Here's hoping all of our readers are having a peaceful Mother's Day. If any of you gave your mom a Google Play Store gift certificate (and your mother is particularly fond of action games or weather widgets) you might point her towards this story for a few bargain-priced suggestions. Sega has a couple of their Android ported games on sale, and Minecraft is discounted over on Amazon. The surprisingly powerful eWeather HD/Radar HD is also on sale, along with the gaming-focused remote access suite Kainy.
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.
Hulu's premium TV service hit 4 million users last week, and to celebrate, they've released an update to their Android app. (Actually, the update probably doesn't have anything to do with that. Forget I mentioned it.) The 2.8 version of Hulu Plus adds some much-needed improvements, particularly for playback and video seeking. The free app (tied to the paid service) is now compatible with a wider range of devices - the Play Store is showing everything from the Galaxy S II to my Nexus 7 running Android 4.2 as compatible.
Watch out, Google Wallet, there's a new player in town. Actually, Google Wallet hasn't really done all that well; it's still being blocked by big carriers, and NFC point of sale systems aren't exactly ubiquitous yet. For those reasons, stopgap apps like Clutch - an e-commerce app that allows you to pay with barcodes generated by your credit, debit, loyalty or gift cards - probably have a better chance than Wallet of moving us towards frictionless mobile payments.
Directionally-challenged Greeks, Google has answered your prayers. The search giant continued its international rollout of Maps Navigation today, enabling turn-by-turn directions for Greece. That, coupled with Google's recent significant expansion of Navigation to 9 countries last month, brings the total number of supported territories to 53. Not too shabby.
We've heard from a couple of Google+ users that turn-by-turn seems to be working well so far. Of course, Navigation is still technically in beta (and has been, as is typical for Google, for more than two years), but it's good to hear that initial service is stable.
Checking in, Instagramming, Tweeting, and updating statuses are something most of us do on a regular basis. It's a way for us to share with our friends and family what's going on in our lives; where we're at physically, mentally, and/or emotionally; and an overall fun way to interact and kill time. We, as people, are more socially connected than we've ever been thanks to modern technology.
But there's a missed mark here.
The Pixel Fleet live wallpaper gives you a reason to visit your home screen besides switching between apps. There's a war being waged out there, and you get a front row seat. Lasers will be fired, lives will be lost, and explosions will brighten the sky. There's a lot of entertainment here for a download that looks like a game and smells like a game, but isn't.
Pixel Fleet pits two factions against each other.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not much of an e-mag guy. I tried Google Currents for a while, but never quite saw the utility of it, and so quickly transitioned back to my beloved Feedly and Google Reader. That's not to say I haven't realized the limitations of RSS many times, though, especially as certain websites I follow look to integrate more multimedia into articles. (Having to use Chrome to listen to audio or video in a weird custom player is really frustrating.) And concededly, apps like Currents look a thousand times better than feeds, which are traditionally text-heavy.
Back in February, TestFlight announced that it would be bringing its services to Android in the form of a private beta, having already served over 300,000 apps on iOS. Today, though, TestFlight has announced that it is ready to lift the private beta, opening beta Android compatibility to all users. TestFlight says that during its 45-day beta period, 5000 developers uploaded over 4500 apps.
The service, for those unfamiliar, is a widely popular beta testing platform, allowing developers to quickly and smoothly deploy beta apps to select users.