Every week, hundreds of new Android apps are submitted to the Play Store. If you’re not paying attention 24/7, it’s easy to miss some of the best stuff. Each week we will highlight five of the best new or overlooked apps. You’re sure to find some hidden gems in these recommendations. Go forth and download!
1. Grammarly Keyboard
Grammarly is a popular web extension that adds more advanced spell checking and grammar correction. They released a keyboard for Android that brings many of the same features to your phone. It’s great at catching grammar mistakes in text messages and emails.
Cryptocurrency is all the rage these days, so you need a way to track it all. Crypto Coins Watcher is a simple app for tracking the values of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and many other currencies. It also includes a converter so you can see how much real money is worth.
CopyClip is a powerful and easy-to-use Clipboard Manager that that automatically saves everything you copy. You can access your recent clippings through a constant notification and pin your favorite clippings to save them for later use.
Wakeup lights can simulate sunrise and make it easier to get up in the morning, but these lights can be expensive. Why not use your phone? This app uses the display on your phone to gradually brighten the room and simulate sunrise whenever you want.
VectoRise is a wallpaper app that specialized in vector art. The wallpapers are vector based and usually minimal. All of the wallpapers are very high resolution and new wallpapers are added occasionally. You can get a really cool look with these wallpapers.
Rolling out starting today, Allo v25 is bringing the ability to transcribe audio messages to text. You’ll have to enable it inside your chat settings and while it doesn’t work all the time, we’re sure the service will be improved as time moves on. Just being able to visually read an audio message in a quite place or when in public wins major points in our book.
As for what’s coming up next, an APK teardown showed Google continuing work on a Reply feature so people can see when you’re replying to a specific message in the chat, not just the most recent. It’s displayed much the same way as quoted retweets on Twitter and should help make group chats a little bit easier.
Google Allo’s new reply feature coming soon
Camera effects are also in the work. It’s believed that these could be soon be downloadable from the Google Play Store — just like sticker packs — allowing you to place fun and silly camera effects over your photos. Unfortunately, none of the effects were actually live, so we’ll have to wait and see if they’re any good.
Rounding out the list of features that are headed to the app is the ability to add text to your custom selfie stickers. Selfie stickers arrived in an earlier version of Allo and allow you to create a caricature of yourself simply by using your front facing camera (think Bitmoji). Giving users the ability to add text will make these a whole lot more fun and customizable.
In an effort to compete with Apple’s entrance into the Augmented Reality space, Google made a surprising move back in August. The company announced ARCore which works with the software already included on devices to allow users to create and use AR without needing special hardware.
We’re turning down support for Tango on March 1, 2018. Thank you to our incredible community of developers who made such progress with Tango over the last three years. We look forward to continuing the journey with you on ARCore. https://t.co/aYiSUkgyie
This announcement all but spelled the demise of Project Tango, and today those fears were confirmed. The Project Tango Twitter account announced that support for Tango will be ending on March 1st, 2018, in lieu of moving forward with ARCore.
For those who are unaware, ARCore uses development engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine and uses the following techniques:
Motion tracking: Using the phone’s camera to observe feature points in the room and IMU sensor data, ARCore determines both the position and orientation (pose) of the phone as it moves. Virtual objects remain accurately placed.
Environmental understanding: It’s common for AR objects to be placed on a floor or a table. ARCore can detect horizontal surfaces using the same feature points it uses for motion tracking.
Light estimation: ARCore observes the ambient light in the environment and makes it possible for developers to light virtual objects in ways that match their surroundings, making their appearance even more realistic.
ARCore is likely already available on your device, but you can play around with the different Google Experiments by hitting the link here. As for what this means for devices like the ASUS ZenFone AR and Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, we’ll likely see these drift into irrelevance over the coming months.
Google Assistant is smart enough to know a lot of things about you, but it doesn’t know everything. Sometimes it needs a little help to be the best possible virtual assistant it can be. For instance when navigating, Assistant can better serve you information about your commute times but first it needs to know how you get around.
Rolling out today in a server side update is a new option inside of your preferences called “Getting around.” The setting allows you to tell Assistant your preferred method of transportation — both to work or when traveling elsewhere — so it knows exactly how to provide you with the most optimal directions. Choices include walking, public transit, biking, and driving.
The server side update seems to have hit Assistant already, so you should see the new new option. Just open up Google Assistant, tap the little drawer icon in the upper right > Settings > Preferences > Getting around. That’s all there is to it.
What makes this so special is that 99 Avant is an artist who only provides 99 units of each edition it creates. The device itself does not come with any special designs on the casing, but a separate hand-crafted case has been included in the box.
This special edition device also features some special wallpapers based on artworks from 99 Avant, as well as specific icons that have been created for this special edition Galaxy Note 8. When it comes to the specs, it doesn’t seem that anything has been changed, except for the fact that this version comes with 256GB of storage.
The biggest kicker here, other than the fact that it’s unlikely we’ll see this version released in the US, is the price. The device is priced at 1,991,000 won, which translates to around $1,800, or around double the regular retail price of the standard Galaxy Note 8.
Nonetheless, it’s still cool to see these special edition devices released, even if the prices are so absurd that very few folks will actually purchase one. Let us know what you think about this device in the comments below.