Latest StoriesAndroid App Roundup
    Google Play App Roundup: ADW Launcher 2.0, Lost Frontier, and _PRISM

    You probably want more apps, but more than that, you want the right ones. That's what we're here to deliver with the weekly Google Play App Roundup. This is where you'll find the best new and newly updated apps and games on Android. Just click the links to head right to Google Play.

    ADW Launcher 2.0

    Anyone who has used Android devices for a few years has probably heard of ADW Launcher. It was one of the best custom home screens for Android in the days before Nova appeared on the scene. It hasn't been updated in years, but the developer has reappeared with a beta release of ADW 2.0, and you can give it a shot right now.

    This is a completely redesigned version of ADW that seems competitive with the top alternative launchers today. Note: you'll have to opt into the beta test for this app before the new version will show up for you. It's using the same listing as the original app, so install that one and your devices will update to the beta automatically.

    ADW 2.0 is highly configurable and colorful, a good mix of qualities from other launchers. At the top of your screen is a Google search bar, but that's actually a custom widget. You can modify it, or even create entirely new widgets for that spot or anywhere else on your home screen. These widgets aren't as powerful as the various standalone apps that let you build custom widgets, but you can do some neat stuff. It does lead to some unnecessary complication, though. An example: ADW's custom all-in-one widget add-on defaults to celcius. If you want to use Fahrenheit, you have to actually go into the widget editor, find the temperature layer, and change it to imperial. It's a very "power user" way to do things.

    The launcher also has an automated theme engine built-in, which is one of the things I really like about Action Launcher. By default, it's based on your wallpaper image. Your search bar, app drawer, and folder background will pull colors from the wallpaper. You can change the colors in settings if you like. In another nod to Action Launcher, you can set folders to show only the top icon (launched with a tap), but still make the rest of the folder accessible with a swipe.

    I really like the way ADW groups widgets and makes managing your home screens easier. However, some of the features here aren't completely obvious. For instance, it took me a minute of experimenting to figure out how to get rid of a home screen panel. It's beta, so I assume that the tutorial will be fleshed out before the final release. In the app drawer, there's also a categorization option for apps, but it's all manual. That's fine if you want things a certain way and don't mind organizing everything by hand.

    ADW 2.0 does all the basic stuff you'd expect from a custom launcher like gestures, page transition effects, and icon packs. Almost all of this is available for free in the new beta, but you can upgrade to the full version for $2.99. The free version does have a "promo apps" icon, which is essentially an ad. You can remove it from your "all apps" category to hide it, though.

    Google Play App Roundup: Opera News and Search, Heroes of Loot 2, and PKTBALL

    A new week has dawned, and with it comes a new list of great things happening on Android. This is the Google Play App Roundup where we tell you what needs to be on your phone or tablet right now. Just click the links to head to Google Play and grab these apps for yourself.

    Opera News and Search

    Opera has been making browsers for Android since the early days, and there are several versions of its existing mini and standard browsers in the store right now. The new Opera News and Search browser is a little different. It focuses on recommending content in the browser and making it easier to read. It's a bit like a browser with a stripped down RSS feed inside.

    When you first open Opera News and Search, you'll see a start screen with a search/URL field at the top and news headlines below that. Right now the biggest issue is that some of the content Opera shows you be default is kind of garbage. I don't personally care about a "crazy hack that will dry your nails in seconds." Luckily, that's just the main feed. You can slide over to the Discover tab to see specific topics like technology, design, and so on. You can check them out there or subscribe to get dedicated news tabs and a better mix of things in your main list. When you tap on a story, you have the option of loading it in a text-only reading mode too.

    Your main search/news tabs remain open at all times in the home tab, but you can open others and use Opera like any other browser. Simply use the search bar or the tab button in the bottom toolbar to get on your way. The home button will always take you back to the main tab with all the news content. You'll get notifications for breaking news as well.

    If you have an Opera account, this browser can sync your tab history, reading list, and bookmarks. As is customary in Opera browsers, there's also an option to enable server-side compression to save mobile data while browsing. Private browsing is supported as well via the tab management screen. Anything loaded in private mode will not be saved in cache or your browsing history.

    The new Opera is experimental, so there are probably going to be some bugs. It's also only available in the US right now (at least officially). At its heart, the new Opera is running the same engine as the other full-scale version (non-Mini), meaning Chromium. The Opera implementation is fast and page rendering is spot-on.

    It does seem rather well put together for a first release. If Opera improves user control over the news feed, this could be a capable alternative to Chrome and a nice improvement over the current Opera browser.

    Google Play App Roundup: Flamingo, Sky Force Reloaded, and NeoWars

    A new week has dawned, and with it comes a new list of great things happening on Android. This is the Google Play App Roundup where we tell you what needs to be on your phone or tablet right now. Just click the links to head to Google Play and grab these apps for yourself.

