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Top 5 Android Apps to “Go Green” (Guest Post)

Posted on May 7, 2011 in Tools, Top Rated Apps | 2 comments

Guest post by SIM-Only.co.uk, a website dedicated to finding you the best SIM only deals on the market in the UK.

There are a number of Android apps focused on making the world “greener.” From apps that save you mileage while driving to apps that help you find the right foods, there are plenty of of eco-conscious apps for your Android device. Below are the top 5 apps to help you “Go Green.”

1.  Eco Buzz Widget

  • Version: 1.1.4
  • Size: 227KB
  • Price: Free



If you are familiar with the weather widget, then you will notice similarities between that and the Eco Buzz Widget. It provides global news about the green scene. If you want to learn more about a given headline, tap it to expand the full screen mode with the complete story. It also provides the latest helpful information, such as which organic items to buy.

2.  PowerTutor

  • Version: 1.4
  • Size: 274KB
  • Price: Free



However well-intentioned you may be in downloading green apps, it is important to determine whether or not you are using too many apps on your phone. The PowerTutor app will illustrate just how much power your apps may be wasting on your mobile phone. From your GPS receiver to your green apps, this app provides a display of your power consumption history. It can also provide you a text file with detailed results. To further save battery, run this app to monitor your Android device and close it when you’re finished.

3.  Ride off Carbon (beta)

  • Version: 1.0
  • Size: 0.98MB
  • Price: Free



This Android app monitors your carbon footprint from different modes of transportation including driving, biking, and walking. You can accurately record (via GPS) your carbon emission savings when you use sustainable, “green” transportation options. Do your part and minimize your carbon footprint!

4.  Eco Charger

  • Version: 1.0.1
  • Size: 45.46KB
  • Price: Free



Leaving your phone plugged in to the charger when it’s fully charged wastes approximately 1 Watt (1 Joule/second) of energy. This translates into huge, unnecessary energy expenditures when you consider the number of mobile devices being used worldwide today. This app works by notifying you when your phone is fully charged (and if the battery is overheating or your Android device is experiencing abnormally high voltage).

5.  Green Power Battery Saver

  • Version: 3.10
  • Size: 324KB
  • Price: ~$1.81 (Free version available)



Once configured, Green Power Battery Saver automatically manages WiFi and mobile connection data to maximize your battery life by limiting mobile connections to only periodically connect and update (especially when your Android device is not being used). A huge benefit to this app (over related apps like APNdroid and JuiceDefender) is that it does not require manual monitoring or repeated user input.

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Top Android App: USPS Mobile

Posted on Apr 16, 2011 in Tools, Top Rated Apps | comment

USPS Mobile Android app gives you on-the-go access to USPS.com’s most popular tools.

  • Version: 1.0.0
  • Size: 2.28MB (no apps2SD)
  • Category: Tools
  • Price: Free



This Android app is a powerfully simple tool for those who frequently use the United States Postal Service. When you open the app you are presented with three main options. You can instantly locate the nearest post office location, automated postal center, or collection box. Initially, to utilize these features you will need to have your location determined by your device’s GPS. Then, you have the option to adjust the map area and re-scan for updated results. Additionally, typing in an address (or even just a zipcode) will jump the map to that area.

Once you’ve chosen a location/collection box, click the bubble to expand its details. The provided information includes the address and distance from your current location as well as the option to open directions with another application (e.g. Google Maps). Conveniently, you can also check the office’s hours or give them a call directly from the app before making a trip (handy since each location has its own hours and collection times).

Best of all, this app makes tracking packages extremely easy. To access this feature, hit the Menu button on your Android device. Then all you have to do is enter the delivery confirmation number, tracking number, etc. that relates to the particular shipment you’d like to monitor.

Pros:

  • Instantly find the nearest post office, automated postal center, and/or collection box
  • Look up directions, post office hours, etc.
  • Track packages from drop-off to delivery (and only type the tracking number in once!)



Areas for improvement:

  • Add the tracking option to the app’s main screen choices
  • Add option to manually enter location so GPS is not needed



Conclusion: If you’re frequently mailing letters or shipping/receiving packages, the USPS Android app will streamline the process and hopefully take a little stress out of your life.

[AppBrain Link]

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Amazon AppStore for Android; Free Paid App Every Day

Posted on Mar 23, 2011 in Tools, Top Rated Apps | 3 comments

The Amazon AppStore for Android is where you can download a paid Android app for free each and every day!

