Tag Archives: Android Apps

Social Video Discovery and Identification App IntoNow Debuts on Android

IntoNow

Back in January this year, an almost magical app for iOS called IntoNow made its first appearance. In less than three months, even before IntoNow had gotten around to building an user base, Yahoo swooped in and acquired it for something in the range of twenty to thirty million dollars. Even more interestingly, multiple players including Shazam and Twitter were also in talks.

IntoNow’s rapid rise isn’t really a surprise given that it’s a one of a kind app that works amazingly well. IntoNow is in many ways Shazam or Soundhound for television. It listens to the content you are watching and identifies not only the show you are watching, but also the episode. There are plenty of other social-discovery tools built around television – GetGlue and Miso are probably the most familiar ones. However, IntoNow one-ups them through its intuitiveness. Not only that, IntoNow also puts a lot more focus on making the television watching experience social. That difference between GetGlue and IntoNow’s priorities become obvious by just taking a look at the home screens of the respective apps.

IntoNow
IntoNow Home Screen

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IntoNow for Android

The good news is the IntoNow is no longer restricted to the iPhone. A short while back, IntoNow made its debut on the Android platform. The Android app is sleek, intuitive, and a joy to use. In short, it is head and shoulders above VideoSurf, GetGlue, Miso and other competitors. The bad news is that due to some inexplicable reason, IntoNow is region limited. If you are outside the US, you can still install and use IntoNow, but you will have to grab the APK from unofficial sources.

Gmail for Android Update Fixes Annoyances, Makes it More Powerful

Google has just updated its Gmail app for Android. To be honest, Gmail for Android is already pretty damn brilliant. It offers the perfect blend of power and simplicity. The latest release enhances it further by getting rid of a couple of minor annoyances, and adding some handy power-user features.

Gmail for Android now supports label specific ringtones. If you receive dozens of mails every minute, then this feature can be a godsend. By mashing up filters, labels, and ringtones, Google has now given power users the ability to configure Gmail such that they only get notified when an urgent mail arrives. Another handy new feature in Gmail 2.3.5 is the ability to sync only priority mail. This will appeal to users who want to conserve battery and bandwidth.

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As mentioned earlier, this update also takes care of a couple of major annoyances present in the existing version of Gmail for Android. Gmail can now remember your Show Pictures’ preferences for various senders. Additionally, as reported by Android Police, it is finally possible to download attachments without using third-party tools.

You can download Gmail for Android directly from your device or through the web Market.

Angry Birds, Google Maps and 360 for Android Get Major Updates

Rovio has once again updated the all-time popular productivity-killer game Angry Birds with 15 brand new levels. All the 15 new levels have a Mine and Dine based background. The game can be downloaded from the Android Market for free.

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Google has also released an update for Google Maps, which bumps up the version number to 5.8. The new version of Maps brings some welcomed features like the ability to add a picture for a place, and adding new places on-the-go for checking in.

Here is the official change-log from Google itself :

o Upload photos for a Place

o My Places as a simple way to manage the Places you’ve starred and recently viewed

o Descriptive terms for Places in search results

o Add a new Place on-the-go when checking in

Another popular Android application 360 has received a major update. 360 is one of the most popular panorama apps for Android. Instead of processing the images on the phone, the app uploads them online to a server, where they are stitched together. The application also shows the panorama images clicked by other 360 users.

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The new version of the application has many behind-the-scenes improvements, which should help users in creating richer quality panoramic images, quickly. 360 can be downloaded for free from here.

Google Rolling Out The New Android Market Update

Earlier this month, Google unveiled a new version of the Android Market for the phones running on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and higher. The redesigned Android Market allows you to purchase books as well as rent movies on the go. It also brings a new collections of great content like staff picks and Editors’ Choice apps. The updated Android Market is finally rolling out in the US.

new android market

The new Android Market client comes with an improved UI, which looks quite similar to the Metro UI of Windows Phone 7. The top content from the Android Market are showcased in a new promotional page on the homescreen. The option to purchase books and rent movies is available exclusively to the folks living in the US. The books and rented movies will also be linked to your Google account, so that you can read it on multiple devices such as computer, phone or tablet.