    Flamingo

    Twitter recently resurrected the much-loved app Fenix from the grave after it ran out of tokens. From this we learned that the company is now willing to work with developers who have run out of auth tokens, so it's a bit safer for developers to invest their time and energy into Twitter apps. The first new Twitter app of interest in a long time is Flamingo, which was made by the developer of the fabulous Weather Timeline app. It's still in beta, but Flamingo get a lot of things right.

    Flamingo has three main columns across the top, and they're the right columns. You have the timeline, mentions, and messages. So many apps clutter the main interface with unnecessary streams. You can, however, rearrange, add, and remove columns from the main app UI. Flamingo puts all the other stuff in the slide-out navigation menu where it's supposed to be. You can swipe to navigate between columns or tap on the headers. Tapping on the header will also move you to the top of your current stream, an essential feature for me in Twitter apps.

    The way you interact with tweets is well-designed in Flamingo as well. Tapping on a tweet pulls up in-line action buttons to reply, retweet, like, and so on. A long-press opens the tweet in a new screen with full conversation history. I love that you can drag down to close these screens, as well as images that you've opened. If you are supposed to see replies to something in your timeline (i.e. you follow both people) those will be shown in-line, which is very handy. I also quite like the way links and quoted tweets show up in colorful boxes in the timeline tweet. It's easy to follow what's going on at a glance here.

    One of Flamingo's main selling points is the abundance of themes. It comes with a dozen presets, and you can design your own theme by picking colors. The default "blue bird" theme is pretty good, but there are plenty of other nice ones including an AMOLED dark theme.

    Flamingo doesn't have settings for refresh speed, so I'm assuming the notifications are handled as push messages. The only toggle I can find is one to defer notifications to save battery. Presumably this batches notifications so your phone won't wake up constantly to deliver them. I'd like a little more clarity on this.

    I'm really impressed with the design and reliability of Flamingo at such an early stage. I'm personally missing a widget. I use home screen widgets to browse Twitter almost as much as I use the actual app, so it's a must have feature for me. If the developer can get that sorted out, i could easily make Flamingo my full-time Twitter client, and it's only $0.99.

    Google Play App Roundup: Boomerang Notifications, Tiny Tower, and Crashing Season

    A new week has dawned, and with it comes a new list of great things happening on Android. This is the Google Play App Roundup where we tell you what needs to be on your phone or tablet right now. Just click the links to head to Google Play and grab these apps for yourself.

    Boomerang Notifications

    It always strikes me as weird that there are so many apps out there that seek to improve on Android's notification system. At every stage of the game, it's been the best notification scheme of any platform, but there are always edge cases that encourage someone to try something different. Sometimes it's even a cool addition, as in the case of Boomerang. It turns your notifications into recurring reminders and archives them for you.

    Boomerang plugs into the Android notification listener service, so you'll be asked to enable that during setup. All modern Android phones have this feature, and it's used by a lot of apps. It uses this access to read and save the text from your notifications, but not all notifications. Boomerang makes the most sense when you choose specific apps for it to manage. These will probably be the apps you get the most notifications from like Gmail, your messaging app of choice, and social apps.

    Once you've selected active apps in the list, Boomerang will monitor for those notifications. When you swipe away a notification, Boomerang will pop up a notification asking you if you want to save it for later (this will go away on its own after a few seconds). You can also choose to add a reminder in addition to saving. This is the "boomerang" part of the app -- it comes back to you. There's also a persistent notification for Boomerang that shows you the current number of saved notifications you have. I'm not crazy about persistent notifications, but this is the sort of app that really needs one to make sure it operates as intended.

    When you open Boomerang from the notification or shortcut, it shows you the saved notifications. Tapping on them launches as if you'd tapped on the original notification, and a long press lets you set a reminder. This can be handy in the event you need to reply to someone later, but you don't want to deal with it at that moment. Boomerang saves you from messing around with launching other apps just to set reminders about a notification. This is just one step.

    Boomerang Notifications is free, which is a little surprising. I would have at least expected some sort of premium version in-app purchase. There's no reason not to at least give this a shot.

    Google Play App Roundup: Science Journal, Air Attack, and Assassin's Creed Identity

    Android devices do a lot of neat stuff out of the box, but you can always load it up with new apps to make if do more stuff. And maybe some games for good measure. This is the Google Play App Roundup where we tell you what's new on Android. Just hit the links to head to the Play Store.

    Science Journal

    Your smartphone is bristling with sensors, so why not use them to do some basic science? Google has released a new app that helps you run simple experiments with your phone called Science Journal. It's mostly aimed at getting students interested in science and the process of running experiments, but everyone can learn a little something.

    Science Journal accesses three sensors in your phone: the light sensor, accelerometer, and the microphone. In the main interface, you can switch between each of these outputs to see live data as a single number or a graph. In addition, the accelerometer data is split up into X, Y, and Z axis readings. Of course, the app is a super-slick example of material design with bright colors and cool animations.

