Posts Tagged ‘ Youtube ’

TubeMate – My mate, your mate, our mate, TubeMate

TubeMate

A while ago on Android Apt we reviewed the Youtube download app JetVD. It proved to be one of the more popular reviews on the blog, clearly people prefer the convenience of downloaded videos over ones that you have to stream. Sadly JetVD has refused to work in recent weeks, this wasn’t totally unexpected as Youtube have a habit of making background changes in order to disable programs that can download videos. A replacement was needed and I found Tubemate, dubbed as ‘The Fastest Youtube Downloader’.

Now you can download 'How Indy 4 Should Have Ended' and watch it on your phone.

Tubemate takes the standard Youtube front-end (you can switch between the standard web or mobile version) and adds a couple of handy buttons that allow you to download content as well as share and search for videos. Pressing the download button gives you a selection of video sizes (plus an MP3 download option) that caters for all flavours of Android right up to the latest tablet resolutions (depending on the source material obviously).
Downloading content is a devilishly quick process when TubeMate is used over wi-fi. You get a handy kbps counter as the video downloads and unlike JetVD the handset doesn’t slow down to a crawl when downloading HD videos. Tubemate also supports multiple downloads so you can build up your local Youtube library in next to no time.
TubeMate is a tidy, functional and easy to navigate app that only clocks in at a tiny 500k install size. It’s definately worth a download, lets just hope it doesn’t go the same way as JetVD any time soon.

About This App – Version Reviewed : 1,04.04
Category : Multimedia , Price : Free

Links : At the time of posting TubeMate has been taken off the Android Marketplace but it is available here.

Bottom Line : Hooray! Downloading Youtube videos is back on the menu. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Stop Motion Lite – STOP!… Hammer Time!

Stop-Motion – Lite

Just when you’re thinking there couldn’t be any more unexpected tricks that your Android phone could perform up pops another odd function to take you by surprise. Just last week we uncovered the genius idea of using your phone as a document scanner by using ‘CamScanner‘ and now there’s a new addition to the ever growing list of ‘mad things you never expected your phone to do‘, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have three words for you…. Stop. Motion. Camera.
It’s kind of crude in operation but yes, your Android phone can operate as a camera that can create stopmotion videos, animations or claymations and once you’ve made your video you can save it as a file to watch on your phone or your computer.
It’s a very simple looking program but it’s also very easy to use. Simply set up your shot, tap the screen to shoot a frame and repeat. When you are done click ‘save’ and the app with string all the shots together to make a .mov file that you can watch on your phone or PC or upload them to Dropbox or wherever you want to share them. The lite version limits you to a 176×144 resolution however higher sizes are available if you pay up for the full version. For some reason I couldn’t get the built-in share function to work with Dropbox, every upload would result in a fail. In the end I had to resort to ‘Astro file explorer’ to find my movie and use that to share the file to Dropbox. Here’s what I managed to throw together in 5 minutes armed with just a piece of paper and a biro.

Obviously it’s a very crude looking video, if you look closely you can see my aborted first attempt (I forgot to restart the filming) and my hand pops up in the middle. Classy stuff.

Stop Motion Lite is a unique way to spend time using your Android handset (if you have kids, break out play-doh and get animating) and the results are good enough for a free app.

Link : Install via AppBrain

Bottom Line : A unique and fun app that unlocks a new side of creativity for everyone.

Jet Car Stunts Lite – One Crazy Mother-Stunter

Jet Car Stunts Lite

With each passing week it seems that the quality of gaming apps for the Android platform take another step towards excellence.  Latest in this trend is a new free version of Jet Car Stunts courtesy of developer True Axis.
Jet Car Stunts is a racing game where you race all by yourself, woah woah woah! Come back! It’s much better than it sounds. The opposition in this game are the tracks themselves, suspended thousands of feet in the air they twist and turn with multiple jumps, loops and corners that will send you falling into the big blue sky time and time again. It’s less a racing title and more a high-speed platform game… in a car
The first thing that grabs you with JCS is the superb presentation and how slippery smooth the game runs, screenshots and Youtube videos don’t do it justice, you need to see this running in your hands in order to get a full feel for it. Speaking of which ‘feel’ is something that JCS gets totally spot on compared to other driving games I’ve played on any mobile device. In the past tilting the handset in order to steer can lead to an endless chain over-compensating which results in veering all over the track but in Jet Car Stunts the tilting is balanced perfectly making the game infinitely more playable (and controllable).

Here I am, hopelessly flying through the air and about to crash.

The game itself is a joy to play, partly because it looks so good and partly because it’s annoyingly hard (but in a good way). For a trial version there’s plenty to get stuck into, 8 superb new tracks, 3 game modes (including an excellent tutorial) and integration with the ‘Open Feint’ leaderboard community.

The full version has been around on Android for a few weeks but I never had time to try it due to the new 15 minute trial limit that is now part of the Android Marketplace. Thanks to True Axis taking the time to making an excellent free version I am now hugely tempted to pony up for the full game, surely that’s a perfect example for how instrumental trial software can be in driving sales.

