If you've spent as much time on the Google Play Store as I have, you begin to recognize a pattern: developers asking (and sometimes begging) users to email them directly with complaints or bugs, because they can't reply to that snarky review left in lieu of a bug report. After years and years of frustration for devs who just want to make their apps better, Google has finally rolled out a direct reply feature.
Readers probably don't need to be reminded that each month, we distill all of the Play Store's latest entries into a selection of the very best apps of the previous month, hand-picking a shortlist to save you both time and money in testing everything out. This month, though, there were just too many worthy apps to cut down to the usual five, so we've got a slightly-less-short list of the best six apps from April 2013.
As the start of Google I/O 2013 grows achingly close, Mountain View has seen fit to grace us with a pretty significant update of the official Google I/O app for this year's conference. For anyone attending the event, this app is going to be their golden ticket. The app should work on most Android form-factors (2.3 Gingerbread or higher), with a killer card-based UI that's consistent with Google's new design aesthetic.
I know many of you have been longing for a way to filter the apps you've paid for into one convenient list. Neither the web nor the app Play Store currently allow this, despite years of outcry. Things are looking up, however, as I believe Google is finally paying attention.
You see, there is a little-known official channel with current top suggestions for Play Store-related features called Suggest a feature for Google Play.
This is the app roundup. The game roundup from this week can be found here.
Alternative launchers have been on Android since the beginning, and most of them have made their name by taking the stock experience and piling on new features. Action Launcher is a little different. This app shakes up the UI conventions of the Android home screen, and it's really got some good ideas. The new update fixes a few niggling issues with the way apps and widgets are added to the home screen.
The stock Gmail app is one of the best mail experiences on a mobile device, but it can still be nearly impossible to tame particularly active inboxes. XonoMail Beta has just arrived in Google Play, and it promises to keep your email in order without a ton of configuration. Best of all, it's completely free and has no ads while in beta.
XonoMail is based on the open source K-9 Mail project.
This edition focuses only on new games. The app roundup is coming up soon.
Looking for the previous roundup editions?
WeatherBug has been a big name in online weather forecasting for a number of years, and it was one of the first full-featured weather apps on Android. The problem, however, is that the app looked like it was designed by inebriated orangutans. Well, no more. The WeatherBug app has been updated with new features and a streamlined (not ugly) UI.
The new app has Holo-style tabs up top along with a drop-down for your locations.