Archive for the ‘ Tools ’ Category

gAppsLauncher – Your Personalised Google Launchpad

 gAppsLauncher

If you’re the average Android devotee it’s a pretty likely situation that Google is playing a hefty part in your day-to-day routine. Whether it’s handling your emails, supplying your news feeds or being your new social network BFF, Google has a number of great tools at your disposal.

The downside to this is that many tools means many icons to keep organised which results in time-wasting homescreen navigation and space-filling icons to organise.

Enter gAppsLauncher, a simple collection of widgets that group together your all important Google services.

You can choose from a selection of widget sizes along with the whole gamut of Google services to fill them with (complete with eye-catching icons).
The widgets themselves are pretty flexible, you can fill them with as many icons as you like and each service can link to either its app or webpage counterpart.

Once you’ve set up your ideal Google based widget you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

If anything, this is the kind of idea that should come standard with Android, maybe Google should be taking notes.

About This App :

  • Version Reviewed : 1.3.4
  • Requires Android : 1.5 and up
  • Category : Tools
  • Size : 420k
  • Price : Free

Links : Download via Android Marketplace, Download via AppBrain

Bottom Line : A simple yet perfectly executed idea for the Android fanatic. Recommended.

Advertisements

SD Increase & SD Tools

A quick warning, this is going to be a short review… and it may not even apply to many of you due to the fact that this app can only be used with rooted handsets.
SD Increase claims to alter a parameter in your Android file system that handles how quick your memory card is accessed by your handset. By default your handset is set to access it at 128kb a second but by using SD Increase you can easily increase that amount to 2048kb a second (and beyond if you wish but 2048 is the recommended amount).
As I’ve already mentioned, the caveat is that you can only run this app on a rooted handset. It’s also important to note that not every memory card and file system can support this tweak so don’t blame the app if it doesn’t work.
In order to check the difference (if any) made by SD Increase it’s worth grabbing the free app SD Tools for a before / after comparison. Here’s how my card and phone stacked up.

 

Before

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after applying SD Increase my memory card write speed has increased by over 2MB, this is an excellent result. The read figure has also gone up by 2MB but what is worth noting that this is the best of a number of tests. In most cases the increase would be about 0.5MB but before using SD Increase it would take around 20 – 30 seconds to get that result. Post SD Increase the result would come back much quicker, so in effect even though the top speed may not have changed much but the acceleration is greatly improved.

In terms of practical use ‘post SD Increase’, the standard Android Gallery app is loading noticeably quicker and outdoor 720p videos recorded on my HTC Desire now playback with excellent quality. If you’re in a position to try out this tweak then do so, it may be of a great benefit to you.

Links : SD Increase, SD Tools

File Expert – File It Under ‘Must Have’

File Expert

A few days ago I recieved an email from the team at GeekSoft giving me a heads up about ‘File Expert’, their File Management app. I’ve been a firm user of Astro File Explorer ever since I loaded up my Android handset for the first time so I was sceptical about what ‘File Expert’ could do for me. Boy was I wrong.
For a free app, File Expert is absolutely packed to the rafters with excellent features that total up to an install size that’s smaller than it’s competitors. As well as the usual copy/paste/move operations and useful zip/compression options Geeksoft have also included a decent app manager. There’s also a choice of views (standard or grid) and support for thumbnails which makes browsing your photos easy work.
The best stuff though comes with the networking functionality. Using a wi-fi connection you can easily manage your files via a web browser or an FTP program like Filezilla. There’s also an SMB client which allows you to control your host computer from your phone. I have to confess that I have no clue about how to set up this kind of network so this is a feature you’ll have to try out for yourself.
There’s not much ground to cover in terms of a review for File Expert, it’s simply a great toolbox app that’s designed to help you manage your files on your handset.
Go try it.

About This App – Version Reviewed : 2.6.5
Requires Android : 1.6 and up , Category : Tools , Size : 855k , Price : Free

Links : Android Marketplace, Install via AppBrain

Bottom Line : An excellent ‘work horse’ application. An essential download for anyone who needs to get hands on with their files.

App Hunter – The Hunt Is On

App Hunter

Here at Android Apt we are all about the free apps, the kind of stuff you can grab for gratis and use straight away. Of the 100+ apps on my phone only a handful are actually paid or premium versions.

Yay! Cheap stuff. Get in!

That said, it’s nice once in a while to actually spend some money on an app, to actually take some ‘ownership’ of the product.
Buying apps needn’t cost the earth though and with App Hunter you can find the apps that are currently selling at a reduced price. As a result  you may find yourself saving some money when you hit the Google Checkout.
App Hunter is a light install and it operates with a simple yet quick interface. Opening the app takes you straight to the ‘On Sale!’ page. Apps are listed in pages of twenty entries and selecting an app takes you straight to its page on the Android Marketplace. As you may expect, pop-up ads do make an appearance on the bottom of the screen but thankfully they don’t get in the way of using the app.
The first time I ran the app my expectations were low. I was expecting offers on some pretty woeful stuff that otherwise couldn’t be shifted at a higher price. Imagine my surprise when these offers came up in just the first five entries.