    Down at the bottom of the screen is a toolbar and timecode. This is where you record your data. Simply hit the record button and the sensor data will be archived. You can organize each data set into different experiments and add notes to them as well. The graphs (both live and archived) respond to pinch zoom gestures.

    You might be surprised how sensitive the sensors in your phone are, especially the accelerometer. Because this part is designed to measure g-forces, it reads gravitational acceleration at rest, and it's pretty close to the 9.8m/s^2 number we all learned in school. We often think of acceleration in terms of velocity relative to the ground, but this app encourages you to think about it a little differently. For example, in freefall, the Z-axis reads 0 instead of 9.8-ish. I was even able to use the accelerometer to measure my heart rate by laying the phone on my chest.

    At the top of Science Journal is a button that links the app with external devices. You probably don't have any of these, but the Google Making and Science Initiative website lists some kits Google helped to design with companies like Sparkfun that will connect to the app, usually via an Arduino. All the data acquired through the app, via both internal and external sensors, can be exported as a CSV file.

    The app is free and fun to play around with if nothing else. If you have kids, you might want to use this as a learning opportunity.

    Google Play App Roundup: Slash Keyboard, Bushido Bear, and Leap Day

    Your Android phone is capable of a lot of cool things, but it's the apps that make that possible. Developers have access to all sorts of hooks in the system to make your phone do amazing things, you just have to find the right stuff. That's what the weekly Google Play App Roundup is all about -- helping you find the right apps. Just click on the app name to head right to the Play Store and pick it up yourself.

    Slash Keyboard

    You might have caught the news last week that Google released a keyboard app for iOS called Gboard. Its claim to fame is that it has Google search built right in. You can grab results and paste them in without leaving the app. That's not available on Android yet (weirdly), but there's actually an app that came out a few weeks back called Slash keyboard that has similar features. It's pretty relevant now, though.

    They call it Slash Keyboard because you trigger all its special search features by adding a slash to whatever you're typing. It works in any app too. For example, you're typing a message and making plans to meet up. You want to send them the location of some bar or restaurant, but switching apps is a pain. Just type /maps and enter your search term. The results appear in a scrollable bar right above the keyboard. When you tap a result, it will be pasted into the text field.

    That's just one possible use case. This keyboard app supports more than 20 services including Google search, Twitter, Giphy, Spotify, YouTube, and more. There's also a cool /pin command that instantly shares your current location. The keyboard will start suggesting slashes as soon as you enter one, but there's also a quick access bar at the top of the keyboard that starts your favorite slashes instantly. You can change the order or disable the bar entirely.

    Slash also includes custom slashes, which are basically shortcodes you can input to automatically expand into your chosen text. You might make one for your address or other contact info you don't want to type all the time.

    As for its performance as an actual keyboard, Slash does well. I wouldn't say it's my favorite keyboard, mostly because it lacks swipe input, which I use often. The theme does fit with Android, and you might not even notice at first it's not the stock keyboard. My only real UI complaint is that Slash takes up a lot of vertical space when you're performing searches. I don't know that there's really a way to solve that, though.

    Slash Keyboard is free and worth a look if you like the idea of Gboard.

    Google Play App Roundup: App Volume Control, Gangfort, and Hungry Shark World

    Well, your phone or tablet might be cool, but it could be a lot cooler with the right apps. So what? Spend like mad until you find the apps that suit your needs? Nah, just read the weekly Google Play App Roundup here on Tested. We strive to bring you the best new and newly updated apps on Android. Just click the app name to head to the Play Store.

    App Volume Control

    Volume control on Android has changed repeatedly in the last few iterations, and OEMs often change the way this feature works. It can be a pain to simply make sure you have sound when you want it, and no sound when you don't. App Volume Control is a new app that aims to make it simple by automating the process. Well, the setup isn't particularly simple, but after that it's smooth sailing.

    App Volume Control will need accessibility access on your device, which it uses to manage your volume levels down to the smallest detail depending on the app you have open. For example, maybe you want to keep your phone completely silent except for media volume when you open a music or video player. So, just find those apps in the main App Volume Control list and turn them on for automation. Then, choose the volume levels you want to control and save.

    The toughest part of using this app is just making sense of all the options. Android phones expose a ton of volume control options, and App Volume Control takes advantage of every one. Not only can you set the media, ring, alarm, notification, and system volume, you can choose different settings depending on how the sound is being played. The default mode is the phone speakers, but you can change the setting for headset and Bluetooth audio independently.

    And all that is just for starters. Literally, just when starting an app. Each app has a tab for starting and another for closing. The default setting in the second tab is to restore the previous volume when you leave an automated app, but you can also pick a custom setting with the same level of granularity as above. You even get a little toast notification to let you know App Volume Control is working (can be disabled in the settings).

