Apps of the Week

A look at the best apps we have on our devices this week

Here we are once again introducing you to another edition of our 'Apps of the Week' post, where we break down all of the latest apps that the folks here at Android Central have been using. We ask each of the writers here at the site to chime in on Saturdays with an app that has piqued their interest over the last week, and let us know why it has stayed on their device despite the thousands upon thousands of options out there.

We round up these picks and put them together for all to see and hopefully find some that match their own interests and needs as well. Stick around with us after the break and see how we did this week.

Casey Rendon - Blue Board

Blue Board

OUYA makes great use of its included controller to offer a much better gaming experience for titles like SHADOWGUN and Final Fantasy III. The trade-off for having joysticks, a d-pad, and real buttons is the loss of touchscreen controls. This makes things like entering text exceedingly tedious, having to hunt and peck using the game controller and on-screen keyboard. Thankfully, Alienman Tech has an app that helps solve this problem: Blue Board. Installing both the OUYA and Android app turns almost any Android device into an OUYA keyboard. No longer is there a reason to fear typing long addresses into the OUYA web browser. Blue Board is available on OUYA and the Play Store, free of charge.

Download: Blue Board (Free)

Sean Brunett - MX Player

MX Player

I think MX Player has been featured before, but I want to select it as my pick this week to highlight a specific feature: volume boost. When I travel I always load up my Nexus 7 with TV shows and movies and it frustrates me when a movie's audio isn't the best. I tried some of the volume boosting apps with limited success. Then I was looking around in MX Player's settings and found that it can do it via software or hardware decoding. I tried it and sure enough it worked like a charm. MX Player has already been my default player for playing all video files and this just makes me want to keep using it.  To get it to work for you, open MX Player and go to Settings->Player and enable Volume Boost. Then go to Settings->Decoder and choose which decoder you want to use. I'd love to hear how it works for you all or if anyone has any other tips to boost the volume of your devices.

Download: MX Player (Free)

Jerry Hildenbrand - Tetris

Tetris

Remember Tetris? It was a game that's was released forever-ago, and has been out on Android almost as long. The folks at EA have pulled the old -- playable, but dated -- version from Google Play and replaced it with an all new, flashy version. The graphics are updated everywhere, there's all manner of social stuff thrown in, but the biggest and best reason to play it is the new One-Touch mode. Makes it perfect for playing one handed, makes it lightning fast, and actually makes it even more fun.

I recommend the app for anyone who wants a fun, casual game that doesn't cost anything, but I almost passed on recommending it. It's free and ad-supported, which in itself is OK (though I'd gladly pay a few bucks for an ad-free build), but the game uses interstitial ads between the various zones in the game, and they seem to take forever to present you with a close option. It can get frustrating. But the new game play modes make it worth checking out anyway -- you'll only be aggravated once or twice during a game session. Grab it for free from Google Play.

Download: Tetris (Free)

Andrew Martonik - Sprinkle Islands

Sprinkle Islands

After playing and loving the original Sprinkle, as well as Granny Smith (from the same developers), I was ecstatic to hear about the new Sprinkle Islands hitting the Play Store. After giving the free version a quick look, I went ahead and bought the $1.99 paid version for the full set of levels and don’t regret it one bit. The sounds and graphics are top-notch just as was the case with the original game, and is still simple to play for any age or skill level.

If you’re looking for a great casual game to pick up and play this weekend, look no further than Sprinkle Islands. It’s well worth the small investment.

Download: Sprinkle Islands ($1.99); Free version (Free)

Chris Parsons - Despicable Me Weather

Despicable Me Weather

I love those little Minions, what can I say? When I saw the minion weather widget I had to go ahead and give it a go. We all know it's pretty much just an ad running on your device but it has sounds and the minions react to the different weather changes or when you tap on the icon. The settings also allow for specifically adjusting your location as well now, which they didn't before so there's that. Plus, it's actually a pretty accurate weather widget. Some short term fun.

Download: Despicable Me Weather (Free)


Happen to miss previous editions of our weekly app picks? You can check them out right here. Our continuing weekly app coverage can also be seen right here as well.

 
There are 20 comments

Mrshades says:

MX player is awesome. You can set it up to be your default streaming video player and I love the swipe screen to fast forward and rewind feature. Plays every format out there too.

skbgiants says:

+1

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orlanka says:

The best player out there hands down whether it be on a phone or tablet.

MERCDROID says:

This.

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mwara244 says:

I use MX player by J2 interactive and VPlayer Video Player, both will automatically play almost every codec that you may need for all videos on the web, they both cover codecs that the other may not have.

Hamp says:

Had this player since first getting my Samsung Galaxy S3. I shopped around for features I wanted/needed and decided on MX Player. I can transfer most video files without converting or transcoding. It even supports subtitle files! WOW! The best player I have found!

JaylanPHNX says:

I have to admit, that minion weather widget is a clever bit of advertising. It's not something I would use, but I can see fans getting enjoyment out of its whimsy, and getting legitimate value out of its function.

tgrant1975 says:

I definitely agree mx player is the best video player out there. I also love the swipe feature. I also love the fact that it playes every video format you can throw at it.

TankMech says:

Dice player imo beats mx.. Has an awesome volume boost in it as well. Mx has given me more than a few issues with some file formats and requires all the codec packs for certain devices. Mx was nice but haven't used it in a good while so can't say if a newer version is better than it was back then. But for volume boost on my n7 diceplayer is louder than the speaker can handle, and have never had a video not work on it. It's like a vlc for android and easy to use.

CrimsonSage says:

+1 On my galaxy tab 10.1 I use dice player because I have to overclock to watch 720p mkv videos and then dice player plays it smoothly but even if I overclock MX Player lags a bit, it may be a small difference but it makes a difference

ScottJ says:

The obligatory contrarian post. Predictable.

dmowry says:

Could someone explain to me the difference between H/W and S/W decoding options? Which settings are optimal for these??

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CrimsonSage says:

H/W encoding uses hardware acceleration to process the video, which is faster but your device may not be able to play some codecs with hardware decoding, but hardware decoding renders the video with less resources/battery, etc. So enable H/W decoding whenever possible but if it gives problems with a certain video swap to S/W.

You guys should consider BSPlayer too (funny name, I know). I've been using it for a while now. It's got good codec support and it even lets you amplify the volume by up to 500%. Whether your speakers can take it or not is another matter. Another nifty feature is it allows you to watch videos in a resizeable floating pop-up window. Neat!

Omar Ortega says:

Tetris is not available in Mexico

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tvouge says:

The new Tetris is awesome. BTW, you can pay 1$ in the in app store to go ad free.

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autox3c says:

Can someone share the wallpaper from the last picture? It's awesome!

cgardnervt says:

I gave MX Player a try! Good find AC.

imdebbas says:

Archos Video Player with the Free codecs pack app, is my favorite by far. Its volume boost has always been great. Interface and ease of use also fantastic. And it plays everything I have thrown at it with no problems at all.

B3t0 says:

Te triste says its not available in my country (México) ............

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