There's no nice way to say this: May kind of sucked for new apps. There were a lot of notable updates to major existing apps (including a slew of Material Design updates), but the biggest news of the month came from Microsoft, of all places. Oh well - a short field just means it's that much easier to pick your bets. Here in no particular order are our top picks for the month of May, and a few runners up.
Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
The biggest apps to drop on Android in May are from Microsoft, the company's Holy Trinity of Office apps, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Said apps are still in the beta stages, but the fact that you can access at least some of the content of Microsoft's primary cash cow for free is, frankly, amazing. To get them you'll have to join the Microsoft Office Preview community on Google+, then go here for Word, here for Excel, and here for PowerPoint.
Android Police coverage: Personalized Music Streaming Service MixRadio Is Now Live On Android
Considering the razor-thin margins that music services are claimed to operate on, it's amazing that so many of them keep popping up. The latest is MixRadio, a UK import. Aside from a supposedly dynamic mix of genres that create automatic playlists based on your likes and dislikes, it's not all that different from Pandora or Spotify. At the moment it's free and includes offline listening.
MixRadio is the perfect FREE app for music lovers who like to discover fresh new tunes every day. As you listen, MixRadio learns the artists you like, giving you a PERSONALIZED experience. The more you listen, the better it gets. So, with a whole world of songs out there, you can spend more time listening and less time searching. Enjoy playlists custom-made to your unique taste from our library of over 35 million tracks.
Meerkat is a live streaming platform that takes a Twitter approach to video sharing. It's used for trying to be funny and pirating major boxing events. You can see who's streaming at the moment via push notifications, and your followers get the same service when you start a stream. Keep in mind that whatever you happen to be doing is completely public.
Meerkat allows you to live stream video from your phone to all of your Twitter followers at once. Press 'Stream', and instantly your live video stream shows up in your follower's Twitter feeds. When your followers have the app, they will also get pushed notified with your live stream, watch, comment and interact with it using the app.
Android Police coverage: Twitter's Video Broadcasting App Periscope Surfaces On Android
Periscope is an instant live-streaming app that ties into Twitter as a social and distribution network. No, not that instant live-streaming app that ties into Twitter as a social and distribution network, the one that's actually made by Twitter. For you people who actually want to use this, the app has come to Android after two months of iOS exclusivity, because Twitter really doesn't care what you think.
Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the world. Going live will instantly notify your followers, who can join, comment and send you hearts in real time. The more hearts you get, the higher they flutter on the screen.
• REPLAY: When your broadcast is over, you can make it available for replay so viewers can watch later. Viewers can replay your broadcast with comments and hearts to relive the full experience. Replays currently last 24 hours. You can delete your replay at any time.
• PRIVATE: If you want to broadcast to specific people, press the lock icon before going live and choose who you want to invite to your broadcast.
• TWITTER: You can choose to share your Periscope broadcasts on Twitter by tapping the bird icon before you start broadcasting. When you go live, you’ll tweet a link so that your Twitter followers can watch on the web (or in the app)
Google Spotlight Stories
This is a collection of animated short films previously exclusive to Motorola devices - it looks like Google got the art in the breakup. The new version of the app should work with all Android devices on 4.2 or later, but early users are reporting a few compatibility issues. The app includes the three original Spotlight stories plus a live-action short, and there are indications that new shorts will be available in the future, possibly as paid extras.
Immerse yourself in a world of storytelling made just for mobile. Engineers and critically-acclaimed filmmakers are bringing stories to life using the latest advances in mobile technology. Using 3D and 2D animation, 360° spherical cinema-quality video, full-sphere surround sound, and sensor fusion techniques, the screen is now a window into a story that unfolds all around you. Look anywhere, follow individual characters, watch it over again and again.
Runtastic Leg Workout Trainer
Android Police coverage: Runtastic Leg Workout Trainer Is Here To Help You Get Those Toned Calves And Quads
Runtastic is steadily expanding its collection of workout apps. This one is specifically designed for leg day (which I am reliably informed that one should not skip). A collection of instructional videos and tracking tools round out the usual workout app functions, and none of the supplied instructions require weights or other gym equipment. Naturally all of it fits in with Runtastic's collection of apps and web tools.
Define & strengthen your legs with Runtastic Leg Trainer, THE app for quick & easy lower body workouts. The Runtastic avatar trainer guides you through easy-to-follow HD exercise videos for your leg workouts. Get active and take a step towards your dream body. As everyone has their own definition of a perfect, fit body, the workouts are tailored to your individual needs and fitness level.
Document scanning apps have been around for a while: it's one of those almost magical functions that smartphones are now able to provide. Microsoft's take on the document scanner isn't any better or worse than most of the previous options, but it includes direct integration with OneDrive and conversion to Word, PowerPoint, or PDF files.
Office Lens trims, enhances, and makes pictures of whiteboards and docs readable. You can use Office Lens to convert images to PDF, Word and PowerPoint files, and you can even save images to OneNote or OneDrive. Office Lens is like having a scanner in your pocket. Like magic, it will digitalize notes on whiteboards or blackboards. Always find important documents or business cards. Sketch your ideas and snap a picture for later. Don't lose receipts or stray sticky notes again.
That's it for May. Remember that we keep track of standalone Android Wear apps separately - the last one that Ryan Whitwam put together was back in April, but we're due for another one in a week or two. Also, remember that if you can't download a free app in your country or for your device (or you just don't want to wait for Google's slow rollouts), there's a wide selection of sideload options on APK Mirror.