Apps of the week

These apps help make the most of your Android

Happy App Day (Sunday) everyone!

We're back with another week's worth of applications we think are excellent enough to get our seal of approval, and here's where we share them with the class. We've got games, apps to make other games better (for real, Fallen Walkers stand no chance when Russell's around), utilities to brighten your life and even an app you probably forgot all about.

Have a look, then be sure to share your favorite app of the week in the comments!

Phil Nickinson — Trivia Crack

Trivia Crack

I'm told this game is the next Flappy Bird. I was not a fan of Flappy Bird. I am, however, a fan of feeling smart, and smarter than my opponent. So Crack Trivial ticks those boxes, I suppose. It's one of those "Log in with Facebook and spam your friends if you're not careful" games. But I am a careful gamer. And so I can compete against friends and randoms in various feats of trivia. It's also sort of like Candy Crush in that when you run out of "lives" (which you lose when you answer a question wrong), you either have to wait for a bit, pay for a recharge, or get free lives by spamming you friends. Is it the next Flappy Bird? We'll see. But for now it's a quick and easy way to kill a few minutes.

Russell Holly — Destiny Public Events

Destiny Public Events

Yeah, I know there's already a perfectly good website for me to get this information. On my phone, which is where I am most likely to use that website, I have to refresh the page constantly. It's way more convenient to have an app with the exact same information open and accessible with a quick tap on my screen. Destiny Public Tracker pulls from the public tracker website, but fills the screen in a nice and glanceable way and keeps everything in tabs so I can flip back and forth easily when complete my daily list of bounties. It's a little on the lazy side, but since I'm already sprawled out on the couch for hours while navigating my Exo Warlock (Voidwalker, obviously) this is just plain better.

Andrew Martonik — Crossy Road

Crossy Road

You've heard about it on iOS, you may have even thought about installing the Amazon Appstore just to get it on Android, but now Crossy Road is available for everyone to download via the Google Play Store. Despite the suggestions that this is a straight Flappy Bird clone due to its similar name and 8-bit graphics, Crossy Road is actually a game that's well-made and fun to play.

The game plays just like it sounds — you use taps on the screen to help your character cross the road. It's like frogger, except you have a choice of dozens of different characters, starting with the standard chicken and working your way through lots of fun choices (I'm working to get the Doge). Rack up points, get prizes and buy new characters with either in-app purchases or coins — it's a great way to kill some time and it's not going to cost you a penny unless you want to accelerate your progress.

Ara Wagoner — Philips Hue

Phillips Hue

I got a set of Philips Hue lights for Christmas, and I'm using them in the bathroom so I can take my evening shower in Blue Rain, brush my teeth in a Midgnight Blacklight, and then get ready in the morning with Ski. And while I'm sure I'll be diving into Tasker integration with other Hue apps in the near future, I want to give a shout out to the Philips Hue app for its widget. The widget is listed as a 4x1, but you can re-size it however you want in Nova and other 3rd party launchers and get not only a bigger or smaller widget but more shortcuts depending on the size of the layout. I currently have a 6x1.5 widget with 6 scene shortcuts, and it's awesome for quick lighting changes.

Download: Philips Hue (Free, lights start at $60)

Jerry Hildenbrand — Google Play Books

Google Play Books

I'm breaking my own rule here and picking a Google app that's likely already on your phone. It's one of the perks of being a long-time employee with no Editor in Chief around to stop me. But I have a good reason.

Like a lot of Google Play content, the selection in Google Play Books keeps growing and growing. I try to read two full-length books each week, and recently I've been able to find exactly what I was looking for right in Google Play — and most of it is DRM free. The app is well-done, with all the options you would want or need in an eBook reader. Night mode, font customization, rotation lock and eye candy are all present and accounted for and make it a well-polished application that I can — and will — recommend.

Next time you're looking for a bit o' literature, be sure to give it a look.