The Play Store has been off to a great start in 2013 – January saw the introduction of some brilliant apps like Carbon Backup and Pushbullet, and February followed up with some great entries of its own. From widgets to root apps to content creation tools, February had something for just about everyone. As always, we'll take a quick look at five of the very best apps we saw in the past month.
When it came time to decide which apps made the cut for the best of February, DashClock was a no-brainer. The widget, developed by Googler Roman Nurik, is – simply put – awesome. If you've managed to miss the hype, DashClock is a clock widget for your home screen and lock screen alike, offering you the time and much more. The widget can display "additional status items" referred to as extensions. These include things like the weather, missed call count, calendar events, and things from various apps that have added DashClock support. And there have been a lot. A few notable examples are PushBullet, Any.DO, AnyDash, and even a separate Facebook Extension. DashClock has seen phenomenal support from developers, and shows no sign of slowing down.
If you want to bring easy-to-look-at information to your lock screen or home screen in a beautiful, elegantly executed package, you want DashClock.
A short fifteen days after announcing it on Google+, developer Koushik Dutta (Koush) pushed his new Superuser app to the Play Store. That's a fast turnaround. Superuser, like similar apps, manages root permissions for other apps on your device. This app is set apart from the competition by a few things though – first, it's open source. It also has some pretty fantastic features, including multi-user support, secure PIN protection, and support for devices sporting x86 and ARM architectures.
So, what can you do to get Koush's new, improved Superuser solution on your device? If you're running a recent CyanogenMod nightly, you've already got it. Otherwise, just click through below.
Greenify, released to the Play Store in mid-February, is an app that looks to save your battery and keep things running smoothly by selectively putting apps to sleep when they aren't running. This isn't just another task killer, though. Users select which apps they want to "hibernate," then go about their business. Greenify works quietly to stop apps eating up resources in the background.
The great thing about Greenify is that it hardly requires any effort. Users don't have to dig into settings to disable an app, freeze it with Titanium Backup, or do anything past initial setup to keep apps from running. That said, users can still use the apps at any time without reversing any settings.
It's worth noting that Greenify is only for rooted devices, but if you're rooted and sick of apps sucking up resources in the background, it's a great solution.
Photoshop Touch for Phones
After Adobe axed their entire line of Touch apps except Photoshop Touch (which we liked), many were interested to see how the creative software giant's mobile strategy would evolve. Adobe's answer was Photoshop Touch…for phones. At $5 for another app in addition to the original tablet version, some users felt burned by Adobe's tactics. Still, we found that the small-screen Photoshop Touch was worth the extra buy for those who want a powerful photo editing app on their smartphone.
If you're familiar with the tablet version, you know what you're getting. The great thing, though, is that you'll also feel right at home coming from Photoshop's desktop experience. Besides a significantly different menu interface, Touch houses an impressive (though still incomplete) host of features from its famous desktop counterpart.
If you are still searching high and low for an app to edit your photos on the small screen, and weren't impressed by the exceedingly capable Pixlr Express, Photoshop Touch is worth a shot.
Silence 2.0 Update
Though our monthly "best of" roundups typically focus on new apps from the previous month, we occasionally come across an app update that's worthy of an entry. Silence 2.0 is one of those updates.
For those unaware, Silence is essentially a way to schedule changes in your phone's volume and behavior based on one-time or recurring events. It offers some handy functionality including connectivity toggles, volume/ringer changes, and the ability to use events right from your calendar.
Of course, Tasker can do all this and more, but Silence provides a solution for those who want a relatively simple interface (now graced by the hand of holo), and aren't looking for the intense amount of automation and customization available from Tasker.
Silence 2.0 may have a limited scope in the realm of device automation, but it does its job well. If you're in and out of meetings all day, or constantly forgetting to turn your ringer back on, Silence is worth a look.
If you're constantly looking for great apps, February likely had something you'll be interested in trying. You can't go wrong with any of the apps listed above, but even if none of them suited your fancy, just keep an eye out for our larger roundups, and we'll be back next month with our top picks from March 2013.