  • Version: release-1.07002
  • Size: 104KB
  • Category: Tools
  • Price: Free



The AppStore for Android is Amazon’s rendition of Google’s Online Android Market and gives you the power to browse the entire market from Amazon.com or the Android app itself.

Note: this app requires your device be running Android 1.6+. Also, at this time, AT&T customers cannot us this app because of AT&T’s restrictions on 3rd party app installations (although they are currently working on a solution).

One of the novel features that the Amazon AppStore has brought to the table is the ability to “test drive” an application before purchasing it. Clicking the “test drive now” button launches a copy of the app on Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), an Amazon Web Service available to developers. The simulated app runs just as it would on your Android device. Now you don’t have to worry about the Android Market’s 15-minute return policy if you’re afraid you won’t actually like a paid app. This will surely promote paid applications, especially since many go unnoticed because of the “chicken or the egg” dilemma (they don’t get paid for and downloaded because they don’t have ratings, yet they don’t have ratings because they don’t get paid for and downloaded).

The interface, navigation, and overall experience of the app is nothing less than what you would expect from Amazon. If you’re an Amazon user, make sure to enable 1-click purchasing to make the process that much smoother.

Pros:

  • Download a paid Android app for free every day
  • “Test drive” applications before purchasing them (online AppStore only)
  • Attractive, streamlined interface facilitates app discovery



Areas for improvement:

  • Align categories with what’s used in the official Android Market



Conclusion: The efficiency and power of Amazon applied to Android apps creates an exciting complement to the current Android Market.

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Top Android App: APNdroid

Posted on Mar 21, 2011 in Tools, Top Rated Apps | 2 comments

APNdroid enables you to easily control your Android device’s internet connection.

  • Version: 2.1.13
  • Size: 211KB (no apps2SD)
  • Category: Tools
  • Price: Free



Activating APNdroid will prevent your phone from connecting to the internet over 3G/EDGE/GPRS (note: does not affect WiFi). If you’re wondering why you would want to use this feature, here are a couple of great reasons: 1) improve battery life by keeping apps from checking for updates in the background, 2) save money by restricting data usage to times when you want to use it only (if you do not have an unlimited data plan).

There are a few options you’ll want to pay attention to if you plan on using this app on a daily basis. First, open the app to access its preferences and decide whether or not you want to keep MMS enabled. If you uncheck this box, you won’t receive media messages like photos, videos, etc. through texts. If you’re a forgetful person, you might want to enable the notifications option which will place an on/off icon displaying your phone’s current status in the notification bar. Lastly, if you’re having trouble disabling your mobile connection, try the “disable all APNs” option.

Pros:

  • Toggle data connection with a single click
  • Save battery and even money on your bill
  • Homescreen widget also available (separate application download)



Areas for improvement:

  • Trouble re-activating connection after first use (had to manually cycle mobile connection in settings > wireless and network > mobile networks), although not sure what exactly caused the issue



Conclusion: An essential app for any Android user wanting to improve battery life or prevent data use overage costs.

[AppBrain Link]

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Top Android App: Shush! Ringer Restorer

Posted on Mar 18, 2011 in Tools, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

Shush! Ringer Restorer lets you set a timer to turn your ring volume back on after you’ve set your Android phone to silent.

  • Version: 6.1
  • Size: 27.58KB (no apps2SD)
  • Category: Tools
  • Price: Free



This Android app is activated when you silence your ringer using the volume buttons (note that other silencing methods may not activate this app). The true beauty and convenience is in the fact that you don’t need to remember to use a specific app or tap through menus to manage your phone’s ringer volume, it does the work for you!

For example, how many times have you silenced your phone during a class or meeting only to miss calls/notifications afterwards because you forgot to turn the volume back on? When your phone is silenced, a pop-up menu asks you to set the duration you’d like your Android phone kept silent. Adjust the time to your needs and click “Shush!” You can also adjust the volume level of the ringer for when it is turned on again. If instead you’d prefer not to use the ring restorer functionality, just click “Keep it off.”

Pros:

  • Prevents missing phone calls/notifications by automatically re-enabling ringer volume after a preset time
  • Activated automatically when you silent your Android device
  • Extremely simple, small installation size, no permissions requested



Areas for improvement:

  • General settings like 24-hour clock option, color choices, etc.



Conclusion: An incredibly useful Android app that will make sure you don’t miss an important call because you forgot to turn your phone’s ringer back on.

[AppBrain Link]

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