Favorite Things

Android Power's 3 favorite things for April 2014

Favorite Things

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Some people like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. As for me? Sure, I can appreciate a nice damp flower or fuzzy feline face. But if we're talking about favorite things, I might steer the discussion in a different direction.

Android Power Favorite Things

From apps to accessories, Android is full of interesting treasures -- little things that add up to make a big difference in our device-using experiences. They don't have to be revolutionary; they just have to make our lives easier or make the mobile landscape a more pleasant place to live.

That's why I'm taking a moment to pause and shine the light on a few of my favorite things related to Android every so often. So without further ado, here are three things I'm particularly fond of at the moment:

1. Link Bubble

This seemingly simple app has changed the way I use my phone and quickly become one of the first things I install on any new device. It's a bit unusual: In short, Link Bubble acts as a companion to your regular mobile browser and handles all the links you open from within other apps.

That means if you tap on a link from, say, Twitter or Google+, Link Bubble will start loading it in the background while you continue to browse. The page will show up as a small movable circle on the side of your screen; once it's loaded and you're ready to read it, you just tap the circle and it pops up as an overlay on top of whatever else you were doing.

Link Bubble

You can load multiple links into Link Bubble and then open them whenever the mood strikes. You can also easily drag links from Link Bubble into Pocket or any other saving/sharing service.

Link Bubble isn't meant to replace your normal mobile Web browser; rather, it supplements it by handling one specific thing in a more intelligent way. It's one of those features that, once you use it, just makes sense -- and makes you wonder how it wasn't always there.

2. HTC One (M8) Dot View case

Me? Praising a phone case? What, has hell finally frozen over?

HTC One M8 Dot View Case

Believe it or not, it hasn't (at least, as far as I know). HTC's One (M8) Dot View case is just really freakin' cool.

The reason: The Dot View case isn't just a case. It's a device that integrates closely with a phone to provide an unusual new function.

When the Dot View case is attached to the One (M8), the phone shines special retro graphics through tiny holes on its front. You can tap the case twice to see the current time and weather along with a limited range of pending notifications. And when the phone rings, the caller's info shows up through the case; you can swipe up on it to take the call and just start talking right then and there.

Pretty darn clever.

3. Chrome Remote Desktop

Oh yes, it's true: Google's Chrome Remote Desktop tool is finally available for Android phones and tablets. All you do is install the app, install the companion Chrome desktop extension, and ta-da: You can securely access your computer from any Android device, anytime you want.

Chrome Remote Desktop Android

There are other tools out there that do similar things, some of which are more robust -- but none that comes close to being as simple, painless to set up, and free as Google's new offering.

And that, my friends, is why Chrome Remote Desktop is one of my favorite things in the land of Android right now. Stay tuned for more.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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