April showers bring May flowers and sweet Android apps
Not unlike Phil's Atlantean hometown, you may need a bucket to deal with April's deluge of high-quality of Android app releases. Lucky for you, we've wrung out the Play Store for our top five picks. There are quite a few big names this go-around, including some apps straight from Google. Ready? Let's dive in.
Best Android apps of April 2014
Lingua.ly is a hugely popular way of learning new languages. In addition to being a straight-up translator for over a dozen languages, users actively add words from their Android device or home web browser to their vocabulary collection to practice and master new tongues. An audio guide helps ensure you are pronouncing new words correctly, a quiz system keeps you on your toes, and a reading widget is built in so you can read interesting stories in languages you're trying to learn. If reading web stories turns out to be too difficult, you can just tap on the word to see what it means, and add it to your collection for future reference. It doesn't seem like there are any ads, subscriptions, in-app purchases yet, so there's really no catch (for now). Anyone looking to pick up a second (or third, or fourth) language should pick up Lingua.ly.
- Download Lingua.ly - Free
Chrome Remote Desktop
Google's Chrome Remote Desktop exited beta this month, providing smooth, painless access to your desktop computer from your Android device. Once paired up, you can pan around the desktop, pinch to zoom in (highly important for managing a precise mouse pointer with a finger), and type away on the keyboard. You can also pair up with multiple computers if you have more than one in the house, or if you've got a family member that regularly needs tech support. It would be nice to see some mobile-friendly shortcuts to browsing the file system at some point, but so far this is a great utility. Google deserves extra brownie points for also opening up the Nexus camera to all device this month.
Dropbox announced and released a standalone image gallery and backup app in April called Carousel. Uploads are intelligently sorted by location or date, and offer a finger-friendly view of everything you've shot with your Android device and otherwise stored in the cloud. Social elements are baked in, including sharing and commenting. This is a logical extension of Dropbox's existing automatic backup function for photos, and serves as a great alternative to the cloud-based photo album offered by default on Google+. If you also happen to be shopping around for a replacement to your e-mail client, Dropbox announced and released their Mailbox app at the same time as Carousel. The only catch to Carousel is that, like Dropbox, they'll try to upsell you on extra storage beyond the free tier.
- Download Carousel - Free
IFTTT is the glue that brings together the mind-boggling array of online services. Buy building recipes in the form of "if this, then that", users can create all sorts of useful automatic actions. For example, e-mail yourself a copy of every text message, but mark it as read and stash it in this specific folder. Flip on my Philips Hue or WeMo lights when I get close to home. The brand spanking new Android app helps you manage these recipes with editing and creation functions, and opens up six new Android device-based channels. Though these can easily become tangled and complicated webs, especially when dealing with services that are already connected to act automatically elsewhere, there's a vibrant community of users that are already sharing their creations. Idle tinkerers and Android power users should definitely give IFTTT a try.
- Download IFTTT - Free
Yahoo Screen found its way to Android later in April, offering exclusive access to Saturday Night Live archives, plus you can watch clips from The Daily Show, Colbert Report, The Onion, and South Park. Yahoo is also broadcasing their original content here too. There's no Chromecast support and it's U.S. only, but at least it's free with barely any ads. Yahoo also announced that they're going to be putting two shows on TV proper, so obviously they've got an interest in keeping this app and the service as a whole supported. If you're looking for some new shows to watch, but don't want to deal with subscriptions or cable providers, Yahoo Screen is bound to keep you entertained, at least for a little while.
- Download Yahoo Screen - Free
Your favorite Android apps of April 2014?
Those are but a few drops in a Google Play Store overflowing with Android app and game releases for April 2014. Be sure to also check out our round-up of the best Android games of April 2014, and as always, keep your eyes peeled for our weekly editors' picks. Besides that, leave a comment with your new favorites for this month, and check out what others are downloading below.