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 — Steam
I usually spread my gaming across just about everything, but with Fallout 4 and a recent urge to play through Bioshock: Infinite sucking up most of that time I've been on the PC. It also means I've been spending a whole lot of time logged in to Steam, which lead me to grab the app so I can keep an eye on what my friends are doing and decide if I need to wander back to the PC for something.
I don't think I'll ever use it for shopping or anything, but having Steam in my pocket is a nice way to keep up with friends that don't play elsewhere.
2. Alex Dobie — BBC Weather
I've gone back and forth on weather apps, particularly as most phones now have them preloaded. But BBC Weather is still my main choice. As well as a breakdown of the upcoming week's weather, either by day or by hour (for the next 48 hours), the BBC's weather app lets you pin cities of your choice to a slide-out menu for easy access. There's also a bunch of extra info provided for the meteorologically inclined, including pressure, wind speeds, visibility, humidity and pollen counts during the summer.
What's more, vital stuff like weather warnings and UK flood alerts are included too. If you're in the UK, this free app is definitely worth adding to your lineup.
3. Phil Nickinson — PBS Kids Video
We absolutely should not be using our gadgets to babysit our kids. But we do it anyway. So when my 5-year-old gets a little impatient, PBS Kids is a great emergency download that puts a lot of great (and arguably educational) content in front of her. Peg + Cat, Arthur (which I remember reading as a kid), Daniel Tiger, Odd Squad (her favorite!) — and so much more.
So if I'm gonna fry my kid's brain with too much on-screen stimulation, and least I don't have to feel quite so awful about it.
4. Jen Karner — Amazon Kindle
I've always been a voracious reader, and my most prized possession is my library. My problem turned into having too many books, and not enough room for all of them — or room for new additions. Rather than having a room with books overflowing off of shelves and piled to the ceiling, I've started picking up about half of my books via Amazon Kindle.
The ability to pick up the next book in a series at a tap, find new authors, and carry around a full library on my phone just can't be overstated. There are also dozens of books, series, and authors, that I never would have discovered without the Kindle. While Ebooks aren't necessarily about to replace print books entirely, they are a great way to supplement your library, or carry certain books with you always.
5. Ara Wagoner — Nova Launcher
This week we updated our Best Launchers, so I spent much of it floating between various launchers seeing how they've held up in the year since we last visited them. And while it's always fun to try new things, it's also nice at the end of the week to come back to something familiar. Nova was my first third-party launcher, and while it certainly wasn't my last, it still feels like coming home.
Also, my HTC One A9 started giving me attitude this week, so I decided it was time to give it some spring cleaning and was reminded of one of my favorite Nova features: cloud backup and restore. Yeah, many launchers allow you to back them up, but they'll back it up locally, and/or they'll often given it an ambiguous name that's either hard to find or hard to distinguish between your other backups (assuming the launcher lets you keep multiple backups at all). You tap backup in Nova, not only can you name it whatever you want, but you can back it up directly to Google Drive, Dropbox, or anywhere else your little heart desires. So after re-installing all my apps, I could restore my Nova backup from Google Drive and get everything back in its place rather than spending time getting everything back where it was.
It's not a feature many of us think of when we're picking launchers, but it's more of us should keep in mind.
6. Jerry Hildenbrand — Atomas
This isn't a game for everybody, but it might be great for you.
It's a lot like any of the popular alchemy games — you mix different elements to create new elements, and you can win by creating them all. Only this time you're dealing with actual chemical elements. And it's hard — really hard.
You're doing all of your mixing inside a circle. You start with two hydrogen atoms, and through chaining and fusion you keep going and going until the circle is full and you can't do anything else. Then you curse under your breath and start back at the beginning. There's also Google Play Games support so you can share your success (or your shame) with your friends.