Apps of the week

The apps we're using the most this week

It's Sunday. That means it's time for us to share the apps that we find ourselves opening and using the most during the past week. It may be something brand-spanking-new, or it may be an old favorite that got a sweet update. Or it may be an app from days past that we fell in love with all over again. But there will be apps.

Have a look and see which ones we're using, then dive into the comments and tell us which apps you're using. This works better when everyone participates!

Ara Wagoner — Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher

Nova's been my go-to launcher for a long time, and it's for two reasons: one, it's frequently updated with some of the newest and coolest features from Google such as Ok Google hotword detection, and two, it's very easy to switch between saved themes, making it wonderfully simple to make your phone festive for one day and then revert to business as usual the day after. I take pride in my device and my setup, and as a festive person, I like to dress up my homescreen for the holidays. It may be too late for Halloween, but that just means I can put more effort into Christmas, because even though I'm not religious, it is my favorite season. And with Nova, I can get my phone into the holiday spirit.

If you haven't tried it yet, Nova's pretty awesome, which we've said many, many times, and while you can wait for it to go on sale (it's a fairly frequent thing for launchers like Nova), it's most definitely worth getting Nova Prime.

Download: Nova Launcher (Free, $4.00)

Andrew Martonik — Untappd


I've decided I need to expand my beer consumption (in variety, not quantity), and the tool that's gonna help me out with that is Untappd. It's like the Foursquare of beers, letting you "check in" with the beer you're drinking and keep track of them over time while comparing with your friends.

It gives you the opportunity to tell folks what you're partaking in on a particular outing, but also let you keep tabs on how many varieties you've tried over your time using the app. You can create wish lists for varieties you want to try out, there are badges for different achievements and friend lists as well. You can even browse popular or nearby beers if you're looking to expand your horizons.

Download: Untappd (Free)

Richard Devine — Vortex


I've been watching a little too much Twitch streaming of late, primarily because of the sheer number of huge new games hitting around the same time. On Android I'm using unofficial app, Vortex, for that.

That's mainly down to its appearance and it's simplicity compared to the official app. The side menu in Twitch is so bloated with suggested content, whereas Vortex just isn't. You get to watch the streams at source quality, and it looks and behaves well on tablets, too. It doesn't have Chromecast support right now, but that doesn't bother me so much.

Now back to watching endless Halo streams...

Download: Vortex (Free)

Phil Nickinson — Simplenote


I know everything's supposed to be all Google Docs and in the cloud these days, but sometimes GDocs is just too much. And for my simple note-taking — and, actually pre-writing — this year I've found myself using Simplenote. At its heart it's really just a simple text editor. Create an account and sign in with the app — I know, why not just use Google Docs, right? — and your notes are synced up across devices and on your computers. That's really all I use it for. Taking notes, and writing drafts. It's got word count and in-line spell-check and doesn't screw with Markdown. You can share a note with someone else and work on it together if you want, but at that point I'd probably just go back to GDocs. There's tagging and versioning as well. So, OK. It's more than just a text editor, I guess. But it's also very, very simple.

Download: Simplenote (Free)

Justin Duino — Word of the Day

Word of the Day

Word of the Day is an application that sends a vocabulary word or phrase to your Google Glass or Android device once a day. I first started using the app when it arrived in the form of Glassware on MyGlass. While wearing Glass you are able to create a vignette which includes the Word of the Day and a picture you have taken so as to reinforce the definition of the word in your own, fun way. Since the release of the Glassware, the developers of Word of the Day have released an Android version of the application that works perfectly with a paired Android Wear device. Inside the Android application you can quickly go back and read previous words that have been sent to you and also create a vignette with pictures previously taken with your device.

If you want to get daily words sent to you so that you can expand your word base then Word of the Day is perfect for you! Additionally, on the Glass version you can have the Glassware send you foreign words of the day as to give you a bit more knowledge of different languages.

Download: Word of the Day (Free)