I spend most of my day writing about Android, so I’m always being asked by friends, family, and readers what apps and games I recommend. With that in mind, and to save myself from repeating it over and over again, I thought I’d put together a monthly roundup of the apps I’m using.
These won’t necessarily be brand new apps, but they will be apps I’ve recently discovered that you may not have stumbled across yet. February’s list includes an awesome email client called CloudMagic, a hugely frustrating yet immensely fun game, a third-party KitKat launcher, and more.
CloudMagic featured in my roundup of the best Android apps of 2013, and it’s by far my favorite third-party email client. With support for Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo! Mail, iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, AOL, and many more, it’s ideal for those with multiple mail accounts from different providers.
CloudMagic sports a fantastic design, and it boasts a ton of useful features, including lightning fast search, a unified inbox, reminders, push notifications, a passcode lock, and threaded conversation views. And best of all, it’s completely free.
I discovered Agent just a week ago, and I can’t believe I knew nothing about it until then. Agent is like having “five apps in one,” it claims, each of which has a special function that makes your Android smartphone more efficient, more useful, and more powerful. Here’s what they do:
Battery Agent helps you get the most out of your battery in between charges by turning off Bluetooth when it’s not being used, lowering the brightness of your display, and pausing background autosync for certain apps. It starts up automatically when your battery reaches a certain percentage (which you choose), then deactivates automatically when your battery level rises again.
Drive Agent is triggered automatically by Bluetooth and motion sensing, when detects when you’re in the car. It then automatically silences your phone, auto-responds to callers and incoming texts to let them know you’re driving, and reads your messages aloud.
Parking Agent remembers where you parked your car as soon as you stop, so you’ll never forget where you left it.
Meeting Agent knows when you’re in a meeting based on your calendar events and automatically silences your phone. It reads local and shared calendars, and you can specify which days you’re working or tell it to activate only for “busy” events.
Sleep Agent silences your phone at night so that you’re not disturbed in your sleep. Tell it what time you go to bed and it’ll do the rest. You can even specify which contacts are allowed to wake you up, and it will allow those ones to make a noise.
Get Agent today and you’ll wonder how you lived without it for so long.
I’m going to be heading back to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress later this month, so I recently decided it was time to learn some Spanish. (I’ve actually been promising to do it for years.) I’d heard great things about Duolingo, so I decided to check it out, and I couldn’t be more impressed.
I’m three weeks into my training and I’ve already learned substantially more than I thought I would by now. I still have a long way to go, of course, but Duolingo makes the whole process super simple. It’s quite incredible that you don’t have to pay a penny to use this app.
I highly recommend it if you need to learn a new language. Se ha hecho maravillas para mí.
I wrote about Flappy Bird, the super simple yet hugely frustrating game from .GEARS, earlier this week. I’ve been addicted to it since I downloaded it, and somehow my Nexus 5 is still in one piece. I’m sure you’ve already heard about this one by now; everyone’s been talking about it recently.
The aim of the game is simple: you must fly a bird between a series of Super Mario-style pipes, and you earn a point for each one you pass without crashing. But you have to control every flap of the bird’s wings by tapping the screen — if you don’t tap, it simply plummets to the ground.
It sounds easy, but it really isn’t — it’s incredible frustrating. But at the same time, it’s also a lot of fun.
KitKat Launcher+ is like a supercharged version of the stock launcher from Android 4.4 KitKat. It allows you to make simple changes that Google doesn’t let you make, without entirely changing the experience altogether. You can use it to remove the Google Search widget, change the size of app icons, specify how many home screens you want, and customize the home button action.
I change my wallpaper on a frequent basis to keep things fresh, but finding images that look good on a 1080p smartphone display isn’t always easily. Fortunately, Backgrounds HD has thousands of them. You can browse recent uploads and popular images, or find wallpapers by category. And when you find one you like, you can set it as from right within the app of favorite it so that it’s easy to find later.
What Are You Using?
If you’ve discovered any awesome apps or games lately, drop us a comment down below. They don’t necessarily have to be new — so long as they’re good, I’d like to know about them.