    App Volume Control runs a service in the background to manage all this, but it doesn't seem to have any effect on performance or battery life in my testing. I'd like it if the app were a little more attractive or laid out better (it reminds me a little of setting up a Tasker profile right now), but it does what it's supposed to. The free version has a persistent ad at the bottom, but there's a pro version that you can buy for $0.99 that doesn't have that.

    Google Play App Roundup: Radon, Exploding Kittens, and Zenge

    We're really getting spoiled these days. There are great Android apps coming out all the time, but it can still be hard to find them amid all the clutter. The Google Play App Roundup is all about clearing the junk out of the way so you can find the best apps. Just click on the app name to go straight to the Google Play Store and pick up the app yourself.

    Radon

    Google has made a lot of cool APIs available to app developers, and many of them get a lot of use. One API that I think has gotten short shrift is Nearby. The Nearby API was announced about a year ago as a way for devices to talk to each other with a minimum of setup. Radon is a new app that makes sharing content between devices super-easy by using the Nearby API.

    In case you're not aware, Nearby is a set of tools that can allow devices to pair and exchange information using Bluetooth, WiFi, and ultrasonic pulses. It's similar to the guest mode on the Chromecast in that it uses ultrasonic tones to pair with devices that aren't on the same WiFi network. You'll have to approve Radon to use Nearby services when you first start it. After that, you can simply share things to Radon from the system sharing menu.

    Radon is not intended to push large amounts of data, so you'll be able to share things like links, videos, and so on. Radon opens when selected and begins looking for other devices in the vicinity running Radon. The receiving phone just needs to have the app open, and it'll start searching for a sender. When the devices spot each other, the content will be pushed over immediately. The app itself has a snazzy material UI with a purple and pink theme.

    The main barrier to entry here is that both parties need to have Radon running. That means getting people to install it. The app includes quick links to the app and a QR code to help your friends get the app installed. Radon is free, and the lack of any signup process makes it at least feasible to get people on board.

    Google Play App Roundup: Screenshot Join, Redcon, and Warhammer Freeblade

    Grab your phone and prepare to shoot some new apps and games over to it from the Google cloud. It's time for the Google Play App Roundup where we tell you what's new and cool in the Play Store. Just click the links to head to each app's page to check it out for yourself.

    Screenshot Join

    One of my favorite features Samsung built into its newer Galaxy phones is the scrolling screenshot. Whenever you take a screenshot, you have the option of automatically scrolling down and stitching the next screen onto it. Screenshot Join is a new app that gives you similar results on any Android phone. It's not quite as easy, but it seems to get the job done more easily than using a general photo editor.

    To start, you'll need to snap all the screenshots you want to stitch together using your phone's native button combination. With that accomplished, it's time to open Screenshot Join. The app offers the option of exploring just the screenshot folder or using the Android file picker to see all recent images. Odds are the screenshot option will be easier.

    After selecting the first and second photos, you'll be taken to an interface with a split screen allowing you to line up the spot where the images match. It's sort of like sliding the second pic under the first one until the stitch isn't visible anymore. Note, you can pick vertical or side-by-side orientation for the photos. Vertical will probably be more common.

    So, that leaves you with two joined screenshots as one file. What if you want more? Just hit the arrow action button and you'll go back to the image selection interface with the new stitched image as the top photo. Add the next image in the series to the bottom and go through the process of lining it up again.

    You can add as many images as you like to the final product before saving. It's a little more tedious than I'd like, and some sort of finer control while lining the images up would be appreciated. Still, Screenshot Join is faster at this than the alternatives and it's free. You will have to put up with a few ads when attaching images, though.

    Google Play App Roundup: Quote, Toby: The Secret Mine, and Velociraptor

    Grab your phone and prepare to shoot some new apps and games over to it from the Google cloud. It's time for the Google Play App Roundup where we tell you what's new and cool in the Play Store. Just click the links to head to each app's page to check it out for yourself.

    Quote

    The number of RSS readers ballooned a few years ago when Google announce it was retiring Reader. People who had never really used an RSS reader before thought Reader sounded like a good idea, and developers were there to provide alternatives. Many of them plug into one service or another, so what you're really looking for is a good front end. The newly released Quote (from the developer of Fenix for Twitter) has a clean design with support for popular feed aggregator services.

    You can log into Quote with Feedly or Inoreader accounts. The pro upgrade includes the ability to have multiple accounts as well. The main screen shows you your overall counts at the top, collections in the middle, and individual subscriptions at the bottom. The layout is much less dense than some apps, and if you have a huge list of subscriptions, it might seem sub-optimal. For most people, it's a much more friendly and easy UI to get used to.

    Whenever you tap through to a different list, you can always swipe back to return to the previous screen. Swipe gestures are used throughout Quote to keep the UI clean and avoid the cluttered toolbars and menus you get with many other RSS readers. There's also a neat swipe gesture to mark items as read or unread.

