Welcome to the start of yet another week. It's Monday (again), which means it's time for some more app sales! As is typical for the first round of the week, the list is a bit larger than the other two. Still, there are a few gems here to note, which will be bolded.
Ever since Google started allowing paid apps and games to temporarily go on sale, we've seen dozens of great deals. Perhaps in an effort to better highlight these sales, Google has added a 'Free App of the Week' section to the Google Play Store.
The world of startups is an incredibly harsh one, with most companies ending up either getting bought or closing down — assuming they even manage to gain any traction in the first place. AppGratis is unfortunately an example of a startup that's recently fallen into the latter category, having just announced its shutdown a few days ago.
AppGratis started its life in 2008 as a daily newsletter listing app discounts on the iOS App Store, shifting to a standalone app model two years later in 2010. It ran up against some issues with Apple's application policy in late 2013, which ultimately led to its removal from the App Store and the launch of its Android app the following month.
In 1988, the FOX network in the US debuted a TV show called America's Most Wanted. It was a sensationalized and, to be honest, somewhat trashy dramatization of the crimes of some of the country's most violent fugitives, accompanied with their detailed descriptions and last known whereabouts. In between dimly-lit scenes recreating brutal murders and abductions, viewers were encouraged to call the show's hotline if they had any information. The call to action may have been a paper-thin veneer to justify the show's production... but it worked. In under a week one of the FBI's ten most wanted was arrested based on a viewer tip.
Remember when Adobe at least pretended it was making a "real" version of Photoshop for Android? That was nice. Now we have no less than four "Photoshop" apps - Photoshop Express, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, and the new Photoshop Fix. Separating and dumbing down the program's functions into bite-sized mobile experiences makes a certain kind of sense, but as someone who's been using the desktop program for half his life, I can't help but be annoyed at the nebulous branding.
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.