Our weekly app picks
It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.
Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!
1. Russell Holly — Eve: Gunjack
There's a whole lot of people in my immediate social circle getting Gear VR headsets this week, and with that comes the questions about what games they absolutely must install right now. While we've worked hard to assemble several great lists of apps for folks getting started on the Gear VR, I find myself always coming back to Eve: Gunjack.
Set in the Eve Online universe as a side story to Eve: Valkyrie, Gunjack puts you in an exterior turret on a large ship as the last line of defense. Move quickly, shoot the things, win the points. It's an adrenaline rush, and with a decent set of headphones you can truly get lost in this game.
Eve: Gunjack is available in the Oculus store, which we can't link to because it's only accessible through your Samsung phone after you've connected it to a Gear VR.
2. Jen Karner — Playstation Network
I spend a lot of my time playing video games, whether that means on console, PC, or my smartphone. Really though, I've always been a PlayStation gal at heart. They won me over early, what can I say? So when I finally managed to pick up a PS4, I was pretty stoked to realize there was an app that could let me access my system even when I'm not near a computer.
The PlayStation app lets me access tons of content direct from my phone. My favorite is the ability to purchase a game using the app, and have it downloaded, installed, and ready for me by the time I get home. There's also the ability to see my notifications, check my wall, and chat with friends through PSN. You need a PS4 and a Sony Entertainment Network account to use all the features, but if you're a console gamer with a soft spot for PlayStation, it's worth checking out.
3. Phil Nickinson — Flyover Country
Where am I? Where am I going again? What the hell is that under us? And more important — when's lunch? Those are the usual thoughts when I wake up midway between Points A and B, 30,000 feet (more or less) overhead. Lunch usually takes care of itself in one form or another (be it liquid or otherwise), but what's passing by on the ground can be harder to figure out. Sometimes the IFE map helps, or one of those online flight-tracking sites. But Flyover Country takes things two an entirely different level.
You put in two points — generally where you're taking off, and where you're going. And it fills in the blanks, using info from a number of sources. You get all sorts of points of interest, the ability to track yourself via GPS, and to save information offline. And it's not just for planes — choose car/foot mode and it drills down to a tighter area. It's a bit of a science experiment (this whole thing is funded by the National Science Foundation), and a bit more fun. Give it a go.
4. Andrew Martonik — Cartwheel by Target
Pretty much everyone is a deal hunter of some sort, looking for for coupons, specials and discounts wherever you shop. If you're that kind of person and shop at Target with any frequency, the Cartwheel app needs to be on your phone.
The Cartwheel app is all about coupons and discounts for items at Target — but instead of finding paper coupons or tracking them down all over the internet, they're all in one place. Browse through recent or popular coupons or search for something specific, and when you find one (or 10) you like you can load them all up in the app. Next time you're at the store, you simply show a barcode on your phone to apply all of your selected coupons at once, saving you anywhere from five to 50 percent on each item. The coupons can even be combined with other in-store deals and your Target card five percent discount.
Just like any other coupon system there can be a bit of a false economy in that you may be tempted to buy things you wouldn't have otherwise ... but if you're already shopping at Target, it's worth having this app installed to check out when you're ready to head to the store.
5. Ara Wagoner — SMS Backup & Restore
My dad's Moto X 2013 is getting a little long in the tooth, but until it completely stops working I don't see him buying another phone, so when he mentioned that he'd been seeing a bug where his Wifi wouldn't automatically connect anymore, I decided that before I direct him to our [best unlocked](The best unlocked Android phones http://www.androidcentral.com/best-unlocked-android-phones) or [best cheap Android phone guides](The best cheap Android phones http://www.androidcentral.com/best-cheap-android-phones) I should help him factory reset the device once to give it a spring cleaning.
After backing up his photos and his Google Keep notes, we needed to back up his text messages. I had never bothered backing mine up since my contacts were saved and most of my messaging happens through Hangouts, so we downloaded SMS Backup & Restore, installed the plug in that allowed it to backup to Google Drive, and executed a backup. When we wiped the device and restored his cloud backup, every message came back. The only hiccup was that since he was sending his group texts as individual SMS instead of MMS, the texting groups he kept for organizing the office Happy Hour was lost, instead leaving 31 individual threads. And I'm not sure I can blame SMS Backup & Restore for that. But the app looked good, was easy to maneuver, and worked as advertised.
6. Alex Dobie — Fenix
The recent controversial changes to Twitter's official timeline — paired with other longstanding annoyances — have had me searching for a new Twitter client for Android, and the one I've settled on is mvilla's Fenix, a slick, Material-style app that puts photos front and center. An intuitive tabbed interface lets you switch between your timeline, mentions and direct messages, while the slide-out menu on the left gives quick access to other areas. Multiple accounts are supported, and there's even a neat "dark mode" feature for those wanting to save battery power on AMOLED devices. That's just some of the customization supported in this very full-featured app.
Priced at $5.69, you'll need to fork out a bit more than you might be used to, but the polish and feature set of Fenix more than justifies the price of admission.
7. Jerry Hildenbrand — United States Constitution
The next time you need to get all constitutional on social media, be prepared. You can read the full text of the United States Constitution, including all the amendments and articles, right on your phone. There's even a table of contents and resizable text options. As a special bonus, historical and important documents like Jefferson's Wall of Separation letter and King's "I have a dream" speech are reproduced in full complete with background information.
There aren't any apps to help understand it all, but at least you can know what it says.