XDA Picks: Best Apps of the Week (June 13 – 20)
Apps are at the front and center of any smartphone experience, and with over a million apps on the Google Play Store and new apps being submitted to our forums every day, staying up to date on the latest apps and games can be a hassle. At XDA we don’t discriminate apps – if it’s interesting, innovative, original or useful, we mention them. The XDA Portal Team loves apps too, and here are our top picks for this week.
Pushbullet launched their Portal app, another file transfer application attempting to grab a slice of the popularity of such functionality. Portal uses WiFi and attempts to make the process as simple as its cousin app Pushbullet. The app can transfer many or large apps at once effortlessly, and everything you transfer onto your phone can easily be accessed from the Portal app where you can open the files or share them in a single tap. Those of you running Lollipop can also move the Portal folder on your microSD card, and the app is built into the Android built-in file browser for easy and extensive access.
Clock (by Google) [FREE]
The stock Android clock is now on the Play Store, meaning everyone who is running a ROM with its own non-Google clock application can now easily download and enjoy the standard Android version. This app comes with easy to use alarm settings with a radial menu, a stopwatch, timer and multiple location clocks – a standard suite of clock app features. However, this app comes with beautiful animations and dynamic backgrounds, and it is also very light and smooth ensuring your device will run it effortlessly. Some OEMs put rather ugly clock apps in their ROMs, so why not?
Falcon SMS [FULLY FREE]
Falcon SMS is an ergonomic SMS app by XDA user TimboMachimbo that is fast, smooth and fully-featured. It is completely free with no ads, and comes with a nice quick-reply option, custom notification settings, a tablet UI in landscape mode and a lot of customizations. The app’s developer is active and listens to feature requests, so this app will probably only get better from here on out. There is no shortage of SMS apps, but good ones don’t come every day. This one looks promising, and with with a theme engine, delayed sending and tabbed conversations allegedly coming, its promises look good!
HeadsOff [FREE/PRO KEY]
Heads-up notifications can be a handy feature, but not all the time. The stock implementation leaves a lot to be desired, and many users simply prefer the old-fashioned notification ticker. HeadsOff attempts to give that demographic just that – the free version allows you to disable the heads-up notifications (without root!), but in order to re-establish the ticker you must pay $2 for a pro upgrade. While it is sad that this is the case, some of you might appreciate the feature enough to consider the upgrade. If you miss the ticker, this is by far one of the easiest solutions, albeit not the cheapest.
Topeka for Android [FREE]
Topeka was an Open Source example of Material Design on the web, and it was another way for Google to publicize its Material Design while also teaching developers its basics. Now they have released an Android version to bring accessible Material Design examples to your phone. It demonstrates that consistency and thoughtfulness can truly enhance an user experience while making it beautiful and fluid. If you want to learn more about Material Design, need some extra examples or just like pretty applications, give Topeka a look. If you want to learn more, visit the Android Developers Blog for some coded examples, or visit its GitHub!
Adobe Photoshop Mix, Brush CC, Color CC, Shape CC [FREE]
Adobe released a bunch of applications this week, and while none of them live up to actual Photoshop on a desktop (who would expect that?), they are solid with specific uses. Photoshop Mix is a light-featured image editor that focuses on crops, cut-outs, color changes and typical visual enhancements. The UI makes it easy to use and it features the standard non-destructive editing. Brush CC, Color CC and Shape CC are specific tools that allow you to easily create brushes, color palettes and vectors that you can import to the to Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC. This is clearly aimed at designers, so unleash the themer in you!
- QuickPic Beta v4.5 adds a Search feature as well as an intuitive photo selection feature.
- The newest version of the Evernote beta fixes force-closes on the Android M Developer Preview.
- Inbox v1.9 adds a new compose and reminder shortcut widgets for your homescreen, and it also now uses natural language recognition to suggest reminders.
- Promotions (ads) will come to HTC’s BlinkFeed. Read more here!
- The Spotify 3.1 beta added a Running feature as well as the ability to stream video shows and podcasts.
That is it for this week. We hope that you might have found some of these apps as interesting, useful or entertaining as we did. Whether you are a student, a developer, a designer or a gamer, Android has you covered. We will try to reflect that each week with a variety of picks to spark your interest, and If you see (or publish!) any new apps that you think are worthy of a feature, be sure to send us a tip and we’ll give it a look. Until next time!