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4 weeks ago

Best To-Do App

21

Todoist is the best to-do app that you can get right now. It offers tons of features, as well as access across PC and mobile devices.

Best overall

Todoist: To-Do List

 To-Do ListSee at Google Play

Of the many to-do apps that are available, Todoist easily rises to the top. It uses Material Design to deliver an intuitive and easy to navigate UI that offers plenty of options for your tasks. You can separate your lists out by project and use filters to only see the lists that you need access to in a pinch.

It also delivers a calendar that lets you see your tasks for the upcoming week, as well as a daily tab. It even delivers a profile that allows you to take a look at the tasks you have completed recently, which can help to keep you on task and track your progress towards goals. If you choose to upgrade to a premium membership, which will run you $28.99 a year, it gives you expanded access to your history, and delivers new features like the ability to tag your lists. With premium you can also access your lists across your phone, Android Wear smartwatch, and PC so that you always have access to your to-do list.

Bottom line: Between the features they deliver, and the ease of use, Todoist is easily the best app for for keeping track of everything you need to do. It's easy to use, and gives you options that let you take charge of your lists.

One more thing: Todoist Premium even gives you the ability to look back and see everything that you've gotten done, and which tasks you missed.

Why Todoist is the best

Todoist delivers a great experience that allows you to access your lists almost anywhere, and tag and filter them so that everything you need is right at your fingertips.

Being able to easily check your phone to see what you have left to do makes staying on top of everything in your busy life so much easier. Todoist will send you notifications both when a task you have listed is due, and with your task list for the day. It's a small thing, but it just makes things so much easier to deal with. Instead of having to remember to go through the app, it's right there waiting for you when you slide down your notification tray.

Part of Todoist's charm comes from how easy it is to add things to lists. Thanks to Material Design, the add button is right at the bottom of your screen. From right there you can date, tag, and filter your new list item all at once. Premium members get the option to tag people and further customize their list items as well.

Best for less

Google Keep

Google KeepSee at Google Play

Google Keep is primarily a note keeping app, but it does have pretty awesome to-do features baked right into it. It should be no surprise that it's well designed, and easy to use, since it is Google's own product. This also means that you may have it installed on your phone already and not even realize it.

You can easily create new lists from the add menu at the bottom of your screen, but to edit existing lists you'll need to find them within the app. Once you've completed a task on your list you can cross it off by editing the list, and tapping that item. It will then appear with a slash through it. This makes it easy to keep an eye both on what needs to be done, and what you have already completed.

If there is a list that has priority tasks on it, you can pin it. This will ensure that you can easily find and edit the list while you are out and about. In addition to typing in items for your list you can also add media. If you have a photo for a project, you can add it to your list to make it easier to find when you need it.

Bottom line: Google Keep offers great accessibility and ease of use. While it doesn't have tons of options for your to-do lists it can get the job done, and might even be installed on your phone already.

One more thing: To set a date for lists in Google Keep, you'll need to set a reminder with a time from within the list itself.

Best for Windows users

Wunderlist: To-Do list and Tasks

 To-Do list and TasksSee at Google Play

Wunderlist is a great app that is built specifically for to-do lists. It allows you to easily make customized lists which can be edited with just a few taps. In addition when you create new lists, you can also add other people to the list which lets you easily collaborate on projects with colleagues.

From within each list you can set dates and reminders, add subtasks for each item in a list, and add notes or files. This allows you to really customize your to-do lists and make sure that every step is listed out for you to check at a glance. If you add any of these to an item in a list, small icons will pop up next to it from the list view. This means you can tell when there are extra items involved in a task, before you just tap it to mark it as completed.

Wunderlist also offers a premium version of the app. The premium version allows you to upload larger files to your to-do lists, assign tasks in a to-do list to a specific person, and includes unlimited subtasks on list items for $4.99 a month. Because Microsoft owns Wunderlist, it is well integrated into the company's services, including Outlook.

Bottom line: Wunderlist lets you easily build and customize to-do lists with plenty of features to make getting everything done easy. It gives you the ability to easily collaborate, break big tasks into manageable chunks, and even upload files pertinent to specific tasks.

One more thing: You can talk to your collaborators from within the app by commenting in a shared list. This makes communicating with colleagues on a project simple and self contained.

Best for speed

Any.do

To-Do list, Task List-Any.doSee at Google Play

Any.do is an app that aims to keep you organized through to-do lists, and delivers a beautiful experience while doing just that. You can build multiple lists, and customize each one with the tasks you need to complete. Any.do will also link up with your Google Calendar if you sign up using your Google Account, which means everything is in one place.

When you add items to a list within Any.do, you get access to a range of features that are handy no matter what you're doing. You can add subtasks to list items, move task items between lists, add reminders, add notes with media attachments, and share list items with colleagues and collaborators. All of this together lets you have real power over everything in your to-do list. Clearing items when you finish a task is easy as well. All you have to do is swipe right across your screen to strike through completed items.

There is also the option to upgrade to a premium membership. You get perks like location based notifications, allowing more attachments to your lists, customizable colors, and access to a daily planner called Any.do moments.