I have been using the new Android Market from the last 15 days and I personally liked it. The apps are perfectly organised and you can easily find related apps as well as other apps from the developer in the new Android Market. It allows you to check out what other people are downloading in the Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing, Top New Paid, Top New Free and Trending lists. If you have already updated the new Android Market client, then let us know if you liked it or still prefer the previous one.

Fruit Ninja Goes Free; Falling Fred Hits The Android Market

Fruit Ninja from HalfBrick Studios was among the first iOS games to be available for Android. The game is among the top 5 best sellers in the Android Market, and costs $1.99.

Now, looking at its popularity, HalfBrick Studios has released a free version of Fruit Ninja, with ad-support. This move from HalfBrick, and Rovio’s decision to release Angry Birds for free on the Android Market, clearly shows that free apps with ad-support generate more revenue that their paid counterparts for developers. The free version of Fruit Ninja can be downloaded from here.

Fruit_Ninja

In other gaming related news, another popular game for iOS Falling Fred has hit the Android Market. The game has quiet a high amount of violence and gore, so weak hearted people should stay away. In this game, users need to dodge the falling Fred from obstacles, and try to keep him alive.

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The game has a simple plot, yet it’s highly addictive. The graphics of the game are top-notch as well. The game is available for free on the Android Market. However, there are many more characters in the game, which users need to purchase via the in-app purchase option.

Falling Fred requires Android 2.2+ to work. The game can be downloaded from here.

Facebook for Android Gets Improved Pages Support

Facebook for Android has been updated for a second time in less than a month. Once again, it’s a fairly minor update. However, it does feature a few welcome changes.

The previous update saw rudimentary support for Pages being added. However, as I mentioned, it was pretty rudimentary. With the latest update, it is finally possible to view the full list of Pages that you Like, as well the ones that you administer. Now, you can tag Pages in your updates, and even posting as a Page, if you are the admin. Search for Pages is also included. However, surprisingly enough, Pages hasn’t received its own tab. Instead, it has been tucked onto the Friends section. Additionally, there are several bug fixes and optimizations. However, as far as noticeable new features are concerned, there isn’t anything else.

Facebook-Android

As we mentioned earlier, Facebook for Android is a pretty decent application, but it still lags behind its iPhone counterpart. Facebook for Android currently has a rating of 3.7/5, with a significant number of 1-star ratings. Even the latest version seems to be causing “Force Close” and battery drain issues for many users. For a long time, Facebook has been giving Android the step-motherly treatment. However, with the initial success of Google+, Facebook might have to work harder. Once Google+ is ready for the general public, Google will surely begin to leverage Android’s 550,000+ activations per day to increase Plus’ market penetration.

Cut the Rope, Sports Tracker and Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary App Hit the Android Market

Cut the Rope for Android was recently released by ZeptoLab for free on GetJar, with ads. Today, ZeptoLab has released Cut the Rope on the Android market, for a mere 0.99$. To know more about Cut the Rope, users can check out our previous article on the game. Android handset owners can download the game from here.

For sports freaks using an Android phone, the most popular sports tracking application for Nokia smartphones Sports Tracker, is now available on the Android Market.

Sports_Tracker

I used the app for a short period of time, and I must say that the app has a very polished look and feel to it. When comparing the UI, Sports Tracker is definitely one of the best sports tracking application for Android.

The app also sports a variety of sports activities, and also includes an option to create manual presets. Sports Tracker also uploads all the data relating to the users sporting activity online for analyzing the results and sharing with friends. The app can be downloaded from free from here.

Last but not the least; Merriam-Webster’s official Dictionary app has hit the Android Market, for free. Merriam-Webster is one of the most popular and respected dictionary in the United States.

