Welcome back to our second edition of the Apps of the Week column for the month of August, where we give the Android Central writers a chance to show off apps that they're using. This post is a place for the writers to sound off about an app or service they've been using in the last week and just have to tell everyone about.
Hang along with us after the break where we have a Facebook alternative, a couple of games and a few tools to round out the group.
Casey Rendon - Klyph
I'm not a big Facebook user. I only go on to keep up with group announcements, or when someone bugs me enough to look at their photo or video du jour. When I do use Facebook on Android, I want to get in and get out. That's something that's always bugged me about the official app — it's just too slow. A new app on the play Store — Klyph — gives Facebook users a fast, smooth, and attractive alternative to Zuckerburg's in-house creation. The combination of speed and Google+ UI just feels satisfying. It is still early in development, and there are a few limitations due 3rd party app restrictions, but it offers enough for my uses to ditch the official app. It's free on the Play Store, with a paid version available if you'd like to support the developer or get rid of ads.
Download: Klyph (Free)
Chris Parsons - Hungry Shark Evolution
Although I was disturbed to learn that no Sharknado app yet existed, I did find some joy in finding and playing Hungry Shark Evolution. As you may have guessed from the name, you get to play as a shark eating everything that you possibly can get your teeth sinked into. The genre is a bit overplayed but the game is fun to play through no less. Plus, they've gone ahead and added some special add-ons for Shark Week which are, a bit amusing. Overall, mindless fun and I'm OK with that.
Download: Hungry Shark Evolution (Free)
Jerry Hildenbrand - ActiveNotifications
If you're wanting something akin to the new Moto X Active Display, and have a device running Android 4.3, you might want to give ActiveNotifications a look. It sits quietly in your application drawer until you get a notification, which it then presents on top of the lock screen, giving you a preview very much like the one seen on the Moto X. The app is configurable — you can control which notifications come through, how long the screen stays lit, and with the premium purchase you can hide the notification details from prying eyes.
The app is still fairly new, and it's not perfect. I use a couple apps that leave a persistent notification, and this seems to throw a wrench into the works from time to time. The developer seems responsive, though, and the 99-cents was well spent in my opinion.
Edit: In the time since writing this, ActiveNotifications has been updated to version 1.4 which brings custom brightness to the premium feature set, better handling of persistent notifications and most exciting — support for devices running 4.1.2 and higher. That's one responsive developer!
Download: ActiveNotifications (Free / $0.99)
Simon Sage - Gentlemen!
I'm a big fan of local multiplayer games - y'know something you can play with friends on the same tablet. Slingshot Racing is one of my favorites among those, but a new one came out not too long ago called Gentlemen! In it, you square off against a dapper foe in a a variety of duel types - either take turns chasing one another down, go head-to-head, or be the first to snag three diamonds. Players use a variety of random weapons that spawn throughout the stage, from the simple (yet effective) knife, to the sort-of-reliable exploding pigeon. Besides the sharp Victorian style and smart UI layout, the real gem here is the reverse gravity mechanic. Instead of jumping, players flip the polarity of their character back and forth to navigate platforms. This can result in a lot of trippy situations with people tossing bombs at one another while standing on the ceiling. If you've played VVVVVV before, you'll know exactly how disorienting this can be. If you've got a buddy you want to school in the classiest way possible, try out Gentlemen!
Download: Gentlemen! ($3.03)
Andrew Martonik - The Football App
We may be getting into the “football” (aka hand egg) season here in the states, but elsewhere in the world real football is being played and the best way I’m finding to keep up with it all is The Football App. Coming fresh off of a redesign, The Football app offers coverage of over 100 different international football leagues, of course including the big ones like the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga.
The Football app shows scores by day, as well as detailed information on matches with full stats, box scores, a live ticker and field lineups. It’s a football fan’s dream app, and it’s free as well so it’s worth taking a look.
Download: The Football App (Free)
Alex Dobie - DashClock Widget
Nexus fans might already be familiar with Roman Nurik's DashClock widget. But I still get questions about which clock widget I'm using when I post screenshots online, so here goes.
DashClock was one of the first third-party lock screen widgets to appear on Google Play after the launch of Android 4.2, and it's arguably still one of the most useful. It can be used on your lock screen or home screen, and it connects to other apps to show relevant information in a pleasing, customizable, scrollable list. Think of it as a cross between the notification shade and Google Now -- the idea is to give you an overview of what's going on based on the extensions that you choose.
DashClock's extension system also allows third-party apps to hook into your widget, and there's a large number of apps that do just that -- for example BBC Weather and Tasks. If you're running an Android 4.2+ device -- and more users than ever are -- here's an app that's definitely worth your time.
Download: DashClock Widget (Free)
Phil Nickinson - Onkyo Remote
This comes with the prerequisite of owning an Onkyo receiver, but it's damned handy app to have if you meet that qualification. At this time of this writing, it's compatible with all Onkyo network A/V receivers released in from 2010 through now, as well as the TX-8050 Network Stereo Receiver, T-4070 Network Stereo Tuner and the CR-N755. Setup is virtually nil — just make sure your receiver is connected to your home network, then fire up the app. You can turn the whole shebang off and on, change inputs directly or use the "listening mode" feature. You also can adjust the EQ and, most important, the volume — a godsend for when your kids keep turning things up and you don't want to get yelled out for turning them back down.
Download: Onkyo Remote (Free)
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.