Bottom line: Any.do gives you access to a well designed app with plenty of lists to help keep track of every item on your to-do list. With free features like collaboration, and Google account integration it can become an organizational hub for your schedule.

One more thing: Any.do moment will give you a breakdown of your tasks for the day, and it's just one of the perks of going all in with a premium membership.

Conclusion

There are plenty of apps out there that can help keep you on track with your to-do list. Not all of them are created equal though, and this was a collection of the best to-do apps available on Android. Each one has its own pros and cons, but there is one app that rises to the top as the star. Todoist is easily the best app for getting everything on your to-do list completed.

Best overall

Todoist: To-Do List

 To-Do ListSee at Google Play

Of the many to-do apps that are available, Todoist easily rises to the top. It uses Material Design to deliver an intuitive and easy to navigate UI that offers plenty of options for your tasks. You can separate your lists out by project and use filters to only see the lists that you need access to in a pinch.

It also delivers a calendar that lets you see your tasks for the upcoming week, as well as a daily tab. It even delivers a profile that allows you to take a look at the tasks you have completed recently, which can help to keep you on task and track your progress towards goals. If you choose to upgrade to a premium membership, which will run you $28.99 a year, it gives you expanded access to your history, and delivers new features like the ability to tag your lists. With premium you can also access your lists across your phone, Android Wear smartwatch, and PC so that you always have access to your to-do list.

Bottom line: Between the features they deliver, and the ease of use, Todoist is easily the best app for for keeping track of everything you need to do. It's easy to use, and gives you options that let you take charge of your lists.

One more thing: Todoist Premium even gives you the ability to look back and see everything that you've gotten done, and which tasks you missed.

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1 month ago

Netflix may finally roll out offline playback, but not in the U.S.

21

Offline playback is coming to Netflix. Just not in the U.S.

Earlier this year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that he was "open-minded" about bringing offline playback to the service. In an interview with CNBC, Netflix COO Ted Sarandos said that the company is "looking at" enabling the feature, with initial rollout expected in countries with limited internet availability:

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1 month ago

Best Transit App

4

For determining the easiest way to get from Point A to Point B, you'll want to rely on Citymapper.

Best overall

Citymapper

See at Google Play

Citymapper is the best transit app that you can use on your Android phone, as long as you are in a supported city. When you need help traversing larger cities, like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle or any number of international cities, that is where Citymapper comes in. The app can factor in buses, trains, subways, bikes and cabs, removing the daunting task of figuring out how to get from point A to B in the fastest or least stressful way possible.

Citymapper pulls all of this information into one place so you can check out the available options and see which is best for you. From directions that use the bus, subway, rail and even bikes, Citymapper will help you find the best place to get on the transportation method nearest you, and which stop you will want to get off. If you are one to travel into smaller cities, you may find that Citymapper doesn't yet offer support for it. Luckily, Citymapper is always looking to expand the areas that it supports and you can easily suggest a new location to be added.

Citymapper is a free app, but you are at the mercy of the locations that they pick to support.

Bottom line: If you often find yourself in big cities that you don't know your way around, you'll want to make sure that Citymapper is installed on your phone and ready to go.

One more thing: As of now the number of cities that are fully supported are somewhat limited, but if you are traveling to big cities this app will serve you well.

Why Citymapper is the best

A powerful app that brings all your local transit options to one place.

Citymapper is your best bet for getting around a new city, as long as it is one of the supported cities by the app. Whether you are looking to take a train to the other side of town, or take a bus to a different section, Citymapper pulls all the data into one place. You can easily see on the map how long it will take you to get somewhere with each transportation method, allowing you to easily pick the one that best meets your needs.

PCMag put some of the transit apps head to head and said:

For New York, Citymapper gave by far the best routes. It tells you which section of the train to get on for the easiest transfers, and even offers "rain safe" routes which are underground as much as possible. It had all of the oddball non-NYC Transit options in the New York metro area. Its bikeshare option (shown at left) clearly shows how many bikes are available and where to drop them off. It's only available in 30 cities, but I found it the clearest and best routing engine for most point-to-point routes.

The beauty of Citymapper is in its simplicity: you only need to open the app from your location and tell it where you want to go, and the extensive database will take into account the various means of getting somewhere — bus, subway, tram, even walking — to determine the ideal route. It's even smart enough to tell you when to leave to get there at a particular time, or which door to exit from to emerge from a subway closest to your location. The app is well-designed and extremely intuitive, and it functions as a replacement for Google Maps in every way but for driving directions.

Best for all locations

Google Maps

See at Google Play

If you are looking for options in the most places possible, Google Maps is likely your best bet. While the other apps specialize in particular cities, Google is a bit more generic. This can be a good and bad thing at the same time. Sure, you'll have more information at your fingertips with Google Maps, but the overall density of information may not be as high.

Once you find your location on the map, you'll be able to pick between driving, taking a bus, train routes, walking directions and more. From the settings you'll be able to set a time you want to leave or arrive so that you can see accurate commute options for that trip.

Bottom line: If versatility is what you are looking for, Google Maps may be your best bet. It won't offer all the options that other apps will, but you will have support in the most cities.

One more thing: Be sure to turn the traffic option on so you are able to see where you will hit delays on your journey.

