Posts tagged android free apps

Android Apps Alert #60: It’s All in the Details Edition


Android 1.6 or higher required

Not every app can be as great as the one released for Google IO 2011, Guidebook can be more than adequate when attending a trade show, convention, or fan expo. Guidebook lists an events schedule with information on sessions or parties (that can be bookmarked) and background information on special guests. Users can also get notifications when that event starts, see maps of the event layout, or add exhibitors to a to-do-list to plan their day. Between sessions, you can even see the official Twitter stream supported by the event.

Guidebook is a crisp app that allows event organizers to supply information and build downloadable guides within the app. I highly encourage anyone attending a major gathering to download this app and see if a guide is available.



Android 1.5 or higher required

There are a million ways to get Android news, so why not try out method number one million and one? News Republic imports stories from the Associated Press, AFP, Press Association, and dozens of blogs based on the topics that interest readers. NewsRepublic, available for phones and tablets, has a “My News” section that gives users more control. So you can add a tab for football, gossip, Android, or enter any search term and see if a feed is available for that topic, person, or place. To put it simply, NewsRepublic is one of the best news readers for Android users.



Android 1.6 or higher required
Available only in the United Kingdom

The BBC News Android app has been a long time coming. While the BBC iPlayer app has pleased many with its streaming of live television and radio, Android users still want a text-based source for breaking news. That’s exactly what BBC News offers, delivering top stories from the United Kingdom and major events throughout the world. BBC News organizes stories according to category, and gives users the option to customize which topics get promote on the main screen. It also includes video, live streaming of the BBC News (Android 2.2+ and Flash required), and the ability to share with friends.


SwiftKey X Beta

Android 2.1 or higher required

Anyone who doubted SwiftKey’s placement among the best Android keyboards needs to try the new X Beta. SwiftKey was already incredibly accurate when predicting what someone means to type, and the inclusion of Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter makes it even better. After linking accounts, SwiftKey learns more about the user, so “Did you remember to walk…” will make the keyboard to suggest “Spot” since it knows that you are referring to your dog. SwiftKey also supports two themes and typing modes geared for accuracy or speed. Though SwiftKey is a paid app, a free beta version is available in the Android Market.


Contract Killer

Android 2.0 or higher required

How’d you like to kill someone? Digitally, of course. Contract Killer is a Glu game in which you play the role of an assassin, taking down high-profile targets through a scope. Players accept missions use controls to take accurate shots at drug dealers and other sorts of bad guys. Be patient and precise or you may take on fire or watch helplessly as the target escapes.

The action in Contract Killer is limited but still fun thanks to moving targets, henchmen who shoot back, and the need to acquire new weapons and ammunition. In-app billing can provide a shortcut to those upgrades, but it’s more fun to earn them on your own in this simple but fun game.

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AutomateIt Android Review

hi-256-0-7e588f6a3ee55cef29cf22c1e9e3c6d07093960e_thumb If your Android device relies on your interaction with it in order to do things, you’re seriously missing out. There are several options that allow you to cut the cord, so to speak. The popular options have long been Locale and Tasker but, as you can see from their market pages, you have to be fiscally dedicated to the tasks they perform. In addition to that, these applications (Tasker especially) can be somewhat (read extremely) intimidating in the level of control they give you and the sheer volume of options at your disposal. If you’re looking for something a bit simpler but still really powerful as well as significantly more free, AutomateIt might be just the tool you need.

AutomateIt or, as I like to call it, Tasker Jr., is a much simpler, free-as-in-beer phone automator that still provides an astounding amount of functionality. Currently, AutomateIt supports these functions:

Define a set of your desired behaviors in response to events on your Android device.
Each behavior/rule is defined as a pair of Trigger-Action listed below.
"If you need your phone to adopt some autonomy, you can’t go wrong here" –
"sometimes I’d like my phone to do stuff all on its own. It’s an Android after all" –
See more reviews links on developer’s website.
Currently supports the following triggers:
* Any SMS Trigger – Triggers on SMS received
* SMS With Text Trigger – Triggers on receipt of SMS Message with a specific text
* Battery Level Trigger – Triggers on a defined battery level
* Bluetooth State Enabled/Disabled
* Bluetooth Device Connected – Any device or specific device
* Incoming/Hang Call – Any call or from a specific contact
* Headset Plugged/Unplugged Trigger
* Location Trigger – Arriving/Exiting a defined region
* External Power Connected/Disconnected
* Screen On/Off
* Wi-Fi Enabled/Disabled
* Connected to Wi-Fi network – Any network or a specific network
* Time Trigger – recurring time events
* Background data settings changed – enabling or disabling the background data setting
* GPS Enabled Changed – GPS Activated/Deactivated and started/stopped looking for current location
* SMS from contact
* USB Connected/Disconnected Trigger
* Airplane Mode Activated/Deactivated
* Dock State Trigger – Docked to Car/Desk
Currently supports the following actions:
* Notification – Shows notification on notification bar
* Play Sound – Plays selected sound
* Set Bluetooth State – Enabled/Disabled
* Set Sound Mode – Normal/Vibrate/Silent
* Set Volume – Sets volume of all streams or a specific stream
* Set Wi-Fi Adapter State – Enabled/Disabled
* Start Application
* Enable/Disable other rules
* Vibrate action
* Enable/Disable Data Connectivity action – notice that this does not change your APN or background data state but actually cancels the data connectivity
* Kill Application [Requires Root]
* Launch Home Screen
* Activate/Deactivate Airplane mode

The main screen is very blank the first time you run the app. Fix that by tapping the "Add Profile" button on the top-left. I’m going to make a profile that turns off my Wi-Fi when my battery dips below 20%.  You are presented with two drop-downs in the profile creation screen, and they have lots of options. The first one is the trigger, or condition you want to facilitate an action, and the second is the actual action you want to be performed.

snap20110316_093828_thumb snap20110316_093836_thumb

Now we have the general sketch of our profile drawn out. We can now hit those screwdriver/wrench buttons to configure exactly what we want to happen within those constructs. It’s time to tap those buttons.


This part is fairly self-explanatory. Select the specific options you want. Nailed it. Now just save everything and, when the battery drops below 20%, my WiFi will turn off. Done and done. That was easy, wasn’t it? That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. As you saw in the list above, there is a way more that we can do here, including location based profiles, which are all the rage.


Location tasks take a bit more setup but are totally worth it.

One big plus for AutomateIt is that you can (without digging through tons of intense menus) set the sample rate as well as have different sample rates for different profiles.


You can set up an unlimited number of profiles. That’s a lot. Like I said, I won’t even try to show you everything this app can do because I write articles, not novels. If you’ve found that the other automation apps are just a bit too complicated or give you buckets of functionality that you’ll never need, you definitely won’t be missing out on anything with AutomateIt.

For the price of free, this app is absolutely amazing. It does everything without any bugs (that I could find) and it is significantly simpler than Tasker – SIGNIFICANTLY simpler. If you need your phone to adopt some autonomy, you can’t go wrong here. 4 out of 5 just because it requires root to kill applications, which is something that makes me somewhat uneasy, as no other task-killing application needs that.


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