Just in case you've missed all the apps we've rounded up over the last month, or don't have time to sift through all the worthy entries for the new apps that best suit you, we're back with another shortlist of the apps you absolutely need to try out, this time from October 2012.
As always, this short roundup is a hand-picked list of what we consider to be the very best apps from the previous month – apps that anyone looking for new, useful, well-made apps should keep on their radars. Typically, we try to keep these roundups to around five or six apps, but this month we just had to tack on a few extras. Without further ado, let's take a look at Octobers top eight new apps.
Xbox SmartGlass was a hotly anticipated app in October. For those with an Xbox 360, the app allows for navigation, typing, internet browsing, media controls, and more all from your Android phone (strangely, there doesn't seem to be tablet support just yet). SmartGlass is built to be intuitive, and pulls a few pages from Microsoft's new UI design book.
SmartGlass may only be meant for the Xbox 360 crowd, but the functionality it offers is so convenient and longed for by Android users that it definitely deserves a spot in out top seven.
CyanDelta Updater is another app that – while it only appeals to a certain crowd – is so handy that it can't be ignored. The app is targeted at those with devices running CyanogenMod's famous ROMs (specifically nightlies) who are tired of downloading huge ROM packages each and every day to stay on the bleeding edge. CyanDelta, as the name would imply, grabs CM "delta" files, representing only the changed or updated pieces of each nightly, making for super fast downloading and automated updating.
Of course CyanogenMod now has its own built-in updater, but the convenience of downloading significantly smaller update files allows CMDelta to handily outdo the baked-in option, and the app definitely shows potential. If you want to stay on the leading edge of CM goodness without wasting time downloading huge files, just hit the widget below.
Zooper Widget is a widget for the minimalist home screen aficionado in all of us. Similar in concept to Minimalistic Text, Zooper Widget is an extremely versatile text-based time/weather/date/everything widget that can add a touch more functionality to your otherwise sparse home screen. What's great about Zooper is that you first decide how much screen space you want to dedicate to the widget, and then choose what and how much information you want to cram in there.
If you're in the middle of crafting the perfect home screen and need something that's versatile, informative, and beautiful, grab Zooper Widget.
If you've ever traveled abroad, you likely understand the utility of a VPN service. Looking to bring a consistent, secure, and private internet experience to Android users, TunnelBear Inc. released their self-titled TunnelBear VPN to the Play Store last month. The app is free to download, and provides "a hearty amount of free 'tunneling' each and every month." Users can, of course, upgrade via in-app purchase to unlock unlimited "tunneling," for constant privacy.
TunnelBear's interface is exceedingly simple. Just switch on the service, choose US or UK servers, and watch TunnelBear do his thing. (The animated bear, by the way, is a "feature.")
If you're looking for a simple, reliable VPN for your Android phone or tablet, look no further. Hit the widget to get your own TunnelBear.
Looking to bring "the best as-you-go color picker" to Android "for color-blinds and designers," Loomatix introduced Color Grab in October. The app, as you might guess, is a real-time color picker that can "grab" colors from the world around you using your Android device's camera (rear or front). Of course, Adobe's Kuler can grab colors from photos, but Color Grab's real-time interface is unique.
Color Grab provides users with a color name, RGB Hex, RGB Decimal, and HSV values all at once, with the ability to save up to 1300 colors at a time, sorting them into 16 basic color categories.
If you're a designer or other creative who's been yearning for a tool to capture and save the colors that inspire you in your environment on a day to day basis, Color Grab is a great tool to check out. Plus, it's absolutely free (and ad free).
PerfMon is the latest in a long history of excellent apps produced by Chainfire. The developer behind DSLR Controller, SuperSU, CFBench, and others, brought us PerfMon last month – a floating performance monitor that helps users keep an eye on things like CPU, disk I/O, network I/O, and foreground app performance no matter where they are or what they're doing on their device.
The app is unique in that it measures CPU performance according to what Chanfire calls "CPU capacity usage," a metric that takes CPU usage and scales it to what it would be if all cores were running at full capacity. So, according to Chainfire, if you had one app using 10% CPU when only one 200MHz core is active. If all four cores were running to their 1.6GHz capacity, that app would be calculated by PerfMon as running at 0.3% of total CPU capacity. This method makes much more sense than using the raw data.
If you like to keep an eye on your device's performance, and have a thing for floating apps, PerfMon is for you. Just click through the widget.
We'll round out this month's top seven with another utilitarian app – Screen Standby by nkaHnt. The app it sets out to save your screen, your battery, and ultimately your device itself during long periods of HDMI/MHL output for things like gaming, web browsing, or watching movies.
It's worth noting up front that this is a root-only app. The way it works is simple – when you want to watch a movie or video through HDMI, or simply listen to YouTube audio without wasting a ton of battery, the app allows you to turn off the screen without putting the device to sleep, and wake it up again using a variety of methods from shaking to simply gesturing near the proximity sensor.
Developer nkaHnt reports that battery use while watching a movie over HDMI can be cut from 30% to a mere 2% with Screen Standby, so if you find yourself making heavy use of your rooted device's HDMI/MHL capabilities, this app may be for you.
October, like most months, saw the introduction of a ton of new apps to the Play Store. If you didn't have time to try them all out, this short list should give you some good starting places. Of course, if none of these suit your needs, just keep an eye out for our semi-weekly roundups of both apps and games.