Best for offline

Transit

See at Google Play

Transit offers support in more than 120 cities already both in and out of the U.S. From an easy way to grab step-by-step directions to get you around a new city to real-time predictions of when the next train or bus may arrive, Transit is quite powerful. The built-in map will show you where your train is, notifications of when to get off at your stop and more so you won't get lost in that new city.

Whether you have an internet connection or not you'll be able to view the schedule for upcoming departures, check estimated time of arrivals (ETAs) and even request an Uber if no other method of transportation meets your needs. It has support for nearly all methods of transportation, including ferry, Uber, bus, rail, train, bike, car2go and others.

Transit is a great alternative to Citymapper and a great addition to Google Maps for those times you may need more in-depth information about getting around where you are.

Bottom line: Transit offers support for more cities than Citymapper does, but its feature set isn't quiet as extensive.

One more thing: You'll have great support for a list of U.S. cities, and you can also use it in many cities in Canada, Europe, and Australia.

Best to customize

Transit Directions by Moovit

See at Google Play

Transit Directions by Moovit offers support for more than 1,200 cities around the world, which is far more than many of the other apps out there. Just because it supports more cities doesn't mean it's the best though. The interface is a bit different than others, and some may find that it works for them and others will be turned off and go back to another option.

The features within the app are great, though. With live directions that notify you when to get off at your stop, real-time arrival information, a favorites screen to quickly access places you frequently visit and more, there is no shortage of information in the app. The Moovit widget will help you keep an eye on your favorite destinations and travel lines to make sure things are operating as normal, and you can receive a notifications for service alerts when things aren't running as usual.

Bottom line: If the other options haven't met your needs, Moovit may be able to slide in with the assist. It offers similar features to the others, but with support for more cities.

One more thing: Service alerts will help keep you on top of your travel, even when you aren't looking at it with notifications of delays or other issues that will affect your travel.

Conclusion

Depending where you live or where you will be visiting, one app may work better than the others. If you are in a supported city, Citymapper is the way to go. If you aren't in one of them, you should suggest for it to be the next supported city, and then check out one of the other options. Don't want to have multiple apps installed to do this for you? Google Maps may be the way to go, but you may not see all your available routes this way.

Best overall

Citymapper

See at Google Play

Citymapper is the best transit app that you can use on your Android phone, as long as you are in a supported city. When you need help traversing larger cities, like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle or any number of international cities, that is where Citymapper comes in. The app can factor in buses, trains, subways, bikes and cabs, removing the daunting task of figuring out how to get from point A to B in the fastest or least stressful way possible.

Citymapper pulls all of this information into one place so you can check out the available options and see which is best for you. From directions that use the bus, subway, rail and even bikes, Citymapper will help you find the best place to get on the transportation method nearest you, and which stop you will want to get off. If you are one to travel into smaller cities, you may find that Citymapper doesn't yet offer support for it. Luckily, Citymapper is always looking to expand the areas that it supports and you can easily suggest a new location to be added.

Citymapper is a free app, but you are at the mercy of the locations that they pick to support.

Bottom line: If you often find yourself in big cities that you don't know your way around, you'll want to make sure that Citymapper is installed on your phone and ready to go.

One more thing: As of now the number of cities that are fully supported are somewhat limited, but if you are traveling to big cities this app will serve you well.

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1 month ago

Pokémon Go to bring daily and weekly bonuses for active users

27

Niantic has posted news about an upcoming update for the Pokémon Go app, and a big feature of it will be daily bonuses for catching the lil' buggers. The bonuses will get better each consecutive day, and look to be an easy way to score experience points, Stardust and additional items from PokéStop visits.

We want to provide you a detailed look at a new feature coming soon to Pokémon GO - Daily bonuses! Trainers will soon be able to receive a bonus for certain daily activities, including catching a Pokémon or visiting a PokéStop once a day. You'll earn a larger bonus if you do this seven days in a row!

Catching a Pokémon every day will earn the following bonus:

  • 500 XP
  • 600 Stardust

Catching a Pokémon every day for 7 days straight will earn the following larger bonus:

  • 2,000 XP
  • 2,400 Stardust

Visiting a PokéStop and spinning the Photo Disc every day will earn the following bonus:

  • 500 XP
  • A number of additional items

Visiting a PokéStop every day for 7 days straight will earn the following larger bonus:

  • 2,000 XP
  • A greater number of additional items

If you catch a Pokémon at any time on Tuesday local time, you'll be eligible for the next daily bonus on Wednesday at 12 AM local time.

While the huge numbers of new daily players of Pokémon Go don't match the initial release numbers, the game is still extremely popular and making money for Niantic. Frequent updates and additional features and rewards are part of the reason. Love Pokémon or hate Pokémon, there's no denying that Niantic knows how to make a great app that plenty of people love. Updates like this show they also have a plan to keep them interested.

No word from Niantic about when we'll see the update other than coming soon. We'll take a look when it gets here.

Pokémon Go

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1 month ago

Best Android Launchers

590
Action Launcher 3 on the LG V20

For the most customization, slickest features and latest Google design influences, Action Launcher 3 is the best launcher available.

