XDA Picks: Best Apps of the Week (May 15 – 22)
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.
Microsoft Office for Android [PREVIEW]
Microsoft keeps releasing new Android apps and bringing their famous services and solutions to the platform. Given that Office is one of the most famous suite of applications in the history of software, it’d only make sense that it’d make it to the biggest platform in the mobile industry. This preview nets you Word, Excel and PowerPoint for phones running KitKat or later, and works like the tablet releases in most functionality. The apps are also sync’d to the cloud, and are adapted to the platform with thoughtful design: menus at thumb-reach, text reflowing, and more.
Hexy Launcher– Reshaping the Launcher [FREE]
Hexy launcher organizes your home screen into a canvas of hexagonal tiles that focuses and centers on your most beloved apps for quick access. The launcher aims to give you automatic and predictive arrangements that minimize app searching time, and like all Swift things, it learns from you over time to improve its predictions. The launcher contains a search bar for you to filter apps, and you can dynamically size elements of the launcher. This release is still experimental, but it remains an interesting launcher option nonetheless.
AdBlock Browser for Android Beta [FREE/BETA]
If you are a power user without time nor space for ads in your life, you might have an Adblock application somewhere on your device(s). The people behind Adblock Plus now bring us their first mobile browser. It is based on Firefox for Android, and while said browser could get adblocking features, this modified variant aims to make the experience seamlessly integrated into the user interface. Keep in mind this is a beta with some of the possible bugs, stability and usability issues that a beta implies.
Touch Pianist – Tap in Rhythm [FREE/IAP/USE DESKTOP]
This is not truly a game, but more so an interesting digital toy of sorts that lets you revive classical music in your head as well as visualize it to understand its rhythm better. This app lets you play piano classics from composers like Beethoven, Bach and Chopin among others, by simply tapping with a single finger – but to the rhythm of the song which is not completely explicit. There is a neat visualization that you can use as a guide or as a visual reward, but it is also fun to play with your eyes closed. Sadly, many of the songs are locked behind a paywall… but you can play many more on the desktop browser version.
Data Status – Data Usage [FREE]
This application allows you to get quick graphical visualizations of your data, from how many days you have left until your renewal to how much you’ve used and how much you have left. The app has graphs and data usage prediction in case your data usage is very consistent and regular, and you can also compare data periods to understand your usage (and your payments!) better. The dock icon also auto updates so that you can keep an eye on your data at any given time. This is an app that can save you a lot of money and stress, so if you don’t have a better solution nor an unlimited data plan, it can rather useful.
Flow Beta [FREE/BETA/SAMSUNG DEVICES]
Samsung’s Flow is the company’s answer to Continuity, and the current release shows a lot of promise when considering it is just a beta. In some ways it functions like Pushbullet, allowing you to share content between devices to continue where you left off. However, it is one of the fastest alternatives and future integration might bring a lot of features that could change our smartphone use-cases for good. If you have a Samsung phone, there is no harm in checking it out – you might find something you didn’t know you wanted!
- Shazam is now on Android Wear, and you can watch the lyrics to the background songs unfold right on your wrist.
- The Chrome App version of Hangouts was updated to feature a more cohesive design which includes a floating action button among other material touches.
- Chrome for Android is now almost entirely open source.
- The Motorola Camera was updated with manual exposure control.
- A new Telegram update added support for custom stickers and Android Auto
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!