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Recent Reviews

Top Android App: Key Ring Reward Cards

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 in Tools, Top Rated Apps | comment

Key Ring Reward Cards is developed by Froogloid, LLC and uses the barcode scanner on your device to recreate digital copies of all your reward cards.  Know you don’t have to search through your wallet or purse for reward and discount cards, you have them at the tip of your finger.

Application: Key Ring Reward Cards

Version: 1.3.21
Size: 593KB
Category: Tools
Price: Free
Overall Score: 4.7/5
User Interface: 4.5/5
Ease of Use: 4.5/5
Customizability: 5/5
Originality: 4.5/5
Indispensability: 5/5
Adding a card is extremely easy once you’re in the app.  Simply click ‘Add Card’ to open a window where you have the option of either scanning a barcode to add it to the app, or you can also use the keypad to manually type in the code that is located on the card.  With this versatile functionality, Key Ring allows you to add any barcode or non-barcode cards.
Once you’ve scanned the card you then select the retailer that it belongs to.  Key Ring currently supports over 650 global retailers so you shouldn’t have a problem with many of the cards you find yourself carrying around everyday.  Here’s a few photos to show the quick step-by-step process.
Overall, Key Ring Reward Cards is extremely useful in consolidating all your retail/discount cards into one place.  This way you never have to bother with carrying around countless cards again.  This app is a great demonstration of the ability of Android to make life easier.  We recommend you start trying out this app if you haven’t already done so.
If you have any trouble with scanners being unable to recognize a code, watch Froogloid’s short YouTube video which includes their tips on how to maximize the effectiveness of their app.

Scan with Barcode Scanner for direct link to Key Ring Reward Cards in the Android Market.

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Android App: Sherpa

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 in Lifestyle | comment

Sherpa is a reference app that discovers information about you and your surroundings to bring you suggestions on restaurants, retailers, service centers, attractions, and much more.

Application: Sherpa

Version: 1.1.10
Size: 453KB
Category: Lifestyle
Price: Free
Overall Score: 3.7/5
User Interface: 3/5
Ease of Use: 3.5/5
Customizability: 4.5/5
Originality: 4/5
Indispensability: 3.5/5
When you initially open up Sherpa, you will see a turn-style amount of places from all categories.  The results will be based on their proximity to you.  One pitfall of this part of the application is that the wheel of choices is pretty choppy and feels like it lags.  Also, you can accidentally select something when you’re trying to rotate the choices to view them.  Both of these are major drawbacks that turn into a very frustrating user experience.
For more options on seeing results, you can use the Map mode which will place icons at exact locations.  For example, you will see distinct icons for each category like banks, dining, hotels & travel, etc.
Similarly, you can also show the results in the list mode for quick searching and selection.  I find this option to be the most useful for finding what I want in the least amount of time.
The really useful part of this app comes when you select on a particular place.  For example, if you select on Baja Fresh as shown below, you have a wealth of information at your fingertips.  First off, you can see the rating (out of 5 stars) that the place received.  You can also give your own feedback with either a thumbs-up or down.  Clicking Call will open your dialer with the phone number pre-dialed.  Selecting route will open Google Maps and will give you driving directions from your current location, which is extremely useful for quick decisions.  There are also reviews from yelp and other pertinent information to help you make an informed decision.
The adaptive learning ability of Sherpa is really its shining point.  You can manually tell Sherpa what type of places you both like and dislike, or, by selections you make after searching, Sherpa will learn your preferences and then can suggest related places when you search again at a later time.  This is great when you find yourself in a new location and want to quickly find a restaurant or particular store that you normally frequent.  Note: the adaptive learning feature can also be turned off if you’re not a fan.
Overall, Sherpa is a very great idea and a perfect example of what is possible with Android.  However, the implementation and overall fluidity of the app just isn’t there.  At times it can be very helpful, but more often than not it is frustratingly slow and inefficient.  I would really like to see some hefty improvements and updates to this app.  If this were done, I believe the utility and rating of this app (both here and on the Android Market) would greatly improve.

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

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Top Android App: Glympse

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 in Communication, Top Rated Apps | comment

Glympse is an extremely fast and easy way to safely share your location in real-time.  It is a safe alternative to other apps that constantly update your location in the fact that you can choose the time period that a person you choose is updated with your location.  Conveniently, a Glympse can be sent to an email or phone number for quick access.

Application: Glympse

Version: 1.14
Size: 633KB
Category: Communication
Price: Free
Overall Score: 4.6/5
User Interface: 4.5/5
Ease of Use: 5/5
Customizability: 4.5/5
Originality: 4.5/5
Indispensability: 4.5/5
You can run Glympse for just a moment to update a permanent location or for a few minutes to hours to track a particular path you may have taken to get to a specific location.  This option is great for giving someone directions to a place they are completely unfamiliar with.  Forget written directions or huge roadmaps, instead you have the exact GPS path tracked on your map.
Another huge upside to this app is that you don’t need to register to any site.  You don’t have to constantly update who or which sites are allowed to see your location; it’s set at the time you send each Glympse.
Overall, the focus on user privacy and the simplicity of using this app make it an extremely useful app.
Here is a quick, fun video review that has been posted to YouTube.

