'DNA' digital: Smart apps for your Android phone

Tuesday, 21 August 2012 - 11:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Discounting games and default Google and usual networking apps, let’s take a look at a select few that you should have in your Android phone; ones that would make your phone smarter and you cooler.

Android users are often faced with a problem of plenty as far as apps go, thanks to the gazillion options from Google Play. Either you burden your phone with too many or lose out on some key ones. Discounting games and default Google and usual networking apps, let’s take a look at a select few that you should have in your Android phone; ones that would make your phone smarter and you cooler. What’s more, they are all FREE!

3G Watchdog
Don’t have an unlimited data plan on your phone and worried about paying through your nose for the extra usage?

3G Watchdog is just the app for you. It monitors your data usage separately for Wifi and 3G/GPRS and warns you when on verge of crossing your free limit. It allows you to set parameters like start and end date as per your billing cycle and data usage limit. It also forecasts how much one would end up using at the end of the billing cycle at the current usage rate.

Advanced Task Killer
The batteries of most smartphones are unfortunately not so smart. The prime contributors to the power drain are apps that keep running in the background without your knowledge. Advanced Task Killer (ATK) takes care of these unwanted processes at a frequency you choose to define. Don’t worry about ATK closing one of your favourite apps as you can simply uncheck the same from the kill-list. Expect about 20% extra battery life once you start using this app.

Endomondo Sports Tracker
People say technology has made us lazy. Here’s a piece of technology that encourages you to walk and talk. Endomondo Sports Tracker keeps a track of your outdoor fitness activities like walking, jogging, cycling etc with a tab on duration, distance, speed and calories. And you don’t need to keep looking at the screen as this app provides an audio feedback about your progress every few minutes. What more, you can brag about your fitness achievements with detailed evidence on Facebook, thanks to its seamless integration.

ColorNote
Strangely, Android lacks a quality notepad. ColorNote fills that void. It is a simple notepad app that lets you quickly write and edit notes, memo, email, SMS, shopping or to do lists etc. As the name suggests, it allows you to assign different colours to the notes, password protect them and set reminders or make use of the in-built sticky notes feature. It also lets you back up your notes on the memory card or online.

Note: If you are looking for a more powerful tool, then opt for Evernote that goes well beyond just notes with the addition of photos, videos etc and makes that data available on multiple devices. But you need a data (internet) connection for Evernote to function smoothly.

Pocket
A standard notepad for all its worth is not the right way of storing critical information. Pocket is the way to go. It allows you to securely store all your sensitive data such as bank account details or passwords on your phone. And if the phone falls into wrong hands, that person still can’t access your important data unless he knows your master password. But thanks to Pocket’s automatic online dropbox backup, you can always retrieve the data even if you don’t get your phone back.

IMDb
This one needs no introduction if you are a movie buff. Yes, the legendary international movie database can also be accessed through its app on your Android device. Information about any movie, actor or member of the fraternity is literally at your fingertips.

MoboPlayer
Every Android phone does bundle a video player, but it falls short on several counts. With MoboPlayer, you can transform your phone into a full-fledged video player. You can dump any videos on the phone without converting them as MoboPlayer plays almost all the popular video file formats. It also supports subtitles, playlists and videos streamed through HTTP and RTSP protocols.

Instagram
Instagram is the new social rage. Initially limited to Apple users, it is now available on Android devices too and has already crossed 50 million downloads. If you are untouched by this phenomenon yet, Instagram simply allows you add a bunch of interesting filters and effects to your photos and share them with your followers. Simultaneously, you can follow the photo streams of those you find interesting enough. As some like to put it, Instagram is the Twitter of photos.

Pixlr-o-matic
If you like what Instagram brings to the table, but don’t think it’s enough, you cannot afford to miss Pixlr-o-matic. It helps you make your images classy or cool with just a few taps. With over 100 effects, 280 overlays and 200 borders to choose from, you have a big enough canvas to paint your imagination on. If you are too lazy or busy, you can simply use the randomiser function. And of course, you can share your creativity on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks through this app itself.

Shazam
We spoke about photos, videos and text; how could we leave out music? Ever been to a pub or a party and just couldn’t remember the title of the track that’s playing then? Start Shazam , point it towards the speakers for a few seconds and you will know all you need to about the number, along with the lyrics in line. Though that’s the primary functionality, there’s a lot more one can do with Shazam but I will leave that for you to explore.

Let’s stop here for now to give you a chance to experience the above apps. We will bring forth another bunch of smart apps for you shortly.


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