Our weekly app picks
It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.
Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!
Russell Holly — Tilt Brush Gallery
One of the more amazing things I have seen and done through the HTC Vive is Tilt Brush, an app now owned by Google that allows you to draw in a 3D space. We've seen legendary animator Glen Keane do his thing in Tilt Brush not too long ago, but seeing a 2D video talking about a 3D creation isn't quite as compelling as it could be.
Until you can put a Vive on for yourself and try this out, the next best thing is Tilt Brush Gallery for Google Cardboard. This gives you a 3D look at sketches in Tilt Brush, so you can get a feel for how these creations are coming to life.
Andrew Martonik — Tap Tap Dash
Tap Tap Dash is an amazingly frustrating game, and that's why it's so awesome. The game seems simple — just tap the screen to turn or jump, it says, while you navigate the pathway — but after two levels you can tell that it's anything but. This little puzzler will have you frustrated and shaking around your phone in just a handful of minutes, guaranteed. And that's why I keep playing it!
Outside of the simple mechanics that make it easy to pick up and hard to put back down, Tap Tap Dash does all of the right stuff with great visual and sounds, Google Play Games integration, unobtrusive ads (but really, just pay $1.99 to remove them) and non-required in-app purchases. If you're into repetitive puzzle games, you'll want to give this one a look.
Ara Wagoner — Glim Icon Pack
While I rotate through a small array of themes, I seldom deviate from my regular icon pack. In Glim, however, I believe I have found an icon pack to last through most of my yearly themes. See, in addition to thousands of well-done app icons in a vibrant Material Design palette, Glim offers color variations of popular apps and alternative icons. So, when I attempted to red-out my app drawer for my lovely holiday theme, Glim offered red variants of almost every Google app, as well as other popular apps like Twitter, Timely, Netflix, and Hulu.
For more obscure apps that didn't have a colored option (or apps that weren't included in Glim at all), the alternative icons allowed me to keep the theme going. And since the colored icons come in a rainbow of colors, you can find a color to match your theme, from a green St. Patrick's theme to that new yellow and purple Batgirl wallpaper you're rocking. There are both free and paid versions of Glim, allowing you to test out a theme before you support the developer with a purchase.
Phil Nickinson — TripIt
It's been a while since I spotlighted this app, and TripIt hasn't lost any of its usefulness. If you're traveling anywhere anytime soon — particularly during the holiday season — this is the only way to keep track of all of your flight and hotel and car rental information in one place. I've yet to find another app that does it as well as this. Google Calendar is getting closer, but TripIt still wins out for simplicity. My only real complaint is that it tends to be a little notification-heavy, but you can tweak that in the settings. Give the free app a look, and ad-free is just 99 cents. (And a reminder that if you spring for the TripIt Pro service you'll need to just use the free app.
Alex Dobie — Pixlr
Photo editing apps are nothing new. But the reason Pixlr has become a staple app for me on phones is that it offers functionality above and beyond most built-in photo editors. Along with options for altering contract, vibrance, color temperature and other sliders, Pixlr lets you directly tweak your pics in a few useful ways. There are spot healing and red eye removal tools to name a few. That's along with brush options like pixelation, darkening and lightening. And for taking your artistic ambitions to the next level, you can even add filters and borders. Best if all, Pixlr is available for free on Google Play.
Richard Devine — Audible
Audible is one of those services everyone seems to have heard of but not necessarily tried out. Right now, where I am at least, Amazon is giving Prime subscribers a free three-month trial of one book a month, which gives me the perfect chance to finally try it out for some 'reading.' There are tons of great books I want to read and just never have the time to, so perhaps this will be the happy middle ground.
It's also a decent app in its own right. Amazon generally keeps its stuff well updated, and this is no exception. It has been updated to properly support Android 6.0 Marshmallow, so for three months at least I'll get to enjoy it. After that, we'll see.
Jen Karner — Colorfy
Sometimes, you just want to color — or you're trying to desperately distract the toddler in your care. Either way, Colorfy is an app you should certainly check out. As you might have guessed by the name, it's an app for coloring. You can choose between dozens of different pages to color in from Animals to Mandalas. Once you're in, you just tap on the color and then tap on the space you want to fill in. While it isn't quite the same as being able to sit down with a coloring book, and slowly fill in a design over time, it is a great way to relax and burn a few minutes. It's also quite kid friendly, if you're a parent who is always on the look out for a fun app to distract your children during long car rides to grandma's house this season.
Jerry Hildenbrand — Evil Genius Online
I'm going to guess that some of us remember the best video game of all time, Evil Genius. If you don't, go drop it on your Steam wishlist and wait for it to go on sale so you can play it. We'll wait.
Back? Great. Now for the awesome part — you can play almost the same game on your Android with Evil Genius Online. You're Evil. You're also a Genius. That means you need to build an amazingly intricate and ridiculous underground lair where you can plan and design a way to take over the world. You'll have plenty of minions and sycophants, as well as pesky do-gooder agents who will try to stop you. Encourage the former, and "deal with" the latter.
You can play with friends via Facebook or Google+. You can buy gems and cash via in-app purchases, though you can have plenty of fun without doing so.
Is this as good as the PC game from 2004? Nope. But it's a fun little time waster that you can play in spurts, or sit down for a marathon session. And being Evil is fun.