Google IO 2016 Coverage

Here’s the only flashlight app you will ever need


There are a zillion flashlight apps in Google Play, but I stumbled upon a really good one thanks to Ron Richards introducing it in the App Arena on TWIT TV’s All About Android show. It’s called Power Button Flashlight / Torch, and you’re probably already wondering what makes this better than any other flashlight app? A light is a light right? This one is all about how simple it is to turn on.

Turning on your flashlight is always a chore. You have to find the app, which is usually in the app drawer, and then you have to turn it on. Google has improved things by adding a built-in flashlight in Lollipop, while other manufacturers have offered the same. Still, you have to turn on your device, swipe down the notification panel, and press the flashlight icon. There has to be an even easier way right?

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[App Review] UberConference is a conference calling service with a focus on efficiency


UberConference aims to take the stress and confusion out of conference calling. There are a ton of similar services, and many are very expensive and a hassle to use. The goal of UberConference is to offer a free/low-cost option that can integrate with  your other social media accounts.

There is a desktop component to UberConference, but mobile is just as important these days. Being able to do things away from a computer is the whole purpose of an application. With UberConference’s mobile application, users can instantly call or schedule calls with contacts by selecting a meeting time. The leaders of UberConference’s team all worked on Google Voice and CEO Craig Walker is the man behind what is Google Voice today. It’s safe to say the people behind UberConference know exactly what they’re doing.

Hit the break for the review of UberConference. You will also find out how you can try the Pro plan for free.
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[App Review] UpTo, the expansive calendar app, is ambitiously returning to the Play Store


There are so many calendar applications available in the Play Store. In fact, we looked at some of them as 2013 came to a close. Many calendar apps fail to be presentable when swamped with a ton of content. Because of this, managing what is really important becomes way too difficult. And by now, the experience is confusing and almost unusable. So what if there was an application that had a personal calendar on the forefront and everything else pushed to the back, ready when called upon.

Putting it all together in a meaningful way is where UpTo comes in. This is not UpTo’s first time in the Play Store. It was actually available for Android devices previously, but was silently removed to be relaunched. Today, UpTo returns to the Play Store with a brand new design. Read more

Featured Android App Review: Why you should consider Action Launcher to be your launcher of choice


With Action Launcher finally splitting into two apps (Pro and free), I felt like it was finally time to give it a review. I have been a long time user of Nova Launcher and have absolutely no problems with it, but as the months passed by, I began to see so much development that author Chris Lacey was putting into Action Launcher that I just couldn’t ignore it anymore. Action Launcher has so many unique and exclusive features that no other launcher in the market has that really puts it in a class by itself, plus it offers most of the same stuff found in Nova and Apex. If you have yet to take the plunge to give Action Launcher a shot, maybe this review might just give you that extra push!

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Featured Android App Review: Share Where Location Sharing [Travel & Local]


With Latitude going away, I know a lot of you are looking for alternatives. You might want to try Share Where Location Sharing from Ola Bjuremo. It’s probably the quickest way to share your location with friends and family. Texting or emailing your location isn’t anything new, but Share Where has a lot of extra features that make it a must have tool for your location sharing needs.

If you want to share your location with someone, you can quickly do it from within the app. Just select someone from your contacts or manually type a phone number (for SMS) or an email address. You can send your location to multiple people at the same time as well. You can even add text such as “I am here”, “Meet me here”, or “I need help.” Then simply tap the “Send” button and your chosen contacts will receive a message via SMS or email with your message (if you included one) and a Google Maps link showing your current location.

As I mentioned there are a few apps that do similar things in the Play Store, but Share Where takes things a step further. Lets say you are traveling and you want to give regular updates on your location. You can simply choose a repeated time interval (ie 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc) and your contacts will get a message at each specified interval. Furthermore, if you have Android Jelly Bean 4.1 or higher, you can see the status and amount of time left until the next message is sent in your notification area. You can even cancel any future sharing through the expanded notification.

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Featured Android App Review: Volume Butler [Tools]


Every now and then you find an app that is not only functional, but also well designed. Volume Butler, from TUOGOL, is definitely one of those apps. If you like customization, than Volume Butler is your app. Based on the name of the app, you can probably tell that it deals with the volume of your device. You would be correct, but this isn’t just another app for setting volume levels, this a full blown automation app.

