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 — Cardboard Camera
I'm always looking for new things to do in VR, especially things that are easy to share in Google Cardboard. What I really want is an easy way to record in VR, but that's not quite as easy as it probably should be yet.
Google's new Cardboard Camera is an interesting stop gap for recording for VR. It's taking a pair of panorama videos side by side and then stitching the file so it looks nice in Cardboard. It's not quite a Photosphere, and not super easy to share with friends yet, but it's a fun first step for making VR something everyone can participate in creating.
2. Jen Karner — Share the Meal
I'm a big believer in using technology, and the interconnected world we find ourselves in, to help those in need. Share the Meal is an app created by the United Nations Food Programme that lets you donate money, to help children who are going hungry in other parts of the world. At the moment, they're providing school meals to Syrian children in refugee camps in Jordan. Over the summer and Fall their impact was funneled towards Lesotho, and with the donations raised were able to provide 1.8 million meals to school children. Fighting childhood hunger is a good thing, and when you can do it from your smartphone it becomes even better.
You can make a one time donation of $.50 which will feed a child for a single day, or donate up to a year's worth of meals for $182.50. It's such a small thing, but it can make a really huge difference. If you've been looking for a new charity to donate to, then this is definitely worth taking a look. Over 3 Million meals have been shared through the app already, which is an amazing step in the direction of eradicating childhood hunger.
3. Andrew Martonik — Adobe Premiere Clip
Editing video on a small screen is rather cumbersome, and I honestly end up avoiding it whenever possible (I hardly even edit my photos). But sometimes when I'm traveling or out for a full day I have a few video clips I want to snap together for a video and don't want to wait to get home first. Adobe Premier Clip is the latest app I'm checking out to do just that.
Perhaps the biggest thing that Premiere Clip has going for it is its automatic video creation, which can take a group of photos and videos from your phone and automatically stitch them together and set them to music. It takes a few seconds and you'll have a workable video you can share out instantly. If you want to edit something together that's a bit more advanced, you can start from scratch or edit an automatically created video, with a handful of solid editing tools.
In the end, if you're at all a video enthusiast the biggest feature of Premiere Clip is its synchronization via your Creative Cloud subscription to Premiere on your home computer. You can take this simple video you spliced together and shared, and when you get home you can pick up where you left off to put on the final touches for later sharing or your own enjoyment.
4. Alex Dobie — Booking.com
If you find yourself traveling a lot, especially at short notice, it can be useful to have a go-to app for tracking down hotels in the vicinity. My hotel app of choice right now is Booking.com, which offers a simple, well-designed interface and a bunch of really useful features. You can search hotels based on city, landmark or your current location, with results that can be filtered and sorted based on the usual criteria. There's also a map view for getting a better idea of where things are located. Then once you've booked, you can manage your reservation and see confirmation details from right in the app.
And that's all wrapped up in a clean, Material Design-inspired UI. The app is free to download on Google Play, and covers hotels all over the world, so there's no excuse not to try it out.
5. Phil Nickinson — Pure Calendar Agenda
I can't show my home screen anywhere without someone asking about the calendar I'm using. So, here's the calendar I'm using. And I honestly can't remember how long I've been using it. It's been a long time now, and that's sort of evident by the back-end of Pure Calendar, as it's a bit dated. Because this is simply a widget and not a full calendar app it also means there's a good bit of explanation that needs to be tapped through when you first install it. But the gist is simple: Tell it which accounts and which calendars you want to sync and show. Then choose a skin.
That's really oversimplified as there are a ton of options here. I started using it because it was one of the few agenda widgets that didn't get messed up by the spacing on a home screen (which is less of a thing now than it used to be anyway). But it's also one of the lightest skins I've found — particularly since I"m fond of the transparent skin. It does what it does well, and it's done so for quite some time.
6. Jerry Hildenbrand — ProShot
ProShot is one of the best camera apps you'll find for your Android phone. Really.
Settings for just about everything, including manual and semi-manual mode adjustments like ISO, shutter speed and focal distance, RAW file support, and custom shooting modes feel like the controls you would find on a "real" camera. Extras like Light Paint mode, or an on-screen histogram put it over the top. You'll be able to do things with your Android phone's camera that you didn't think were possible.
With all those controls and features, a beginner can get a little lost when it comes down to using them all. The UI is very friendly, but still — there's a lot going on here. The developers of ProShot did everyone a solid with their complete video tutorial that runs the first time you open the app. We need to see more of this.
You can check out the demo mode for free, and the full version of the app is just $2.99 in Google Play. If you want to get creative, or just get better pictures from your phone's camera, give it a try!