Apps of the Week

A great selection of apps from the Android Central crew.

Welcome back to our second edition of the Apps of the Week column for the month of August, where we give the Android Central writers a chance to show off apps that they're using. This post is a place for the writers to sound off about an app or service they've been using in the last week and just have to tell everyone about.

Hang along with us after the break where we have a Facebook alternative, a couple of games and a few tools to round out the group. 

Casey Rendon - Klyph

Klyph

I'm not a big Facebook user. I only go on to keep up with group announcements, or when someone bugs me enough to look at their photo or video du jour. When I do use Facebook on Android, I want to get in and get out. That's something that's always bugged me about the official app — it's just too slow. A new app on the play Store — Klyph — gives Facebook users a fast, smooth, and attractive alternative to Zuckerburg's in-house creation. The combination of speed and Google+ UI just feels satisfying. It is still early in development, and there are a few limitations due 3rd party app restrictions, but it offers enough for my uses to ditch the official app. It's free on the Play Store, with a paid version available if you'd like to support the developer or get rid of ads.

Download: Klyph (Free)

Chris Parsons - Hungry Shark Evolution

Hungry Shark Evolution

Although I was disturbed to learn that no Sharknado app yet existed, I did find some joy in finding and playing Hungry Shark Evolution. As you may have guessed from the name, you get to play as a shark eating everything that you possibly can get your teeth sinked into. The genre is a bit overplayed but the game is fun to play through no less. Plus, they've gone ahead and added some special add-ons for Shark Week which are, a bit amusing. Overall, mindless fun and I'm OK with that.

Download: Hungry Shark Evolution (Free)

Jerry Hildenbrand - ActiveNotifications

ActiveNotifications

If you're wanting something akin to the new Moto X Active Display, and have a device running Android 4.3, you might want to give ActiveNotifications a look. It sits quietly in your application drawer until you get a notification, which it then presents on top of the lock screen, giving you a preview very much like the one seen on the Moto X. The app is configurable  — you can control which notifications come through, how long the screen stays lit, and with the premium purchase you can hide the notification details from prying eyes.

The app is still fairly new, and it's not perfect. I use a couple apps that leave a persistent notification, and this seems to throw a wrench into the works from time to time. The developer seems responsive, though, and the 99-cents was well spent in my opinion. 

Edit: In the time since writing this, ActiveNotifications has been updated to version 1.4 which brings custom brightness to the premium feature set, better handling of persistent notifications and most exciting — support for devices running 4.1.2 and higher. That's one responsive developer!

Download: ActiveNotifications (Free / $0.99)

Simon Sage - Gentlemen!

Gentlemen!

I'm a big fan of local multiplayer games - y'know something you can play with friends on the same tablet. Slingshot Racing is one of my favorites among those, but a new one came out not too long ago called Gentlemen! In it, you square off against a dapper foe in a a variety of duel types -  either take turns chasing one another down, go head-to-head, or be the first to snag three diamonds. Players use a variety of random weapons that spawn throughout the stage, from the simple (yet effective) knife, to the sort-of-reliable exploding pigeon. Besides the sharp Victorian style and smart UI layout, the real gem here is the reverse gravity mechanic. Instead of jumping, players flip the polarity of their character back and forth to navigate platforms. This can result in a lot of trippy situations with people tossing bombs at one another while standing on the ceiling. If you've played VVVVVV before, you'll know exactly how disorienting this can be. If you've got a buddy you want to school in the classiest way possible, try out Gentlemen!

Download: Gentlemen! ($3.03)

Andrew Martonik - The Football App

The Football App

We may be getting into the “football” (aka hand egg) season here in the states, but elsewhere in the world real football is being played and the best way I’m finding to keep up with it all is The Football App. Coming fresh off of a redesign, The Football app offers coverage of over 100 different international football leagues, of course including the big ones like the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga.

The Football app shows scores by day, as well as detailed information on matches with full stats, box scores, a live ticker and field lineups. It’s a football fan’s dream app, and it’s free as well so it’s worth taking a look.

Download: The Football App (Free)

Alex Dobie - DashClock Widget

DashClock Widget

Nexus fans might already be familiar with Roman Nurik's DashClock widget. But I still get questions about which clock widget I'm using when I post screenshots online, so here goes.