Merriam_Webster_Dictionary

The app does what it is intended for. Finally, I can uninstall the crappy Dictonary.com official application from my phone. The app can be downloaded for free from here.

Facebook for Android Gets an Update, Finally Supports Video Uploads

Facebook has released an updated version of its Android client. It’s a fairly minor update, but it’s still something that will please Android owners, who have long complained that Facebook treats them as second class citizens.

Most of the stuff added to Facebook for Android 1.6 are things that have been present in its iOS counterpart for a long time. The biggest improvement is that it is finally possible to upload videos to Facebook using its official Android client. This update also adds support for Facebook Pages in the sense that users can tap the names of Pages present in their news stream to browse all content posted by that Facebook Page. However, search feature for Pages is still missing. The other improvement is in the news feed itself. It now supports a wider range of sources, and more stuff can be opened natively.

Facebook-Android-Video-Upload

Interestingly enough, the new Facebook app demands permission to send SMS. I couldn’t find any option to send an SMS from the app itself, so I have no clue as to why the app insists on this permission. Do let me know if you manage to figure out exactly what is going on.

There are still boatloads of features missing from Facebook’s mobile application. Even popular features such as “Comment Likes” and “Name-Tagging”, which were released months ago, are yet to make their way to the mobile application. Facebook has been spreading itself thin, and it’s well known that it doesn’t spend too much manpower on mobile app development. Heck, the excellent iPhone app was created by a single guy, Joe Hewitt. Project Spartan might be more important to Facebook, but it wouldn’t really hurt to add a couple of extra guys to the mobile app development team.

You can download Facebook for Android 1.6 from the Market.

Google Releases Google Docs App for Android

Google recently released its official app for Google Docs on Android. With this app users can  filter and search documents  on your Google account.  Users can also  easily share items with contacts on their phone, right from within the app.

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Besides that, this app also allows users to create documents with a single tap and users can  upload content from your phone and open documents directly from Gmail. For easy access users can  add a widget to your home screen for easy access to three core tasks: jumping to your starred documents, taking a photo to upload, or creating a new document with one tap.

 

Android_docs_2

One of the mind blowing feature Google has included in this app is  optical character recognition (OCR). With this you can click a photo of a document from your phone camera and convert them to text documents. Although at this point it cannot register user handwritten documents but Google promises to work on it soon.

Android_docs_3

You can download Google Docs for Android  from Android Market for free provided your device runs on Android 2.1+.

Opera Mini 6 and Opera Mobile 11 Released for Java, Symbian, Android, BlackBerry, Windows 7 and Meego

Is today a big day, or what! Amazon’s Android App Store will be released today. The much-delayed Firefox 4 is also slated to officially arrive soon. And now, Opera Software has made what is possibly the biggest product launch in its history. Opera Mini 6 and Opera Mobile 11 have been released for as many as six different platforms. Here’s a quick summary of the new stuff from the Norwegian browser vendor:

  • Opera Mini 6 for Java
  • Opera Mini 6 for Android
  • Opera Mini 6 for Symbian
  • Opera Mini 6 for legacy Symbian (S60 v2)
  • Opera Mini 6 for Blackberry
  • Opera Mobile 11 for Android
  • Opera Mobile 11 for Symbian
  • Opera Mobile 11 for Windows 7 (tablets and touch-screen devices)
  • Opera Mobile 11 for Meego

While Opera might be the little guy in the desktop segment, it is the king of mobile browsers. It already has more than 100 million users worldwide, and the number just keeps on increasing. Opera Mobile is Opera Software’s full-fledged mobile browser, which uses the same rendering engine (Presto) as Opera for desktop, and brings a desktop-like browsing experience to mobile devices. Opera Mini was originally developed for budget phones, which didn’t meet the hardware and software requirements of Opera Mobile. In Opera Mini, the webpage is routed through Opera’s servers, where all the rendering is done, and a static and highly compressed representation of the page is sent to the browser.