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

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Android News: Android 2.0 Video

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 in Android News | comment

Here is the latest official video from Google on Android 2.0.  Unfortunately, 2.0 is only being run currently on the Motorola Droid on Verizon’s network.  Hopefully we’ll hear more information about when (or if) we can expect 2.0 to come to older devices like the T-mobile G1 and MyTouch 3G.

What do you think so far?

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Android App News: Google Goggles

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 in App News | comment

CNBC is running a special called “Inside the Mind of Google” that will be aired multiple times in December.  An exciting part of the show is the fact that Google has opened the blinds to one of their newest endeavors, Google Goggles.  This latest service will allow you to take a picture of a place or thing and instantly get a Google search for it.

A lot like PlinkArt does with artwork, Google Goggles will allow you to instantly look up information even if you don’t really know what you’re looking at.  This would be extremely useful on a vacation to a completely new city or country.  Simply take a picture of what you see and quickly have information and history about what’s in front of you.

Now, this service has not been officially released and I’m not sure when it will be, but I’m definitely looking forward to how useful it could be.

Here is a brief portion of the “Inside the Mind of Google” show that has been posted on YouTube.

Also, here is a list of future runtimes for the show on CNBC as well:


Saturday, December 5th  7p ET
Sunday, December 6th  10p ET
Thursday, December 10th  8p | 1a ET
Thursday, December 24th  4p | 8p ET
Friday, December 25th  Midnight ET

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Top Android App: SportsTap

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 in Sports, Top Rated Apps | comment

SportsTap is your connection to the sports world through your Android device.

Application: SportsTap
Version: 2.3.5
Size: 513KB

Category: Sports
Price: Free
Overall Score: 4.6/5
User Interface: 4/5
Ease of Use: 5/5
Customizability: 5/5
Originality: 4/5
Indispensability: 5/5
The home screen features many of the most popular sports.  A great example of the depth of information this app will provide you is the fact that the Futbol section has 14 different options spanning from the English Premier League to Major League Soccer (MLS).  Also, the LocalTap page will show the schedule and results of all sports teams within a given radius of your current location.  Great implementation as most people are huge fans of the sports teams that are located around them.
Once you select a sport (and then a league), you can see the results of all the games played (as well as previous dates’ results and future dates’ schedules).  Also, below the scoreboard is a group of Recent Stories relating to the league that you are looking at.  Having related news stories updated right along with the scores is a great feature.  Even better is the fact that the news articles open in the app so there’s no hassle with switching to the browser.  Further below you can access the entire standings for the selected league.
From this page, you can then select individual games to get an entire game summary.  In this example, you can see who scored each goal, who was booked, who was substituted, and more.  Additionally (for this sport), the Lineups tab will show which players started, when players were substituted for, who scored, etc.
A great aspect of SportsTap is that you can customize the app by adding your favorite teams.  Once you do this, you can turn on notifications that will alert you to when your favorite team’s game starts.  On top of this, you will receive periodic score updates and an update to the final result.  There is also a widget offered with this app that will provide news and updates on your favorite teams.
Another point of customization is how often you want SportsTap to update scores, with 1 minute being the shortest interval.  It’s important to note that this app does a very good job at accurately updating live scores to keep you as up to date as possible while you’re on the go.

Overall, SportsTap is your best bet for staying up to date with all the leagues, teams, and players you care the most about.  If you’re a sports enthusiast, you can’t go wrong here; you’re going to find yourself using this reliable app everyday.

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

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Top Android App: PlinkArt – ADC Winner

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 in Reference, Top Rated Apps | comment

PlinkArt is a new Android app for identifying, discovering, and sharing art.  PlinkArt was the top winner in the category of Education and Reference in the Android Developer Challenge (ADC).  Congratulations!

Application: PlinkArt
Version: 1.1.2
Size: 319KB

Category: Reference
Price: Free
Overall Score: 4.7/5
User Interface: 4.5/5
Ease of Use: 5/5
Customizability: 4.5/5
Originality: 5/5
Indispensability: 4.5/5
PlinkArt is to art as Shazaam is to music.  With PlinkArt, you simply take a picture of any piece of art you are interested in and it will analyze the image and return a selection of pieces that were recognized.  When you select the correct item, the name and artist of the piece in front of you will be displayed.  Additionally, it will return a the matched article from Wikipedia.  This way, not only do you find out the title of the piece and the artist, you can also read up on the history, time period, and all sorts of information pertaining to what you’re looking at.
The user interface of this app is very easy to use and promotes it’s functionality as an app you can quickly pull out to get information in a split second.  Also, there is a search box where you can look up any artist or title you please.  The results are generated inside the app which is very refreshing; no worrying about opening up the browser or anything like that.
The Random Artwork button allows you to do just that, open a new page with a random piece of art (the page you see is the same as what you see when you take a picture of an unknown piece of artwork).  This is great for anyone interested in art or history.
Also, there is a timeline spanning from the Middle Ages all the way to the current Post Modern.  This is nice as described, but knowing that each type of art actually is linked to it’s own information page is incredible.  For example, selecting on Social Realism will return the major figure Diego Rivera.
Lastly, a very cool part of this application that hasn’t been fully developed yet is the Suggested Galleries.  In future updates, this section will make recommendations for you based on your location and your favorite artworks.  This will be a great feature once the app starts to learn your preferences.
Overall this is an absolutely incredible app that has so much room to grow.  As more pieces of artwork are added and features implemented, the value of this reference app will greatly increase.
Here is an interview with PlinkArt’s team done by AndroidGuys.

