If you haven't been keeping up on things, each of the Android Central writers take the opportunity every week to tell you about an app that they've been using regularly on their device. We package 'em up nicely and post them on Saturdays -- Apps of the Week. This week we have a good way to get slick deals on apps (how meta), a way to keep up on your reading, a great new game and a few odds-and-ends.
Hang tight, as you'll be able to see every one of our picks this week after the break. Let's see how they stack up.
Casey Rendon - AppSales
I love free apps, and the option to download ad-supported versions instead of paid versions. However, not all apps have a free version available, and some really killer apps can cost a pretty penny. That’s why I wait for sales, using AppSales to monitor prices for me. By default, AppSales will give a notification any time an app in the Play Store is discounted by 25% or more and has at least 1,000 downloads. The minimum discount filter can be changed based on how frugal you’re feeling, as can the minimum downloads filter. If you’re only interested in specific kinds of apps, you can narrow things down further by deselecting any of the 33 categories that Play Store apps are divided into. Notifications can be turned off for manual checking only, or they can be left on and their frequency changed to anywhere from every hour to every day. If you want to check to make sure a deal you’ve found is worth it, as opposed to a sale that happens every week, there’s a price history available for each app that goes back 60 days. For a more proactive shopping approach, you can monitor apps you’re waiting to go on sale by adding them to AppSales’s watch list. Those looking to stretch their Play Store dollars can check this app out using the link below.
Download: AppSales (Free)
Sean Brunett - Goodreads
Amazon recently acquired Goodreads, the social book site where you can share what you're reading and see recommendations from others. If you haven't checked it out yet, the Android app is pretty good. Updates displays all of the most recent activity from your friends, My Books shows all of the titles you've chosen from three categories: Read, Currently Reading and To Read, My Profile allows you to make changes to your bio on the site. The app also gives recommendations based on the books in your lists. There are plenty of groups you can join to gather around a specific genre or author. It's not determined yet if Amazon will change the app, but in my view it doesn't need much. It's functional and very easy to navigate.
Download: Goodreads (Free)
Simon Sage - Epoch
Epoch is a gorgeous cover based shooter with swipe controls that recently found its way to Google Play. Players have to duck behind debris in a post apocalyptic wasteland and shoot it out against other robots. Yes, you're a robot. Sure, there's a storyline about some princess, blah, blah, blah, but the important part is the you've got a replaceable gun arm and make freakin' sweet jetpack-assisted flips in the middle of firefights. As you collect scraps from each level, you upgrade your chassis and get new types of rockets. The graphics are awesome, gameplay fluid, and hey - robots. Totally worth five bucks.
Download: Epoch ($4.99)
Andrew Martonik - Humble Bundle (Beta)
The Humble Bundle is one of the best deals on Android when it comes to getting great indie games for an unbelievable price. In its move to offering Android versions of every game -- and even offering mobile-specific bundles -- there is now a very acceptable Humble Bundle app to manage your downloads. The app is admittedly in “beta” mode right now, and isn’t without hiccups, but it does the job well.
After linking it to your Humble Bundle account, you can download, install and update any app in your library at any time. Because the apps are all DRM-free you can of course download and install them via their individual .apk files, but the Humble Bundle app keeps everything nice and tidy in one place.
Download: Humble Bundle (Beta) (Free)
Jerry Hildenbrand - Mr. Number
I still use my phone as a phone. I'm that guy who needs the multi-thousand minute or unlimited voice plans, and it's my preferred way to communicate. I also ported my number to Google Voice, and use it across several different phones that each have a number from the SIM card as well.
I need a way to block spam calls.
I've tried probably every single call blocker, including the root only ones, and have decided Mr. Number is the one that works best for me. I can block all the unknown number tele-marketers who call at once, can block all 800 and 877 numbers while whitelisting specific ones, and add any number to my block list with just a tap. In the list I can decide who goes to voicemail and who gets connected then immediately hung up on. And it does it all without adding a bunch of "call lag" to my phone like so many other call blockers out there do.
Whether it's calls from political fundraisers, tele-marketers, or even a psycho ex, This will help. Give Mr. Number a try if you need to keep spam calls out of your life.
Download: Mr. Number (free)
Alex Dobie - Action Launcher Pro
While many Android launchers don't stray too far from the standard 5-7 home screen plus app drawer setup, Chris Lacy's Action Launcher is an example of a different approach to home screens. As the name suggests, this is a launcher that uses an action bar up top to allow access to certain features. It also includes an app list on the left edge, accessible by using the app button or swiping from left to right.
The latest version of the app has added a new way to handle widgets, too. Add an app with an associated widget to your home screen, and it'll turn into a "shutter." This is a combination of an app shortcut and a widget -- tap the app to open it, swipe up on it to load its widget in a small window. It's an excellent way to enjoy the benefits of widgets without cluttering up your home screen.
If you're not keen on your phone's built-in launcher, and are looking for something that stands out from the crowd of competitors, Action Launcher Pro is definitely worth a look. You'll need a phone running Android 4.0.3 or higher.
Download: Action Launcher Pro ($3.99)
Happen to miss previous editions of our weekly app picks? You can check them out right here. Our continuing weekly app coverage can also be seen right here as well.