Let’s be honest, we are both app addicts — me, because i’m the editor of a site called Android.Appstorm, and you because you’re reading this. We are smitten by new apps, we like finding them, trying them, reviewing or reading about them, and we enjoy the process almost as much as we enjoy unwrapping presents on Christmas day. That’s why, as a trusted member of the App Addict Club, I’ll let you in on my top secret app discovery and curation tool: Playboard.
I have been using the service and app for several months now, almost from its first days on Android, and it has quickly become the Robin to my Batman, the ultimate tool in my arsenal as an editor of this site and an app addict. And with the recent update to version 2.0, Playboard has become a little more awesome than before, so it’s time that I take a few moments to tell you about it.
The first things you’ll notice when you open Playboard are the Featured and Trending Apps lists — there’s also the News Feed but we’ll get to it in the next section. This is where you will get new content recommended to you.
The Featured list is a collection of hot and interesting app channels, created and maintained by other Playboard members — “editors” to use the appropriate term. Currently, for example, there’s a channel dedicated to cool apps for the Galaxy Note 8.0, and a channel of apps that offer both form and function, amidst many others. Those two are great examples of the panoply of curation you can find on Playboard. Channels can be as broad as “Holo Apps”, as personal as “My Favorite Apps” or as specific as “Endless Runner Games”.
Every channel is a vertical stream of app cards, with their title, icon, rating, a big image, a share button, and the price tag that doubles as a shortcut to the Play Store. Clicking on the image opens it in fullscreen and allows you to scroll through all the app’s screenshots. That’s invaluable as you don’t have to leave Playboard to see an app’s price, ratings, and screenshots, and you can easily decide whether you want to check it out on the Play Store or dismiss it and move to the next one.
The Trending Apps list bypasses the channels and serves you the apps right away, with the hottest content on top. For example, today is all about the new Mashable app and its intelligent viral detecting algorithm. You can also find Nox, Kovdev’s just released icon pack theme, and the newly updated Yahoo! Weather. Basically, if you don’t want to read blogs — but we don’t want to advocate that, do we? — or if you find it daunting to unearth new and updated apps on Twitter or Facebook, this is where you can see all the Play Store action at a glance.
When you open any Playboard channel, you are given the option to follow it, which brings me to one of my preferred features of the app. By following a channel, you will be able to see any new additions the editor makes to it. Say for example you loved the “Form+Function” channel, and you don’t want to check it every few weeks to see if V (the editor) found new apps that fit the premise. All you have to do is follow it, and a red bell will appear next to its name whenever there has been an addition.
The News Feed, which I mentioned in the section above, will also collate all the changes to your followed channels in an easy-to-check stream. I am absolutely loving this feature in Playboard 2.0. With the app’s old version, I had to click on every single channel to check the modifications, whereas now I can simply open the News Feed and instantly see what my friends have curated.
Up till here, I have showed you how Playboard can help you discover content, but what if you wanted to be the curator doing the magic behind the scenes? Simply sign in with Facebook, or with an email and a password, and you can make an Editor profile and start creating your own channels.
Pick a title and a description, choose which countries should have access to it, and your channel is ready to go live right after you add five apps to it. This can be done either by picking apps from the ones installed on your device or by searching the Play Store from Playboard. You can also add your own review of the app to let your followers know why you picked it or what you think about it.
The real winning feature here though is that Playboard integrates into the Share intent from other apps. This means that you can send any app link right into one of your own Playboard channels. Did you see an interesting app on the Play Store, read about an awesome game in your RSS feed, or even find some cool new app in someone else’s Playboard channel? Click Share and add it to your own channels with a quick review. It’s… almost magical.
Personally, I have over 30 channels on Playboard, check them here! I categorize almost every interesting app or game I run across, which I then use to write articles for Android.Appstorm — like 30 Awesome Apps for Movie and TV Lovers picked from my corresponding Playboard channel — or to quickly find and recommend apps when a friend asks me about the best software for a specific purpose.
Everyone I know always wonders how I know so many apps and how I keep track of all of them. My answer is Playboard. It’s my modern moleskine, my second memory, and the icon I always click when someone starts asking me “do you know an app that” … I always know the app. Or, to be correct, Playboard always reminds me of the app.
Playboard isn’t perfect. I know I make it sound as such, but the service still doesn’t allow Google+ login, and it doesn’t sync your followed channels between devices or with its web interface, despite keeping your own channels in sync when you sign in.
But, these minor grievances aside, it’s an invaluable tool for any serious member of the App Addict Club. It’s beautiful to begin with, smart, and makes it infinitely easy to discover new apps, follow interesting curators and channels, or manage your own recommendations. There’s even a lot more to the app than what I said here, with category filtering, searching, and discovering every newly-released app or game to be the first to try them and help them go viral.
With the Play Store getting to one million apps and games, it is a daunting task even to the geekiest of us to venture beyond the top lists or the search button. But Playboard makes app discovery simple and enjoyable again. As a matter of fact, I was recently speaking to my friend, to whom I had recommended following some of my Playboard channels, and she told me she never opens the Play Store now, she just checks my channels. Awww, thank you!