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New Android App: SlideScreen Home Replacement

Posted on Jan 21, 2010 in Productivity, Top Rated Apps | comment

I’m sure many of you have used a home replacement app (aHome, Home++, etc.), and now there is a new kid on the block.  SlideScreen is focused on the information you care most about, which makes it a refreshing addition to the list of similar apps.  Additionally, the UI is extremely well done and provides it with some true staying power.

Version: 1.01-free
Size: 1.05MB
Category: Productivity
Price: Free (Pro: $6.99)

You can get a summary of information for SMS, Gmail, Phone Calls, Calendar, Google Reader, Stocks, and Twitter.  This streamlines your phone to deliver important items quickly.  There is also an extensive amount of customization you can do to fit your preferences.

Since this app is so new, we’re not going to formally review it here (yet).  We wanted to give you a heads up so you can try this app out for itself, and follow it as it gets even more features/updates.  If you’ve already tried it, what do you think of it so far?  How does it compare to other home replacement apps you’ve tried?

Note: If you need to uninstall SlideScreen, make sure it’s not your current Home default.  This may cause issues after the uninstall.

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Best Android Apps to Increase Your Productivity

Posted on Jan 8, 2010 in Productivity, Top Rated Apps | 5 comments

With the newest “superphone” release, the Nexus One inspired us to create a list of the best Android apps to increase your productivity.  The allure of smartphones is in their ability to keep you up-to-date with the latest news, information, and answers.  Even more so, it’s their ability to do all of these things on-the-go and in half the time.  Building off of this, the following apps offer you invaluable services and information that keeps you one step ahead.
Increase the responsiveness and speed of your Android phone by ending applications with a single click.  Save battery life and get things done faster with Advanced Task Manager.
Scan barcodes or search to compare prices of items you find in stores with Amazon.  Save time and money by shopping online.
Never forget to pay a bill, miss an appointment, or remember to do something.  Prioritize tasks, make deadlines, and set reminders to keep yourself on track.
Astro File Manager
Cleanup your SD card and organize the files you need the most.  Backup applications and never lose track of files on your phone again.
Live traffic and turn by turn directions. Need I say more?
Use pictures to instantly get information about landmarks, logos, artwork, businesses, etc.  Forget asking questions, get your own answers immediately.
HandyCalc
Quickly calculate anything and everything with this simple (yet useful) calculator.  Don’t leave home without it.
MobisleNotes

Simple and straight-forward notes and to-do lists.  Check off items you listed as you go to stay on track.  Brilliant UI.

Consolidated list of all the settings you’d want to change.  Customize to save battery and speed up your phone.  Enjoy the UI.
Stay on top of everything going on with Twitter and therefore the World (right?).  Offers a full-feature client that will keep you connected.  Don’t miss anything.
We couldn’t decide on which Twitter app to recommend (they’re both great) so they’ve both made the list.
Find the lowest gas prices, best local restaurants, and access Yellow Pages listings.  Endless information to help you make the right decisions no matter where you are.
Which of these apps have you used and enjoy?  Did we forget some other great Android apps that help you  get things done quickly?  Leave us a comment and let us know!
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Top Android App: Quick Settings

Posted on Jan 6, 2010 in Productivity, Top Rated Apps | 6 comments




Quick Settings is an all-in-one settings Android app that has the cleanest user interface we have seen on this type of app.  We love how polished the app looks and how extremely easy it is to change your settings; just one click!
Application: Quick Settings
Version: 1.8.5
Size: 147KB
Category: Productivity
Price: Free
Overall Score: 4.7/5
User Interface: 5/5
Ease of Use: 5/5
Customizability: 4/5
Originality: 4.5/5
Indispensability: 5/5

The main page of this app is very customizable, allowing you to add the settings you need to change most often while removing those you do not (Menu > Customize).  All of your settings are now located in one location and are accessed with just one click.  Everyone knows that when changing your settings (i.e. enabling WiFi or GPS), you want to get there as fast as possible.  Nothing is more frustrating than clicking through 5 pages of options to get to what you want.
Additionally, the app offers you information about the free space left on your phone as well as your SD card.  It also displays your current battery percentage if you’re worried about your phone dying too soon.  Great to have this information conveniently displayed along with your settings options.

