An app to understand your screen addiction, another that saves your tasks in the background and puzzle games. As every week, here is a selection of our five new apps for Android and iPhone of the week.
From mobile games to productivity and interface customization applications, I've listed here the five iOS and Android applications that have made an impression on me or that the AndroidPIT community helped me to discover this week.
DontKillMyApp, to run your apps in the background even if you don't have a Google Pixel
DontKillMyApp is an application inspired by the eponymous site launched by a collective of developers, Urbandroid, last year. The site was designed to put pressure on Android manufacturers to stop forcing apps off their smartphones in order to preserve battery life.
Originally, it was Google that introduced the "Doze" mode on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The goal was to homogenize the energy saving on different Android smartphones. But each manufacturer then superimposed its own energy saver on top of that. So many smartphones have an annoying tendency to "kill" your apps in the background after a few minutes. To remedy this, DontKillMyApp offers you a benchmark to understand how your smartphone handles apps in the background.
The test can last between one hour and eight hours, depending on the interval you choose. The application launches a service in the foreground with a wakelock and schedules repetitive tasks on the main thread, a custom thread executor, and schedules regular alarms every eight minutes. It then calculates the ratio between the number of tasks launched and those actually executed.
If your percentage is low, it means your smartphone is not handling background tasks well. DontKillMyApp then offers a guide to uninstall the savers on your device and/or disable the "Doze" mode.
You can download the DontKillMyApp application for free from the Google Play Store.
ALTER: Between Two Worlds, a beautiful indie puzzle game
Lift ALTERS to strengthen your brain. That's the goal of this puzzle game that transports you to a retrofuturistic universe that you have to navigate like a point and click adventure by solving puzzles.
Developed by Fivestones Games, an independent studio based in Beirut, and published by Crescent Moon Games, ALTER takes us into a dreamlike universe: a sleeping temple that young Ana undertakes to explore.
The game offers a rather interesting gameplay mechanic which consists of allowing you to change dimensions in order to modify the map and overcome obstacles. The graphics are minimalist, very "geometrical", you can feel the gigantic sets in which your character evolves. The color palette is valiantly rich and varied. Add to that a soundtrack all in low guttural frequencies (a little like the soundtrack of Blade Runner 2049 but softer) and you have an ultra nice atmosphere.
Acture, to understand your screen addiction
Acture is a digital wellness application. Many smartphones already offer a Zen or concentration mode, to prevent you from using certain applications by blocking them for a given time. Acture doesn't lock anything on your smartphone, but it wants to help you understand why you're stuck to your device. To do this, the app launches as soon as you unlock your screen, asking you to provide a "good reason."
The idea is not to prevent you from using your smartphone (the application can only accept your reason, valid or not), but it is rather a self-diagnostic tool to understand your screen addiction. Thus, the app keeps all the reasons you give for each unlocking.
So you can see, in hindsight, whether you played the game or not. It also allows you to realize that very often, you don't need to go on your smartphone. Personally, I often found myself in front of my screen, telling myself that I finally had no reason to go on my smartphone.
You can download the Acture application for free on the Google Play Store.
The Almost Gone, a dark and poetic puzzle game
Developed by Happy Volcano, The Almost Gone is a rather deceptive puzzle game that I discovered thanks to the AndroidPIT community on our forum. Its very soft graphical atmosphere, made of pastel tones hides a rather dark narrative thread that deals with often heavy themes such as death and mental health. A warning to sensitive people is posted at the launch of the game.
We then progress through a series of life scenes, pieces that look like dioramas that we look down on, like a demiurge or at least a spirit. We embody a young girl, between life and death, who explores her very peaceful universe to understand how she got there.
Concretely, The Almost Gone is played as a point and click game. You must solve puzzles by looking for clues scattered throughout each room. You have to juggle between the different pieces (by swiping the screen), and with each puzzle solved you learn more about your fate.
The atmosphere is quite creepy the further you go into the story. But the well-written narration makes you want to dive into this enigmatic thriller. The only bad point I would note is that the display is not optimized and the game doesn't occupy the entire screen, making it difficult to see every room to find clues.
Keen, a Pinterest made by Google, still in its infancy
I must admit that I had a little trouble completing my list of five applications this week. I was missing one and I didn't really find the perfect choice. I hesitated not to include Keen in this list because this experimental web app launched by Google this week is still in its infancy.
Concretely, it is a content aggregator, a kind of Pinterest but less focused on images/photos. Keen is supposed to gather online content that matches your passions. To do this you can create folders - Keen folders - and compile any form of content (video, photos, articles, etc.) related to a particular area of interest.
With a keyword search, Keen suggests new content in accordance with the theme of your choice and uses the learning machine to better understand your tastes and thus better target its recommendations.
The problem is that at the moment the few users and therefore the few queries that Keen's algorithms have been able to analyze mean that suggestions are often off the mark. For my Keen dedicated to "Tech Innovations in China" I found very little content that could interest me.
I like the idea of having an aggregator that mixes the systems of Feedly, Pinterest, and YouTube and groups all the content in one place, to give me ideas for article topics, for example. But the tool is not perfect yet.
Since the algorithm precision is bound to improve over time (Keen was only launched this week), I think it might be interesting to share the application here. But knowing Google, Keen might just as easily end up in the graveyard of the thousands of projects abandoned by Mountain View.
You can download the Keen application for free from the Google Play Store.
What do you think of this selection? Have you already had the opportunity to test some of the applications on this list? What would be your applications of the week? Share your opinions in the comments!