More great apps than you can shake a stick at
Here we are again wrapping up another great month of Apps of the Week columns. This week is no different than any other, though, as we're still bringing together a selection of app picks from each of the writers here at Android Central and putting them on display all in one place. There are no restrictions at play here — if it's an app that we use on our Android-powered phones, tablets, TVs or ovens, it's fair game to show up in this list.
This week we have a more standard collection of apps, comprised of a couple new games to try out, an app that can make you feel like you're helping out without lifting a finger and some utility apps to boot. Read along and see how this week's picks stack up with the rest — you may just find one that works for you.
Jerry Hildenbrand - Cut the Rope 2
Cut various pieces of rope to alter the landscape so delicious candy can drop into Om Nom's mouth. The idea behind the Cut the Rope series is simple and fun, and this version carries that through. The higher levels get tougher, but even losing is fun, and that's the mark of a great game. If you likes the first version or either of the mini-sequels, you'll love Cut the Rope 2.
Having said that, I almost didn't pick this one. It follows the popular Freemium model, and does so in the worst way — with both invasive interstitial ads and constant nagging for in-app purchases. It's almost enough to abandon the game, and I hope ZeptoLabs makes a paid version available, as they have done with the other Cut the Rope games.
You'll have to try it yourself and see if the ads are worth seeing, I just want to make sure you know they are there.
Download: Cut the Rope 2 (Free, In-app purchases)
Simon Sage - Shattered Planet
Shattered Planet is a grueling free-to-play turn-based sci-fi RPG. Players guide a hapless clone through treacherous and conveniently grid-friendly interstellar landscapes. Every stage has a teleporter you're trying to reach which will further your exploratory mission. You'll probably need to squish some hostile aliens along the way, and gathering some resources for your next clone would be a good idea, since he'll need to craft some gear following your inevitable demise and the loss of whatever is on your person. In-app purchases are enabled for those resources, as well as a few novelty skins. Shattered Planet is a challenging mix of strategy and action with a tense pace and plenty of humor.
Download: Shattered Planet (Free)
Phil Nickinson - HTC Power to Give
I like the idea of being able to help out without having to lift a finger. And that's sort of what HTC Power to Give is all about. The idea is that we've got these powerful computers in our pockets that actually have a lot of wasted potential computing power. So with HTC Power to Give, you can loan our your CPUs to projects that need massive amounts of power. I don't pretend to understand what my phone's doing when it helps, nor does the app really tell you. You can browse the individual projects for a broad sense of what the purpose is, but even then I still don't actually know what my phone's doing. And you know what? I'm OK with that. You've got plenty of control over when your phone's actually crunching numbers in the background — you can choose between wall power, USB power or a wireless charger, for example, and also choose at what minimum battery level computation will be suspended. More advanced options include control over the more discrete functions of the CPU.
Basically, I'm loaning out my phone while I sleep to what I assume are some cool projects. It's no more work than that. Not all devices are supported — you need Android 4.3 and up, a decent process and at least 1GB of RAM. See the app description for more details.
Download: HTC Power to Give (Free)
Andrew Martonik - Alaska Airlines
Alaska is my airline of choice since it flies pretty much anywhere from Seattle. I've begrudgingly used its Android app for some time since it sure beats downloading a boarding pass PDF and manually putting in your phone — but after using the app on my last trip I think I've given it an unfair look previously. Don't get me wrong, the interface is still pretty atrocious, but once you spend a good bit of time figuring out how the app works it can be immensely useful.
Once you go through the trouble of plugging in your Alaska details and searching for a flight, you can check in, view your boarding pass, change seats, manage upgrades and check flight status. On my most recent trip the app was even faster to update on a flight delay than Google Now by a good 15 minutes — one of the most important things an app like this can offer.
If you're a casual flyer that doesn't care which airline you're on then you're probably not going to bother having an app for each one, but if you regularly take Alaska and are okay spending some time figuring this app out, you'll be rewarded.
Download: Alaska Airlines (Free)
Richard Devine - JotterPad X: Writer
While I'm not going to say I do a lot of writing on my phone or tablet, occasionally I find myself with an idea or some free time and want to get something done. Since we use Markdown at Mobile Nations, I use JotterPad X, probably the best Markdown editor I've found on Android.
It costs $4.55 to unlock everything, but it's so beautifully designed and feature rich it's worth it. You don't have to use Markdown, but you can save to your device in a variety of formats, including pdf. You can also export to email and Dropbox in the same formats, and of course keeping your documents synced across devices.
There's too much to talk about in a short space (like a distraction free reading mode) but if you use your Android to write, definitely take a look. The initial download is free.
Download: JotterPad X: Writer (Free; In-app purchases)
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
Google's giving up too much ground in the smart home fight
We're in the thick of our fall launches, but after the tidal wave of new products from Amazon last week, Google's Launch Night In looks like it'll barely make a splash. That's not good, because Alexa and Ring are rapidly gaining on Assistant and Nest.
Luna is both a safe bet and Amazon's best idea in years
Is "rolling your own" Netflix-style game library what we really want? Amazon thinks so.
Google's parent company settles shareholder lawsuit over sexual misconduct
Following sexual misconduct reports from 2018, Google has settled a shareholder lawsuit and announced major changes to how the company operates in these regards — including no severance packages for employees fired over sexual misconduct.
The best portable instant photo printers for Android devices
You're on the move and making memories on your mobile. While digital is great, why not try and make those memories a little more permanent with a tangible photo?