Andrew Martonik Andrew has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at Android Central since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Best overall

Action Launcher 3

Action Launcher

See at Google Play

Action Launcher brings a ton of thoughtful features plus lots of additional tweaks that you expect from a custom launcher. Replace the traditional app drawer with a slide-in Quickdrawer, maximize on-screen real estate with Shutters and tweak the home screen search bar with the customizable Quickbar. Beyond that, Action Launcher also offers theming options, suggestions for app icon replacements and a beta feature to normalize icon sizes.

At the same time, Action Launcher regularly incorporates the latest design and features from Google's own launcher, meaning you don't have to loose that Google feel when you get all of these extra features. For example those using Action Launcher on Android 7.1 today can already access to new app shortcut features from the home screen.

The best features of Action Launcher 3 require a paid upgrade to the Plus version, but it's worth every penny.

Bottom line: If you're feeling bored with your phone's launcher and want a feature-packed replacement, Action Launcher has you covered.

One more thing: You don't have to pay for Action Launcher's Plus features, but you really should if you plan to use it full-time.

Why Action Launcher 3 is the best

A super powerful launcher with plenty of slick customization options.

Action Launcher can be as simple or as feature-packed as you want it to be, depending on how you set it up. All of the tools are there to keep your home screens looking minimalistic while providing tons of features and options to make the most of the available space. Shutters and Quickcuts turn your app icons into so much more, while the customizable Quickbar takes what other launchers use as dead space and turns it into exactly what you want.

If you want co change the entire theme of your phone but don't want to fiddle around finding all of the pieces yourself, Action Launcher's theme engine helps you customize things so it all looks neat and tidy — including custom app icons — without all of the legwork. But if you don't mess with themes, you know you're getting a great Material Design look with inspiration from the latest Pixel phones, even if you haven't updated to Nougat just yet.

For just $4.99 you can unlock all of Action Launcher 3's features, and you really should give it a look if your current launcher is leaving a bit to be desired.

Best clean look

Google Now Launcher

Google Now Launcher

See at Google Play

If you want the clean, simple home screen experience just as Google intended, you'll want to use the Google Now Launcher. This is the launcher that's pre-installed on Nexus phones, and it's all about giving you a basic but extremely quick experience with access to your apps and widgets — and of course Google Now is just a single swipe away.

You don't get advanced options for extra gestures or themes, but some people prefer a simple layout and Google Now Launcher absolutely delivers in that respect. It's updated regularly by Google as well, though the future is uncertain with the Pixel phones now shipping with their own different launcher.

Bottom line: Use the Google Now launcher if you're looking for high stability and a consistent Android experience. Pair it with the Google Keyboard for the full experience.

One more thing: Things are a bit in flux right now in terms of the launcher on Nexuses versus Pixels — this launcher may soon take on a new look in the future.

Best to customize

Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher

See at Google Play

Nova is a massively popular launcher that offers a whole bunch of animation options, folder views and home screen behaviors. One particularly cool addition is swipe actions, which allow app icons to act as a folder with a swipe, or a standard app launch with a tap, similar to Action Launcher's feature.

Theming Nova with custom icons and custom wallpapers is easy, especially with the Google Drive integration. You can back up your Nova layouts and themes directly to the cloud service of your choice, and restore backups directly from the cloud, too, which can make setting up a new phone a great deal easier than putting everything back how you like it manually.

Nova is a highly functional launcher that can be as subtle or as loud as you like, making it completely unique if you spend the time tweaking it.

Bottom line: If you're willing to tweak things a bit, and are going for an exact look, Nova Launcher could be the one for you.

One more thing: Consider the $4.99 in-app purchase to unlock its more advanced features with the "Prime" upgrade.

Conclusion

Home Screen launchers are heavily influenced by personal taste, and while not everyone wants the same things from their launcher the robust feature set of Action Launcher can be the best choice for most people. It offers great features, lots of customization choices and integrates the latest design guidelines from Google.

Best overall

Action Launcher 3

Action Launcher

See at Google Play

Action Launcher brings a ton of thoughtful features plus tons of additional tweaks that you expect from a custom launcher. Replace the traditional app drawer with a slide-in Quickdrawer, maximize on-screen real estate with Shutters and tweak the home screen search bar with the customizable Quickbar. Beyond that, Action Launcher also offers theming options, suggestions for app icon replacements and a beta feature to normalize icon sizes.

At the same time, Action Launcher regularly incorporates the latest design and features from Google's own launcher, meaning you don't have to loose that Google feel when you get all of these extra features. For example those using Action Launcher on Android 7.1 today can already access to new app shortcut features from the home screen.

The best features of Action Launcher 3 require a paid upgrade to the Plus version, but it's worth every penny.

Bottom line: If you're feeling bored with your phone's launcher and want a feature-packed replacement, Action Launcher has you covered.

One more thing: You don't have to pay for Action Launcher's Plus features, but you really should if you plan to use it full-time.

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1 month ago

Best Keyboard for Android

164

Best overall

Google Keyboard

Free

See on Google Play

Years ago, Google's built-in Android keyboard was considered a bit of a slouch. Oh, how times have changed. The Google Keyboard is completely free, supports gesture typing for both individual words and entire sentences, a bounty of languages, and a modest choice of themes.