    The reading interface is one of the best I've seen in an RSS reader, and this is just the first public release. It's full screen, so the status bar hides when you scroll down. At the bottom is a toolbar that also hides, including buttons to skip to the next/previous feed item, star a post, and change your reading mode. Most sites limit the RSS feed to just snippets, so Quote lets you open in the browser, or more interestingly open "readability" mode. That just grabs the full text and renders it in the Quote UI. It feels completely native.

    Like any self-respecting RSS reader, Quote has support for syncing your subscriptions for offline reading. This can be triggered automatically in the background or only when you open the app. However, you can choose to exclude images from that or only allow them to be downloaded on WiFi.

    The free version of Quote has two themes to choose from, as well as some ads. For $2.49 you get the pro version with two more themes (the sepia looks great) and no ads. You should check out the free version and see if it's right for you. This is great for a first release.

    Google Play App Roundup: Scarlett for Chromecast, Pokémon TCG, and Chameleon Run

    Android devices do a lot of neat stuff out of the box, but you can always load it up with new apps to make if do more stuff. And maybe some games for good measure. This is the Google Play App Roundup where we tell you what's new on Android. Just hit the links to head to the Play Store.

    Scarlett for Chromecast

    Google's Cast screensaver is okay, but there's not much to it even after customizing with the Cast app's backdrops. Scarlett for Chromecast aims to make your Chromecast or Android TV a little more useful by turning it into a dashboard for information.

    To use Scarlett, you'll need to have a Chromecast or Android TV (obviously). Just open the app on your phone and tap the Cast button to select the target. You'll immediately get a feed of information dictated by your settings. Scarlett offers to set all this up on your first run, but you can edit the settings later.

    The feed includes content from YouTube, Twitter, Reddit and more. Facebook and Pinterest are apparently coming soon. The bulk of the interface is taken up with the current item in the feed list. If it's a video, you can play it on the TV and control via the app. Other content cycles through automatically every 30 seconds. The app can also advance through feed items with a swipe. You can also open any of the content on your phone from the app. After logging in, your Twitter timeline and YouTube playlists will be accessible in Scarlett, which is pretty cool.

    The dashboard is accessible in the second tab of Scarlett. Selecting that will kick the TV over into that mode. It's a bit less interactive, consisting of weather, a clock, and images from 500px cycling through. It's more like the standard Cast screen with a few more features. The last tab is for search, which is handled by voice input. That allows you to look for specific content and have it appear on the TV screen inside Scarlett.

    Scarlett for Chromecast is still in the early stages of development, but it's a really solid idea with lots of room to add functionality. It's free too. You should check it out if you've got a Google Cast device connected to your TV.

    Google Play App Roundup: Monospace Writer, Hammer Bomb, and Ultraflow 2

    Despite being a search company, Google hasn't really made it very easy to find the apps you're looking for. That's why we do the Google Play App Roundup. Here you'll find the best new and newly updated apps on Android. Just click the app link to head right to the Play Store to download for yourself.

    Monospace Writer

    The Google Drive quite is pre-installed on every Android device, but it packs in a lot of features that many people don't want when they are writing on a mobile device. Let's face it, doing any significant amount of writing on a touchscreen isn't ideal, but Monospace might make things easier. This app has been in beta for a few months, but now it's available to everyone. Plus, it's free to try.

    With Monospace, you just start typing and add formatting along the way. The toolbar at the top only has a few buttons for color theme, undo, and sharing. The theme options are helpful if you're working in a dark or bright environment, and the dark theme has an optional AMOLED true black mode. All the formatting commands are accessed by highlighting text with a double-tap or long-press. You can bold, italicize, underline, strikethrough (pro), add bullets, and more. It's smart to keep all this stuff out of the way until you need it, and when you do see it, it's in the same area of the screen you just tapped to highlight.

    Having all this only exist on your Android device wouldn't be very useful, so Monospace has syncing abilities too. You can connect to Dropbox to access your documents on other devices and stay in sync. With the $4 pro upgrade, you can also use Google Docs to automatically sync. That's more useful option as the files are accessible in the Docs editor more easily. Monospace saves files as text with markdown, so it can be copied into various other programs and services. There's also a plain text export option.

    When creating files in Monospace, you may notice that there's no apparent way to organize into folders. You actually can, and it's very cool. Monospace uses hashtags for organization. At the end of your document, add a hashtag (#name) to set a folder. The app will create a folder and add the document to it. You can also create nested folders with hashtags (#name#anothername). One of my favorite features is the ability to quickly encrypt important information by adding the #encrypted hashtag. The app will ask for a passcode, and you'll have to enter that to decrypt the file each time.

    Monospace Writer is a great option if you're looking for a minimalist text editor on Android. It's still quite capable even without the pro upgrade, but the $4 price tag is fair for what you get.

    Google Play App Roundup: Klara, Exit Hero, and Hex Defender

    A new week has dawned, and with it comes a new list of great things happening on Android. This is the Google Play App Roundup where we tell you what needs to be on your phone or tablet right now. Just click the links to head to Google Play and grab these apps for yourself.