Opera-Mobile-11-Android

There are quite a few exciting improvements in both the products. The first thing that will catch your attention is the new skin. The bright shades of red, which have been a part of Opera’s mobile offerings for a long long time, have been replaced by a sleek black gradient.

Opera-Mobile-11-Android-Sharing-Options

Also new is the “Share” option, which enable you to quickly share a link through Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. The lack of sharing options was one of my major grievances with Opera Mobile 10 for Android, and I am glad that Opera Software has rectified this rather quickly.

Opera-Mobile-11-Windows-7-Tablets

Unsurprisingly, Opera’s mobile offerings are now optimized for high-resolution devices like tablets. This bit was already demoed at SXSW and MWC, and now you can try it yourself. Scrolling, panning, and zooming should be a lot smoother than before, and pinch-to-zoom support is included in all devices that are capable of supporting it.

All versions of Opera Mini and Opera Mobile can be downloaded directly on your mobile phone from m.opera.com.

Best Mobile Apps Of The Week for Android And iOS – #8

Welcome to the eighth edition of Best Mobile Apps of the Week for Android and iOS. Starting this week, I am going to list two apps each for Android and the iOS platform. Sadly, I will not introduce our readers to new Symbian apps from this week as well.

In this edition of BMATW, Android owners will be introduced to an app which will monitor their sleeping habits and an app which will help users create their own Android avatar! For iOS owners, there is a very popular Hindi news channel application and a RSS reader app.

Sleep As An Droid (Android)

Ignoring the grammatically incorrect title of the app, Sleep as an Droid helps a user to track his sleeping habit.

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Track your sleep and wake up gently with nature sounds in optimal sleep phase

Alarm clock with sleep cycle tracker. Wakes you gently in light sleep for pleasant mornings. Features: sleep graph history, sleep debt stats, sharing (FaceBook, email), nature alarms (birds, sea, storm…) with gradual volume up, music volume down when asleep, captcha, sleep talk/snoring recording.

The app uses the inbuilt accelerometer of your Android handset to track your movement while sleeping, and wakes you up when you are in a light sleep’. Users can also set mathematical puzzles as captcha codes, so as to completely wake them up from sleep!

Sleep As An Droid can be downloaded for free (2 weeks trial version) from the Android Market.

Androidify (Android)

Androidify was released by Google a couple of weeks ago on the Android Market. The app allows a user to create their own Android’ flavored avatar just for fun! Users can customize each and every aspect of their Android avatar including its height, width, clothes and hairstyle etc.

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Androidify yourself by customizing the little green Android as yourself, your family, your friends, anyone! Stretch it , shrink it, add a hoody, style its hair, throw on some shades, or even give it a parrot and a pirate hat. Arrrgh!

Once you’ve personalized your Android, share it with your friends, set it as a photo in your contact book, or use it in some inventive way we haven’t thought of yet. Have fun, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Sadly, the application does not allow users to create an animated avatar which is a letdown. Hopefully, Google will introduce this feature in a future update. Android users can download Androidify for free from here.

Reeder (iOS)

Reeder is one of the most successful RSS reader apps available for the iOS platform. The app has a very slick UI and with some nice and smooth transitions. Reeder supports syncing with Google Reader and allows users to browse their feeds either via feed or folders.

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Users also have the option to share a given piece of news with their friends on popular social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Reeder also supports Instapaper, ReaditLater, Readibility, state saving and Image caching. The app is available for the iPhone as well as for the iPad. The mobile version of Reeder costs $2.99, while the tablet version costs $4.99.

NDTV (iOS)

The NDTV app for iOS brings the latest news and videos from the NDTV newsroom to the users. The app also allows users to watch the live stream of some popular NDTV channels including NDTV India and NDTV Profit. The video streaming works on Wi-Fi as well as on 3G/EDGE.

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The NDTV Social section allows users to read and know more about the NDTV anchors and news reporters. The app is available as a free download for the iPhone as well as for the iPad.

