It's been a busy month in the Android app world, particularly if you want useful tools or visual tweaks. There's one big app that we're not featuring in this roundup: the Google Now Launcher, AKA the Google Experience Launcher. We're omitting it from the main list because it's only compatible with Nexus and GPE devices - even the few standard Android devices that have been upgraded to KitKat can't play with it unmodified.
DashClock's developer released Muzei earlier this month, an attractive live wallpaper app that takes pictures, blurs them, and puts them on your homescreen. By default, you can choose from your own images or opt to have a different work of art serve as your background each day, but shortly after release, a ton of extensions became available for Muzei that you can use to keep your background fresh in any number of ways.
Muzei has only been in the Play Store for about a day, but there are already a few excellent extensions that can pipe in more content. By default Muzei shows a new piece of art as the background every day, but it also includes the option to use images on your device. Extensions for sources like 500px and Reddit have already popped up, which seems to point to a bright future for Muzei.
Perhaps you've heard of a little app called DashClock? The creator of that mega-versatile widget has just released a new app, but this time it's less utilitarian. Muzei Live Wallpaper takes pretty pictures, adds some Gaussian blur, and slaps them on your home screen.
Each day the app will get a new piece of art to serve as the base of the background. You can go into the Muzei app to see the piece in more detail (in immersive mode), or double tap on the home screen to clear the blur effect for a few seconds.
Sure, you could have stickmen run around stabbing each other on your homescreen or even watch as pixelated space ships blast one another out of the sky, but do you know what's more awesome than both options? Dragons. Nothing instills fear into the hearts of child and man alike like those abominable winged reptiles, and now Dragon Strike Live Wallpaper is available in the Play Store so that you can regularly see these majestic beasts in all their fire-breathing glory.
We featured Audio Glow when it launched in November of last year. This ultra-stylish music visualizer takes the basic visual component of classic hi-fi systems and gives it a fresh coat of paint. It's gained quite a following thanks to eye-popping visuals and a huge degree of customization. Today's version 2.0 update adds some interesting options, most notably the new "Glowing Strings" visualization, below.
This nifty option is available as a $1 in-app purchase for the main Music Visualizer app, but the developer has kindly included a 5-minute preview that you can check out before buying.
Live wallpapers are awesome. The problem is that so many of the offerings available are, well, not. Yes, flowers are certainly pretty, and meandering fish can be quite relaxing, but they just aren't awesome. If I'm going to waste some of my battery life powering an excessive animated background that I'll generally only really see when using my phone as a clock, I want it to get my juices pumping.
It's Sunday. You shouldn't be reading your go-to Android site, you should be spending time with your children. But since you are reading this, you might as well grab some cheap children's book apps from Loud Crow Interactive for when you feel like seeing them again. Unless you don't have children, in which case you can get some cheap games and a sweet live wallpaper instead. Or I suppose you could do both.
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.
Haven't you been waiting for something better to do with your photospheres than just uploading them to Google+ for other people to enjoy? Thanks to Photosphere Live Wallpaper, you can finally place them front-and-center on your home screen. The idea is simple, a live wallpaper that uses your spherical photography as a background. It's one of those ideas we've all thought of, but until now, has remained absent from the Play Store.