  • Asphalt HD – Was $4.99, Currently $0.99
  • Bejeweled 2 – Was $2.99, Currently $0.99
  • Game Dev Story – Was $4.89, Currently $2.42
  • Touch Poole 2D – Was $4.99, Currently $0.99
  • ZombieBooth Was $1.41, Currently – Free

That’s pretty good stuff right there, premium apps and some hefty savings (I’ve already downloaded ZombieBooth, nice one). According to ‘Echo Lu’, the team/person behind App Hunter, the data base will update daily so there’ll always be new deals to check out. For those with no money to spend there are also tabs to search for the hottest and latest free apps. Whilst not as useful as the ‘On Sale!’ tab they are still handy additions to have available.
As suggested by ‘Patrick’ on the Android Marketplace, a ‘favourites’ tab would be a useful addition for a future update. Imagine if there was a way of bookmarking or ‘watching’ an app so you can be alerted when the price on it changes. That would be pretty cool. While we’re brainstorming, a way to share deals would be pretty useful, either via Twitter or Facebook or directly to people in your contacts list.
If you find yourself with some money to fritter away on an app or two ‘App Hunter’ is worth a look, it may even save you some cash in the process.

ABOUT THIS APP – CURRENT VERSION : 1.0.2

REQUIRES ANDROID : 1.6 and up , CATEGORY : Tools , SIZE : 103k , PRICE : Free

Links : Android Marketplace, Install via AppBrain

Bottom Line : A handy tool for sniffing out Marketplace bargains. Already worth a download. If the potential for extra features is realised in future updates this will become an essential app.

Awesome Drop – It’s kind of Awesome.

Awesome Drop

 

Awesome Drop's Main Screen. Simple looking but VERY effective.

 

An app that reviews itself positively in it’s own title? Well to be fair Awesome Drop is pretty awesome and it’s still in Beta. Using this app you can easily transfer items wirelessly from your computer to your phone via your internet browser. Upon starting the app you’re instructed to visit the Awesome Drop website on your computer for your 4 digit code, once you enter that code on your phone it will magically sync with your computer and you’re ready to drag and drop your files. Any item dropped onto the ‘Drop Files Here’ box on the website will wirelessly transfer to your phone. A progress bar will appear on both your handset and your web browser so you can keep track on how transfers are progressing. No need to sign up or register, it happens right there and then. It’s magical internet trickery right before your eyes!

It’s very simply laid out stuff and it works beautifully. Some users however may scoff at the lack of options, there’s no option to decide where uploaded files arrive on your phone, they all end up in a folder named ‘drop’ on your memory card. There’s also no notification of when uploads are complete so if you’re multitasking you’ll need to keep an eye on things. Ideally you’ll also need wi-fi access wherever you are, 3G will work but you could be waiting a while.

 

Uploads are tracked on your phone and computer simultaneously

 

It’s not practical for very large files either, upload speed is limited via your internet connection, I uploaded a file sized at 90MB and it took 22 minutes to transfer to my phone. That said, it did transfer first time with no hang ups or errors. There is also a question of security, just where is this data passing through on the way to your phone and is it truly secure? Despite these issues Awesome Drop is still a great app and very handy if you need to quickly transfer small non-sensitive files and can’t be arsed to dig out a USB lead. It could also lend itself to other practical uses, imagine you needed a document from a friend. You could have them go to the website and tell you the 4 digit code, so you can enter it on your handset. Once your phone connects they can drop the document onto the webpage and Bosh! you have the file on your phone. From there just click reset on the app and the link is severed.

For a free app that takes up small memory real estate (only an 82kb install) this really is a great piece of work.

Bottom Line : A very simple and useful free app. You’ll never know when you’ll need it, but you’ll be glad you’ve got it when you do.

Links : App Home Page, Install via AppBrain

AppBrain – Need Apps? Then you need this App.

App Brain

 

AppBrain's Opening Menu

 

It’s hard to imagine life on my Android handset before AppBrain. It’s my go to source for every app I install, all I use the official Android Marketplace for is updating my already installed apps (although AppBrain can take care of that too, old habits die hard I guess).

For the uninitiated, AppBrain is both a website and an app which in their words “makes sense out of the high number of apps available in the Google Android market.”  It’s bold statement that also happens to be true. It’s ironic that the Android Marketplace website, a website owned by Google, has no search function. Sure, you can search via your handset but sometimes you just want to use a large screen and a mouse for browsing your way through new applications to install on your handset, in this circumstance AppBrain is your new best friend.

 

Browse and search the Android Marketplace from your handset.

 

When you sign in at the website with your google ID you are greeted with a screen full of app suggestions based on topic, what’s hot right now or apps that AppBrain thinks you might like. You can also search for apps and when you find what you like you can install them to your phone with a single click on the website. The website syncs brilliantly with your phone and clicking on ‘My Apps’ will show you how AppBrain keeps track of everything you have installed, you can even share your list of apps via Twitter or Facebook or even in a blog such as this…

Apps currently installed on my HTC Desire.

See? Good stuff indeed.

On your handset the AppBrain app acts as a conduit to the Android Marketplace but with a UI that is faster, more intuitive and uses your screen real estate in a more productive way. You can also update and remove apps and even decide whether currently installed applications will skip the next update or never update again (ideal for those youtube downloaders that always get taken down or disabled).

 

Installing and updating Apps is easy.

 

There is also a social aspect to AppBrain, you can search for other users and see what they’ve installed, you can also follow them to stay updated on what they use.

If you really want to unlock the functionality of your new Android device, AppBrain is what will get you there quickly and easily. It’s a free app and only 450kb approx to install. Go get it now.

Bottom Line : An essential app, for getting more apps.

Link : AppBrain.com

%d bloggers like this: