Apps of the Week

Another great set of apps to wrap up this month's Apps of the Week posts

It's Saturday afternoon, and that means it's time for another Apps of the Week post where we show off a few of our (currently) favorite apps. A handful of the Android Central writers have chimed in this week with an app that keeps them productive, entertained or just solves a problem that's bothering them on a particular device.

This week we have a couple ways to read the news, a great game choice and a few tools. Stick around after the break and see how we did.

Sean Brunett - Financial Times

Financial Times

If you’re looking for a good news app, I recommend the Financial Times. The London paper has done a good job designing it for the mobile experience. Unfortunately, there is a paywall on the Financial Times, but even if you don’t pay, you’ll be able to access some of the content. You can register for the paper and be able to read 8 articles per month without having to pay. The more that we consume on our tablets and phones, it’s that much more important that app experiences are good and satisfying. The Financial Times has done a good job and for those of you who are paying subscribers, you’ll be able to access a slew of great content. If you’re not, you can still read 8 articles a month. 

Download: Financial Times (Free)

Richard Devine - NewsBlur


I'm perhaps recommending Newsblur this week more for the service, and less for the app. Not to say the app isn't a good app, but, anyway. Newsblur is an alternative RSS service that I have just migrated all my feeds to, and I've paid $24 for the yearly subscription. Madness? Perhaps. But I have, and I'm happy, and I figure if I've paid for something, it shouldn't go away, right? And it's fast, the real-time updates seem to be real-time for sure.

The Android app is very similar looking to the iOS app, and both are very similar looking to the Newsblur web app. That's a good thing, it's familiar across platforms, whichever you're using at any one time. The power tools such as the "intelligence training" need to be set up through the web app, but what you have on your Android device is a full featured RSS reader that ties into your Newsblur account. You can try it out for free, but all the power features require a premium account. I might be mad, I haven't yet decided, but Newsblur feels just like Google Reader, but a little more grown up.

Download: NewsBlur (Free)

Jerry Hildenbrand - Blank Lockscreen

Blank Lockscreen

I may be part of the minority, but I hate lock screen widgets. I don't want one of my goofy friends seeing my email or messages, and I only need one clock on the screen at a time. Unfortunately, the persistant (and horrible) default clock will come right back if you try to delete all the widgets on your lockscreen. It's like a bad penny. So I was happier than I should have been when I found a solution. Blank Lockscreen Widget is just what it claims to be -- a big full screen widget with nothing on it. Simply set it on one of the endless silly lock screen panes, then delete everything else and enjoy the minimalism. 

Download: Blank Lockscreen (Free)

Simon Sage - McPixel


My pick this week was from the latest Humble Android Bundle. This game is the unlikely marriage of horrible pixel art and bomb defusal. Players are presented with a series of scenes where they must guide the crotch-kicking hero, McPixel, to isolate an explosive in a limited number of taps and amount of time. No worries if you mess up - you'll just move onto the next scene and come back to the failed one... Over and over again until you figure it out, damn it. Logic is rarely involved with the solutions to the puzzles, though the way in which many of them unfold is ultimately pretty hilarious. If you feel like spitting in the face of common sense this weekend, McPixel will be happy to oblige.

Download: McPixel ($2.99)

Casey Rendon - Full!screen


When playing games or watching videos, the more screen real estate that is used, the better. Nothing bugs me more than having black bars shrink the images on my device. A lot of apps are good at hiding the status and/or navigation bars, but others -- not so much. For those that are rooted, this app allows the manual toggling between visible status/navigation bars and full screen mode. On-screen controls like back, home, and recents can be assigned to the corners of the screen and have completely adjustable opacity and size. The app is free, but does require root. Many custom ROMs incorporate this functionality, but for users on a stock or stock-ish ROM, this is a great alternative.

Download: Full!screen (Free)

Andrew Martonik - Evernote Food

Evernote Food

I'm not a regular user of Evernote, as I generally manage things on my own with Dropbox and Google Drive, but something about Evernote Food has me intrigued. As you would expect, the basic function of the app is to keep track of everything you eat (or want to eat) so that you have it categorized and searchable for the next time you want to try it. From main courses and desserts to cocktails, you can also browse through popular recipes for inspiration, adding them directly to your Evernote account if you want to try them on your own later.

Best of all the interface on the app is clean and beautiful (even on larger tablets), making it easy to browse or follow recipes on the device while you're in the kitchen. Even if you're not the biggest fan of using Evernote for daily information keeping, you may want to give Evernote Food a look.

Download: Evernote Food (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.


Reader comments

Apps of the Week: Financial Times, NewsBlur, Blank Lockscreen and more!


For everyone information, Jerry didn't want the clock to show on his lockscreen with no widgets. The point of the lock screen app is to take away the clock. For the people that are concerned about privacy, the lock screen and the pin or pattern unlock screen are two different things. You can have a lock screen with no pin or pattern protection, or vice versa.

P.S. Disabling the lock screen names it harder for your device to go into Sleep Mode. Yes your device status awake most of the time.

From the DARK AC App!

Great Blank Lockscreen, awesome.

Is there a way to hide my notification tray and still have pull down function? I used uccw and the black bar is still there and 4g, but doesn't hide the nav bar at the top. I use stock android on a GNex, cant find an app, any recommendations without having to download a rom.

Great Blank Lockscreen, awesome.

Is there a way to hide my notification tray and still have pull down function? I used uccw and the black bar is still there and 4g, but doesn't hide the notification bar at the top. I use stock android on a GNex, cant find an app, any recommendations without having to download a rom. Just want a full screen and hidden Notification on my home screens

Jerry, if you don't want your friends to read your email shouldn't you put a lock on your phone?
The swipe to unlock isn't going to protect you much

This is my take on it too. The privacy of a "real" lock (pin, password, pattern) is what you need to keep people out of your stuff, if that is desired. But, wow what a hassle that becomes. I can't justify putting the burden of that hassle on myself. But, some people's porn collection might need better protection than mine though. Different strokes and all that...

The basic "swipe to unlock" lockscreen does nothing for privacy, and no matter how many times I have tried to find a way to make it customized to my usage habits, 75% of the time (estimated) that stupid lock screen is just some completely pointless barrier between me and what I want to do with my phone.

The only convenient option is to have no lock screen. If someone is snooping, just do it the old school way. Punch them in the mouth, hard. It'll be a good learning lesson for the snoop about respecting others property and privacy.

My lock screen changes to a pin lock the minute I leave the range of my home Wifi network. I was talking about the available lock screen widgets, like Messaging and Gmail.

Woo, that's fancy! Thou what if you have friends over?

I heard your point, I was just saying,, I was thinking you would have a backup lock, or that the photo was contradicting your paragraph. But the "home wifi range" thing.. That's fancy.
I simply have it to lock after 5 min anywhere my phone is.

Jerry, that is an interesting background. Perhaps it's famously known around here, but can I have a link?

Android fragmentation strikes again. It's only available on OS 4.2.

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Just because they introduced a new feature (lock screen widgets) in 4.2 doesn't mean that Android is fragmented. Nobody expects them to back-port new OS features to older versions...

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No matter how you look at it, its still fragmentation. If an app doesn't work across the OS what else is it.
I am very happy with the OS, just giving am opinion.

Posted via Android Central App

So... is there any OS that ISN'T fragmented, then? Or any game system? Or... well... anything? Sounds like by your definition, just about everything is fragmented.

But the app is restricted to 4.2 because the only thing it does is interface with a feature added to Android 4.2... If they made the app compatible with earlier versions you could install it but it wouldn't do anything. How would that be any better?

Still not seeing how this is fragmentation. Its an app that specifically works with one feature in that version of the OS.

Posted via Android Central App

I was giving my opinion, which isn't completely inaccurate. I remember using Google Keep. Great app, but to have the full function of the app. You needed to have OS 4.2.
It doesn't mean I think everything else is fragmented. And maybe in this case I am partially wrong.
But it's a known fact the OS is fragmented. It doesnt mean I am unhappy when I make a point.

But Jerry does the annoying outline of the other widgets disappear with this app? I don't mind lock screen widgets I just hate that brief glow effect of the surrounding widgets every time the phone is unlocked.

Also, how did you get your phone to pin lock when you leave your home WiFi? I'm assuming this is a tasked related feature huh?

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