August is over, and as a resident of the southern United States, I say good riddance - we're now beginning the slow slide into the more bearable part of the year. But Android apps know no season, and while the crop of new apps from August was a little light, there are a few that you should definitely check out. Below are the Android Police writers' picks for the best new apps from the last month, plus a few honorable mentions.
Google News & Weather
Google's News & Weather app, known informally as "the Genie widget," isn't technically new. But the app recently received its first major update in years after being posted to the Play Store, so it's worthy of your attention. The revamped app has a new Holo interface, more robust views for individual stories, a new scrolling widget, and new sections for local and curated news. The Play Store listing isn't accessible for all devices or in all countries, so check out our coverage post for an APK download.
Your comprehensive and personalized view of headline stories and local news & weather.
• Coverage from 65,000 publications
• Simple swipe-access to categories such as Top Stories, Technology, Sports & Weather
• Tune your layout with any of 60 country-specific editions, homescreen widgets and personalized news sections such as 'Hollywood', 'NASA', 'Fashion', or anything else that catches your fancy
• Tap any story for a deep selection of viewpoints, including in-depth articles, Opinion, and local perspectives
Android's "open with" menu has been through a new iteration for almost every new release, but it's still not much better than the awkward desktop interfaces it's based on. TapPath gives you a slightly more natural way to send links to different apps: you can select which app opens it with one (default), two, or three consecutive taps. The initial implementation is a little buggy, but power users should find a lot to love here.
TapPath allows you to customize how clicking a web link in a 3rd party app behaves. A single click will load your default browser as you're used to, but a double click might load Pocket and a triple click might load PushBullet. Think of the time you'll save. Which apps are loaded is of course entirely customizable by you.
Blur - A Launcher Replacement
Here's a unique alternative to the usual grid-based launcher apps: Blur. Not to be confused with the old Motorola skin, Blur is an interesting take on the Android launcher, which "embeds" apps on each screen as pages (or giant widgets). Unfortunately apps will need to be updated to support this functionality, and so far only the Talon Twitter client and EvolveSMS (from the same developer) are supported. Some advanced features require a one-time unlock purchase.
Welcome to Blur, our launcher replacement. Blur is a custom launcher designed by Klinker Apps Inc. to bring you the most innovated experience on Android. With Blur, any developer can go in and create a "Page" for their app that can be displayed right on your homescreen, just a swipe away. Think about it like the Google Now Launcher, but instead of being limited to just Google Now on the side, you can use any app with a supported "Page".
SpinMe Alarm Clock
The idea of a digital alarm clock that makes you get up and do stuff to turn off the noise is a popular one. More popular than we realized, in fact: the legitimate creator of the iPhone app "SpinMe" had to get a copycat alarm clock taken off the Play Store. In the now official Android release, you'll have to stand up and spin around three times like it's Field Day at elementary school before you can silence that alarm.
Suck at waking up? Are you the type of person to set multiple alarms a few minutes apart from each other just to make sure you wake up on time? If so, say hello to your new alarm clock. SpinMe Alarm Clock is a super clever app designed to get you out of bed on time. The only way to turn off the alarm is by getting out of bed and physically spinning yourself around until the alarm stops. There is no escape.
Android Police coverage: Snapshot Automatically Launches The Camera When You Wake The Phone in Landscape Mode
Here's one of those "why didn't I think of that" tools. Snapshot will automatically detect when you unlock your phone in a landscape orientation, and open your camera app as soon as you've unlocked it. AOSP and most of the manufacturer skins include a camera unlock function these days, but they tend to disappear when you enable a pattern, PIN, or password lock, so this is a great alternative for security-conscious shutterbugs.
Snapshot... capture that special moment. You just missed to capture that special moment because your camera was not ready yet? Then its time to try Snapshot. Launch your camera instantly, also from locked phone. Just hold your phone as if you want to take a picture and turn screen (off and) on. Snapshot will automatically launch your camera app and you are ready to shoot. Don't struggle with wrist breaking gestures and battery draining launchers.
Blinkist is a service that edits out the filler of popular books and distributes them as tiny, bite-sized essays for reading on the go. Now, you won't find the latest Dan Brown thriller in there - Blinkist is designed around non-fiction, mostly for business professionals. (And since they tend to be pretty busy, it's not a bad idea.) The app and service require an $8 a month subscription, but you can get rebates for quarterly or yearly charges.
Most of the world’s knowledge is hidden in books. Blinkist unveils it in a beautiful, concise, and eminently usable format: blinks. Download our blinks straight to your phone and glean a book's insights & ideas in just 15 minutes. Tailored for your mobile lifestyle, each of our blinks can be read in no more than 2 minutes. Whether you want to make the most of your waiting time or learn something new on your daily commute, we support the pursuit of continuous learning even in the busiest of schedules.
There are a lot of relatively simple Paint-style apps available for Android, but this mobile version of Corel's fantastic Painter program appears to be the real deal. With a staggering array of brushes and tools, support for up to 20 layers at a time, gestures for common actions, and Wacom stylus capability, Painter Mobile is made with the dedicated digital artist in mind. The app is free to download, but most of the tools (including support for higher-resolution canvases) require a one-time $5 in-app purchase.
Free yourself from your studio with Painter Mobile for Android. Experience this incredible new art app on your Android device. Sketch and paint on the go and then import your work directly into Painter to add the professional finishing touches. Now you can take your art to the streets and find new inspiration anytime, anywhere with Painter Mobile.
Apologies for getting this roundup out a little later than usual -the IFA technology conference in Berlin was held in the first week of September, so the Android Police writing staff has been a bit swamped with news and hands-on coverage. Also, I'd like to extend a personal thank you to our newest writer, Rita El Khoury, who covered the weekly app and game roundups while I was on vacation.