The Google Keyboard employs Google's own speech-to-text engine for voice dictation, and while it might not be the best at predictive text, it does learn from your typed data across Google's apps and services. If your phone didn't ship with the Google Keyboard, you can download it from the Google Play Store.

Bottom-line: Google Keyboard has pretty much every feature you'd want from a touch keyboard. It's fast, reliable, and minimalist, with theme options to tweak in the settings.

One more thing: Google has included one-handed mode for those who prefer to type with one thumb.

Why Google Keyboard is the best

Leave it to Google to make their stock keyboard the easiest and smoothest experience you can find on Android. Over time, they've added features that Android users have enjoyed from other keyboards and kept it all quick, responsive and free.

You have the option of tap-typing or swiping around for words, one-handed or two. It employs Google's own speech-to-text technology, which will only get better fine-tuned as Google builds out. And it even incorporates GIFs, which can be found alongside the full suite of Android emojis. If you're phone doesn't already come with the Google Keyboard pre-installed, do your thumbs a favor and check it out.

Best for predictions

Swiftkey

Free

See on Google Play

For years, SwiftKey soared above Google's included keyboard, and it did — and still does — come pre-installed on many a phone and tablet. SwiftKey's prediction methods, called the "fluency engine," has made it the keyboard that many users and editors alike keep coming back to. SwiftKey has been pre-loaded on millions of devices over the years, including on Samsung's flagship phones.

While SwiftKey used to be a paid app, the keyboard itself went free in 2014, instead having its users pay for themes. SwiftKey has led the keyboard pack for a while, and was our readers' top response when we asked which keyboard they used. And it's still a great option in 2016.

Bottom-line: SwiftKey is a great option for those looking for an alternative to the stock Google keyboard.

One more thing: On the topic of themes, there are over 80 of them to choose from in all sorts of colors and styles to fit your personality.

Best for gesture typing

Swype

$0.99

See on Google Play

Swype is to SwiftKey as GM is to Ford. Both are established, respected, feature-rich keyboards. Swype allows you to swipe out words or whole sentences, and also supports typing in two languages at once, for bilingual users. Swype offers a free trial version, but the full version is only a dollar, and themes are an additional two dollars apiece.

Swype ties into Android's Accessibility features for TalkBack and Explore By Touch, which make Swype a keyboard vision-impaired users can learn more easily on their own. Copy/Cut/Paste functions are embedded as gestures in Swype's keyboard, too. Swype all the things!

Bottom-line: Swype originally introduced the world to fluid, swipe-based typing, and is still a quality keyboard for Android.

One more thing: Swype is great for sports fans, offering offers themes, including Major League Soccer themes.

Best overall

Google Keyboard

Free

See on Google Play

Years ago, Google's built-in Android keyboard was considered a bit of a slouch. My how times have changed. The Google Keyboard is completely free, supports gesture typing for both individual words and entire sentences, a bounty of languages, and a modest choice of themes.

The Google Keyboard employs Google's own speech-to-text engine for voice dictation, and while it might not be the best at predictive text, it does learn from your typed data across Google's apps and services. If your phone didn't ship with the Google Keyboard, you can download it from the Google Play Store.

Bottom-line: Google Keyboard has pretty much every feature you'd want from a touch keyboard. It's fast, reliable, and minimalist, with theme options to tweak in the settings.

One more thing: Google has included One-Handed Mode for those who prefer to type with one thumb.

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1 month ago

Google is officially cracking down on Play Store fraud

41

Integrity is a loaded word, but it's one that Google takes particularly seriously given the skeptics who have questioned the reliability of Android's Play Store.

Google has announced that it's rolling out improved detection and filtering systems to help rid the visibility of less-than-stellar applications in Android's app marketplace. This includes apps from developers who may have attempted to manipulate the placement of their apps through illegitimate means such as fraudulent installs, fake reviews, and even incentivized ratings. As written in the Android Developers Blog:

These attempts not only violate the Google Play Developer Policy but also harm our community of developers by hindering their chances of being discovered or recommended through our systems. Ultimately, they put the end users at risk of making wrong decisions based on inaccurate, unauthentic information.

As a user, you won't have to worry about much on your end. If there's an app in the Play Store that's engaging in unethical practices, Google's systems will detect it and filter it out of your search results. Developers will also be fine as long as they continue to abide by the Google Play Developer Policy. Google also asks that developers take caution with third-party marketing agencies that promote apps to ensure that they also follow the rules.

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1 month ago

Best weather app for Android

280

Accuweather is a feature-rich simple to navigate weather app that has great support and incredibly detailed local data thanks to its weather station network.

Best overall

Accuweather

$2.99

Accuweather

See on Google Play

You might be using Accuweather right now on your Android, whether you know it or not. The longtime weather service powers the weather data on many apps and widgets, including those pre-loaded on many handsets by manufacturers. They use Accuweather for a reason: it's dependable and damn accurate.

And why should you use Accuweather? That accuracy here is combined with a clean, concise app that is easy to navigate and easy to understand.

Bottom-line: Accuweather is the forecasting brains behind many a weather app, but its own app is simple, stable, and gets the job done in style.