DashClock was one of the first third-party lock screen widgets to appear on Google Play after the launch of Android 4.2, and it's arguably still one of the most useful. It can be used on your lock screen or home screen, and it connects to other apps to show relevant information in a pleasing, customizable, scrollable list. Think of it as a cross between the notification shade and Google Now -- the idea is to give you an overview of what's going on based on the extensions that you choose.

DashClock's extension system also allows third-party apps to hook into your widget, and there's a large number of apps that do just that -- for example BBC Weather and Tasks. If you're running an Android 4.2+ device -- and more users than ever are -- here's an app that's definitely worth your time.

Download: DashClock Widget (Free)

Phil Nickinson - Onkyo Remote

Onkyo Remote

This comes with the prerequisite of owning an Onkyo receiver, but it's damned handy app to have if you meet that qualification. At this time of this writing, it's compatible with all Onkyo network A/V receivers released in from 2010 through now, as well as the TX-8050 Network Stereo Receiver, T-4070 Network Stereo Tuner and the CR-N755. Setup is virtually nil — just make sure your receiver is connected to your home network, then fire up the app. You can turn the whole shebang off and on, change inputs directly or use the "listening mode" feature. You also can adjust the EQ and, most important, the volume — a godsend for when your kids keep turning things up and you don't want to get yelled out for turning them back down.

Download: Onkyo Remote (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 42 comments

tdizzel says:

When will Send Me To Heaven make an appearance on Apps of the Week?

cindylike24 says:

Hopefully never. I saw a video of what that app is supposed to do and that's just a dangerous app in my opinion. What if you miss catching it? Result: broken cell phone. I value my phone more than that. *shaking my head at the sheer stupidity of this app*

TheDu9du says:

I agree, that app sounds like no good news and is not supported by all devices.

mcgowan398 says:

Thumbs Up for ActiveNotifications!

ⓖ◎◎ⓖⓛⓔ

TheDu9du says:

One thing I encountered with it is that it easily bypasses the lock making it useless. But may seem fine for ppl who don't care about a lock. If I'm wrong someone please let me know I could give it a second try

Karrott9 says:

I have a pass code lock on my N4 and when active notifications lights up my screen and I swipe to the notification it takes me to my regular lock screen to enter my pass code then jumps straight into the app that gave me the notification.

Posted via Android Central App

mwara244 says:

Thanks Jerry for making it available to us Lower Jelly Bean Users, I was a lil miffed at 4.3 only, because I'm on Verizon and I don't unlock root or rom. Now I'm going to buy for My GNex

ACADM says:

Have you noticed the Android clock still displays in the notification area when Dash Clock has the analogue clock face set, but not with the digital clock in JB 4.3?

Also what Task app is that?

Posted via Android Central App

yentrog31 says:

Looks like any.do

ACADM says:

Thanks.

TheDu9du says:

I'm sure no one has, as no one uses analog clocks unless you're one of those anal-og ppl who like analog clocks.
Like seriously when there's option, choose the easy one. And don't bother trying to defend the fact that analog is easier for you. I don't care.

dovlek says:

Thanks Andrew Martonik I like that football app. Yeah thats is real "foot"ball lol.

crxssi says:

The other one is "tackleball"

z0phi3l says:

I prefer hand egg, but that works too :)

neonworm says:

You don't need android 4.3 to use the active notifications app.

tdizzel says:

Hence the edit that says 4.1.2

kevinevaro says:

I love shark attack

Posted via Android Central App

stoneworrior says:

Thank you for the Klyph recommendation! I had no idea it existed and it is light years better than the stock Facebook app. Now I might actually be able to bear going to see family photos of those I can't seem to get to come over to G+ :-)

Posted via Android Central App

eibbed0001 says:

I just downloaded it and at first glance I totally agree with stoneworrior. Thumbs up!

duanedude1 says:

Thanks Jerry! I am loving Active Notifications so far!

Posted thru Android Central App - Mobile Nations

jwyche007 says:

Alex Dobie could recommend Dash Clock every single week for all I care and I would still read through the full article. You can never have enough dash clock!

