Five to Try: Office helps you get work done, Satellina distracts you from it

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If you’re looking for the latest Android apps and games worth grabbing this week, then you’ve come to the right place. Microsoft recently made headlines with its own new hardware and refreshed OS—but this week, it’s all about Android software, thanks to the proper release of the Office apps for tablets and the debut of a new Outlook app that’s much better than the last.

A single game made the list this week, but Satellina is a clever one indeed, delivering tricky timing-centric challenges. Rounding out the list are the Google Cardboard-ready VRSE – Sundance Selection and intriguing crowd-sourced shipping alternative, Roadie. Just the thing to kill free time waiting for (or avoiding) the Super Bowl this weekend.

Microsoft Office

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PowerPoint, Excel, and Word make an impressive transition to tablets, although some limitations require a paid subscription to overcome.

Finally! Microsoft Office has exited the preview stage and is now freely available to download and partially freely available to use on tablets (that are 10.1 inches or smaller). Of course, Office has three primary components, and they’re separate downloads on Android: Word for Tablet, Excel for Tablet, and PowerPoint for Tablet.

Whether it’s typing up essays, plotting out spreadsheets, or composing intricate presentations, we found all three apps to be rather useful in our hands-on from this week. Each maintains the essence of Office from desktop, albeit with portable-friendly perks like editing files directly from Dropbox or OneDrive, and you get a solid core viewing and creation experience for free. Advanced features come with a paid Office 365 subscription, but occasional users can probably do without.


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You really have to see it in motion: all of the particles are spinning and swaying, making it difficult for you to move the white orb and clear only green ones.

Got catlike reflexes and a desire to show them off? Try Satellina, a lo-fi affair that challenges you to clear all of the moving particles from the screen as quickly as possible. The catch is that you can only safely brush away any that are green—once those are out, the others change colors and can be tackled accordingly, as well. Touch any red or yellow icons too soon, however, and it’s game over.

The early stages endear you to the premise, but the $1.99 game turns tricky before getting too deep into its 50-level stash. Before long, the colorful patterns are zipping around in intricate patterns, and finishing a stage on the first try—let alone at a decent pace—becomes a serious challenge. The jittery synth soundtrack only helps amp up the tension.

Microsoft Outlook Preview

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There’s a little UI work left to do, but Outlook’s clean layout and easily accessed sorting tools make it a worthy option for mobile email management.

As three Microsoft apps exit the preview stage, another enters the fray: Outlook brings a stellar version of the email and calendar stalwart to Android, although the design and execution may already be familiar to some. That’s because it’s essentially a conversion of Accompli, the email app that Microsoft purchased less than two months ago. Still, it’s a big upgrade over the previous mobile Outlook.

The slick, one-thumb-friendly design lets you swipe away inbox emails to archive or delete, and you can even customize the gestures to suit your needs. Quick Filters and the Focused option let you get right to your most essential messages, plus you can add attachments directly from cloud accounts. Although the free app is still technically in a pre-final state, Outlook seems super handy, and it works with the likes of Gmail and Yahoo in addition to Exchange.

VRSE – Sundance Selection

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VRSE’s free videos are best experienced with a VR headset (like Cardboard), but you can also just view them on the full phone screen.

Google Cardboard has proven itself more than just a throwaway gag, with more than half a million people reportedly rocking cut-up pizza boxes on their faces to dig into the world of virtual reality. If you don’t mind strapping a smartphone within an inch of your eyes, add VRSE – Sundance Selection to your Cardboard playlist pronto.

It’s a free app, and like many VR experiences, the content is short and sweet. Evolution of Verse, the main attraction, is a short film full of surreal imagery—like a train gliding on a lake right into you, at which point it explodes into a flock of birds. You’ll also find a couple of brief documentary-style clips, with every scene viewable in 360 degrees as you move your phone. And if you don’t have a VR headset, you can still watch the videos in full screen and take in the immersive footage.


fivetotry jan30 roadie

Want to haul a chainsaw from Boca Raton to Atlanta? There’s $74 in it for you if you use Roadie to take the gig.

If you want to get an item from one location to another, you usually ship it—right? Roadie offers another option: random people who can personally transport your object to its destination for a small fee. It’s as easy as snapping a photo of what needs to move, posting a gig to the Roadie app, and hoping someone looking to make a few bucks (and ideally already planning to travel the route) will take the job.

Depending on what you’re sending, it could well be cheaper and faster than using FedEx or UPS, and Roadie insures items and provides real-time tracking via device GPS. There are very few gigs on the map right now, and at least a couple are pretty questionable—$41 to deliver a box of pens and a DVD from Georgia to Florida? Still, this is an interesting idea, at the very least, and one to keep tabs on. Roadie is a free download, although sending items comes with variable fees.

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