A couple more great features of this app are located in the Menu > Preference page.  For even faster access to your own settings, you can choose to add a status bar shortcut.  You can choose an icon that is permanently displayed, or if you’re like us, you can add an icon that only shows up when you pull down the notification window.  The streamlined design really makes this app extremely user friendly.  
You can also choose the dialog appearance if you’d prefer the app to open as a pop-up window rather than launching into the full app.
Overall, Quick Settings rivals Toggle Settings because of it’s polished look, 1 click settings adjustments, and customizability.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any saved settings profiles, but this app is so easy to use it’s a moot point.  We highly suggest you try this one out!  Scan the QR code with Barcode Scanner or click the QR code (if you’re on your Android phone) for the direct link to Quick Settings in the Android Market.
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Top Android App: Evernote

Posted on Dec 17, 2009 in Productivity, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

Evernote is a mobile note app that allows you to log, index, and search for all your information in one place.  Additionally, Evernote offers synchronization between your Android phone and the web so you’ll have all your info wherever you go (as long as you have internet access).  Evernote is extremely easy to use and understand and should be used by anyone wanting to keep track of their ideas, inspiration, pictures, and other important information they come across throughout the day.
Application: Evernote
Version: 1.1.5
Size: 1.22MB
Category: Productivity
Price: Free
Overall Score: 4.5/5
User Interface: 4.5/5
Ease of Use: 4.5/5
Customizability: 4.5/5
Originality: 4.5/5
Indispensability: 4.5/5
The home screen of Evernote offers you the options of logging a snapshot, uploading a file from your phone’s SD card, writing a text note, or saving an audio note that you record.
Below I show the succession of 1) seeing a magazine/article that I’d like to remember and taking a picture with Evernote 2) inputing the details of what I’m noting 3) viewing the picture with my annotation within the app.  Not shown is the fact you can now go to Evernote.com and log in to view the same note you just created using your Android phone.  Now you’re note can be easily accessed from anywhere.
When you create a note you can also apply a tag for easy searching later.  Furthermore, you can organize your notes into different notebooks for more clarity.  For example, using a different notebook for each class you have in school would be a great way to make your notes easier to find and search.  Below I show the tag of “science” applied to my magazine cover.
Building upon the magazine example, Evernote makes it possible to search for text within images you have taken.  So, if I searched for the word “world” on the main page of the app, Evernote produces the results below.  The app was able to read and index the text within the magazine’s cover.  This feature is incredibly useful (and awesome) especially if you use Evernote to save info from people’s business cards, pictures of class notes, etc.  Now you don’t even need to remember what the note was titled or when it was created, just a word that was within it.  The options here are endless.
The one downfall of this app may stem from the same aspect that makes it great.  The fact that it uses the internet to sync your notes from your Android phone to the web makes it dependent upon the internet to access that same information.  Unfortunately, you can’t store this information directly on your phone, and because of this, some people don’t see this app as being very useful/dependable.  Since I feel like Android users almost always have access to their data plan or Wi-Fi, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker for many of us.
The Evernote website introduces the many functions and features that it offers (and that weren’t covered here).  Check them out and explore this service more.
Overall, Evernote is a great idea, service, and Android app.  I expect to see more updates to this app as users give their opinions/concerns.  As it is now, there is great functionality in this app and I’d recommend giving it a try.
Scan the barcode with Barcode Scanner to access Evernote in the Android Market.
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Top Android App: Astrid Task/Todo List

Posted on Dec 13, 2009 in Productivity, Top Rated Apps | comment

Astrid Task/Todo List is a feature rich Android app to help you get things done.  It is extremely customizable and you can setup all sorts of notifications and reminders to make sure you complete your task on time.

Application: Astrid

Version: 2.10.0
Size: 625KB
Category: Productivity
Price: Free
Overall Score: 4.8/5
User Interface: 4.5/5
Ease of Use: 5/5
Customizability: 5/5
Originality: 4.5/5
Indispensability: 5/5
To create a task you can either select the green plus button or just begin typing.  You can enter the task name, the priority (from 1 to 4) of the task, the tag you want to apply to it for quick reference, how long it will take you, and any notes you have.
The Dates tab allows you to set an absolute deadline, a goal deadline, and then the option to add it to your calendar.  Adding directly to your Google Calendar is extremely useful as it’ll be there to remind you and will help you organize your time.  Astrid can also sync with rememberthemilk.com as well if you prefer.
The Alerts tab allows you to choose whether you want to set up periodic reminders for the app to notify you about the tasks you have yet to complete.  You can also choose when you want Astrid to notify i.e. “as deadline approaches” or “after absolute deadline passes.”  Select save or simply hit the back button to save into your task list.
A cool quick feature is that if a task is approaching its deadline, long press the task and you can choose to postpone it for a certain period of time.
There are many other customizability options that make this app one of the most useful.  If you’re busy often and need a little organization, try this app because it’ll always be with you to remind you.

Scan the barcode with Barcode Scanner for the direct link to Astrid in the Android Market.

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