    Klara

    Weather apps have always been a big part of the mobile application ecosystem, ever since the earliest days when we just had to decide if we hated Weatherbug or Weather Channel less. There are much better choice these days, and Klara the newest one. This is a forecast-focused weather app that uses a timeline interface, but it's not a knockoff of the popular Weather Timeline app.

    Klara's main interface is laid out in a series of tabs across the top of the screen. The one on the left that Klara opens to first is the one you'll probably look at the most -- temperature and precipitation. The current conditions are on the far left of the timeline. You can tap and drag across the scale at the bottom to move the indicator. As you do, the data shown by the app changes to match the chosen time.

    Across the top you have temperature and conditions (denoted by icons). In the middle is a graph of temperature forecasts. This is a nice way to visualize things, but I wish it was bound to some real scale on the Y-axis. It seems to use the lowest point on the graph as the bottom of the graph. Making the current conditions more easily accessible would be smart too. Precipitation is shown at the bottom as a series of blue bars. The taller they are, the more precipitation per hour.

    The other three tabs are set up in a similar way, but they show different data (except for the condition icons, which are on all the screens). The next one over shows you wind speed and direction. Again, the present time is on the far left, then the next few days extend off to the right. The next tab is cloud cover, and the last one has pressure and humidity. This one has the most data, but it's of less use to most people.

    In addition to the main UI as described above, there's an extended forecast screen with less detail that is accessible from the slide-out nav menu. There's a widget too, which is an essential feature of weather apps as far as I'm concerned. It's clean and shows the forecast data well. I just wish (again) current conditions were more easily discerned.

    There are a few things that need to be improved in Klara, but it's a well-designed app and it's completely free right now.

    Google Play App Roundup: WhaToDo, Monster Mountain, and Rayman Classic

    A new week has dawned, and with it comes a new list of great things happening on Android. This is the Google Play App Roundup where we tell you what needs to be on your phone or tablet right now. Just click the links to head to Google Play and grab these apps for yourself.

    WhaToDo

    The age-old question of what to do when you're planning a trip can be solved with searching and reading of guides, but the aptly named WhaToDo app just tells you what to do with a pleasant material interface and location-based deals. You can even book tickets and reservations right from the app.

    WhaToDo supports a fair number of cities, but it's far from everywhere. Most of the more common destinations I could think of are available in the app, though. There are apparently about 1000 destinations available in the app. To find a city, just use the search bar at the top. If WhaToDo has results, they will be split up into tabs along the top. There's also a floating action button at the bottom of the screen that switches between the list view and a map.

    The first tab is all the most popular options, then you've got attractions, shows, tours, and so on. Each item WhaToDo has a full description page with photos, videos, duration, and more. There's an integrated Google Maps page to help you figure out where it is as well.

    If you decide to book something, the app includes full support for booking tickets. I'm impressed that this isn't just a webframe or something, but an actual function of the native app. You can get select tickets, enter payment info, and access them easily from the reservation section of the slide-out nav menu. The bookings are apparently all handled by the company that makes the app, and there are exclusive deals on events that are only available in the app.

    The design of WhaToDo is a rather good example of what material design can look like when it's done right. The navigation is self-explanatory with the scrolling tabs, and there are animations throughout that don't get in the way of using the app. WhaToDo seems like a solid way to plan a trip.

    Google Play App Roundup: Join, DIRAC, and Universal Copy

    I don't know if you could say there are too many apps out there, but there are certainly enough that it can be hard to find the ones worth your time. This is the problem that Google Play App Roundup is seeking to solve. Every week we tell you about the best new and newly updated apps in the Play Store. Just click the app name to head right to the Play Store and check things out for yourself.

    Join

    For me and many others, Pushbullet has been an indispensable part of the Android experience for years. It's has consistently added features and improved the ones it already had over that time, but it does cost money now. It was inevitable that people would try to build replacements, and now the most prominent of these apps is out of beta. It's called Join.

    Like Pushbullet, Join connects all your devices, making it easier to transfer text, files, and other content between them. Join implements most of the core features of Pushbullet, but I'd say it's overall not as clean or easy to use. It is still early, though.

    After you install Join on your phone, you need to get it on your other devices too. There are some browser extensions, a Windows app, and a web interface. To push a link, text, or file, you can either share it to Join or open the app and find the device you want to send to. It has a messaging-style layout rather like Pushbullet (sorry, these comparisons have to happen). The pushing seems to work well, but it uses your personal Google Drive for file pushing. Some people might like this, but it will clutter things up if you use it for other uses. I also don't see any way to push files to other people.

    Notification mirroring is one of Pushbullet's most important features, at least to me. It takes all the notification content from your phone and mirrors it on a desktop. Join has that same feature, but setting it up is a bit of a pain. You have to manually select each app you want to push notifications. There's no indication in the app that you need to do that until you venture several levels deep in the settings. Along with notifications, are SMS replies. You can reply to SMS directly from your computer, which is pretty handy.