Posted via Android Central App

dscribe says:

Or cowbell!

Gator352 says:

It's the only antidote...

Lanhoj says:

Not a fan of DashClock.
I tried to be, even bought a few Extensions.

I just get more functionality out of WidgetLocker especially when it comes to tracking Notifications.

joemd60 says:

To bad my N2 is not running 4.2. The dash clock widget would look nice on the 5.5 screen.

Posted via Android Central App

Gekko says:

Active Notifications -

1. i don't like that you can't seem to see multiple app notifications at the same time. it seems to just show the last one.
2. i have concerns about battery life affects despite promises.

DashClock -

1. seems like it's a big clusterf**k if you use a security lock screen.
2. i wish you could remove the big clock. it'd be nice to use as a secondary screen and i don't need a redundant secondary big clock to my primary one on my main middle screen.

these apps sound great in theory buy not so great for me in reality. i'll pass on both for now.

Gekko says:

EDIT - effects. WTF happened to the EDIT button here?

yentrog31 says:

Tried AN on my GS3 and it sucks battery life and no SMS support yet.The Moto X is GPU/battery optimized and it doesn't work well yet on other. Cool concept app thought will keep my eye on it.

Karrott9 says:

I get AN SMS notifications on my N4.

Posted via Android Central App

ShaneRay says:

I actually find DashClock works better as a homescreen widget, for my purposes.

On my N7, I spend more time on homescreen than anywhere else in the UI, so it makes more sense (for me) to have it there. First thing I set up after flashing a new ROM etc...

kurioskurion says:

I also agree that dashboard clock makes a great home screen widget!

Posted via Android Central App

ChromeJob says:

Clusterfsck, in a pig's eye. Works great. HD Widgets is a good alternative.

Splattered for your amusement... via the AC App

3rdflyleaf says:

I wish Dashclock support lower android version.

closers7 says:

Mr. Martonik had me hooked with the app title. It being fantasy football draft season and all. But then I realize he's talking soccer. The old bait and switch. Well played son!

Posted via Android Central App

dovlek says:

The funny part is what they call soccer here is football over in Europe and Football here is still football but is not popular. Weird.

ChromeJob says:

Add my vote for Dash Clock. So many cool plug-ins for it.

Splattered for your amusement... via the AC App

chilliam2 says:

Active Notifications is just awesome on my GS3 4.1.2

Posted via Android Central App

razgri5 says:

Hmm. Tried active notifications, but the screen always lit up when I got one regardless of whether or not it was in my pocket or face down. Can't seem to iron that out.

Posted via Android Central App

scaots says:

Onkyo remote is especially great for controlling zone 2 from a different room. It has full control, and really great with Chromecast now to stream whatever music I want.

Posted via AC App on HTC One GPe

Thanks for the Klyph app. What a great recommendation!!

jean15paul says:

Sorry. Active Notifications is a big FAIL for me. I used it for a day and a half then uninstalled it.

1) It only shows notifications from one app (the latest notification?). To be useful for me it needs to show multiple (like the Moto X does).

2) It doesn't "breathe" periodically showing the notifications like the Moto X. The whole point is to see your notifications without having to hit the power button. I can already hit the power button to see the status bar.

WARNING, WARNING, DANGER, Will Robinson, ActiveNotifications damaged my screen!

I doubt anyone will see this, since the post is almost two weeks old, but am posting just in case it might save someone. I had the paid version of ActiveNotifications running on my Galaxy Nexus. The app lets you set the time notifications will stay on the screen. Since my Galaxy Nexus never leaves its charger, I figured why not just leave the notifications on until I dismiss them.

Well, after a week of use of this app, there is now a very noticeable "burn-in" of the primary notification images from the ActiveNotifications app. Dead center in the screen, on any light colored background, there is a perpetual ghost image of the the mail notification icon, and towards the top of the screen there is a burn-in of the clock image. The burned in images don't show on darker backgrounds or when the screen is off.

Fortunately, my GNex was just being used for full-time navigator duty on the dash of my car, so it's not like ruined my daily driver (no pun intended), but I think this app is too risky for phones it wasn't designed for. Perhaps I was an idiot to set it on permanently, but it was an option in the app.