See what the Android Central writers are using this week
It's that time of the week where we carve out a slot on Android Central to show off our Apps of the Week column. Saturday afternoons are a perfect time for each of the writers here to talk about an app that has made its way onto our phones or tablets and stuck around, even with all of the apps we see on a weekly basis.
As we explain every week, these may not be the best-in-class or top-selling apps, but if they're on our devices week after week, they must be doing something right. This week's list includes a few games, as usual, and a handful of tools to round it out, so hang with us after the break and see how the picks stack up.
Simon Sage - Motocross Meltdown
Motocross Meltdown is a freemium dirtbike racing game complete with high-flying tricks, online multiplayer, and tons of customization. Players work their way through a variety of challenges which involve tapping targets with razor precision and timing. Game modes include tricks, high jump, and one-on-one races. Customization options range from vanity stuff like new paint jobs on the bike, new helmets and outfits, to more practical upgrades, like suspension, tires, engine, and body changes to your bike. The usual free-to-play tropes are here, such as premium currency, playtime limiters (gas for single-player games, energy for online), but the high-quality graphics has me forgiving a whole lot on that front.
All in all, Motocross Meltdown offers fun, fast, and dirty racing on Android.
Download: Motocross Meltdown (Free)
Phil Nickinson - Flappy Bird
I'm told that Flappy Bird is a popular game, and that we should write about it. And, indeed, it's gotten between 1 million and 5 million downloads on Android. So someone's playing it. And when they do, they press down on the screen to make the bird flap, avoiding pipes that very much were ripped off from Super Mario Bros. I haven't actually gotten past the third pipe, and I don't really care to. But presumably there's more to the game than that, seeing as how between 1 million and 5 million people have downloaded it. The game is free. As is the banner ad atop the screen.
Download (or not): Flappy Bird (Free)
Jared DiPane - 8 Ball Pool
I have never been one for gaming on my mobile phones, but there are a few exceptions to that. Recently I installed 8 Ball Pool and I have come to love playing it in my free time. Game play is dead simple, the stick is controlled by moving it around with your finger, and then determining how hard you want to shoot.
What I like most is that you are able to play alone or versus someone else which makes it a ton more fun. Being able to pick it up, play a match or two and then put it down and not have to worry about hitting a save point or running out of lives is one of the big draws for me. So whether you have a few minutes or a few hours to kill check out 8 Ball Pool for some great entertainment.
Download: 8 Ball Pool (Free)
Jerry Hildenbrand - File Manager
You want a smooth and simple file manager that follows the Android app design guidelines. You want a full featured app, but don't want or need root built into your file manager UI. Then you sound a lot like me, and I've been digging File Manager.
I've looked at a lot of File Manager applications over the years here at AC, because I think they are one of those utilities that a developer really needs to get right. They need to look right — File Manager follows Android app guidelines very closely and has the same look and feel as official Google apps. They need the right features — File Manager supports things like USB OTG, custom bookmarks, compression and extraction, full cut/copy/paste features and even includes its own media browser. And they need to run smoothly — File Manager is butter. It's butter on my old HTC One X, it's butter on my Nexus 5, it's butter on the G Flex.
As mentioned there is no "root" support. I don't think there is any planned, either. That may be a drawback to you, and that's cool. Use a different app. But for those who don't root, or those who don't want root anywhere except the console, File Manager is perfect. It's a free download for Android 2.2 and higher, and comes with an ad. You can kill the ad with a 99-cent in-app purchase if you like. I think you'll want to after giving it a try. Grab it here.
Download: File Manager (Free; $0.99)
Andrew Martonik - Do Not Disturb
While most manufacturers include a pretty comprehensive "night mode" or "do not disturb" functions on devices, those of us with Nexus phones have to search Google Play for a good replacement. For the moment at least, I've settled on the aptly-named Do Not Disturb. It is simple but effective — set times and dates to silence your phone, and it does it.
You can get more advanced with specific daytime silencing for calendar events, but for my usage — simply muting the phone at night as the emails and notifications roll in — it works perfectly. There's even a full-featured free version that disables the paid features after a trial period, so you can get a feel for it before you buy. There are a whole boatload of apps that do this, but Do Not Disturb is the simplest I've found so far.
Download: Do Not Disturb (Free)
Richard Devine - Switchr
I'm not usually one for changing things up too much, replacing stock features with some of the excellent third party solutions out there. But I've given Switchr a try and I'm hooked. What it does is provide a gesture based app switcher, that you access by way of a simple swipe from the edge of the screen. With small hands like mine – and holding the phone in my left hand – even reaching across to the task switcher is uncomfortable.
Switchr allows you to customize exactly where and how much of the screen you want to allocate to your swipe, and a choice of three different interfaces. I've got it programmed to keep only the 6 most recent apps in there, as that's usually enough for me, but you can increase or decrease to your liking.
I actually like it so much I've moved on to beta testing. It's made using my Android devices a little more comfortable for me, and I'll take that every day of the week. There's a free version with most of the functionality available, and a pro version with everything unlocked.
Download: Switchr (Free; $1.99)
Chris Parsons - 9GAG First
Like funny pictures? Of course you do. Like free apps? Of course you do. You’re going to love 9GAG First. It’s essentially what will become the next official 9GAG app but for now it’s kinda in open beta status. You can browse, comment and vote on all the images that appear on 9GAG and it’s much faster than the previous official app. Great app. 5 stars. Would open again.
Download: 9GAG First (Free)