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. Alex Dobie — Google Fit
We don't normally include Google apps in our weekly roundups, but Google Fit has seen its biggest update to date this past week, with new and important features that deserve a mention. Along with active time and step counts, the new Google Fit lets you track your distance traveled and calories burned — the latter calculated using your weight and height. New weekly and monthly views also let you keep track of your fitness goals over the longer term, and the new stats — calories and distance — can be viewed here as well.
There's also a new (and rather swanky) Android Wear watch face, allowing you to view your activity time — and how close you are to your daily goal — without swiping through stacks of cards. If you've yet to get started with Google Fit, it's a great time to get stuck into this simple but powerful fitness tracking app.
2. Jared DiPane — Hyundai Blue Link
Being able to start your car from your phone is awesome, and the Hyundai Blue Link app allows me to do just that. One of the many features of my new car is Hyundai's Blue Link service, and the Android app lets me do a variety of things without needing to touch the car. With Blue Link you can remotely lock and unlock the vehicle, sound the alarm, and even remote start the vehicle.
Additionally the app shows you the current GPS location of the vehicle, and even shows a vehicle history to alert you of any issues. Hyundai also introduced Android Wear support for the app, so now the car can even be started right from the wrist. Living in New Jersey, with the temperatures constantly changing, it is great to be able to start the car and have it nice and cool or warm when we get in.
3. Russell Holly — Microsoft Hyperlapse
The list of things you can't do with a smartphone camera seems to be shrinking on a weekly basis, and while some of those features are powerful and serious — like proper RAW support and a decent manual mode — there's still plenty of fun to be had with these sensors. Microsoft's Hyperlapse beta is a perfect example, and it's one of those things you can press record on as you climb into the car, capture a 20 minute drive from your dash, and have fun editing it later. As long as you've got the storage to spare for such an endeavor, it's a lot of fun.
4. Justin Duino — Meerkat
Meerkat is one of two social streaming applications that have been getting a lot of attention lately but is the only one available on the Play Store right now. The reason why it is getting so much attention is because of how easy it is for users to quickly live stream their point of view or something happening around them. Within the app you can both create your own stream or watch other people's video feeds.
Make sure to add me on Meerkat (@jaduino) as I will be streaming different parts of my Google I/O 2015 experience later this month.
5. Phil Nickinson — Amazon Prime Now
I am now officially spoiled. I mean, I was spoiled before — and had a good idea of what I was getting into — but Amazon Prime Now has taken my random acts of laziness to an entirely new level. Stuff that I'd normally go to the store for will be brought to me instead, presumably by a team of golden retrievers pulling my take in a brand-new Radio Flyer wagon. (I'm told that's not what actually happens, but it's the way I see it play out in my head.)
My only problem (and, quite possibly, yours): I don't live in a city that has Prime Now. But if you're in a major metro area you're probably good to go; I used it in Miami over the past week. (You can check by ZIP code here.) Just be careful — it's addicting.
6. Andrew Martonik — Sunrise Calendar
The official Google Calendar app meets my needs pretty well because all of my events land on one of two Gmail accounts and I don't have too many advanced feature needs, but I've been using Sunrise Calendar on my desktop and laptop and it's pushed me to try it on the phone as well.
Sunrise is a very nicely designed app that can pull in calendars from a variety of accounts, including Google, iCloud and Exchange, but it can also integrate with dozens of other apps like TripIt, Facebook, Eventbrite, Evernote, Trello and Wunderlist. That means Sunrise could really be your go-to app for everything calendar related, and because it's available on multiple platforms you can get a consistent experience no matter where you go. Best of all it's free, and worth giving a look.
7. Jerry Hildenbrand — Knights of Pen & Paper 2
Take everything you loved (or heard about and would have loved in case you never played) about the first Knights of Pen & Paper, add new classes, new races, a new story and Google Play Games support and you have the best RPG game for mobile. Run around and kill stuff, collect whatever it had in its pocketses, and build your party in preparation for the ultimate battle. And have a lot of fun while doing it.
The game is $4.99, but you'll not need to spend another penny to play it. You can buy gold if you aren't into the farming grind, but really, you don't have to. If you're into Role-Playing games, love pixel art and cheesy audio, and appreciate a bit of humor you'll love this one.