One more thing: Accuweather's Minutecast is a marvel and while it's easy to find and read on the main app, it's omitted from its Android Wear app, where it really would do the most good.

Why Accuweather is the best

AccuWeather is one of the more established weather sites out there today, and it has a sizable Android following not only because of a simple yet feature-rich app, but also because AccuWeather powers a plethora of widgets and third-party weather apps. AccuWeather's first-party app is a bright affair, with the simple white (or black) background broken up with big pictures, charts, and ads, though those can be removed by upgrading to AccuWeather Platinum.

The detailed charts for both hourly and daily temperatures also scored big, making it easy for users to judge coming conditions more quickly and easily than reading a slew of numbers. AccuWeather also has regional video forecasts a la The Weather Channel and support for Android Wear, putting the forecast and conditions on your wrist for your convenience.

Best for widget users

1Weather

$1.99

1Weather

See on Google Play

1Weather got a big update at the beginning of September, bringing the app at last to Material Design. 1Weather has always been a beautiful weather app, featuring one of the best dark themes we have encountered… but that dark theme is now broken up with Material Design's bland white cards. These cards aren't themeable like the rest of the app, as you can change the background theme, you can change the icon set from white to black, and you can theme the widgets a multitude of ways… but we can't switch the cards from white back to that beautiful black.

Functionally, there are very few flaws we've found in our extended use of 1Weather, and most of them can be attributed to the horizontal, tabbed layout 1Weather uses, such as the disconnect between reaching the map and interacting with it, as you have to tap an expand button before you can zoom or move the map. There are ads in 1Weather that can be removed with a one-time in-app purchase. It even has Android Wear support, though rather than an app it comes in the form of three-card notifications for current conditions and immediate forecast and one-card notifications for alerts, each with customized background images.

Bottom-line: 1Weather is a beautiful weather app with a layout to match, featuring the best weather widgets for anywhere in the world that isn't Walt Disney World.

One more thing: If you have a child that's interested in what the weather terms we often look at mean, 1Weather is an app that can help teach them a bit more about the weather. When you tap on any of the stats on the bottom of the main page, it will give you explanations of that term and some helpful hints as to what they mean — for instance, that when barometric pressure is dropping there's a good chance a storm is coming.

Best for visual weather

Yahoo Weather

Free

Yahoo Weather

See on Google Play

Yahoo takes the honor in this humble writer's eyes for being the prettiest weather app, but when it comes to weather apps, pretty can't be all it has. Yahoo Weather is powered by Weather Underground, so it's forecasts and data have the accuracy of its nationwide network of personal weather stations.

The background images for the app are pulled from Flickr, Yahoo's picture service, so if you're looking at picturesque locations like New York City or Walt Disney World, you're likely to get a new and beautiful image every time to go into the app. If you're in a more remote location, those pictures will be more generic. The layout for Yahoo Weather is nice if you like to check multiple locations quickly, as you scroll up and down for the data about one location, then scroll side to side to switch between locations.

Bottom-line: Beautiful and backed by WeatherUnderground's robust network of weather stations, Yahoo is a visual marvel and great for users looking to check weather in multiple places quickly.

One more thing: Yahoo doesn't allow you to get rid of ads, but there are at least not that many of them, with a single ad between the forecast and radar and then a list of Yahoo's many Android apps in the menu shade between your locations and settings.

Best Layout

Dark Sky

$2.99/year

Dark Sky

See on Google Play

Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps for ... that other platform ... and it finally came to Android earlier this year. Dark Sky's claim to fame is that its "hyperlocal" accuracy can tell you within minutes of when it's actually going to rain. In addition to that it's got your basic weather information — current temperature, highs and lows, what it actually feels like, etc. You also get precipitation information, windspeed, humidity and UV index.

You can get detailed information on the week ahead, hour by hour. A handy map feature shows you where the rain (and snow) is, worldwide, at any given time. And you've got a wealth of notification options, including a daily summary, next-hour precipitation, severe weather alerts, and custom alerts based off your own variables. Also, Dark Sky features a dedicated do-not-disturb mode so you won't be bothered in the middle of the night (but as someone living in Tornado Alley, I highly advise against it).

Bottom-line: Dark Sky is a bright, brainy weather app that can go beyond how the weather looks by the numbers and tell you how it feels.

One more thing: Dark Sky is free, but some of the more up-to-the-minute options will require a $2.99-a-year (that's $3 every 365 days) subscription. When the app launched on Android, this model drew quite a lot ire, but detailed weather information and a well-supported weather app all year for the price of a large cup of coffee is a bargain.

Best Simple App

The Weather Channel

Free

The Weather Channel

See on Google Play

The Weather Channel app has undergone some changes in recent times, and most of them have improved the app greatly. The layout is much slicker and simpler than before, having ditched its previous UI for one big, long continuous scroll.

As you scroll you get to more detailed information, like daily forecasts, radar, even social options and what the weather is like in some ski resorts. The Weather Channel is one of the most well known sources of forecast information on the planet, and their latest Android app takes out the complicated and makes it ultra simple to see what you need to see.

Bottom-line: The Weather Channel is one of the most recognized and trusted names in weather, and their app is simple without skimping on details.

