As CES continues to chug along, there are still things going on in Google Play that deserve your attention. We've got things to tell you about that are cheaper than they usually are – "sales" in the parlance of our time.
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.
The Play Store is brimming with alternative home screens, but Aviate was far and away one of the most impressive we saw last year. This beautifully designed launcher takes a completely different approach to organizing your apps and data. Apparently Yahoo was just as impressed as we were because the company just announced at CES that it has acquired Aviate.
In case you missed it, Aviate tracks your usage patterns and groups apps into categories that are presented to you based on the time of day and your location.
Feedly has become the new darling of the RSS world after Google threw itself out of the market last year, but there are still plenty of users (including yours truly) who aren't crazy about the Feedly app itself. Hopefully the changes shown off in the newest beta release will change that. You can check out the beta via the usual Google+ community method: join this community on Google+, then head to this page in the Play Store.
If you're a cloud storage junkie and you haven't checked out Copy, shame on you. It's your typical Dropbox/Google Drive/Skydrive/Box.net competitor with a twist: shared files and folders can be assigned to a single user so that they don't count against the data storage limit for other users. The previous version of the app wasn't exactly up on the latest visual design trends, but now Copy has a much cleaner look.
One of the worst things about managing music playlists is adding new songs when we hear them. Sure, once we've identified them, we can always track the song down by name, but that can turn into a lot of manual labor. If we've learned anything from the popularity of music subscription services, it's that we want things to be quick, simple, and convenient. Rdio and Shazam agree, and they are doing something about it.
Just about a year ago we reported that the popular multi-platform retro gaming emulator RetroArch had been published to the Play Store. Apparently Google took exception to this, as they've done with a seemingly random assortment of game emulators - some have been viciously torn out of the Play Store, some have been left alone, and Google isn't talking about why it picks one over the other. In any case, RetroArch is back, at least for the moment.
In an odd bit of M&A news, the developers at Bitspin announced that the small company will be joining forces with Google. Whether Google has purchased the company outright or merely hired its Zurich-based development team isn't clear, but in either case, the big G will be benefitting from their impressive user interface experience soon. Google has not commented on the situation, and there is no dollar amount posted on the Bitspin website.