Check out the latest and greatest in apps for your Android smartphone with our monthly app roundup.
Alternative launcher for ICS users.
Ice Cream Sandwich ships with by far the best version of the Android launcher so far (as you’d hope), so it can be quite upsetting when your phone manufacturer decides that its modified version is better (*cough* TouchWiz *couch*).
It is, of course, child’s play to replace the launcher, but when I upgraded my Galaxy S II to ICS, my previous launcher of choice -- LauncherPro -- no longer cut the mustard when compared to what the native ICS users had. Further to this, it was difficult to track down an installable stock ICS launcher.
Thankfully, I found Apex Launcher.
Apex Launcher emulates that gorgeous, simple, stock ICS feel, but adds the customisability and extra features I'd come to love and rely on, as well as a few new ones that will only further my dependency on custom launchers. Namely, it supports: a customisable homescreen grid size and up to nine homescreens; scrollable dock with up to seven icons per page and up to five pages; infinite and elastic scrolling on the homescreens, drawer and dock; transition effects between homescreens; customisable icons and labels for shortcuts and folders; multiple drawer styles and sorting; homescreen gestures and more. For $3.89, you can upgrade to the Pro version, which brings with it even more options.
Free or $3.89 Pro > Android Does > Get it here
GO SMS Pro
I used to be a Handcent devotee. That app had been with me since the days of Cupcake, but, like the inexorable movement of a butter-greased glacier, software moves on.
What made me switch? I like pretty things, and GO SMS Pro provides a cornucopia of themes -- some paid, some free. Beyond this superficial reason, it also supports scheduled SMS, pop-ups, file sharing, non-SMS chat, PIN access, blacklisting, emoji and more. Best of all, there are three running modes to make the app as heavy or light as you like.
Free > GO Dev Team > Get it here
My keyboard of choice on Android is SwiftKey X because -- aside from its good looks -- it has creepily magical predictive text.
When you install SwiftKey X, it asks you to let it search across your SMS, email and social networks to not only fill its dictionary with your preferred lingo, but also to analyse relationships between words, so that when you type one word (such as ‘poop’) it will suggest a likely proceeding word (such as ‘deck’). Added bonus: you can make some pretty entertaining poetry by choosing just the suggested words.
$2.99 (Trial available) > TouchType Ltd > Get it here
Colour Splash FX
Colour Splash FX allows you to create black and white images containing coloured objects.
You can import any photo then, with an adjustable brush, paint over the picture in natural colour. It isn’t the first app of its kind, but it’s a good-looking effect -- indeed, Schindler’s List would have been the same without it.
At the time of writing the app was still under heavy development. Hopefully, my biggest gripe – that the images are only output at 640 x 480 – gets fixed in time.
99c (introductory) > androidslide > Get it here