New Android apps worth downloading: Google Play Newsstand, Pocket update, Sketchpad Escape

by Phil Hornshaw

Google has released a new app for avid readers of digital publications. It's Google Play Newsstand, and it combines Google Currents with app versions of magazines and other publications. We've also got another great app for readers of articles: Pocket, which lets you save articles and videos you find online, to be read later on your Android device. Our game offering today is Sketchpad Escape, a brickbreaker title with a hand-drawn, notebook look and tons of levels.

Google Play Newsstand (Free)

Google Play NewsstandWhat’s it about? Access news and magazines available in the Google Play Store from one convenient location and keep up with everything you want to read with Google Newsstand.

What’s cool? Like the newsstand app released by Apple for iOS, Google Play Newsstand gives you a one-stop shop for the publications available in the Google Play Store. The app combines Google Currents and publications like digital magazine, allowing you to get all your publications and subscriptions quickly and easily in one app. You can set Newsstand to work in offline mode so that you can read magazines without an active Internet connection, and the app lets you find articles in various categories so you can keep finding things that interest you.

Who’s it for? If you're a user of Google Currents and someone that reads a lot of digital publications, Google Play Newsstand was built for you.

What’s it like? Snag the standalone Google Currents app if you prefer, and do more article reading on Flipboard.

Pocket update (Free)

PocketWhat’s it about? Save links, articles and videos you find on the web to read later using Pocket's stripped down version that cuts out ads and meaningless clutter.

What’s cool? On any given day on Facebook, Twitter and the Internet at large, you'll probably find tons of articles you want to read and not a ton of time to actually read them. Pocket lets you save those articles (and videos, as well as other stuff) to be read later on your Android device. It also makes the reading experience easier by stripping out the web design and placing articles in a simple format that's free of ads and other junk. Pocket supports an offline mode so you can read even when you're not connected to the Internet, and lets you save things from just about any app you use to find articles, surf the web, or share things. The app's new update brings a “Highlights” section that brings the best content on your list to the top, and includes streamlined navigation so you can more easily find exactly what you're looking to read.

Who’s it for? Anyone who finds themselves inundated with things to read but can't get to it all should grab Pocket.

What’s it like? Another great app for saving articles for later reading is Instapaper.

Sketchpad Escape (Free)

Sketchpad EscapeWhat’s it about? Brickbreaker Sketchpad Escape uses a notepad-like aesthetic to bring a fresh look at the genre, and tosses in features like enemies to fight while you try to keep a ball in the air.

What’s cool? Sketchpad Escape will catch your attention with its notebook paper graphics. The entire thing takes on a hand-drawn aesthetic as if drawn on paper, and combines the look and the drawings that go with it with some classic brickbreaker gameplay. Players “paint” each level as they smash bricks by bouncing a ball into them, but you'll also have to deal with enemies that fire back and other obstacles along the way. Sketchpad Escape includes 100 levels to work through and 15 paddles to unlock over the course of the game.

Who’s it for? Fans of brickbreaker titles, but looking for a different take on the art direction, might get a kick out of Sketchpad Escape.

What’s it like? Other great brickbreaker games include Fantasy Breaker and Meteor Brick Breaker 2.