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. If you're looking for something to spice up your device, you can't go wrong with any of the below selections.
FL Studio Mobile
First up is FL Studio Mobile. As someone who's frequently tinkered with Fruity Loops desktop software, I was excited to see FL Studio Mobile hit the Play Store. While I have approximately zero compositional skill, the prospect of fiddling with loops on a tablet was thrilling, and the app doesn't disappoint.
In our review, Al deemed the app almost amazing, noting that the app is best for quickly recording ideas as they come to you, which you can fully develop once you get back to your computer. That said, the app has a wonderful interface, plenty of sounds, and is more capable than just about anything you'll find on the Play Store. At $19.99 it's no steal, but FL fans will find it worth the cost.
Rando is one of those apps that takes a simple idea and makes it great. The app, by ustwo, calls itself "an experimental photo exchange platform," and allows users to give and receive photos anonymously with others from around the world. You simply snap a photo, submit it, and wait for one in return. You have to give a photo to receive one. That's it.
What's great about Rando is that it intentionally avoids any kind of social integration or interaction between photo taker and recipient. This makes for a really interesting (and fun) experience.
It's free, it's simple, and it's actually pretty fun. Those worried about getting inappropriate images should know it's easy to report said images with a simple double-tap, though this writer suspects the photos pass through some form of moderation before even arriving, as delivery is not instantaneous.
Roundr is another app with a dead-simple concept that's implemented nicely and just works. Basically, the app puts rounded corners on your screen. You can round as many or as few corners as you like with a radius of your choosing. It's as easy as that. The effect stays put everywhere on your device, and it's kind of really awesome.
As simple as it is, Roundr really changes your device's entire UX, usually for the better.
Wolfram Alpha Calculus/Algebra
Okay, so this entry is actually two apps. Last month, Wolfram Alpha introduced two excellent course assistants centered around – you guessed it – calculus and algebra.
Wolfram Alpha really needs no introduction when it comes to math. The apps both feature step-by-step solutions and an easy-to-use interface that will deliver on Alpha's promise to help you "ace your tests and learn calculus concepts."
There's been a lot of buzz about Facebook's recent mobile forays, particularly chat heads – the feature that lets users reply to Facebook chats and messages without leaving whatever app they're in. Paranoid Android has been working on a way to integrate a similar concept for all mobile notifications, but Ninja SMS looks to keep the idea solely to messaging, letting you reply from anywhere with multiple floating windows.
Want a more functional, customizable version of chat heads that's not tied down to Facebook? Give Ninja SMS a try.
Late Entry: Twilight
Some of you may know about f.lux, a piece of software for Mac, Linux, and Windows that automagically changes your display's brightness and color temperature gradually throughout the day, adjusting from normal blue light to a warm reddish orange hue at nightfall, hoping to help you sleep better by avoiding unnecessary sunlight-like light exposure at night.
Well, the tool has come to Android in the form of Twilight, an app that we somehow missed when it debuted in March, but had to include in April's list.
The app essentially does what its desktop counterpart does (though using a colored overlay that can actually brighten dark colors), but comes in handy for those who frequently fall asleep with their mobile devices in hand.
There are our top six. If you're looking for the next app to spice up your device, all of the above are great options. If, on the other hand, none of the apps discussed meet your expectations, just wait for our larger periodical roundups.