If you're like us, you have an obsession with new apps. When you try every new app you come across though, you're bound for disappointment. After all, not every app can be a paragon of functionality, style, and convenience. With that in mind, we go through the long list of new apps submitted to the Play Store every couple of weeks and bring you the best. Even that, though, can be a little too much to digest for some users. For that reason, we've got monthly roundups featuring just a handful of the very very best apps and games from the previous month. Like always, we've compiled a shortlist for users searching for something new. Without further ado, here are our six favorite apps from March 2013.
Opera Browser Beta
Back at Mobile World Congress, we heard about a new version of Opera Mobile. The browser, which hasn't seen any major action (at least none this big) on Android in a while, had been revamped, retooled, and otherwise readied to impress. In early March, it finally hit the Play Store in its full glory.
As you'd hope from a browser iteration that positions itself as a full(er) experience, Opera Beta has plenty of features, from its WebKit rendering engine to a rebuilt UI to familiar features like the Speed Dial start screen. The browser also offers Off Road mode for the bandwidth-conscious and the Discover tab for quick, pretty news updates.
Opera's reworked interface may not match Android's design language to a T, but it's a solid browser, and definitely worth trying out, even if you're not a fan of its desktop counterpart.
This one is a no-brainer. Google's now-you-see-it-now-you-don't app finally, permanently came to the Play Store last month, bringing to the table Google's integrated notes app for Android. A native notes app had been on many Android users' wish lists (or at least their "why doesn't this exist" lists) for a while, and Google finally delivered with a slick, stylish app that integrates with Goog's own Search app, and which has a really simple online interface. Users can add text, check lists, voice notes, or images in a snap, and managing notes is a breeze as well.
Besides its convenient functionality and beautiful design, Keep held another goody – a brand new Roboto font, Roboto Slab. If you're not already a fan of alternatives like Evernote, Google's take is definitely worth a second look.
AntTek Quick Settings
Sometimes the best apps are those that enhance the functionality of the device on which they are installed, rather than providing extra convenience to the user or performing tasks that streamline your day to day life. Sometimes, though, an app appears that does all of those things. AntTek's Quick Settings is one such app.
If you couldn't guess from the name, this app is all about Jelly Bean-style quick settings, bringing them to any device running 2.1 and above. QS does so much more, though. Users can add web and app shortcuts, shortcuts to reboot, recovery, wireless ADB, music controls, predefined brightness controls, sound profiles, tethering, and a lot more.
If you're running a pre-4.2 version of Android, or just don't like the standard seven-tile approach to quick settings, grab AntTek's offering below. The Pro version will run you $1.99, for which you'll get even "more" advanced functionality.
When it comes to free credit scores with even a chance of being reliable, there's definitely such a thing as "too good to be true." Last month though, the Play Store saw the introduction of Credit Karma's official Android app, which promises to give you your credit score for free in just two minutes, including the time it takes to sign up. And guess what – it works! The service pulls information from TransUnion with what some call a "soft request," meaning it won't show up on your actual report, and provides you with tons of data, information, and tips on how to better your score.
The app's interface is not perfect just yet, but the information and service it provides on the go are invaluable. Did I mention it's free?
Rounding out the selection of system-related apps in this month's roundup, we've got System Monitor by Christian Göllner. This app's premise is simple, but its execution is excellent. Basically, System Monitor will … monitor your system. It provides real-time information on system load in the form of an in-app graph, notification bar graph, or even in a floating widget. The app "is a full 5 in 1," monitoring CPU, RAM, I/O, Network performance, and top apps.
For performance junkies, System Monitor is a no brainer. For those that don't want to jump right in to the $1.99 commitment, there's a lite version.
Finally, we have Instructables. If you've done many DIY projects, you've probably heard of (or frantically searched) Instructables. The site is a great resource for step-by-step tutorials, usually accompanied by photos, written by the user community. Autodesk brought the site to your mobile device last month with an official app, and it actually looks (and works) great. Oh, and it's tablet-compatible!
The app carries Instructables' library of over 100,000 projects, all neatly organized with decent discovery capability. Even if you're not looking for a rainy day project, the app is worth seeing.
Those are our top six apps from March. Even if none of them struck a particular chord, you can keep an eye out for our larger periodic roundups of both apps and games.