'DNA' Digital: 10 smart Apps for Android

Tuesday, 4 September 2012 - 11:30am IST Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2012 - 12:03pm IST | Agency: dna

Last fortnight, we looked at some must-have free Android apps. It’s time to shed light on a few more free ones that should reside in your phone.

Last fortnight, we looked at some must-have free Android apps. Hope you got a chance to try and make good use of them. It’s time to shed light on a few more free ones that should reside in your phone.

Talk of shedding light, this app does that literally. Flashlight or Tiny Flashlight as it’s also known, allows you to use your camera flash as a torch with just one tap; simple but more than useful in the dark. However, if your phone does not have a flash or an LED, it just turns the screen white; not as effective but useful nonetheless.

QR Droid
Have you been seeing a lot of those weird squares made up of black and white characters lately? Yes, they are called QR Codes and they hold some useful information about the product or service. QR Droid helps you demystify them by scanning the QR codes with the phone camera and then decoding the information. I have seen a couple of airline companies conceal discounts on airfare in the QR codes on their websites. This app can help you save a few hundred rupees just like that.

Opera Mini
The default browser in Android is not too bad, but what’s the harm in having something better, especially on a GPRS connection. Enter Opera Mini, arguably the world’s fastest Android browser. Their compression technology significantly reduces data usage that not only speeds up browsing but also reduces your data costs. Add to that features like tabbed browsing, speed dial for websites, bars and pages that adjust automatically to your screen size and you have an excellent browsing experience on the go. However, if you are on a fast data connection like 3G or Wifi, you might want to try Opera Mobile instead of Mini.

Sky Map
This is another interesting app that can be used in the dark. If you are into astronomy or sky gazing or simply can’t differentiate between Venus and Mars, Sky Map is the app for you. All you need to do is start the app and point the phone in the direction of the heavenly body you would like to know more about and it tells you exactly what you are looking at. Don’t get wrong ideas. Just give it a shot and you will be star-struck.

With the influx of various internet enabled computing devices, your data end up scattered across gadgets or you end up with multiple copies of the same unnecessarily consuming storage space. Dropbox lets you store all your photos, docs and videos at one place that can be accessed from your phone, tablet or computer. You are also allowed to edit your documents directly in Dropbox or save your email attachment there. And of course, it doesn’t miss out on the functionality to share files with your family and friends. The free version offers you 2 GB of storage space that can be enhanced to 18 GB if you refer more people. You also have an option of buying more space.

Reduce Photo Size
On the topic of compression, here’s a very handy tool that takes care of your images. The name may lack creativity or flair, but Reduce Photo Size is more than efficient at doing than what its name suggests and more. It primarily helps you resize, crop, rotate and share images. So, no more mailing those jumbo 2 MB image files or wasting those precious megabytes while sharing your images on Twitter or Facebook.

GO Power Master
One can’t stress enough the importance of having that extra bit of battery back-up in your smartphone. GO Power Master is a professional power management tool that helps you improve your battery performance. It identifies the most power hungry applications and also switches to a power saving mode when the battery is low. Its One-Touch Optimization helps you lighten the load on your battery instantly. One of the more interesting features of this app is that it shows your battery life in terms of time and not just percentages so that you get a fair idea about when to go looking for the charger.

WhatsApp is the new SMS/MMS of the smartphone world. The biggest difference being it’s free irrespective of whether you message your next door neighbour or your friend in the US. And not just text, you can share photos, videos and more. Add to that features like group chat, offline messaging, share location or contacts, plus there’s a lot more to explore. The best part is that even if some of your friends or family members do not have an Android phone, WhatsApp works seamlessly across different platforms like BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Phone and Symbian.
Note: The service is totally free for the 1st year. From the 2nd year, you need to pay $0.99 per annum which I am sure you happily will.

Viber is similar to WhatsApp, but with one major extra feature – free voice calls around the globe with other Viber users. Yes, it is similar to Skype, but with a lot more features. And it’s free of ads, too. It is certainly worth a shot if you have friends and relatives abroad or in different states in India. Though it functions on GPRS, it should be ideally used on a higher bandwidth data connection like 3G or Wifi especially for the voice calls.

This app is dedicated to the Mumbai readers and especially those who use public transport. m-Indicator or Mumbai Indicator provides you Mumbai local Train timetable, Bus routes, updated auto and taxi fare at your fingertips and without a data connection too. They constantly keep adding new features to it with every update. Never let a cabbie or rickshawala overcharge you again and always know when the next train is going to arrive and plan accordingly rather than waiting for it for hours at the station. This is a must have for every smart Mumbaikar.

That’s it for now. Hope these apps serve you well and save you a lot of time and money.

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