One more thing: Like Yahoo, The Weather Channel has no paid/premium version to get rid of the ads. Unlike Yahoo, The Weather Channel slips in ad after ad as you scroll.

Best overall

Accuweather

$2.99

Accuweather

See on Google Play

You might be using Accuweather right now on your Android, whether you know it or not. The longtime weather service powers the weather data on many apps and widgets, including those pre-loaded on many handsets by manufacturers. They use Accuweather for a reason: it's dependable and damn accurate.

And why should you use Accuweather? That accuracy here is combined with a clean, concise app that is easy to navigate and easy to understand.

Bottom-line: Accuweather is the forecasting brains behind many a weather app, but its own app is simple, stable, and gets the job done in style.

One more thing: Accuweather's Minutecast is a marvel and while it's easy to find and read on the main app, it's omitted from its Android Wear app, where it really would do the most good.

*/

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1 month ago

Become a CompTIA certified IT professional with hundreds off this comprehensive training bundle

10

Getting started in the IT field can be difficult at the beginning. There is so much that you should know, so many certifications that you will want to have, and it can get quite expensive in a short amount of time. You could spend lots of money and time to learn the basics and get started, or you could do it in your free time at an affordable price.

For just $60 you can get started with this bundle that offers all the information you need to get a bunch of certifications under your belt. Many spend that $60 each month on things like coffee, fast food, and other frivolous stuff, so why not put it towards getting these five certifications?

With this bundle you can train for these certificates:

  • CompTIA A+ certification is widely in demand globally, as it offers the initial momentum to get into the technology vertical
  • CompTIA Network+ certification accelerates professionals to leap high in the technology vertical
  • CompTIA Security+ SYO-401 will accelerate professionals even further
  • CompTIA Cloud Essentials, Cloud + certification is a globally recognized certification in IT service management
  • CompTIA Cloud Essentials Professional certification demonstrates one's knowledge on cloud from a business & technical perspective

Normally priced at over $4000, this huge 98% savings is something you won't want to pass up. You'll have the materials you need to get tons of certifications and jump start your IT career. The information can be accessed online or on your phone, and it will be available for two years, so you can study at your own leisure.

If you are seriously considering a change in careers, you'll want to grab this bundle at just $60 instead of its regular $4100 price tag.

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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1 month ago

Google Assistant reviews and what they mean for Google Home

67

Assistant needs to grow fast for Google Home to be great.

Google has made it quite clear that Assistant is the future. It's in every aspect of your phone, ready to jump into a conversation at a moment's notice, and soon will occupy a physical space in your house thanks to Google Home. This is the evolution of so many different things Google has tried over the years, and the initial response to Assistant has been mostly positive. It's clear there's room to grow, especially when it comes to something you can have a conversation with, but the building blocks are solid.

The big question is what the current form of Assistant will be like for Google Home, and what kind of rapid change and growth is going to be needed for Assistant to be helpful as more than just a mobile chat companion.

Smarter than your smart home

The first step for Google Home is the most obvious. It needs to be able to talk to the things in your house, and it needs to do so well. We've seen examples of using Google Home to launch video apps and play files on a Chromecast, but right now those features don't work well in Assistant. Saying "OK Google" right now about something on Netflix isn't all that functional, even if you're just looking for specific episodes of a show or cast members within an episode. This is all information Assistant should have access to, and should happen well before users are asking to play a video on the television.

It's going to feel like magic to a lot of people.

Google apps being able to talk to Google products is table stakes, though. Google Home needs to be able to talk to connected home equipment in a way that feels natural. Right now we have IFTTT triggers that are just about as organic as what you get through Amazon Echo. As long as you line the words up just right, it'll get the job done. Google Home needs to take a step further and really integrate with your connected house. You need to be able to ask what the inside temperature is, and when the answer gets you saying, "That's a little cold," have your Nest thermostat respond by turning the heat up a couple of degrees. The individual pieces exist for this already, but it's up to Google to make sure the interaction feels natural.

It's unclear any of this will be available when Google Home launches, which could be a problem. Google Home needs to take Assistant and make it immediately aware of what is connected to the network at home and know what can be controlled and what can be integrated with as you set it up for the first time. If that happens, it's going to feel like magic to a lot of people.

A compelling morning companion

Anyone who uses Amazon Echo in more than one room knows the benefits of using Alexa as a morning companion. Setting a timer for your breakfast as it cooks, hearing a quick recap of news, and checking in on traffic patterns are all daily things that can be made much more useful by Google Home. Alexa isn't aware of the route you take to work, the news sources you regularly check, or the shows you stream to your Chromecast. You have to program all of that yourself, and even when you do the results are a little mechanical. Google Home should excel in this area, creating personalized morning briefs based on your activity and making sure the route you take to work is clear for you should be something it does with ease.

What will be even more interesting is what happens when Google Home is able to take things one step further. To hear on the Home speaker or your phone as a reminder that Game of Thrones is going to come on in 20 minutes, or to remind you as you walk into the grocery store that you have things on your grocery list that need to be picked up. There's a lot of cross chatter between phone and Home that could be automated well through Assistant, and while it may not be something Google can do out of the box it's something Assistant will be able to personalize over time.

