Android News

Android Apps Alert #88: 16 apps you should download

February 17, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka

Android Apps, Commmunication, Lifestyle, Reviews, Social

aa-applock recaps new and interesting apps in the Android Market each week. They are selected through developer requests, user tips, and browsing the Android Market. To submit an app for review, send us a note on Twitter.

App Lock

Keeping your phone safe from prying eyes is an act that every Android user should consider. But in those cases where you grant access to your phone, say to a friend or child, there still may be features and apps that you wish to keep hidden. That’s where AppLock comes in.

App Lock establishes a pin or unlock gesture that can be used to lock certain apps. So while you may be willing to let your son play Anomaly HD, you probably don’t want him nosing around YouTube. Maybe you have an app with sensitive information that you don’t want anyone accessing. App Lock can make that or any other app PIN-protected. App Lock can also lock system settings to require approval for uninstalling or force closing the app, adding or removing apps, answer incoming calls, and using the Android Market.

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Breaking News

On every major social network, “Breaking News” is an account you want to follow if you want to know about the major stories as soon as the press learns about them. But if you aren’t on Twitter or Google+ like a hawk, you can get the same effect with the Breaking News app. The app pulls in headlines for breaking news stories and provides links for more information when available. It also shows when the story broke, imports tweets from trusted journalists, and tags the information in case you want to follow similar stories.

Breaking News displays a map that highlights breaking news stories in your region. However, the most interesting feature is that shows Topics pages that make it simple to follow developing stories like the Eurozone financial crisis or protests in Syria. Users can even enable Push Notifications to get updates in their notification window. News hounds should download this app now.

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Bump 3.0

We’ve covered Bump on several occasions and highlighted the apps ability to quickly exchange data between two phones. But the folks at Bump have decided to scale back some of the features we’ve highlighted in order to focus on the features that people actually use. That means the latest version of Bump is all about quickly exchanging contact info, photos, and app suggestions.

Bump has an all-new look that is simple and beautiful. When two users of the app physically bump devices, they can instantly send each other’s contact details, Facebook info, a batch of photos, or links to the Android Market. Users can send multiple items at once and see an activity log to see what they’ve bumped.

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Bump is the app to use once you’ve met someone and wish to exchange information. Mingle is the app to use when you want to know who is open to interacting. Mingle works as a broadcast to others in a location that you are open to networking and can provide some skill or service that they may deem valuable. This can be useful when attending a conference or business event, but it can also come in handy even when you’re grabbing lunch. During my testing of the app, I was surprised to see that a check-in at Chic-Fil-A revealed some developers, podcasters, veterinarians, and DJ’s nearby. Since photos – and in many cases, LinkedIn profiles – are included, I could get more information about who to approach for networking purposes.

Mingle also supports browsing according to who is most active (recent) or random members, so users aren’t limited to their immediate location. The app enables real-world or virtual connections, asking questions, viewing Mingle contacts, and seeing if other users have endorsed that person. Mingle seems like a nice app to help break the ice and find leads on people with whom you wish to connect.

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Windows Phone7 Lock Screen

The beauty of Android is that you can make your phone look anyway that pleases you – even if that means making your Android phone look completely un-Android. Windows Phone7 Lock Screen imitates the WP7 screen with images that provide shortcuts to common functions. The lock screen displays the number of text messages or missed calls, and tapping on either will take users to their default messaging/dialer apps. Users can also get one-tap access to their camera, browser, gmail, settings, or music.

Aesthetically, WP7 Lock Screen is okay. The app shows the date and time, and lets users select 1 of 4 background images, though it sometimes takes a while to update changes. The app could stand to let users customize colors or images, but it’s a decent lock screen replacement if all you want is direct access to the phone’s most common functions straight from the lockscreen.

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