Finding unique apps from this year’s Google Play Awards shortlist
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Google is back with the second Play Awards where top apps and games across 12 categories will be recognised on the basis of their user ratings on the Play Store, technical performance and freshness.
Every category has four to six nominations which will be trimmed down to one at the Google I/O conference on 18 May 2017 by a team of experts at Google. Only those apps and games have been considered which have been launched or have received a major update after April 2016.
Some of the popular names which have made to the list of nominees include Netflix in the Best TV experience, Foursquare City for best Android wear experience, IFTTT for best accessibility, FIFA Mobile for best multiplayer game and Pokemon Go for the best game.
Here are some less-known apps and games from the list of nominees you should try.
Simple Habit Meditation
Nominated in the standout start-up category, Simple Habit Meditation guides users through a series of short meditation sessions designed to reduce stress, and improve sleep quality and the ability to focus. While the first 50 sessions are free, users have to switch to the premium version, which costs $9.99 per month, to access over 500 sessions. The app is developed by a team of psychologists from Harvard University and meditation experts.
A free video editing app from the makers of Go Pro cameras, Quik, allows users to merge multiple photos and short videos to create a video. Users can then add text, background music and apply any of the 24 video styles available in the app. These video styles present the videos differently. The app has over 80 audio tracks and it also allows users to use music stored on the smartphone.
Developed by SwiftKey’s experimental software Hub Greenhouse, this new app allows users to communicate using symbols instead of text. It is designed to make dialogue between people suffering from communication disabilities and caregivers easier. It uses SwiftKey’s predictive tool to suggest symbols based on your previous inputs. This can speed up communication.
Nominated for providing best TV experience, Haystack TV offers curated news videos on a wide range of subjects. Users can personalise their feeds by selecting a location, interests, favourite topics and the app will populate the news feed with news videos clips from various international channels such as CNN, CBC, ABC, TMZ and Bloomberg. It is free and doesn’t charge any subscription or one-time fee.
Modern Strike Online
Modern Strike Online is a multi-player first-person shooting game on the lines of Counter Strike. Players can team up with others and take down terrorists. For an FPS game that looks this good, it takes up just 290MB after installation. It allows users to change graphics quality, switch players and move to auto shooting to ease up things. Game controls are intuitive and easy to master.
Casuality is a unique Indie puzzle game where the player has to guide astronauts from one point to another in space. The game’s unique selling point is the element of time travel which allows players to send the astronauts back and forth in time. This is more complicated than it sounds and requires a lot of brainstorming. It is a beautifully designed game with 60 levels set in unique locations in space.
Sea Hero Quest
Nominated for its social impact, Sea Hero Quest is a unique exploration game about a man suffering from Alzheimer’s. He has faint memories of his past and his son is taking him on another sea quest. The main objective is to use touch gestures to navigate through a sea map full of mazes and objects. Researchers from the University College London and the University of East Anglia and Alzheimer’s Research claim two minutes of gameplay can provide them with 50 years of data on the Alzheimer’s.