    The SMS stuff and clipboard syncing are two features that are partially or totally restricted to Pushbullet's pro plan. Join allows unlimited access to both with the full version of the app. Clipboard syncing works well for me, but the bubbles that pop up on the phone to make sharing to a specific device just get in the way, so I turned them off.

    Join has a robust feature set, and if you've never used Pushbullet, this might be a good way to go. Join is free to try, but a $3.99 in-app purchase is needed to continue using it and remove the ads. It isn't quite as full featured or as reliable as Pushbullet, but it's close.

    Google Play App Roundup: Xcerpt for Twitter, Thumb Drift, and Rocketfella

    A new week has dawned, but you can ease the transition with some new apps and games. You've come to the right place, too. This is the Google Play App Roundup, the weekly feature where we tell you what's new and cool in Google Play.Just hit the links to zoom right to the Play Store.

    Xcerpt for Twitter

    Twitter is rumored to be planning a feature that will let you tweet more than 140 characters, but that's currently the limit. So what if you want to tweet something a little more detailed? Xcerpt has an interesting take on that. With this app, you can use a screenshot to build a custom image that is embedded in your tweet, giving you space to talk about the content too.

    To start, you fine a page that you want to share and take a screenshot. Then, head over to Xcerpt and use it to choose that screenshot. You want to make sure the screen has the text you want to share clearly visible. The next step has you crop the screenshot down to get rid of all the extraneous elements possible around the text. Xcerpt uses OCR (I believe) to process the text and insert it into a clean little frame.

    You have the option of selecting and highlighting text to add emphasis or call attention to a choice quote. This interface has a second tap at the top where you can modify the source for the image. The app is very smart about pulling that automatically, but you are also able to paste in a URL if it gets it wrong.

    When you've assembled all the pieces, you'll have to log into Twitter to send the Tweet from Xcerpt. What you get is a post with a link to the source, the image with the text you've framed, and whatever you what to add to the body of the tweet. You should have about 100 characters left after the two links. Because most Twitter clients automatically show images in the stream, it makes your Tweet much more eye catching. You can also just save the image to your gallery if you want to Tweet it from another app.

    Not everyone will have a use for Xcerpt, but those that do will find it gets the job done quite well. If you find yourself bumping into the character limit when sharing links, you might want to give it a shot.

    Google Play App Roundup: Boost for Reddit, Epic Flail, and iSlash Heroes

    Time once again to check in on what's new in the Play Store. This is the Google Play App Roundup where you can come every week to find out what's new and cool on Android. Just hit the links below to head right to the Play Store on your device.

    Boost for Reddit

    Boost is yet another Reddit client for Android, and you may be wondering why you need another one of those. Well, maybe you don't but this one is still just in beta and it's already rather impressive and full featured.

    Boost has several different layout options out of the gate including a standard list, gallery, and card view. You can further customize the look and feel of the app with day and night themes, with the option of an AMOLED black night mode. There are also a few alternative colors.

    This app has a proper material look, and the app has a dedicated multi-column UI for tablets in landscape mode. I think this is the best way to browse Reddit on a mobile device, and a lot of apps don't get it right. Boost's multi-column UI is reasonably good, but I wish it loaded the browser in only one of the panes. Reddit is Fun continues to be the best at this.

    You can, of course, log in and view your subscribed sub-Reddits using the slide-out navigation menu. It also has an option to quickly visit a sub you aren't subscribed to from this menu, something that some clients lack. I do, however, wish the multi-usb were at the top of the list, whereas they're at the bottom right now.

    Commenting, voting, and submitting, filtering and even viewing the sidebar are all supported in this initial release. There are Reddit apps that have gone through several updates that don't have all these features. The overall smoothness and speed of Boost are also where I'd expect a quality app to be.

    When Boost launched a few days ago, there was a persistent ad at the bottom of the screen and no way to get rid of it. The developer has since added a $2.49 in-app purchase to remove the ad. You should at least check out the free version. With a few more updates, Boost could rival the top Reddit clients on Android.

    Google Play App Roundup: Qapital, Dub Dash, and Evo Explores

    You probably want more apps, but more than that, you want the right ones. That's what we're here to deliver with the weekly Google Play App Roundup. This is where you'll find the best new and newly updated apps and games on Android. Just click the link to head right to Google Play.

    Qapital

    Saving can be hard, but there are apps that can make it easy. In the case of Qapital, it makes it almost completely invisible. This app lets you configure various rules that drop a few bucks here and there into a savings account with specific goals. Setup is a bit involved, but it seems like a really interesting financial app.

    As with many apps that plug into your bank account, Qapital requires you to go through a few steps. First, you make an account and lock PIN for the app. Next, you'll register your bank account. You'll probably need to get the unique access code from your account to connect Qapital. Lastly, you have to wait a few days for Qapital to make two small deposits in your account, then use those amounts to verify with the app.

