Apps of the Week

A great selection of apps, from our phones to you

It's that time again, Saturday afternoon, where we lay out our Apps of the Week and put them on display. We want everyone to have a glimpse at least once a week into the apps that the writers here at Android Central are using, and this is our chance each weekend. We each give you a look at a single app we currently have installed on our phones and tablets, and give a quick explanation of why it's stuck around through the week.

This week we have a great calendar app, a way to keep up with your TV shows, an app that can track upcoming weather patterns and a few other odds and ends, as usual. Read along and see how the whole list comes together this week.

Richard Devine - UpNext

UpNext

I stumbled across this pretty sweet looking Calendar widget this week called UpNext. It's literally just a widget, hooking into your existing on-device calendars. The free download will show only all calendars, while the paid upgrade allows you to select individual ones to display in the widget.

Customization options are pretty slim, offering a dark and light theme and text and a sliding scale for how transparent you want the widget to be. But honestly, it looks good enough that you don't really need to do much to it anyway. The more space you can devote to it the better, and it'll keep on scrolling for as long as you have appointments.

Download: UpNext (Free)

Alex Dobie - TVCatchup Free

TVCatchup

The TVCatchup app for Android recently reappeared on Google Play after some legal wrangling over which specific channels it's allowed to beam to mobile devices. Essentially this is an ad-supported live TV streaming app that works like the website of the same name, broadcasting some (but not all) free-to-air stations to your phone or tablet. You'll need to be on a UK ISP and hold a valid TV license (to stay on the right side of the law, anyway) — but the app works well, and streaming quality is decent. Many TV giants offer their own streaming apps, notably the BBC through iPlayer, but TVCatchup neatly brings everything into one place, complete with an integrated TV guide.

Download: TVCatchup (Free, UK Only)

Phil Nickinson - PYKL3 Radar

PYKL3 Radar

If you're about to get 20 inches of rain dumped on you overnight, you're going to want a radar app. Trust me on this. And PYKL3 Radar — you pronounce it "pickle" is a popular option. It's not cheap, though, at $9.99. And the interface is a bit clunky. But it does what it's supposed to do — show you the rain, and where it's going. I probably wouldn't advise this one for the weather novice, as it's got a ton of options and features that you'll probably not understand. But if you're into the weather nerd thing, definitely give it a shot.

Download: PYKL3 Radar ($9.99)

Simon Sage - Snailboy

Snailboy

Snailboy is a wonderfully animated platforming game Players have to slingshot a mollusc Angry Birds-style across treacherous stages to get to the end alive and eventually recapture his lost shell collection. Players need to also stick Snailboy to mossy surfaces and nudge him in a direction with a friendly slap for most puzzles. You earn up to three stars for collecting all of the objectives in a level and for beating it under a certain time. There's an energy mechanic in place by way of limited health points which are lost when you die on a hazard and have to be replenished with slime globs you collect throughout gameplay. However, there's a refreshing absence of in-app purchases to obtain that goo. Instead, you've got an ad between each and every level, while bonus levels with free slime on a daily timer make sure you've always got a source of lives. Snailboy is a neat take on free-to-play and is extremely kid-friendly.

Download: Snailboy (Free)

Andrew Martonik - Sounders FC

Sounders FC

Yes I realize not all of you live in Seattle or are Sounders FC fans, but that's not really the point of these app picks anyways. The Sounders have just finished redesigning all of their apps (yes, iOS and Windows Phone, too), and they're some great pieces of mobile software across the board. The Android app is fast, smooth and chocked full of information on the team, game times, news and video. Most importantly if you're not a local supporter (or it's an away week) it'll give you radio and TV information as well as a live coverage chat stream.

I really wish that every sports team could have an app this smooth and useful — let's hope the rest can catch up.

Download: Sounders FC (Free)

Jerry Hildenbrand - Impossible Road

Impossible Road

A minimalist sensation that's tough as nails to master. There is a track, with nothing to keep you from flying off the edge. It's convoluted, curvy and impossibly random. There is a sphere, that you control by tapping left or right. The longer your touch the screen, the more the sphere turns, There is also a vast, empty nothingness that this track and this sphere just float in. Your goal is to keep the sphere on the track and not in the nothingness. It's addictive, runs like butter, and one of those games that actually requires skill and practice. I can't seem to get enough of it.

Download: Impossible Road ($1.99)


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: UpNext, TVCatchup, PYKL3 Radar and more!

62 Comments

Radar Express is free and seems very similar. I use it on bike rides to see how long rain showers are going to be.

Rainy days is free and covers the world, been my go to since 2010, just weather radar only incorporated with Google maps, works great.

WeatherBug is also free, and does radar that can zoom down to street level, and a whole lot more, including forecasts, push severe weather alerts, and lightning strikes.
Posted via Android Central App

I would rather look at single site level 3 data with all the products. Dual-pol and exclusive 8-bit storm relative motion velocity.

There is a "Lite" version of the program available too for the more basic user. It's only $1.99. I should mention that PYKL3Radar full version is more than radar. The radar data is rendered in its true raw format. No artificial smoothing to wipe out important details here (note that radar smoothing is an epidemic in the media and hides some of the most critical information though it gives the impression that the data is of higher resolution than it really is) You get surface plots, warnings overlays, access to virtually any NWS text product you would ever dream of, official NWS forecasts, and a lot more. Your GPS location is available right on the display and you can also watch where the spotters are located. There are provisions for you to contribute your location to Spotter Network and send storm reports as well if you so desire. Warnings are updated every minute by default, so you're always fresh with the latest information. A simple long press and tap gets you the latest detailed information on the warning. It's the only radar app to provide the 256 level storm relative velocity product giving unparalleled views of in-storm rotation. Read the reviews on Google Play and see why it's the highest rated radar app out there.