Whole family support

The biggest challenge Google has right now, the thing that is a bigger problem on Home than it is on Echo because of how integrated Assistant is supposed to become, is support for multiple accounts. I want my son to be able to ask for the next episode of Aphmau's MyStreet and not have weird Minecraft videos show up in my YouTube recommended feed. I should be able to ask for a list of restaurants in the area and have Assistant highlight favorites based on where I've been before, and not have that list contaminated by my spouse ordering pizza when I'm not around. If my oldest daughter asks Google Home what is on the schedule for today, it shouldn't respond with my list of meetings.

Google Home becomes a lot less useful when it lets anyone who walks into my house contaminate my Search, Maps, and Youtube results.

There's no doubt this is incredibly complicated, and probably will be a problem at launch, but it's something Google can and hopefully will solve before too long. This is a company that has struggled with the idea of multiple accounts on things like Android TV in the past, and adding a Family Plan with shared content isn't a solution for it on Google Home. I need to know my daughter can ask for something to be streamed to Chromecast under the content restriction guidelines I set for her, and not the content restriction guidelines I set for myself. If this is really going to be something Google expect the whole family to use, it needs to include multiple user voice training and multiple account login management.

The alternative is what we have with Amazon Echo right now. I have a to-do list full of things like "scratch your butt" and "pick up 500 jars of pickles" because my kids can add things to my account with no authorization from me. I have a streaming radio preset that includes two versions of songs from Frozen and every Perry Gripp song ever because my kids like to listen to silly things while I'm cooking in the kitchen. Google Home becomes a lot less useful when it lets anyone who walks into my house contaminate my Search, Maps, and YouTube results. And you can bet I'll respond by messing with every Google Home I see when visiting other people's houses.

Surviving the early days

Google is a company built by making things and improving them as they get more data from users. That's not a bad thing, and in fact has lead to some impressive revolutions in how we look at email and automation. That having been said, Google Home is supposed to be the first step in a future where we talk to our computers in the comfort of our own living rooms and don't look insane doing so.

It's not going to be perfect right away, but some assurances from Google that this is not just Assistant in a box would be nice. As great as Assistant is right now, it's not a home assistant yet and it's not quite ready to compete with Amazon Echo in several respects. There's little stopping Google from making sure that's no longer true by the time Home launches, and that's going to be the experience that really matters.

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1 month ago

Digital Offer: Get a lifetime subscription to VPN Unlimited for only $29!

24
 Get a lifetime subscription to VPN Unlimited for only $29!

Using the internet is becoming increasingly risky, and many people aren't taking the precautions necessary to protect their data and ultimately themselves. Using a VPN to protect yourself is never a bad idea, but free services are often unreliable, slow, and unsafe.

What you need is an affordable VPN service with a proven track record to keep your data private while you browse the internet. You have several devices, so you need it to work on multiple platforms, and you need servers close to you so you don't suffer from slow speeds.

Right now, Android Central Digital Offers has a sale on a lifetime subscription to the award-winning VPN Unlimited. A one-time payment of $29 never runs out — if you're unsure if this is the VPN for you, get the 3-year subscription for $19 and give it a good test.

VPN Unlimited has servers in over 35 countries to ensure internet speeds are fast and reliable. You can use your subscription on up to five devices at once and can delete unused devices and add new ones. The VPN Unlimited app is available in multiple languages and is compatible with iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, and Windows Mobile.

Connecting to the internet with a VPN means your data is encrypted — unlike many other VPN services, there is no limit on data usage, and you won't experience any throttling. The internet isn't getting any safer, so why wait? This lifetime subscription deal for only $29 won't be available forever.

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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1 month ago

Pocket Casts picks up major update with Nougat features, shareable lists, and much more

17

Pocket Casts is a great podcast app loaded with features. You can easily subscribe to your favorite podcasts, and a sync option allows you to pick up from where you left off across devices, and on the web.

The app has picked up a significant update to version 6.0 that adds several Nougat features, including support for multi-window mode, app shortcuts, audio effects while streaming, and the ability to create shareable lists of your favorite podcasts.

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1 month ago

Vine to shut down app 'in the coming months'

28

Vine is nearing its final loop.

Twitter-owned video sharing app Vine has announced it will be shutting down "in the coming months." The social network built entirely on sharing and viewing auto-looping 6-second videos has been around since 2013, coming in and out of popularity independently of Twitter.

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1 month ago

Google Play Music: The Ultimate Guide

41

There is more music than you can imagine right at your fingertips.

There are plenty of different apps out there that deliver all the streaming music you'll ever need. Not all music apps are created equal though, and Google Play Music manages to do a great job. It lets you stream music, buy new music, and even upload music from you personal collection so that they can be listened to no matter where you happen to be. There is a lot going on, but we've got all the details for you here.

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1 month ago

Video calls are now live on WhatsApp beta!

12

The beta client for WhatsApp picked up an update to 2.16.318, bringing the ability to make video calls. When you tap the call icon, you now have the option of choosing between a voice call or video call. The interface itself is similar to what we've seen with the voice calls. You can start a new call from the Calls tab, or from within a conversation window by selecting the call icon.

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