It's been a busy month in the Android app world, particularly if you want useful tools or visual tweaks. There's one big app that we're not featuring in this roundup: the Google Now Launcher, AKA the Google Experience Launcher. We're omitting it from the main list because it's only compatible with Nexus and GPE devices - even the few standard Android devices that have been upgraded to KitKat can't play with it unmodified.
We're slap bang in the middle of CES at the moment, but if you're full up on wearables and Android-powered ovens, take a break and check out the best apps of 2013's final month. Below in no particular order you'll find our favorite new apps that debuted during the holiday season. There were a ton of significant app updates, of course, but these are the best new entries from December, along with a few honorable mentions.
A lot of little things got the axe in Google's latest redesign of the Play Store website. Most don't seem to be coming back (oh how we miss you, 30-day download chart!) but one of the most useful ones for browsing has been resurrected. You can now narrow search for apps based on their free or paid status: just click the drop-down menu next to "Android Apps," which is set to "All prices" by default.
We all like free things. We also like getting things done without hassle (that's why smartphones are a thing in the first place, right?). When those two things come together, though, it's worth talking about. Amazon must recognize this fact, as it's offering up some fantastic productivity apps today without charge.
Among the freebies, you'll find some pretty solid names:
- Documents to Go Full
- WiFi File Explorer Pro
- Splashtop Remote Desktop
- PrinterShare Mobile Print
- Task N Todos Pro
- Splashtop Remote Desktop HD
- Spacedraw Key
It's hard to say how long these deals will go on – it may just be for today only.
Android users have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to web browsers. Chrome, Dolphin, Opera, and Firefox all have their pros and cons, not to mention their fans. It's been a while since we had a promising newcomer hit the mobile browser space, but the Go Launcher Dev Team (makers of the customization-friendly GO Launcher and Next Launcher 3D, among many others) are giving it a shot. Next Browser is a free download, available now for devices running Android 2.2 and higher.
SwipePad is a favorite among power users, since its always-on gestures make a handful of apps available at any time via a side-swipe. That said, the setup process is surprisingly clunky, since you have to swipe, long press, and open a pop-up any time you want to add or move a shortcut. Yesterday's update changes this, adding an edit function in the primary settings. Users can now drag and drop app shortcuts as well as assign them inside the app, making the process much faster.
Do you like free stuff? Do you have access to the Amazon Appstore for Android? Have you been forgetful about claiming the free app of the day? Then I have great news for you. Amazon is holding a Free App of the Day Greatest Hits promotion. Featuring 18 popular and previously freed apps, the promo returns each to the excellent price of $0 for a limited time. Here is a look at what you can get:
- Bejeweled 2
- Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots
- White Noise
- Quell Reflect
- Wubbzy's Space Adventure
- Paranormal Agency
- Dabble HD
- Spectrum Puzzles
- Sea Battle
- Kids Paint
- KeepTrack Pro
- MobiLearn Talking Prasebook, English-French-German-Italian-Spanish
- ChuChu Rocket
- Final Freeway
Well, what are you waiting for?
When Bump showed up on the smartphone scene, it was something of a novelty, but at the time it delivered file sync and transfer faster and easier than anything else. But with the proliferation of Dropbox, Google Drive and innumerable others, the game has changed. Bump plays a bit of catch-up today with an updated Android and web app, which allows users to send files between PCs (web) and mobile devices with ease.
Around the offices of Android Police, we go through a lot of apps. We're talking hundreds or even thousands every week, to bring you the best in our app and game roundups or (if they're good enough) individual posts. Before every major holiday, we are inundated with more themed applications than we know what to do with. And to be honest, most of them are terrible. But we've found four Valentine's apps that are bearable, even interesting.
The day that a considerable number of Twitter power users have been waiting for has finally arrived: the much-anticipated Carbon client is available for download. You can hit the widget below this story to head to the Play Store and install it post haste. Some early users (including yours truly) are having strange errors on the Play Store, with the app refusing to download via web or on-device clients; these hiccups should be taken care of sooner rather than later.