How does this compare to raindar, in your opinion Hobbes?

Posted via Android Central best phone available: moto x

I use pykl3 alot during spring the south because of the storm relative velocity (red and green on tv) that shows rotation and wind speed.
I don't see that in raindar but I have never used it. For strictly a radar app, I use storm eye or rainy days.

I must be the least busy person who uses android ever. Every single praised calendar app only has a "coming up next" widget. The only widgets I find useful are month views, and they are all fairly clunky cause everyone spends their resources making the useless schedule widget.

Posted via Android Central App

i use the Jorte 4x4 (4x5) Month widget in combination with Calendar Status PRO by Sagi Lowenhardt.

I hear you! Month view and a 4x1 day view is all I need! For this I like business calendar's new widgets...month view in a 3x3 is perfect on my note 3.

Col, I agree with you - I use Smooth Calendar - the widget shown your next x appointments - I have it set to 8 - that could stretch a day, a week or a number of months depending upon how busy I am!

I love the Sounders app. I get discounted tickets from work so hopefully I'll be able to catch a game this year.

Posted via Android Central App

TV Catchup just isn't worth the download after they lost all those channels, MyPlayer has all the channels along with many plus 1 hour channels and a live pause/rewind if you pay a couple of quid.
Some comprehensive settings as well.

Thanks for the tip. And after contacting the developer - chromecast support is on the way!

Posted via Android Central App

Most folks can't appreciate the capabilities and accuracy of PYKL3. The other apps people are saying ate similar just aren't. The only close competitor is Radarscope.

Posted via Android Central App

I 100% agree. However, 95% of users won't care about Dual-Pol, metar, and integration with 3rd party data services. I love PYKL and it feeds my inner weather nerd.

How does Radarscope and PYKL3 compare to each other? I have used Radarscope for years and love it, but always looking for better or more if it's out there.

With all the recent tornados I am curious...what is the best warning app?
I got a text message the other day that made a loud noise and had a red exclamation point. Was this a local warning pushing to my sprint phone? I heard Google now would help but it remained silent through all local warnings.
Any suggestions?

The message with the exclamation point was a government initiated CMAS alert. Only certain high-end warnings are alerted this way.

Check out WeatherBug. Gives you up-to-the-minute severe weather push alerts, 10 day forecasts, radar and lightning strike warnings.

Posted via Android Central App

American Red Cross "Tornado" app. I used to use "OnGuard Weather Alerts", but it seems to have been abandoned.

The Weather Channel App & WeatherBug, etc. are probably suited to general public as others have commented. PYKL3 is mostly for advance users who understand how to read more than just green, yellow, and red on basic radar apps. This app can be integrated with Spotter Network and Allison House for the advanced user, spotter, or storm chaser.
I will tell you this much, if I am out in the field PYKL3 radar will be running on my phone. It latest use in the field was in Central, AR last Sunday, 04/27/2014.

Pykl3 is awesome! If you want to know how all the various radar options work, I suggest checking out the Doppler Radar entry in Wikipedia. You can get tons of help through the help option in the app and then clicking the user manual. Like Phil said, it's very technical, but you can do your own forecasting if you know how to read the various radar option.

Event flow is my choice of calendar widget with plenty on choices to customize it absolutely love it just can't remember if it's free or not

Posted via Android Central App

Surprised nobody here has mentioned Stormeye. It is the best weather radar for tracking storms, tornados, etc. And it's free. For simple and quick radar, I like Rainy Days.

I lean more novice than nerd, but I live in tornado alley in OKC, and the first app I get loaded and set up any time I switch phones is Pykl3. Great, responsive developer. Do I know how to use/interpret all of the more than a dozen radar products the program offers? Nope. But the base reflectivity product is reliable and accurate and tells me what I need to know. Best $10 I've ever spent on an app.

I've been using PYKL3 for several years now. You can't beat it for the customization abilities and professional-level features. This is THE go-to app for weather radar on Android.

MyRadar is a great and completely free alternative to a $10 app and it's interface and features are nearly identical as well as the radar renderings themselves. Though I can afford it, I can't fathom spending a wasteful $10 on an app of any find when 9 times out of 10 there is a free app that is comparable and often almost identical.

All of these free apps are not even close for those who can appreciate the capabilities. The features of PYKL3 Radar are far more in depth. It truly is in a class of it's own. Equivalent programs on them PC start at $80 too. Thus app is a bargain at $10.

I am a user of Pykl3 radar, this app is the best 10 dollars I have ever spent on a app, the app is the most flexiable and customizable radar app out there, I use during severe weather and just to be updated during regular non-severe weather.6

I use free apps whenever I can. I've only bought a few apps for my devices. PYKL3 is one of the few and the only paid app I use daily.

The important thing about an advanced app like PYKL3 is that you MUST take the time and make the effort to educate yourself about weather radar and data. Professional meteorologists already have that knowledge because they earned a degree -- the rest of us must be willing to work through the online courses, read the reference materials, and ask questions when needed. If you are willing to do that, then you will understand what the app does and the cost of the app will seem extremely low.

The PYKL3 Radar User Manual includes references to a large amount of weather radar training resources:
http://pykl3radar.com/pykl3wiki/index.php/Radar_Training_Material
It also inclus severe weather training resources:
http://pykl3radar.com/pykl3wiki/index.php/Radar_Training_(Severe_Wx)

If you're not willing to work through most of those resources, then you probably should stick with the free apps!

UpNext looks intriguing, but nothing beast aCalendar+ and its associated widgets. And the developer keeps improving on an already awesome app/widgets.