    Okay, now that that's all taken care of, what can Qapital do for you? You can configure the service to dump money into your Qapital savings account each time something specific happens. The app comes with several built-in rules that can be configured to your liking. For example, the round up rule allows you to round all your purchases up in whatever dollar increments you want. The extra money is deposited in Qapital (which is a standard FDIC-insured account, by the way). You might also want to use the budget rule to deposit money into Qapital when you're under budget for a certain thing. There's even a neat "guilty pleasure" rule that transfers money each time you do a certain thing, like eat fast food. Yes, regular old manual transfers are a thing too.

    The other side of Qapital is setting goals. Your savings can just be a big lump of money if you want, but the app makes it easy to track your progress toward purchasing an item or going on a trip. The main screen in Qapital keeps you appraised of all your recent activity and how much has been saved toward your goals.

    What makes Qapital a bit different from the other trendy saving plan apps out there is that it has IFTTT integration. IFTTT is a cloud-based automation platform that plugs into a ton of connected devices, apps, and services. With IFTTT, you can create recipes with Qapital that make it much more powerful. For example, you can have all of your Qapital transfers automatically logged to a Google spreadsheet. You might also want to trigger a transfer to savings when you hit your goal (or don't) with your Fitbit. Qapital is a clever app.

    Google Play App Roundup: Flyperlink, Alto's Adventure, and GTA: Liberty City Stories

    Apps move quickly on Android. No sooner have you found an app you can get cozy with, a better alternative has come along. We're here to make sure you're ahead of the curve. That's what the Google Play App Roundup is for. Just click on the links to head to Google Play and get the best new apps and games for your device.

    Flyperlink

    Android still doesn't support split-screen or windowed apps, even though we know it's been in the works for a long time. There are a few third-party alternatives, but the new app Flyperlink might be the best so far. This is a floating browser that loads links in the background that's optimized for multitasking.

    This isn't a full browser like Chrome, but it should be good enough to get plenty of basic browsing taken care of. Simply open links in Flyperlink, or set it as the default for web pages. You can always bounce a link out into Chrome with the toolbar button if you need the full browser. Sharing links to Flyperlink is another way to get pages open in bubbles.

    The default behavior for Flyperlink is to open pages in full screen, then minimize to a floating bubble on command. You can drag multiple bubbles around and open them one at a time. This is all part of the free version of the app. I strongly suggest doing the $0.99 in-app upgrade as it adds the popup page option in settings. Turn this on, and each browser window becomes a resizable window, which is very cool on larger screen devices. I'm testing this on a tablet, and I find it quite useful. On a phone, maybe not so much. You can also toggle the "stay open" option for any of your windows. allowing you to open other floating bubbles at the same time.

    Whichever mode you choose, Flyperlink always has a themed toolbar that pulls colors from the website and favicons on the floating bubbles. It includes the ability to force desktop versions of pages and open the link in other apps via the share menu. You can also have the bubbles accessible on top of the lock screen if you want.

    The performance of Flyperlink seems fine to me -- every bit as good as Chrome at least. It lacks some of the features you'd get in a full browser like bookmarks and account synchronization, though. It's definitely worth checking out the free version, and that $1 upgrade will be very tempting for tablet users.

    Google Play App Roundup: Promo Codes, Merged, and Space Grunts

    It's time again to dive into the Google Play Store and see what apps we can find. Every week we find the best new and newly updated apps for the Roundup, and this week is no exception. Just click on the app name to head to the Play Store.

    Promo Codes

    In case you haven't heard, Google has finally started offering promo codes for apps and games in the Play Store. That means developers can produce promo codes that grant the user (that's you) a free copy of an app/game or in-app content. This is handy for reviewer (that's me) of course, but it's also going to lead to more giveaways. There's already an app from a noted developer that seeks to take advantage of this feature called Promo Codes. Can you guess what it does? Yep, distributes promo codes… if you're lucky.

    This app was created by Jack Underwood, the developer of the popular Today Calendar app. It's an incredibly simple app, but an interesting idea. When you open Promo Codes, you have a chance of winning a free copy of an app or game, provided via a Play store promo code. that means you own the content completely and will continue getting updates normally.

    To play, just tap the I'm Feeling Lucky button and wait. More than likely, you'll be taken to the Play Store listing for the promoted app, and see a popup message stating that you didn't win. If, however, you are the lucky winner of a code, it will be automatically copied into your clipboard. Simply open the Redeem menu in the Play Store and paste it in to get your free app or game.

    Promo Codes only gives you one chance to win per day, and there's an option in the settings to have it notify you when you can try again. Actually, that's the only setting right now. I did say this is a simple app, right?

    Underwood is basically looking for developers to sponsor Promo Codes and have their apps featured as the prize you can win. Whether or not they respond positively will determine the fate of Promo Codes, but it's already given away some licenses to good stuff. You might as well install it and give it a look.