Posts Tagged ‘ File Sync ’

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.

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Evernote – Forever ever, Forever ever?

Evernote

You’d think that seeing as Android is a Google creation that it would seemlessly integrate with the many Google services that can be used on a desktop computer and yet despite my love for Android it’s utterly baffling how it’s impossible to effectively use Google Documents on my HTC desire. I can view my online documents through my mobile web browser (although it takes a few steps to get there) but there is no way to create or edit documents, it truly is a missed opportunity of palm-meets-face proportions. For me, Evernote has been the alternative choice to Google Documents but it’s never been quite the fully featured app that I wanted it to be. For the uninitiated, Evernote is a free service that allows you enter any info you like, be it a note, a picture or a voice recording and have it sync with your online account that you can access from any computer with an internet connection, it’s essentially an online notebook.

A few weeks ago the latest version of Evernote for Android was released and pretty much everything about the original app has been improved including the highly requested ability to be able to create notes when not online. Evernote has become a pretty essential download for anyone who needs to take down and sync notes whilst on the move

Helpfully the Evernote team have taken the time to produce an informative video that demonstrates how Evernote works it’s magic (plus it saves me churning out 500 words on how to use it).

The video doesn’t oversell it, Evernote really is as good as it looks. The intuitive UI has a pleasing look to it and using the app is quick and easy. A detailed review of the latest features can also be found on Evernote’s blog. It’s worth noting that Evernote is a pretty flexible service, whether it’s making a to-do list, drafting posts for your blog (ahem!) or one of the many other possibilities as mentioned in this excellent list by Andrew Maxwell. If there’s one complaint I have to make its the fact that it doesn’t seem possible to create new notebooks from within the app, that can only be done on the website. This aside, the Evernote team have pulled this one out of the bag. Kudos. It looks like Google is playing catch-up on this one.

Bottom Line : A much improved app that fills a gap missed by Google. Very useful and very well made. Great stuff.

Update : Less than ten minutes after publishing this post I read the news that Google are rolling out online Google Docs editing for Froyo users (link in the comments section). I’m certain this is a direct response to my blog post rather than something they were going to do all along. Yup, totally that. Ahem!

Winamp Beta – It’s The Llama’s Pyjamas

Winamp Beta

If, like me, you rock an Android handset then I guess that, also like me, you’re thinking it must be Christmas right now. At the time of writing this we’ve had Angry Birds, Tweetdeck, an updated YouTube app, all in the last 10 days and now Winamp Beta has popped up on the Marketplace to a rapturous reception from the Android community.

Hello old friend, it's been a while. My, you're looking nice.

I’ve always struggled to find an Android based music player that I’m 100% happy with but the Winamp team, thanks to their talent for appealing and intuitive design, have ported their popular media player to the Android platform with great success. This truly is the trusty old Winamp experience scaled down to your Android handset right down to the familiar ‘Winamp, It Whips The Llama’s Ass’ soundclip when you first start up the app; it’s like meeting an old friend who happens to have kept themselves in great shape.
Hands down the UI on Winamp is the best I have found on Android so far for playing music. It’s not overly flash or fussy but it helps you get the job done with ease. From the home screen you can access Artists, Albums, Songs, Playlists, History or the Search function, menus are responsive and the program runs perfectly. Wherever you are in the UI you can usually get to wherever you want to go with a minimal amount of navigation thanks in part to the excellent ‘drag-up’ Now Playing screen. For me, the Now Playing screen is the most important part in any music player and should be accessible as easily as possible (take note Audiogalaxy), the ‘drag up’ feature of Winamp makes this possible.

In this case the Now Playing screen also includes some shameless cross promotion.

The Now Playing screen features everything you need, play/seek controls, album art, access to the current playlist, a list of all tracks / albums by the current artist, shuffle/repeat controls and the all important home button. Creating and editing playlists on your handset is easily done via long pressing on songs when in a tracklist. Also tucked away in the long press menu are options to use a particular track as a ringtone and a search function to find the track on Youtube or the Internet. For widget fans Winamp also comes with a very tidy widget with all the basic controls you need to control your music from your home screen, there’s only one size at the moment but I would assume that more will be developed as the program moves closer towards a final release.
Scrobbling to Last.fm is also possible, you’ll need to install the Last.fm app on your handset; as yet there are no options to share info on currently playing tracks to Twitter or Facebook.
If you install the new Beta version of Winamp on your PC you can also stream your music library to your handset via Wi-Fi. Sadly I could not get the Winamp Beta program to install on my Windows 7 installation. That’s the downside of a Beta I guess, someone will always be at the worse end of the testing experience, in this case it just happens to be me. Even without the streaming capabilities Winamp Beta has easily pushed aside all other media players on my handset, if they include shoutcast radio or video playback in future versions then I could be finding myself throwing all kinds of other apps on the scrapheap (or should that be Appheap?, sorry).

Links : Install via AppBrain, Official Winamp Blog Post

Bottom line : Boasting a superb and robust UI with easy to access features; this is the best audio player app I’ve used on Android so far. As a music player it ticks all the boxes, if you can get the streaming library to work then it’s an utterly 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

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