictures on your phone, and editing them is not something that frustrates you, give Photofy a shot today.
2. Russell Holly — Whispering Willows
I'm a sucker for hand-drawn 2D puzzle games with a clever story, and Whispering Willows is exactly that. You play a young woman who can project her soul to access parts on the house the physical body can't access, and together the two sides of this character solve the mystery of the mansion.
The levels are well thought out, the gameplay is simple and fun, and it plays well on just about everything. It's also on sale until September 9th, to celebrate its arrival on the Play Store.
3. Phil Nickinson — Weather Underground
I'm generally not a huge fan of weather apps — it's just to easy to use a browser or Google Now to see what's up wherever it is I am or where I'm going. Same goes for hurricane information — I generally just go straight to the National Hurricane Center for that. But one exception is Weather Underground. In addition to all the usual forecast information, Underground also adds in storm computer models (which I think are getting too much play from local weather people, but they're still good to keep an eye one), and you get quick access to some of the best storm blogging out there. (If you're like me and have to worry about hurricanes, you also need to read Dr. Jeff Masters' blog.) And it's all right there in the app.
4. Andrew Martonik — Starbucks
I spend a lot of time at Starbucks, and I hardly hide that fact. And when I do, I pay exclusively by scanning the mobile app (often multiple times a week) — so whenever the app updates it's a big deal for me. This week the Starbucks app snagged a Material Design refresh, and while it isn't perfect it sure looks and acts a whole lot better than the previous design, which was admittedly nice-looking but not very "Android" styled. There's a fancy new slide-in drawer, floating action buttons and flat colors, which all look great. The only oddity is the new placement of the "Pay" button on the bottom of the home screen ... I expect that to change.
But beyond just looks, Starbucks added a really big feature — the ability to view the full store menu (in the U.S.) in the app. You can see featured drinks and food, browse by category or just search, and while "regulars" might have their drink in mind, if you're trying to mix things up a bit or need to know food options for a quick bite, having it in the app instead of having to go to the mobile website can save you lots of time.
5. Alex Dobie — Lufthansa
Airline apps on Android can be hit and miss even today, but Lufthansa is one of the better flight apps I've come across. The German airline's app portal lets you check flight status and make bookings, as well as check-in and handle all your various boarding passes. It's also possible to subscribe to notifications about particular flights, and manage your miles if you're a frequent Lufthansa flier. More importantly, it's got a simple, clean interface that'll help avoid any confusion as you're rushing between gates.
The Lufthansa app for Android is available for free on Google Play for devices running Android 2.2 and up.
6. Jerry Hildenbrand — Active Watch Face
The Android Wear update that brought us interactive watch faces turned out to be really cool. Yesterday I found myself looking for a face that had quick access to a stopwatch, and stumbled across Active Watch Face, and it's a keeper.
After you install it and adjust a few settings on your phone (things like weather location info and if you want a leading zero in the time) you can get to all of the features by tapping the screen. You can choose your color from a Material Design inspired palette, scroll through a step counter, weather and battery information at the top of the screen and have easy access to a fine timer/stopwatch without any extra taps or talking to your wrist.
Simplicity that looks good. I'll take that!