Fast, smooth data download speed is kind of important to mobile video, especially now that even mid-range Android phones are rocking 1080p screens. That's part of the reason that Netflix created FAST.com, its own branded alternative to web speed tests like Ookla's SpeedTest.net, back in May. The idea is to make sure you're getting an accurate test across multiple services (there's even a SpeedTest.net link right on the page) and your internet service provider isn't throttling your connection.
Calendar apps aren't exactly hard to find on the Play Store. There are pretty ones, functional ones, cross-platform ones designed to work with every service under the sun, and then there's Google Calendar that everyone comes back to when their favorite stops updating. You might think there's nothing new to explore in the space, but you'd be wrong. OneView Calendar manages to put a new spin on a somewhat tired standard by refining it to an impressive degree.
Amazon has had some pretty great deals as part of its Free App of the Day, but apparently that's over now. The prolific retailer is replacing it with Amazon Underground, which includes "over $10,000 of apps and games that are actually free." Specifically, Amazon is giving away paid apps and in-app purchases with an agreement that reimburses app developers based on the amount of time the apps are actually used.
Seven days ago Google offered a game from Cartoon Network as its free family app of the week. Monsters At My Birthday Cake was a Zelda-inspired adventure game that, while skewing young, some of us could still find amusing for an hour or two.
Well, this week's free app is aimed at the little ones. Google is offering up a copy of Sago Mini Space Explorer, in which your kid gets to guide a dog in a spacesuit around a whimsical depiction of space.
Getting the game isn't as simple as going to Sago Mini Space Explorer's Google Play page, as there it's priced at $2.99.
Among tech-savvy media fans, Video LAN Client (VLC for short) is easily one of the most popular video and audio players in the world. It's available for every major desktop platform, and for almost two years, it's been in beta for Android. Today the app has officially graduated to a 1.0 build, marking its formal exit from beta and a day of celebration for fans of flexible media playback on mobile devices. In other words: Good news, everyone!
Artem gives us a bonus for every Futurama reference we publish. Ka-ching.
Aside from graduating to a stable release, the 1.0 version of VLC fixes a few Android 5.0 bugs and issues that specifically affected devices with ARMv8 processors.
My football buddy lives on the east side of Dallas. I'm way out west of Fort Worth. Since there are more than fifty miles between us, neither of us know the area of the megacity that's directly in the middle very well. When football season rolls around again, I'll give Meet Me Halfway a try: it's a simple little app that locates the midpoint between two people and helps you find good places to meet in the area.
Initially Meet My Halfway just showed a physical midpoint between two addresses, as the crow flies. But with a few adjustments, it now shows the middle of the Google Navigation directions, making sure that the two parties spend roughly equal amounts of time driving to meet each other.
October is the perfect storm for American sports fans: Baseball fans have the World Series, basketball fans have the opening games of the season, and football fans are just getting a good look at the playoff scenario. Against this triple threat, hockey fans (especially those in the United States) tend to get the short end of the stick, so to speak. ESPN is bucking that trend: today they posted the very first build of the network's official Fantasy Hockey app to the Play Store.
If you're into fantasy sports, this is familiar territory for you: get a bunch of fans together, form a league, have a draft, then watch your digital player simulacrums duke it out week to week.
The Neatly Twitter client has been making a small but dedicated fanbase for a while now, though it's been available on Android for less than a year. Last week developer F16 Apps decided to pursue a new strategy, and the various versions of Neatly (Android, iOS, and Blackberry 10) are now free. The previous price on the Play Store has shifted between one and two dollars American.
Neatly includes most of the whiz-bang features of a modern Twitter client, but its focus is on intelligent filtering of Twitter feeds. The app can compare your Twitter history to any other user and find common interests, sort your main feed by relevance to you instead of a simple list, and group similar tweets by topic.
There are more than a few note-taking apps on the Play Store, including established veteran Evernote and Google's own Keep. But Automattic, the company formed by WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg, thinks you'll be interested in at least one more. After a considerable period of iOS exclusivity, Simplenote is now available on the Google Play Store. It's free to download and use.
Simplenote hits all the check marks for a new notation app: syncing across devices and the service website, a to do list as well as more general notes, searching through previous notes, and tags for a better filing system.