Welcome to this roundup of the best and relatively unknown new Android applications that went live on the Play Store or were spotted by me this week.
1. Ivy (Sidebar, Widgets, RSS)
Ivy is a sidebar app that allows you to pop open a sidebar to access your favorite apps.
It isn’t the first app to try to put shortcuts and other tools into an always-on sidebar, but it’s one of the most complete I’ve seen in a while. It’s kind of like the Edge feature on the Galaxy S7 Edge where you swipe in from the side and it’ll open the bar. You can configure which apps go in that space and you can even have an RSS feed that pops up from the bottom. There are other configurations that you can make as well.
It’s a bit buggy which is normal for early releases, but it’s worth keeping on your radar. In addition to the usual apps and shortcuts and the RSS feeds just mentioned, Ivy offers Android widgets and custom displays for things like weather, stock tickers, and more. If you’re looking for an alternative to something like SwipePad, give it a try.
2. Surfy Browser
The latest indie browser to have a go on the Play Store has a few points in its favor. Surfy has a unique but usable interface, a focus on safety and privacy, and a built-in speech to text tool. Add to that a themable UI and data reduction functions, and you have the makings of a potentially solid alternative. (I only wish it had an immersive mode option.) Right now it’s in a beta/unreleased state, so proceed with caution.
3. GIPHY CAM
Giphy Cam is a GIF camera that allows you to make your own GIFs. The app will take several photographs in burst form and string them together to form your GIF. From there, you’ll be able to decorate it with buttons, stickers, filters, and other special effects.
As a GIF camera, it’s actually pretty good compared to its competition even if its special effects aren’t that great. It’s a free app with no in-app purchases if you want to give it a shot for yourself. I was impressed. Its fun and a must have for content-creators.
4. Lyreka — Song Lyrics & Meaning
Lyrics aren’t hard to find on the web – most of the time Google even has a few in the Knowledge Graph. But if you need a more social way to get at them, Lyreka would like a verse or two. This network not only contains standard lyrics for searchable songs, but a comments section where users are encouraged to post their interpretations of the meaning therein. (And fight tooth and nail about said interpretations, of course.) Users can log in with Facebook, but not Google.
SaveMyTime is an app that makes it easy to keep track of your daily activities. They say that the average human checks their phone every 8 minutes. SaveMyTime takes advantage of this by asking you a simple question when you unlock your phone after a predetermined length of time. All you have to do is tap the activity that you were doing before unlocking your phone. The app organizes this data into friendly charts so you can see how you are spending your time.
Game of the week : Burly Men at Sea
Batten down the hatches – it’s time to go on a boaty and beardy touchscreen quest with many a watery end.
As long as home computers have existed, there have been adventure games to play on them. But with touchscreens, such tales have come alive and in your pockets. Burly Men at Sea is the latest title to captivate me. And I don’t usually play games on touchscreens.
Burly Men at Sea is a beautifully done storybook-style game that takes place in 20th century Scandinavia. You’ll play as three ungainly heroes who have set off on a journey for adventure. The game is fairly short, but it’s actually supposed to be. According to the developers, you’re supposed to play through the game once and then play through multiple times to find all of the various parts of the story. It features simple graphics, an engaging story, and best of all, no in-app purchases.
If there are any apps not on this list that you found and would like to share, feel free to comment below!