For starters, Volume Butler lets you create Profiles for certain situations. Each profile has controls for the Ringer, Notifications, Media, Alarm, In-Calls, and Speakerphone. You can title the profile whatever you want and even choose from a variety of icons to represent it. Most newer phones have merged profiles for both notifications and ringtones, but with Volume Butler you can still adjust them independently. If you want to change your phone to any of these predefined profiles, you simply tap on any of the profiles.

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Featured Android App Review: Snap Camera HDR [Photography]


If you’re looking for the stock Android camera experience, you might want to check out Snap Camera HDR. It’s based on the stock Android 4.2 camera with some added features and it was created by XDA forum member dzo. The goal of Snap Camera was to bring the 4.2 interface to Android 2.3+ devices. If you’re not familiar with the stock Android 4.2 camera, it’s a very simple interface, but Snap Camera is slightly different. The main screen has only three buttons, one for pictures, one for videos, and the other for settings.

The UI works much like the stock Android interface in that you can touch to focus, pinch to zoom, swipe to review, and long press to adjust photo settings. Speaking of settings, you will find more settings than the stock version and it’s set up a little differently. You will still find all the options in the circular fashion, but with more selections. You will now have eight choices: HDR, flash mode, white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation, camera settings, and a submenu for items such as changing to burst mode, fast mode, front/back camera toggle, silent shutter, stable shot, panorama, self timer, and toggling the grids. Fast mode allows you to take pictures very “fast” but only at the resolution of your display. The camera settings have a slew of options for you to choose from for both the camera and videos. It should be noted that dzo added an option in the settings to use what was thought to be an updated UI for Android 4.3. As it turns out, that newer interface wasn’t part of Android 4.3, but is on the Google Edition Galaxy S 4 and HTC One devices that were just released.

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Featured Android App Review: 3CX Mobile Device Manager [Business & Tools]


We have covered a number of apps for device tracking and security, but I wanted to throw another one into the ring. It’s appropriately named 3CX Mobile Device Manager, and it will not only track mobile phones and tablets, but it will also track notebook computers. It’s catered to businesses for managing a fleet of devices, but it’s simple enough for personal use as well. Normally products such as these carry a cost per device, but 3CX has made it free for the first 5 devices, which makes it perfect for families. Read more

Featured Android App Review: TypeSmart Keyboard [Productivity]


I have been a loyal user of SwiftKey for a while now, but another keyboard replacement app called TypeSmart from Comet Apps might change that. I have been playing with it over the last couple of days and I like what I see. From what I have found with most keyboard replacements is that they always seem to be too gimmicky with an interface that will only attract a few people. TypeSmart went in another direction by trying to improve upon what’s out there without trying to develop a brand new way to type.

TypeSmart’s claim to fame is that it not only does what all the other keyboards do, but there are six cool things that no other keyboard offers. The first is a slide-out number row. I tend to do a lot of my typing in portrait mode and I hate switching to a different keyboard for numbers. I know a lot of keyboards offer long pressing, but that is only good when you only need to type one digit. With TypeSmart, you simply swipe up and the dedicated number row appears. Don’t worry, there is still a separate dedicated number pad if you find that your phone’s display is too small. I would like to see this option added to the settings giving you the ability to always display it without needing the gesture, but a quick swipe up isn’t all that bad.

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Featured Android App Review: Buzz Launcher [Personalization]


I’m not big on launchers. It’s not that I don’t think they are cool, but I usually just don’t have time to screw around with them. Well I just came across a new launcher that is not only a game changer, but one that I am happy to say that I am using full time. Have you ever seen pictures of other user’s home screens and wished you could duplicate it? I see them all the time, but I always sigh because I just don’t have the time to set things up. Well Buzz launcher is changing all of this with a very unique take on launchers. It’s one thing to download a launcher, but imagine being able to completely change the look of your home screen on the fly. In no time you will have some of the coolest looking home screens with minimal effort thanks to its huge database from other users. Buzz Launcher allows you to download other user’s cool looking home screens so you don’t have to spend a ton of time setting things up. Before you go thinking that there will probably only be a handful of choices, does over 10,000 sound like enough to you? At the same time, if you do have time and create something cool and unique, you can share it to the world as well.

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