Top 10 new Android apps and games this week


Bear & Hare, Hay Day, Xbox One SmartGlass, Humble Bundle, Lift, Flick Kick Football Legends, Opera and more.

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John Lewis’ Christmas ad now has a Bear & Hare app.

It’s time for our weekly roundup of brand new and notable apps for Android smartphones and tablets. It covers apps and games, with the prices referring to the initial download: so (free) may mean (freemium) in some cases. The equivalent iOS roundup will be published later today.

This week: a new structure based on feedback from readers of previous posts. The non-game apps are listed first, followed by the games. Read on for this week’s Android selection (and when you’ve finished, check out previous Best Android apps posts).

APPS

Bear & Hare (Free)

Yes, them off the John Lewis Christmas advert. There’s an official app for that: the story of the bear who’d never seen Christmas until his big-eared friend hopped to Argos Poundland a suitable retailer to buy him an alarm clock. The app sees DJ/presenter Lauren Laverne providing voice narration for the festive tale.

Xbox One SmartGlass (Free)

Getting an Xbox One this weekend? You’ll be wanting Microsoft’s official second-screen app, which debuted this week just ahead of the next-gen console’s launch. You can use it to control the Xbox One, access media, browse the web on TV, and for games that support it, use it as a companion for extra gameplay features.

Lift (Free)

Promising “daily motivation”, this app wants to help you “take regular steps toward healthy life change”, whether that’s giving up bad habits, getting fitter or developing new career skills. The idea being that you set your priorities and use the app to keep track of your progress. The fitness side in particular seems to be picking up a head of steam

Opera browser for Android (Free)

Opera’s web browser isn’t new to Android, but its native tablet version is. The browser now plays nicer with big-screened Android devices, while offering Opera’s traditional features of speed, less data-hogging surfing, and a speed-dial interface to get to your most-used sites

Binny’s Advent Calendar 2013 (£0.59)

It’s not December yet, but expect a flood of rubbish advent calendar apps in the next week or so, just because it’s that time of year. If you’re looking for a good one, try this from Australian illustrator Binny Talib, who’s hit on the welcome idea of actually putting some craft and love into an advent app. Aimed at kids, it has mini-games for the run-up to 25th December.

SunDo (£2.70)

SunDo is the latest app trying to help you organise your life: a to-do list-keeping app that uses images and animations (oh yes, and the sun) to organise your tasks and ensure you get things done – while sharing the details with colleagues and family members to keep them in the loop

I Love You Too – Ziggy Marley (£1.85)

Ziggy Marley won a Grammy Award for his Family Time album of music for children. Now one of its songs has been turned into a storybook app for kids by developer Oceanhouse Media, which made its name digitising the entire Dr Seuss catalogue. Here, children can read and sing along, with narration from Ziggy himself.

iStoryTime Storybook Library (Free)

More stories for children, but lots of them. iStoryTime has a library of digital books, many based on familiar family films (including Madagascar, Ice Age and The Smurfs). Parents can choose to subscribe to get access to the entire catalogue for a flat monthly or annual fee – like a Netflix for digital picture-books.

PhotoBook – in 2 minutes (Free)

There’s a lot more talk about photobooks this year, as companies try to entice smartphone owners into printing more of the photos stored on their phones. Developer Vukee’s new app looks slick and easy to use, promising a quick way to create and order photobooks, then get them shipped all over the world.

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Supercell’s Hay Day offers virtual farming action.

Hay Day (Free)
Games developer Supercell has been making ludicrous amounts of money from its Clash of Clans and Hay Day games on iOS. Clash of Clans rampaged onto Android in autumn, and now Hay Day has joined it. It’s a social farming game not a million miles away from FarmVille, but more fun and less grindy to play.

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