The best apps we have installed and are excited about this week
The weekend is a leisurely time where we all pull out our phones or tablets and find a new app or two to keep us entertained or productive. For that reason, we run an Apps of the Week column every Saturday afternoon to let everyone know what the writers here at Android Central are installing on our own devices. We highlight our favorite games, tools, news readers and more every week, hoping that they'll be useful to you as well.
Read along with us and see our picks this week — you may find an app or two that will find a place on your phone or tablet as well.
Simon Sage - Aerena: Clash of Champions
Aerena is a free to play steampunk strategy game that launched on Android this week, and it's a ton of fun. Three-on-three turn-based battles take place in a variety of fantastic locations, with a little helpful firepower from either team's airship. Special abilities are powered by a resource called aether, which is generated by dealing damage to enemies and claiming certain tiles on the battle grid. Before long, you'll be knee-deep in cross-platform online multiplayer matches. Over time, you get new ships, new heroes, and new equipment. The graphics are fantastic, especially the mid-combat cinematic cutscenes. Strategy fans looking for a new flavour and able to stomach a bit of freemium should check this out.
Download: Aerena: Clash of Champions (Free)
Phil Nickinson - Google Authenticator
No more excuses. If you're not using two-factor authentication any and every time you can, you're setting yourself up for trouble. Google's Authenticator app makes using two-step as easy as it can be. And not just on Google's own products. For a good list of who's using two-factor authentication, check out http://twofactorauth.org/.
Download: Google Authenticator (Free)
Richard Devine - Aviary
We're blessed with a wealth of good photo editing apps on Android, one of which is Aviary. The basic app is free and packed with filters and editing tools, but it's also got a wide range of add on packages with yet more effects (most of which are priced.)
For example, I bought the Noir pack because I like making pictures black and white. The basic filters weren't quite enough, so I hit the store. I don't mind paying for stuff I'll use.
It's in tough company with Snapseed out there, but it's well worth checking out if you edit a lot on your Android device.
Download: Aviary (Free, in-app purchases)
Andrew Martonik - MLS Matchday (2014)
The MLS (that's Major League Soccer) season is well under way now, and if you're at all interested in soccer in the U.S. you absolutely must have this app. They come up with a solid update just a couple weeks before the season starts, and this year they've gone and made the app even better. Notification settings have drastically improved, as have the news alerts and overall feel of navigation in the app.
This is one that stays on my phone's main homescreen from March through October, and I'm glad we have a great first-party option for following the league.
Download: MLS Matchday (2014) (Free)
Jerry Hildenbrand - Night Sky Tools - Astronomy
Night Sky Tools is the perfect app for astronimy nerds, as well as those of us who wish we were astronomy nerds.
Chock full of maps and charts, the app is offline capable (minus some satellite images) so you can get away from light pollution and see the stars, and there's even a built-in observation log to record what you see when you see it. Add in a night mode so your eyes don't burn out from white text, and you have a very nicely done astronomy app.
If you're a skygazer, or want to be a skygazer, Night Sky Tools is a great place to start.
Download: Night Sky Tools - Astronomy (Free)