Android News

Android Apps Alert #89: Charge, Play, Run, Connect, Shop edition

February 24, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka

Android Apps

sxsw recaps new and updated Android apps released into the Android Market each week. The latest edition covers apps that help you see your battery, lose weight, socialize, and more. Got a great app? Recommend it on Google+ or Twitter.

SxSW Go – Official 2012

South by Southwest is only a few weeks away, so now is as good a time as any to get acclimated to the official app for the new festival. The official SxSW app supports the film, interactive, and music portions of South by Southwest. The thousands of people descending on Austin, Texas in March can then see listings for various events, including time, location, and description (events are organized by category and can be filtered)

Aside from getting a schedule and seeing events, users can view a detailed map of Austin that pinpoints interesting locations where events take place. It can also discover a user’s location through GPS and then provide directions, see who else has arrived, or mark places as favorites.

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Charge Bar

Have you ever felt that the battery icon on your Android device wasn’t enough to get a read on how much time you have left? If so, you might want to take your battery indicator horizontal sited of relying on the vertical meter. Charge Bar places a thin line bordering your notification area that shows how much power is left. The farther to the right the bar reaches, the more power remains; naturally, there’s less power the closer to the farther away from the right side of the screen.

ChargeBar might prove to be a little distracting for some people. The bar might be very noticeable when using the phone, but others will appreciate having another way to gauge battery life. To alleviate the annoyance factor, consider using settings to place the bar at the top of bottom of the notification window, or only be viewed when the drawer is pulled-down. Users can also hide in full screen apps, or customize the color and height of the charge bar.

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n7player Music Player

Because can never have too many choices for a solid music app, n7 has emerged to play the locally stored audio files on your Android device. To be perfectly honest, the app is still rough around the edges and has some annoyances, but a recent update has addressed the major complaints that kept me from reviewing it sooner.

n7 has rebounded with an interesting interface. When a user pinches to zoom, the it will enlarge album covers, make them smaller, or replace images with a tag cloud showing text of all the artists in your library. It’s a nifty feature for large collections, and a great way to browse. If you prefer a more traditional set-up, users can perform a search, search through folders, start a playlist, or browse by artist/album/genres/songs. There’s also a great lock screen with album covers and playback progress/controls, and an equalizer to customize sound settings.

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Noom Weight Loss Coach

Losing weight is a tough challenge, but Noom Coach can help push you along. The app works by establishing your current health stats – age, weight, and daily caloric intake – and asks users what is their ideal weight. It then calculates how much weight the user will lose each week, the limit on calories consumed per day, and creates a calendar of how often the user will workout each week. A daily reminder in the notification drawer then shows what exercise activity is on the agenda that day.

Noom also logs your food and how much calories are consumed each meal. It provides a logbook, analysis, and shows your progress along the way. There are also forums and profiles to connect with other users, as well as additional features that can be unlocked with a Pro account. Download Noom and you’ll get a free 30-day trial of the Pro features.

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You Are Here

There’s a good chance you might be hungry and rely on your Android phone for a recommendation of where to go. You Are Here can provide that, but it can also tell you where to find your bank, buy your clothes, find a courier service, and more. The app finds your location via GPS or cell towers and then displays the big-name brands in the area.

You Are Here can also manually center a search point, so users can browse an area that they are heading to as well as their current location. Tapping on the logo of your favorite lunch franchise or bank will then launch Google Mobile map view and contact information of the business. It would be better to directly launch into Google Maps and didn’t fall into a redirection loop (seems happen on ICS only), but it might be something worth using.

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Quick Hits

Astrid Task/ To-Do List has really upped its game in the latest version. There were the typical improvements for bugs and syncing with TaskRabbit or Google Tasks, but also more options for creating and managing them. Users can now create Subtasks, turning Astrid into a full project management app. And you’ll enjoy a new tablet-friendly UI on Honeycomb or higher.

VK Launcher is an app that can launch an application using a voice command. The app is incredibly simple and works by saying a keyword like “Music” and opening your music app. You can choose any keyword to launch a designated app, and then go about your business. This is really only useful if you have a high number of installed apps or need to get to one with minimal search.

Foursquare has added in-line comments when checking-in. The app recently added a way to share places you’ve been with Android Beam, but it will now redirect users to the Market if they don’t have Foursquare.

CloudMagic is an awesome app we wrote about recently. Of all the great features covered, you can now add Microsoft Office Exchange support to the list of reasons to use this really fast, cloud-based search engine of your email, docs, and tweets.

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