Link : Install via AppBrain

Bottom Line : A superb game creation, no wonder it topped so many ‘Best of 2009’ iOS lists. An excellent download for any Android gamers out there.

JetVD – Less YouTube, More Your Tube

JetVD

Put words in, videos come out. Simple.

It’s all well and groovy having a new YouTube app to enjoy on your Froyo Android handset but what do you when you’ve got no wi-fi connection? You can try 3G but results are choppy at best. One way around it is to grab your favourite YouTube videos ahead of time and JetVD lets you achieve that. Simply enter a phrase in the search screen, find what you want and download it.
Personally I much prefer having my own collection of favourite YouTube clips already stored on my phone rather than waiting for an online stream to get started but this can be difficult to do thanks to Google’s disapproving stance of downloading content from Youtube. As a result YouTube download apps tend to come and go on the Android Marketplace, they work for a while but then become disabled due to a change at the source or they get taken down completely; thankfully I’ve been using JetVD for months now and it just keeps on working.
Opening the app takes you straight to the search screen, search results are presented with information on clip length and number of views as well as a thumbnail image. Slightly annoyingly results only arrive in groups of ten, so for every ten videos you scroll through you have to wait a few seconds while more results are retrieved. Selecting a video takes you to the download menu, from here you can stream the video, read some info on the selected clip or choose which format you wish to download it in. JetVD does a good job at finding out the various video formats even offering up 720p HD quality videos for you to download.

Shall I download a crappy 3GP or a lush 720p video? Choices choices.

If you’re on wi-fi, downloads come down the line as fast as you’d expect, just make sure you first set up a folder in the settings telling the app where you want your videos to go. One thing I have noticed is that whilst downloading 720p HD videos your phone can become unresponsive or slow, it’s something of a trade-off considering how good the videos look during playback. The free version of JetVD only allows you to download one video at a time which suggests there is a paid version of the program. Unfortunately there is no sign of this on the Marketplace (it’s also possible that there never will be as that could generate a very tricky legal issue).
From the menu button you can also directly access your downloads, this screen comes across as a bit of an afterthought. The videos are listed in order of date downloaded, there’s no option to change this nor are there any thumbnails to go with each entry. If anything you don’t really need this screen anyway, if you have a good video player installed (such as mVideoPlayer) you’ll be browsing the videos from there instead.
It’s pretty much a ‘Nuts & Gum’* application, it doesn’t blow you away with a flashy UI but it does let you get in, grab a video and get out again; that’s all you need to do really.

Link : Install via AppBrain,

Bottom line : Not perfect but being able to download 720p HD YouTube videos with minimum hassle? Count me in. Worth a download.

* I have no idea what I mean by ‘Nuts & Gum’ application, I just wanted to work in a Simpsons reference.

App Round Up – Doing It For The Kids

I love how versatile the Android platform can be. Thanks to the countless apps in the marketplace your Android handset can facilitate all kinds of situations. Something I could never do with my previous handsets was get my young children involved but now there’s all kinds of apps that your children can enjoy to help stimulate their co-ordination and spark their imaginations. For this App Round Up I have highlighted a few apps suitable for your kids to enjoy, even if you don’t have kids some of these are definately worth a try just to enjoy a change of pace from all that stressful Angry Birds action.

Ethereal Dialpad (Synthesizer) – Whilst not being strictly aimed at kids this excellent musical app is great for for messing about with whatever your age. Simply drag your finger across the screen to create flowing musical tones whilst the screen reacts to your movements. It really has to be seen to be fully appreciated and at a tiny 32kb install there’s no reason not to try it out. Recommended.
Kaleidoscope – Draw simple or complex multi-coloured Kaleidoscope images with this simple app. You can actually create some surprisingly cool results with this.

MagicMarker – A simple touch paint app that creates neon images on a black background, kinda retro but also cool. You can share your results online or save your creations as wallpaper for your android handset homescreen.

Talking Tom Cat – Over 250,000 downloads and counting. It’s a large install but it’s worth it for at least a few minutes of fun if you have room (since I installed this it would seem that install to SD is now possible). Your on-screen pet cat ‘Tom’ will respond to your voice and touch. You can pet him, grab his tale or poke him and when you speak to him he repeats what you say in a high pitched voice. You can also disable the slightly more violent animations (although my kids think they’re hilarious) as well as record videos of him in action to upload to Facebook or YouTube.

xPiano – An effective Piano app that boasts 4 octaves, 12 instruments, multitouch and a record/play function. The free version is no longer being updated but it’s still has plenty of features to make it worthwhile. There’s also a more featured stacked paid version.

Zebra Paint – Colouring in, Android style. Pick a template and start adding colour using the touch screen. Simple but great for younger children.

Hope you find some of those useful. Do you have any other suggestions? If you do, feel free to add them in the comments section.

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.

Tweetdeck – Worth Tweeting About or RT to Sender?

