November 25, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! You’re probably still digesting turkey and scouring the web to find some Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. We’ve already spotted a few that may interest you, including a handful of app deals, so check those out first and prepare for the season. But in the mean time, here are some Android apps to download this holiday weekend.
Ice Cream Sandwich Keyboard
Android 2.2-2.3 required
If you liked the look and feel of the Android 4.0 keyboard but don’t yet have the privilege of Ice Cream Sandwich, there’s an app for that. Ice Cream Sandwich Keyboard is a straight-forward port of the ICS stock keyboard that has been made to work with Android 2.2-2.3 devices. The keyboard has the visual improvements we discussed previously, as well as much better voice input (that will cut down on poor speech-to-text transcription). There’s also a great auto-correction filter that can be set from modest to very aggressive, and advanced settings to fine-tune keyboard convenience. (Pre-Froyo phones can search for similar apps compatible with their device.)
Android 2.2+ required
Most alarm clock apps ask you to wake up to the sound of annoying chirping or a particular song. RSS Alarm asks you to wake up to the sound of your favorite website or podcast. The app functions as any other alarm clock, only the alert sound it uses is a reading of an RSS feed selected by the user. So when 7 AM strikes, the text-to-speech engine will start reading aloud the latest article from a designated feed. Users can enter in an RSS manually or connect to Google Reader to import. RSS Alarm uses the default TTS service that you have designated, so the voice can be robotic and tough to discern when you wake up in the morning. (Download iVonia or another TTS replacement for better sound quality.) And if you’re not keen on hearing the robot, import your favorite podcast from Google Listen instead.
Grid Live Wallpaper
Android 2.1+ required
I change my wallpaper several times a week, so I’m always looking for new wallpapers – static or live – to keep me entertained. Grid Live Wallpapers is a cool little app with a self-explanatory name – it displays a static image that turns into an animated grid when transitioning. GLW assigns images to a number of screens in the launcher, then flips the grid as it morphs to a new image on the next screen. Users can adjust speed, grid cube size, background colors, and animation style.
Firefox for Android has been plagued by sluggishness, but many stuck with the browser because of features and extensions. Firefox is now working to fix its speed problem by switching to native Android UI widgets that provide “large memory reductions.” A nightly channel has been put up that allows users to download new versions of Firefox for Android as they are developed. There bugs abound, but it’s a chance to get a preview of how Firefox will operate in the future. At the moment, you will discover problems with zoom, sync, and page refreshing among other things, but you can try it out for yourself by visiting the website below.
Android 2.1+ required
Every now and then, there comes a time when you want or need to copy text from one device to another. The traditional way of doing this is highlighting the text and email it to yourself or someone else, then opening up the email on the second device. PasteQR offers another solution through QR codes. The way it works is that someone copies the text on Device #1 the same way that they normally would (Selecting and copying text varies by device model). Then, that person opens PasteQR and presses the “Copy” button in order to create a QR code that’s displayed on-screen. The text can be transferred by opening up PasteQR on Device #2 to scan the code. Boom, copy-pasted. (You can also scan with other QR code readers like Google Goggles.)
Onavo Monitor Data Usage
Android 2.2+ required
We’ve already covered Onavo, an app that lets Android users monitor how much data their phones – and more specifically, their apps – consume. But since Ice Cream Sandwich already includes that, there’s probably not much room left for this app right? Not so says Onavo developer Dvir Reznik. Onavo is easier to use for the layman and utilizes crowdsourcing to let users know which apps to keep or dump. The latest version of the app uses data from other Android users to provide warnings ahead of time when installing a data hogging app, compare habits to other Onavo users, get tips on how to reduce consumption. Combined with the detailed stats already provided in previous version, and a new badge system that gives a quick glance at data consumption, this is a good app to have should you need to monitor your wireless plan details.
Android App Reviews & News of the Week
- Black Friday 2011 Android deals round-up
- Songza HD is a playlist-driven DJ for any mood or occasion
- Hooked filters Android Market to find the games best for you [App Reviews]
- Blood & Glory unleashes your inner Spartacus for a fee [Game Reviews]
- SugarSync integrates with SanDisk Memory Zone; win a FREE 30 GB account to celebrate
- Motorola Smart Actions automates tasks, features, and battery life to improve Droid Razr