We have another great set of apps to check out this weekend
It's another Saturday afternoon, and that means it's time for another edition of our Apps of the Week column. We take a slot every week to show off an app from each of the writers here at Android Central, along with a quick explanation of why it's on our device. These could be utility apps, background services, photography apps, social networks, games or just random odds-and-ends, but if the app is installed on our phone or tablet we want to tell you about it.
Read along with us below and check out the apps we've been using this week — you may just find one that will be a great choice for your own device as well.
Alex Dobie - Link Bubble
One of the most innovative Android apps to appear lately, Chris Lacy's Link Bubble is designed to make it easier to handle the link to web content that we frequently find in social networks and other apps. Whereas normally you'd have to click a link, be switched to your full-size browser of choice and then wait for the page to load, this app loads web content in a little "bubble" off to the side, allowing you to continue using other apps in the foreground. Then, when the page is loaded, the bubble will expand to fill the screen. From there, it's easy to send content to other apps, load in Chrome or close out and return to the previous app. Dragging the bubble to the top two corners can lets you share with other apps of your choice, and dragging to the bottom of the screen closes your bubble. The bubbles themselves can also be freely moved around when minimized, similar to Facebook's Chat Heads.
It's a really great way to handle the chore of jumping between apps when consuming content with web links on Android, and it's definitely worth a look for big social network users. Link Bubble is available as a free version supporting just one tab, or a paid version priced $4.99, which supports multiple tabs per bubble.
Richard Devine - Citymapper
A travel app with a targeted audience, but a fantastic one nevertheless. Citymapper started life as a London based app to help you get about using the city's public transit systems. Since then it has expanded to cover New York, Paris and Berlin.
Naturally, being a Brit, I use this app every time I go to London. I'm pretty savvy about using the Underground, but having this app on my phone always allows me to travel with an easier mind. Besides helping with routing and live departure times, it will also give you an idea as to how much you should expect to pay.
It's accurate, looks great and free to download. What more do you need? Hopefully the Citymapper team extends to even more cities in the near future.
Download: Citymapper (Free)
Phil Nickinson - Agent
Motorola's done quite well with its MotoAssist feature, which lends a hand while you're driving or in a meeting, fending off notifications and providing automatic replies. It's also got a nice built-in do-not-disturb feature. If your phone's missing all these, Agent is worth taking a look at. It tries to learn from your habits, including when you're sleeping, in a meeting or driving. It'll help you remember where you've parked, and it can attempt to conserve battery power, if you'd like. I've primarily used it as a do-not-disturb app, keeping phones from making noise all night long while allowing through whitelisted entries. (You need to make sure it doesn't overlap with any alarms, though.) There are plenty of options for tuning things to your liking.
Absolutely give this one a look-see.
Download: Agent (Free)
Andrew Martonik - 2048
Originally built as an open-source web game, 2048 is an infuriatingly fun game that has been brought to Android as well. The idea of 2048 is simple, really. You have a 4-by-4 grid filled with numbered boxes. You start with some combination of 2's and 4's on the board, and you swipe up, down, left and right to move the entire set of boxes to that side. As you put two boxes of the same number together, their numbers are added. Each time you swipe, however, a new 2 or 4 box is spawned. Your goal is to get one box to hit 2048 (get it now?). As you inevitibly won't make it to 2048, you get a score based on how many you do combine to give yourself a sense of how close you got.
Although there are at least 2048 different versions of this game out there if you search Google Play, this one (from developer Endemion) is the best I've found so far. It runs perfectly, lets you swipe to make moves and even integrates with Google Play Games. Best of all it doesn't nag you with ads during the game or between rounds — fitting since the game is open-source and can be played on the web without any of the same distractions.
My high score is just over 2700 right now, and I've made it to the 512 box, but dang this game is hard.
Download: 2048 (Free)
Jerry Hildenbrand - Word Search Puzzles
I've always been a fan of word search games. Any game that can stimulate my fun center while expanding vocabulary and reading comprehension is a good thing, I think.
I also appreciate any app who will let me spend money if I like, and not bombard me with ads. The in-app purchase model may not be a crowd favorite, but it's better than full screen ads between levels. You can play Word Search Puzzles without spending money and have all the features (quests, badges, awards, etc.) but you can also buy new puzzle packs with more boards. Overall, it's very well put together and has no screwy permissions.
Download: Word Search Puzzles (Free)