Android and Me

Top 10 Android app updates: Solid Explorer, PayPal, IM+

2 years ago 8

Welcome back to the return of our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most upgraded apps for the week. I’ve found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to look at what people are actually updating, and not focus on which apps have the most installs.

To find the most updated apps, I turn to AppAware. It’s a great tool that shows me which apps have active support from their developers and sometimes reminds me of an old app that I might have removed long ago. Make sure to install it so your activity can help determine our weekly top 10 list.

As in the past, we are going to filter out minor updates for the super popular apps that have over 10 million installs, but I’m going to make an exception for apps that had significant updates. I hope you enjoy this weekly feature and discover some apps that you might find useful.

ASTRO FILE MANAGER – VERSION 4.0

View in Google Play

What’s new in this version:

  • Complete UX and UI redesign making ASTRO faster and easier to use than ever including a new “Home Screen” that has 3 tabs: One-Click Searches, Locations & Recent Items. You can also do a right swipe anytime in ASTRO to view these without leaving your current screen.
  • Powerful search capabilities.
  • Quickly access and manage all your files regardless of location (Android, PC, Cloud) and save favorite locations. Current cloud support for Google Drive and Dropbox. Will soon support SkyDrive, Box, auCloud (Japan), and others.
  • Recent files tab allows you to find the files you have most recently used
  • New side panels (swipe left or right) to allow quicker access to your favorite locations and directories including popular cloud storage services and the ASTRO Tools (SD card usage, Task Killer, App Backup).
  • Easy to use built-in networking module for Windows and Mac (no longer is it a separate download). Just scan for devices, choose your device and enter the credentials if required.

ASTRO is one of the oldest file manager for Android and it is also one of the best. This week they released a major update that includes an all new interface for Jelly Bean users. Users on older versions of Android will see the new UI over the coming weeks.

PAYPAL – VERSION 4.0

View in Google Play

What’s new in this version:

  • We’re proud to present you with the newly redesigned PayPal app. We’ve worked hard to improve the design and navigation, and provide the features that matter to you most: account management, sending money, and requesting money. Landscape support is coming soon!

Another popular app sees a major update this week. PayPal received a new look to match the latest Android style guide and it looks awesome. Why can’t more developers take advantage of the official Android Design suggestions?

SOLID EXPLORER BETA2 – VERSION 1.3.6

View in Google Play

What’s new in this version:

  • Added Korean, Russian language
  • Fixed inability to move files between storage devices
  • Fixed selection mode bug
  • Reorganized preferences
  • Improved list scroll smoothness
  • Fixed a bug when list size sometimes was not changed
  • Fixed some crash issues (unfortunately not all)

We first discovered Solid Explorer several months ago and its popularity has continued to grow ever since. This file manager might not have all of the settings of some of the more established competitors, but it is easily one of the best look utility apps out there.

FIREFOX – VERSION 15.0

View in Google Play

What’s new in this version:

  • Support for tablets, including faster startup and beautiful new design
  • Find in page
  • Text Selection fixed
  • Desktop sites can be requested from the menu
  • Better tabs experience – swipe to close
  • Support for SPDY networking protocol v3
  • Bookmarks & history can be imported from stock browser in the Settings

Firefox has been beta testing version 15.0 of their browser for awhile and now it’s finally out. The latest release adds support for tablets and all the other features you would expect from a modern browser. I’m quite happy with Chrome and doubt I’ll ever switch, but Firefox mobile is a great option if you already use their desktop browser.

GO LAUNCHER EX – VERSION 1.31

View in Google Play

What’s new in this version:

  • Easier to do single scan with Mobile Manager
  • Add TrafficStats widget, show you traffic data in real-time (Pro version)
  • [ROOT]Support to manage what apps start with your Android phone(Pro version)
  • Provide more stunning themes to dress up your APPWidget & GOWidget(Pro version)
  • [ROOT]Support to control apps’ network access manually (Pro version)
  • Accelerate the speed of mobile check and make the animation more stunning
  • Fixed memory display effect of 2G

I’ve never been a fan of task killers, but Go TaskManager EX offers a lot of extra features. It includes scanning which apps start at boot, find apk files that are no longer needed, and cleans out cache files. Like most of the GO apps, there are a ton of themes to customize the look of the app and widgets.

PLUME – VERSION 4.51

View in Google Play

What’s new in this version:

  • Rework the application navigation to be more fluid
  • Rework the tablet UI to better fit 7″ tablets
  • Add a simple Draft system (automatic save/restore)
  • Add Facebook picture uploading
  • Fix Twitlonger expansion
  • Fix memory leaks
  • Fix issues on tablets (internal browser, counter handling)

The official Twitter client meets all my needs, but there are a lot of users out there that want more control over their experience. Plume, formerly Touiteur, has been around for ages and it’s one of the most popular alternative clients. The latest update has better support for tablets and an improved navigation.

MUSIC VOLUME EQ – VERSION 1.9

View in Google Play

What’s new in this version:

  • Added menu option to select which screen will start after click on the status bar notification icon.

Music Volume EQ is a volume slider with live music stereo led VU meter and five band Equalizer with Bass Boost and Virtualizer effects. This is a pretty minor update, but we have never mentioned this app before. The app has received an average review score of 4.5 and racked up one million installs in the first month.

EXPEDIA HOTELS – VERSION 1.5

View in Google Play

What’s new in this version:

  • New! Get great Mobile-Exclusive Deals in over 250 cities around the world. These deals are better than what you will see on our website!
  • New! View full-size hotel images simply by swiping down on the photo.  It’s a smooth, beautiful experience.

I’m a hardcore Priceline user when I book my travel, but I might have to give Expedia a look after this recent update. It has a beautiful UI and lets users book hotels in seconds, find exclusive mobile deals, and browse verified reviews.

HEYZAP – VERSION VARIES WITH DEVICE

View in Google Play

What’s new in this version:

  • All new People tab, now focused around playing with your friends. You can now see all your game requests in one place! You can get to your followers and following from your user profile.
  • Also improved scroll speeds of the streams and bug fixes

If you love Android games, then Heyzap might be worth a look. It helps you discover new games you might enjoy and also lets you connect with others that play the same games as you. Other community features allow you to get and share tips, earn badges, and check-in to games.

IM+ – VERSION

View in Google Play

What’s new in this version:

  • Off-the-Record Messaging is now available as in-app purchase
  • Significantly improved battery usage
  • Message queue: outgoing messages are queued if network is not available and will be automatically sent when network connection is restored
  • New IM services: mig33, SINA Weibo, Mamba.Ru and Fetion
  • Option to set Master Password
  • Contact list can be grouped by accounts
  • Preview for images and videos in chat window
  • Option to import accounts and settings from IM+ to IM+ Pro

IM+ supports all major IM services and lets you easily communicate with anyone. I have moved all my IM activity over to Google Talk, but this app is great for those of you with friends on alternative social networks.