Ninth in a series. This week Google updated its Gmail app, adding background refresh, so it can now fetch new mail even when it’s not open. This is a great addition, and stops you having to manually refresh to check for new messages. Google also added simplified sign-in. Log in to any Google app — Gmail, Maps, Google+ or Chrome, for example — and your account details will be used to log you in to all other Google apps automatically.
Of the new apps that have arrived in the store this week, there’s a great, easy to use file transfer tool, an app that will help you monitor and (maybe) manage your caffeine consumption, a social local discovery tool, a dance game, and a cartoon racer that will let you go head to head against Top Gear’s The Stig.
As always, if I miss an app that you think should have been included, let me know in the comments below, or drop me an email.
Here is my selection for this week.
Paid App of the Week
Block Fortress: War ($1.99) Offers in-app purchases.
Set in the Blockverse, a blocky dimension that’s home to five warring races, this game meshes block building with real time strategy. You can play as one of the races (each of which has its own soldiers, heroes, and blocks) and customize your army and build up defenses to keep your opponents at bay.
Free App of the Week
Findery: social local discovery
Every place has a story and the aim of Findery is to reveal that story to the world. Users tag notes and/or photos on a map, for other users to discover. It has been in testing for two years, so already has a reasonable amount of notes in place. Of course unless you live in or near a major city there’s still a good chance you won’t encounter anything on your doorstep, but you should find some places within driving distance.
The map covers the entire planet so you can view notes from around the world, view recent additions and any activity on notes you created. “Bumping” runs in the background and will alert you when you’re in the vicinity of a note.
Top Gear: Race The Stig Offers in-app purchases.
The Stig is the “tame racing car driver” who features in the BBC’s Top Gear motoring show. In this game, you race against the mysterious helmeted one in various iconic vehicles from the program, and across different locations, dodging traffic, and jumping caravans.
Worried you drink too much coffee? I know I do. This app, from Jawbone Labs, lets you find out more about your body’s reaction to caffeine. Use it to keep track of your caffeine consumption (not just coffee) and see how it can affect your sleep. The app will tell you how affected by caffeine you currently are (OK, Edgy, Wired, etc.), and suggest the time when you will be ready for sleep. 5am in my case.
WeTransfer’s new app has been designed specifically to let users send high-res photos and videos. You can send up to 10GB of images and videos from your phone at a time, and transfers can be made over Wi-Fi, and cellular (3G and 4G). You can pause or cancel a transfer at any time.
The app connects to your address book to make it easier to send files to contacts.
Apple’s App of the Week
Go Dance Offers in-app purchases.
This week’s free app courtesy of Apple is Sega’s Go Dance. Place your iOS device on a surface, dance to the music and strike the right poses using the FaceTime camera. You can compete with friends and unlock content by performing dances flawlessly. It works best on an iPad. Sega suggests if playing it on an iPhone you connect the handset to your TV or use AirPlay (so you can see what you’re supposed to be doing).