Life Without An Android Smartphone

Last July, I purchased my first ever Android phone the Galaxy S. Since then, I have shifted from one Android phone to another after every few months. My Android based smartphone had become a very integral part of my life. I need it for tweeting and checking mails on the move, trying out new apps etc.

I never thought how my life would be without my Android phone. Then one fine morning the microphone on my Desire Z stopped working. I had to give it to the service center for a replacement. HTC promised me that I will get a replacement phone within a week, but it was only after 15 days and tons of phone calls that I got a replacement phone.

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Nevertheless, when I gave my Desire Z to the service center, I was totally devastated! I had no idea how I was going to spend the upcoming days without my beloved Android handset. Since I did not have any spare Android handset with me, I had to use a Nokia 6681 for the time being. I had all my contacts backed up to Google Contacts, and the 6681 had no option of syncing with it. The only option I was left was with, was to save some important numbers in the phonebook of the handset.

For the next week, what I went through without my beloved Zee phone was nothing short of torture. More than the phone’ itself, I was missing apps like Remote For iTunes, TweetDeck, My Tracks, Google Maps and RunKeeper which I use on a day-to-day basis. The thing I missed the most? Push email and calendar entries reminder!

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The basic and the most important feature of a phone, the calling part, was something which I did not miss at all. The Nokia 6681 was as good as the Z in network reception and the call quality was above average as well. I do understand that the Nokia 6681 is a smartphone’ in its own right, and I could have simply pimped the phone to make my life a little less miserable.

However, after using phones with speedy 1 GHz processor and tons of RAM, the 6681 felt downright slow! I felt pity on the poor soul, and decided against pimping it for my needs.

All this just proves that with time we, the users, have started expecting much more from our smartphones, than just fulfilling our basic telephony and messaging needs. We need a small device in our hands that can help us find our way through unknown roads, let us know what our friends are having for breakfast, make our day-to-day life much better, and in the end help us to connect to our near and dear ones via phone calls and SMS’s.

Best Mobile Apps Of The Week for iOS, Android and Symbian – #8

Welcome to the eight edition of Best Mobile Apps of the Week for iOS, Android and Symbian. First of all, I would like to apologize to our readers as I did not post the Best Mobile Apps for the last 2 weeks. I had to give my Android phone to the service center, and was using a dumbphone for nearly two weeks.

In this edition of Best Mobile Apps of the week, I will introduce our readers to an awesome eye-candy widget for your Android homescreen, a new unlock screen for you Symbian handset. For iOS owners, I will tell them about an app that will allow them to wake up their PC remotely!

Below are the Best Mobile Apps Of The Week For iOS, Android and Symbian :

Wake (iOS)

As the name suggests, Wake’ enables iOS users to remotely wake up their PC. The app uses WOL Wake On Lan feature which is found in nearly all PCs and Macs computers. Users need to make sure that the WOL’ feature is enabled on their PC. They can do so from the BIOS of their PC.

Wake_iOS

The app is designed to work with both iPhone and iPad. This app is an extremely useful one for users who want total control on their PC, when they are away from it. iOS owners can purchase Wake’ from the App Store for $0.99 from here.

Maze Lock (Symbian)

In the last edition of BMATW, I introduced our readers to Nokia Bubbles. The app allows users to unlock their phone in a fun and yet efficient manner. Today, I would like to introduce our readers to Maze Lock from ThinkChange.

Below is a video of Maze Lock in action :

 

Maze Lock for Symbian is similar to the pattern unlock option found in Android 2.1+ handsets. The app is configurable to quite an extent and allows users to change the lock screen background, the date and time display style etc. The app supports all the latest Symbian handsets from Nokia as well as the older S60v5 based ones like the X6 and 5800.

Symbian owners can download Maze Lock for free from the Ovi Store.

Honeycomb Clock (Android)

The tablet version of Android Honeycomb looks stellar! The whole Tron like theme and animations definitely look very cool! Well, Android handset owners are not going to get the next version of Android with all these eye-candies anytime soon. Until then, they can get the Honeycomb look on their phone by using a Honeycomb theme for ADW Launcher.