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

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Top Android App: Greed

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 in News and Weather, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

Greed (Lite) is a free RSS feed reader with Google Reader integration.  Greed can be used to read and maintain your Google Reader account from your Android phone, so you’ll need your Google Reader user ID (Gmail username) and password to start using this app.

Application: Greed (Lite)
Version: 1.0.6
Size: 283KB

Category: News & Weather
Price: Free
Overall Score: 4.5/5
User Interface: 4.5/5
Ease of Use: 5/5
Customizability: 4.5/5
Originality: 4/5
Indispensability: 4.5/5
The main screen yields four options:
What’s New: This page shows articles in order of when they were posted, starting with the most recent.
Folders: This page will show your feeds organized into the labels that you’ve defined as folders in Google Reader.  You can long-press to delete a label (this will not delete the feeds contained within it, just the label itself) however there currently isn’t an option to create new labels in Greed.
Feeds: This will probably be your most popular selection.  This page shows a list of each RSS feed that you are currently subscribed to.  Feeds with unread content will show up in bold with the number of unread items in parenthesis to the right of the title.  Hitting menu here you can add a feed, manually update feeds, mark all as read, or click to get help.
Starred Items: This page is very straight forward, showing only the articles that you have starred.
The settings included in the app allow you to set the number of feed items to fetch, whether you want the application to start on boot, and notifications.  Notifications can be set for all new items or for particular feeds only (mark feeds for notification in the feeds page by long-pressing).  Also, you can set how often Greed will check for new feeds.  The range for this setting is once every minute to once every day, depending on how often you need/look at your RSS feed content.  This option is nice for conserving battery life, as a longer time between polling for new items will use less battery.
One very nice feature of this application is that you can long-press on a feed title to do a variety of things with it.  You can select, mark as read, start a notification, edit the name, edit the label, or delete the article.  Similarly, if you long-press on an individual article you can choose to open, copy article link, e-mail article link, view full article (in the browser), share the item (with friends/family or whoever you’re connected with on Google Reader), mark as unread, or add star.
Another small but nice feature of this app is that each page has its own help menu with a pretty thorough explanation of how to use all of the features.
Lastly, the most important feature is that Greed is integrated with Google Reader so that changes made in the app to any folder, feed, or article will automatically be shown in Google Reader as well.  Adding a feed is very simple, all you need is the URL.
Overall, this is a very simplistic yet functional RSS feed reader.  And now, since you’ve got an Android based device, you should start subscribing to RSS feeds through Greed and Google Reader so you can stay up to date on all the topics you are most interested in. Start by adding this site so you’ll always have the inside scoop on the best Android applications.

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

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Top Android App: Twidroid

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 in Communication, Top Rated Apps | comment

Twidroid is a full-featured Twitter application.  You must sign-in to your Twitter account to begin using this application.

Application: Twidroid
Version: 3.0.0
Size: 1.29MB

Category: Communication
Price: Free
Overall Score: 4.7/5
User Interface: 4.5/5
Ease of Use: 5/5
Customizability: 5/5
Originality: 4/5
Indispensability: 5/5
The home screen features an updated list of tweets from your followers as well a bottom toolbar of tabs for accessing the home screen, tweet text box, @replies, direct messages, search, and refresh.

A very nice feature that Twidroid has is the blue arrows next to each tweet in your feed.  These arrows offer quick, easy access to everything you might need to do.  From retweeting to copying the message to the clipboard, you have all your options in one click.
Aside from the obvious uses for the search tab, if you hit menu you can bring up an option for viewing the trending topics as well as the twittersphere.
Hitting menu from the home screen brings up a list of options including settings, profile, favorites, accounts, lists, and an exit application button.
Settings: There is an extensive list of options for this application.  You can add multiple accounts (available only in the PRO (paid) version), adjust the default # of tweets shown, choose a photo upload service, choose a url shortening service, and more.  The customizability here is one of the great features of this application.

Profile: See profile information including name, location, followers, etc. like you would see with the full Twitter webpage.  Within this screen you can edit your profile image, location, bio, and more.

Overall, this application has a very user-friendly interface that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is intuitive to use.  This is one of (if not the) best Twitter application that is currently offered in the Android Market.  Also, it constantly is getting updates so newer and better features are being added all the time.  It is extremely easy to customize this application to your liking and because of that, it is a must have application for all Twitter users on Android.

Scan with Barcode Scanner for the link to Twidroid in the Android Market.

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