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 — Exploding Kittens
If you backed the Kickstarter, you already know what this is and already love it. Exploding Kittens started as a card game that can be played with 2-5 people, with decks that are both child-safe and not-so-child-safe. It's a hilarious short game that is great at parties, but when you go home you can't play anymore.
The app lets you continue playing with friends — or strangers, we're not judging — and lets you avoid all of the human interaction you had to deal with before.
2. Daniel Bader - TimmyMe for Tim Hortons
TimmyMe isn't a great app, but that doesn't matter: it's one of the first apps I use when returning to Canada, walking straight towards the closest Tim Hortons.
The app, half-heartedly developed by Canada's favourite coffee chain, allows you to digitally store physical gift cards and, after a protracted rollout, pay for your coffee, tea, bagels, donuts and TimBits, using your Android phone. Like many other retailers' apps, TimmyMe also displays the closest store based on your location, as well as any promotions currently being offered in that area. And when you get voluntold to grab your coworkers a coffee with your donut, there's a section, dubbed TimmyRun, to easily jot down the whole order.
TimmyMe, like Tim Hortons coffee itself, could stand to be improved, but there is something addictive and functional about it that keeps you coming back for more.
Oh, and I take my coffee with one cream, no sugar.
3. Andrew Martonik — Instagram Layout
I know it's been out for about a year on Android now, but Instagram's Layout app for making quick collages is still great. Rather than snag some random third-party app from Google Play or wait for Google Photos to create collages for me, I just keep Layout installed and every time I open up Instagram I have a new option to create collages. Just select a few photos, pick a collage style that works for you, tweak the sizes and proportions if you want, and you're posting something more interesting than a single photo.
I wish Instagram would just build this functionality into its main app, since I never use Layout independently, but for now I have no problem keeping it installed to have the feature available every time I go to post on Instagram.
4. Ara Wagoner — Kolorette
When tinkering around with themes, I'm often trying to color match text or icons to a wallpaper or another image. Kolorette is an app with a very simple goal: extract colors from your images that can easily be brought into other apps like Zooper and Kustom's KWGT and KLWP. Being able to draw colors out of a wallpaper, an image, or even your currently playing album art opens up new realms of possibility for meshing your theme elements and for bringing more color and vibrancy to your phone.
5. Jen Karner — SailorMoon Drops
We all know that I'm a sucker for these goofy little games that I play on my phone. While I'm usually on the hunt for something new, or intriguing, I've gone and fallen down the rabbit hole of match-3 games yet again. Except that this time the game is Sailor Moon, and by playing through the game I am playing through the first season of the show. Considering how much I still love Sailor Moon, this was too exciting to pass by.
SailorMoon Drops is essentially a matching game like Bejeweled or Candy Crush. The difference comes in that this is most definitely a Sailor Moon game. You'll collect the 5 inner sailor scouts, and use their special abilities to help you clear the boards. Collectibles can be found in specific levels which will give you bits of wallpapers, keys to unlock the next area, and tokens to help you level up your characters. There are in-app purchases, but I haven't found them to be necessary, and they've started running events with special levels and prizes. Overall it's fun, and addictive, exactly the way a puzzle game in your pocket should be.
6. Jerry Hildenbrand — F-Droid
F-Droid is an app store. Since it's a third-party app store, it means you'll have to disable the factory security setting that allows apps from outside of Google Play to be installed. If you're not comfortable with this, that's cool — we won't judge.
F-Droid is a place where you can download FOSS (Free Open Source Software) applications that use various fully open licenses. Besides finding plenty of apps that aren't available in Google Play for one reason or another — Google sets the rules in their store, as they should — you'll also find the full source code posted for anything and everything available. This is a great way to learn how things are done, as well as a great way to build on top of existing work to make it better. Just remember the source license requirements if you share anything you've made that way.
You don't need any type of account to use F-Droid, and they are a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing FOSS. While they build the apps in their repository from source, they aren't responsible for the content so you'll want to pay attention to what you're downloading.
All in all, it's a cool way to use the open-source Android with open-source software. And it makes it easy.