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.
|Liam Spradlin||Besides being an avid Android fan and blogger, Liam is a photographer with a degree in both Anthropology and Sociology. He can usually be found reading through blogs, taking photos, or studying ancient pottery. Liam has been known to leave on international trips at a moment's notice, and can't resist a new challenge.|
The Galaxy Note 10.1, Samsung's creativity-minded, advanced digitizer-packing slab from last year has been a lot of places – everywhere from the crazy life of James Franco to the music stands of the Brussels Philharmonic. If you've followed the 10.1's life so far, but haven't pulled the trigger to buy a unit for yourself, you're in luck – Woot.com has a deal on the tablet, offering up the 16GB variant, refurbished, for $329.99, while the tablet, new, usually sells for around $449.
Update 4/9/13: The deal is back today.
Those who missed out on eBay Daily Deals' recurring deal on the Nexus 7 ($30 VISA gift card, ear buds, 32GB Nexus 7 for $259.99) the last four times we've seen it, Daily Deals has pulled through once again, this time with a significantly better price. Though the 32GB slates up for grabs are refurb and don't come with a random pair of earbuds, $189 is an undeniably good price for a 32GB Nexus 7 which, if new, would cost buyers $249.99 from the Play Store.
Those on contract with the Now Network who've had their eye on HTC's latest flagship, the One, should listen up – Newegg is offering pre-orders for the One in both its Stealth Black and Glacial White color variants for $129.99 with next-day shipping.
Of course, Sprint is offering pre-orders of the device to new customers for just $99.99, but the deal excludes upgrades. In case you've forgotten what makes the HTC One worth looking at, here's a quick look at its specs.
Facebook Home, the company's trumpeted home screen replacement effort, has been a popular point of discussion since before it was announced.
For those who missed the announcement, Facebook is looking to replace your device's normal launcher with a continuous in-your-face social bonanza, featuring a huge news feed on your lock screen, a new pop-up chat called Chat Heads, and pretty complete integration with the social network, allowing for status, photo, and other updates on the fly.
From poorly-executed "leaks" to potential legitimate sightings, there's been a lot of hubbub about Google's supposed unified messaging service, likely called Babel. This isn't necessarily surprising. After all, if you asked most Android enthusiasts what feature they most wanted from the platform in its next iteration, you'd hear a lot about unified messaging. We've tried to stay clear of covering every flurry of Babel-related murmurings so far, but today we saw something new – Google+ user Patric Dhawaan posted a screenshot of what he says is a notification in Gmail, triggered when "pruning" his inbox.
At first, we were a bit suspicious of the screenshot.
As we all know, Facebook had an announcement earlier this week. The most pervasive social media outlet on the planet announced Facebook Home – a product that essentially amounts to a highly integrated launcher for your Android phone. It also announced the HTC First, a phone optimized for Home, offering a fully Facebook-ed experience.
The launcher is actually pretty nice – features like the unfortunately-named Chat Heads are almost enough to sell this writer on the idea of making an Android hamburger out of a phone, with Facebook Home serving as the top bun (or maybe the lettuce). The key to its success, though, will be advertising.
Talkray, from the makers of the incredibly popular touch-talk app TiKL, is an ambitious app – it looks to be your one-stop shop for mobile communication on the go, communicating through text, pictures, videos, and voice all for free. Until now, though, the app has had a fatal flaw – its design. While not the worst design we've seen, Talkray had, shall we say, unfortunate looks. Inconsistent styles, gradients mixed with flat elements, and Gingerbread-style tabs abound.
In its latest update (to version 1.17) though, the app underwent a bit of beautification, bringing it closer to a true holo standard. The redesign isn't perfect, but it's undeniably better.
Autodesk has a fantastic record of powerful, well-built apps. Continuing the pattern, the Pixlr Express makers today released SketchBook Ink, a (you guessed it) sketching and line work app specifically built for tablets 7" and above.
While SketchBook Ink is perhaps not up to handling a professional illustrator's full time workflow, it's a versatile tool with functionality that's suprisingly sophisticated for a mobile app. Ink's got a full screen workspace built on a "new resolution independent engine," with seven preset ink styles, a wonderful color picker (with RGB sliders, a color wheel, and a block for shade selection), layering options, and plenty of options to explore.
Well, it's that time again – time for the monthly update to Android's Platform Distribution Numbers. Each month, Google publishes the latest figures, letting developers know what versions of Android are currently dominating active devices.
This month, we're seeing a familiar pattern – Gingerbread is continuing its slow descent, hitting 39.8%, down from 44.2% this time last month. Meanwhile the latest and greatest – Jelly Bean – accounts for exactly 25% of the overall distribution, meaning it's finally hit one quarter of all tallied devices. That, for those interested, marks a nearly 9% jump from last month's 16.5% figure.
Ice Cream Sandwich is still strangely climbing, hitting 29.3% up from 28.6% in February.