XDA Picks: Best Apps of the Week (May 30 – June 6)
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.
While this is more of an update, it is one so significant that it merits a mention as an entirely new app – mainly because it is pretty much a new app. What was basically a port of the webapp is now a fully native application, complete with Material Design, more stable uploads, a sleeker and faster UI and it also makes it easier to browse images by categories. All of this on top of bug fixes and minor improvements make it a great client for sharing images, and one that I personally love to use when sharing high-quality images to skip the lossy compression of various IM clients.
SoundHound Inc. has released their beta for Hound, a Google Now competitor that is already picking up word of mouth for its capabilities. Hound attempts to emulate many of Now’s features while also being more accurate and faster, and it understands some contexts and variables as well. Early reports suggest that the recognition understanding is quite there yet, though, at least not for people with certain accents. If you want to try it out, you will need to become a beta tester and wait for an invite. They roll out periodically, but resources such as this reddit thread can be helpful. If waiting is not your thing, XDA always finds a way…
Hubble Gallery BETA [FREE]
This is a simple yet beautiful application that compiles the Hubble mission’s images in a neat gallery with additional informational text. All content comes straight from official sources, and it is all as breathtaking as only space can be. There’s not much in the way of advanced features, but you can save favorites and navigate photos by section, popularity, resolution, etc. It is also open source, which gives you an extra reason to check it out in case you want to see how something is done. Most importantly, though, we love space and for those that haven’t seen these, they could be an uninspiring new world.
Touchless Chat [PRETTY MUCH PAID]
This application from the developer of Tasker’s AutoApps extends the Google Now messaging functionality to other IM clients that are otherwise not supported, such as skype, whatsapp and viber. The app does not require root, but it does ask for sensitive (yet sensibly crucial) permissions including accessibility, notification access and device administrator. Once those are given, you can send messages from Google Now and from Wear as well. It also works with Tasker and comes with other “smart” features in place. The app is free, but it will add links to sent messages until you shell out some cash. While expendable, Wear users might appreciate it.
This screen recording app allows you to record your Android gameplay seamlessly – the app targets gameplay footage (it pauses outside of games) and allows you to record the voice-over audio as well, which in turn leads to easy-to-make Let’s Play videos. After recording the footage, you can easily share it within the app and build a fanbase around your profile. While this is no Twitch nor Youtube, it might allow you to target the Android audiences that you might not be able to easily find on other Let’s Play platforms. Gaming on Android is no rival to real gaming still, but there is always someone willing to watch Let’s Plays (whether good or bad, not sure why).
Final Fantasy Tactics: WotL [PAID]
The first Final Fantasy Tactics for the original Playstation (PSOne) is perhaps one of the most beloved titles in the franchise — even when it deviated from the traditional RPG formula. The War of the Lions PSP re-release amassed even more love, and now said gem is here on Android with intuitive controls, various optimizations and the same strategic goodness of the original releases. If you grew up with a Playstation, chances are you might remember this game; if you played it, you probably liked it. Regardless if you are new to it or not, check out some reviews to figure out if it holds up.
- Google Maps now has better real-time transit information, which makes it easier to track your transportation or commuting with less of a rush and more time efficiency. The app also streamlines relevant journeys to make your options known at a quick glance.
- Youtube now supports 360-degree videos for Google Cardboard, so if you are a VR aficionado, get the APK and start immersing yourself in all sorts of 360-degree adventures.
- Google Keyboard now supports personal dictionary sync and Emoji access from physical keyboards. However, this update removes phrase swiping, so keep that in mind if you like typing without ever lifting your finger.
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!