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Along with this, they can download and use the Honeycomb Clock widget from the Android Market. This widget replicates the awesome looking clock widget as seen in Honeycomb OS. Unlike the clock widget in Android 3.0, Honeycomb clock comes in multiple color choices for people who don’t like the blue color.

A free as well as a paid version of this widget is available on the Android Market. Android handset owners can download the app from here.

ADWLauncher EX Brings Insanely Cool Transition Effects to Android

If you are an Android user, you are probably familiar with ADWLauncher, which is one of the most popular home screen replacement apps for Android. Why would anyone want to replace their default launcher? The simple answer is – convenience. Third party launchers like ADW and Launcher Pro support more homescreens, more icons per screens, dockbars, more widgets, gestures and other convenient features.

As mentioned earlier, ADWLauncher is already one of the more popular home-screen replacements available on Android. ADWLauncher EX takes things to the next level by adding oodles of cool features, while achieving huge performance improvements.

Launcher EX features five app drawer styles – the default vertical one, a new smoother vertical drawer, the cube style implemented by Launcher Pro, the horizontal drawer seen in Galaxy phones, and a new flingable continuous horizontal drawer. The best thing is that irrespective of the style you are using, scrolling through apps (even when you have hundreds of them) is crazy smooth.

ADWLauncher-EX

ADWLauncher EX also ships with numerous dazzling transition effects to wow your friends with. There are eight of them at the moment, and I love almost all of them. Once again, the transitions are fast and smooth and never get in your way. Check out the video below to see some of them in action.

Techie Buzz Verdict

ADWLauncher EX - TechieBuzz Reccomends Launcher EX is not a freeware. It’s priced at €2.50, which works out to approximately $3.50. In my opinion, the performance benefits alone make ADWLauncher EX worth buying. However, if you need more reasons, you should be pleased with the editable desktop icons for applications, shortcuts and folders, super cool transition effects, and flexible app drawers. As far as I am concerned, ADW Launcher EX is the best launcher/home screen replacement app for Android.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)
[ Download ADWLauncher EX ]

Best Mobile Apps Of the Week for iOS, Android and Symbian – #3

Welcome to our third edition of the Best Mobile Apps Of The Week. This week we would like to introduce our readers to a very popular Twitter app for the iOS as well as for Android.  Along with that, we would introduce our readers to a very popular VOIP client for Symbian.

Here are the featured mobile apps of the week for , and :

Twitter (iOS)

for /  is the official twitter client from the company itself Twitter. The app has a very slick UI and I especially love the sliding panels’ UI feature in Twitter for iPad. The app also supports push notifications and inline media display. I have been using Twitter for iPad right on my iPad since the day it was launched. The app literally blows the competition away!

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iOS owners can download Twitter For iPad/iPhone from the App Store for free.

Skype (Symbian)

Skype is one of the most popular VOIP services out there. The company also has an official Skype client for all the major mobile OS including Symbian. Skype for Symbian allows users to make free calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world for free via Wi-Fi or 3G. It also allows Skype owners to chat for free.

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The company recently rolled out an updated version of Skype which supports the latest generation of Symbian phones like the Nokia N8, C7 and E5. The update also added SILK’ Skype’s own audio codec which helps improves voice quality on a low-bandwidth connection. Symbian owners can download Skype for their handset for free from here.

TweetDeck (Android)

is one of the most popular third party Twitter client for Windows. The app is also available for other major mobile platforms including Android. The Android version of TweetDeck has a great looking UI and functions really well. I personally switched to TweetDeck and have been using it ever since on my Galaxy S since the day it was released.

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The application also supports other major social networking sites like Facebook, Google Buzz and Foursquare. The application however does lack some features like no support for creating lists, no auto-fill while entering @username and some totally useless widgets. However, I am pretty sure the folks behind TweetDeck for Android will fix all these issues sooner than later. Android owners can download TweetDeck for free from the Android Market.