Tweetdeck

Once upon a time the main use for my mobile phone was to send text messages, it seems like ancient history now but in reality those SMS based times were only just over a year ago. These days my handset has almost totally dropped texting and become a Twitter hub pumping out nonsense Tweets of 140 characters or less to whoever wants to read them. And I’m not the only one. Twitter clients on mobile phones are a very particular thing to each individual, you try a new Twitter app, you become wise to it’s funny ways, making it work in your favour so your Twitter experience is optimised to how you like it. But then one day you say “Enough! There must be a better Twitter app out there for me.” and so you start all over again, learning from scratch. My android/twitter journey has already taken in four apps..

  • Touiteur – Lovely, has the best bird tweet alarm sound but became buggy, wouldn’t always update.
  • Twitter – Official app, nice presentation but bloaty, plus you’re stuck with Twitter’s way of doing things (no old school RT, no multiple accounts)
  • Twidroid – My fav so far, but no free multiple account support (and I’m a notorious cheapskate)
  • Seesmic – Good, but not my favourite, free multiple account support though.

You can sign in to Twitter, Facebook, Foursqaure and Google Buzz (if you're mad).

Tweetdeck is out of beta, it’s been officially released for Android and it’s now that I find myself on my fifth Twitter app (sixth if you count the excellent Gravity app from back when I had a Symbian handset) and hopefully this is my last. First impressions are good, a simple menu to setup Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz* and Foursquare** accounts. Tweetdeck already gets a huge smile from me for allowing multiple Twitter accounts (I currently rock three Twitter accounts, get me) a feature a lot of Twitter apps currently charge for. For the record, the first Twitter account you enter will be set as the default account, you can always change your default choice in the future from the ‘accounts’ screen by long pressing on an entry in your account list.  Integration with Facebook seems solid too, with posts and pictures appearing nicely in your feed to which you can like or comment on. Tweetdeck have promised to work more on this and make Facebook integration ‘deeper’, already it seems good enough so I guess it can only get better with further updates.

The first thing you’ll notice is how blindingly fast things are, screens whiz up & down and left to right in a flurry, it’s a joy to behold. Tweets are displayed with an avatar and user name, with the timestamp shown in the bar at the top of the column. This bar also acts as a ‘move to top’ or ‘refresh’ button depending on your position in your news feed. Selecting a tweet will also bring up information on how that tweet was posted. Thankfully you can now change the text size of your tweets (a feature missing from my beta version) to allow room for more posts at a time on your screen. My main, or ‘Home’, timeline consists of my posts from my default Twitter account and Facebook feed with simple colour coding to seperate the two. Timelines are displayed via columns which you scroll through from left to right, scrolling is quick and fluid which makes using Tweetdeck a very pleasant experience. There’s a flexible choice of what columns you can have and how many, I’ve currently got six columns on the go with no sign of slow down or complication. You also have fairly flexible control over how often each column updates which, if you’re juggling multiple accounts, is very useful. Annoyingly you only seem to be able to manage your default account, so if you want to follow someone with your other twitter account you need to set that as your default account before doing so.

Hey look! It's Android Apt on Twitter. Please excuse the low follower count, we've barely been here two weeks.

Composing tweets is great, you can choose how many accounts you want to tweet from (yes, you can tweet from multiple accounts simultaneously. Aces!), add a picture, add your location or browse through your contacts to add them to your tweet. With RT’s, Tweetdeck gives you the choice of classic RTing or official Twitter RTing, thumbs up for giving us the choice. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be any built-in URL shortening, which can lead to an issue with overlong tweets. In my experience overlong tweets fail to send and there’s no way to go back and edit them, they stay stuck in your notification bar with the option to retry sending them, all you can do is clear the alert and start again. Tweeting pictures is done via Yfrog and there is no option to change to another picture host so if you’re a fan of Twitpic or another service you’re out of luck. In it’s favour Tweetdeck does a great job of handling pictures, select a tweet with a picture link and a preview image will appear. Tweetdeck can even pull a preview image from a Youtube link, nice. Tweetdeck also has a conversation view which is a godsend for keeping track of those back & forth messages between users on Twitter.

When it comes to options there aren’t really any to choose from, compared to other clients which offer a wealth of options Tweetdeck’s approach seems to be limiting but the reality is the opposite. I have found that trusting the app to do want you want seems to yield the best results as it really does hit most, if not all, the marks. It’s as if Tweetdeck is light on options but full of features, there’s so much more to discover but doing so would delay this review by at least another week. If anything a manual would be handy as there are all kinds of functions in there, you just have to know where they are. Tweetdeck is a great app and a recommended download, I am glad to have given Tweetdeck a chance and it has now become my final ‘go-to’ app for Twitter.

…. unless I get that itch again, oh god no!

* I didn’t try my Google Buzz account because.. well, it’s Google Buzz, what’s the point?

** I didn’t try Foursquare either, I’m not on Foursqaure. Nor do I ever plan to be.

Links : Official Android Page, Install via AppBrain

Bottom Line : After just over 24 hours use I am happier with this than any other mobile Twitter client I have used.  Sure, there’s something of a learning curve but it’s worth sticking with this app to unlock it’s full potential. Recommended.

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