Widgets are a big part of Android, providing information at a glance without having to go through the steps of opening an application. Beautiful Widgets has been a long time favorite of both fan and Android Central staff alike, and when we heard that Levelup Studio had released a public beta of a tablet version, we had to go hands-on. It's not perfect -- beta software never is -- but it's stable, and lives up to the beautiful part of the app name. Having said that, the toggle widgets aren't 100 percent just yet, but the clocks, weather, and battery widgets work like a champ.
Hit the break to see a quick video of them in action on the Xoom, as well as a download link for both the public beta and the full, paid Market version (Android 1.5 and up) and a link to the wallpaper before you even have to ask. [Android Central forums]
Many people have a love/ hate relationship with the Android market, and often times it is understandable. While having tons of apps to chose from, sometimes there are too many of a certain type, and it is hard to know what is good, and what you should pass on downloading. Let's hit the break, and take a look at some of our personal favorites for this week.
We have discussed the battery life of the HTC Thunderbolt a time or two, and we have seen some ways to turn off the 4G connection, but none of them were as simple as a toggle on your home screen. The folks at TeamAndIRC were nice enough to go ahead and create a 4G LTE toggle for the HTC Thunderbolt, that allows for a quick and easy way to turn the connection on or off. Nothing overly fancy, a simple toggle that allows you to select whether you want the connection on or off, so head to the market, and grab it for yourself. Download information after the break.
4shared, the popular file sharing site, has released an Android application allowing users the same access to their 4shared account on their Android device that they have on their computer. You can manage (or create) your 4shared account, upload and download files, search for other files, and copy already hosted files to your own account, right from the app. There's also a picture viewer and video player built into the app itself, so you can check out any downloaded media without leaving the app.
While it's true that services like this quite often are used to share copyrighted material, they also can be used for legally distributable files as well. Many Android themers and modders use 4shared, so you now have a quick way to download those files right to your phone. If you're a 4shared user, you'll certainly find this useful. It's free for devices running Android 2.1 or higher, and download links and the press release are after the break.
If you're a parent with teenagers, then you'll likely know all too well that bullying amongst youths is something that is a severe issue and happens each and every single day. With bullying reaching new peaks as technology grows, so do the means of preventing it from happening. New apps are released daily in an effort to better assist in cyber bullying prevention and one of the latest to hit the market is Bully Block. While simple in its use Bully Block has some great features baked into it for Android smartphones.
Bully Capture - Bully Capture utilizes a stealth recorder to captures bullies within the act. When a bully approaches, the user pushes a button on the app and the cell phone will go into stealth mode and secretly record the bully. After the recording, the user can forward the audio as an email attachment or text message to the appropriate authorities. Additionally, Audio can be downloaded to the bully file to authenticate the bully’s voice for legal evidence.
Bully Blacklist - Bully Block has a unique blacklist feature that allows users to block all sms or mms messages from bullies. When the bully calls after being blacklisted, her or she will either hear a busy signal or pre-recorded message. All phone calls and text message from blocked list are automatically routed to the bully file thereby preventing any communication with the bully and storing numbers as evidence.
Bully File - Bully File captures all texts, pictures, and videos that the user copies to the file. The cyberbully incidents are logged on the user’s SD card to be used as evidence for parents, school administrators, HR departments, and law enforcement. The evidence collected in the bully file will provide enough info for law enforcement to charge bullies with crimes.
Instant Reporting - Bully Block allows the user to forward inappropriate texts, pics, or videos via text messaging or email. Teens can forward information to their parents or school officials in real time. Employees can forward information to their HR department.
Will Bully Block stop all bullying from happening? Not likely. But, prevention against it is a start in taking a stance. If you're interested in learning more, you can jump on past the break for the full press release or hit the source link for the full details. [Bully Block]
At it's heart, SPB Shell 3D is like any other launcher. You have a number of preconfigured home screens and widgets, and you can tweak things to your liking. SPB has designed Shell 3D with a number of slick animations, including the weather widget and world clock. And you can spin your way from one home screen to another with ease. It's pretty slick, and we could easily use SPB Shell 3D as our launcher.
Only real problem is the price. At $14.95, it's priced itself out of the consumer launcher market. There are just too many free and inexpensive options. On the other hand, SPB has made no secret that it's marketing its SPB UI Engine toward manufacturers, so don't be surprised if you see built in to upcoming phones.
SPB Shell 3D is available for Android smartphones running Android 2.1 and up, so long as they have an OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible graphic controller. If you can part with the cash, we've got download links after the break.
If you love using widgets and enjoy the look of a nice, simple, clean looking home screen you won’t want to delay the download of Minimalistic Text any further. This widget, which is really 11 different widgets in one, allows you to display a variety of different information on their home screen in text form. Whether you want to display the time, date, temperature, weather, or battery percentage on your screen you can do so easily with this application.
Minimalistic Text allows near-complete control of the design of the widgets, ranging from widget size, text direction, alignment, color, and nearly anything else you could think of. There are a bunch of preset designs layouts, but they don’t limit you to use only those, users can create a custom layout with the information of their choice and have that displayed instead. Once the widgets are set, simply clicking on them allows them to be changed again, so if you want to change the text size, color, background or anything else. For the amazing price of free in the Android market, this is an application that many will find use for, as there is a widget for just about everyone in it. Download links available after the break.
The mobile version has the same rendering engine as the desktop version of Firefox, with full HTML5 support. And you've got full access to add-ons, too. Plus there's the sync function that lets you take your bookmarks, passwords, log-ins and even individual tabs on the go.
Still need convincing? Video highlights and download links are after the break. [Mozilla]
Let's face it, these days not everyone has the time -- or desire to sit down in front of the TV and catch up on all the latest news. National Public Radio, or NPR if you prefer, has recently updated the Android version of its services, which allows you to listen and read news more, catered to your interests on the go. Some great changes took place within the app to make it easier than ever to take in the information you prefer most. They've updated the UI, added a new audio player and improved the whole user experience and now you can:
Read, listen, or create a playlist of your favorite NPR stories and share with friends.
Hear live streams from hundreds of NPR stations: search by location (GPS) or zip code / call letters
Listen to programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, Fresh Air, and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me More
The updated version is available now in the Android Market. If you frequent listening to NPR or have tried the app in the past and weren't impressed -- try the new improved version. Download can be found after the break for you all.
The HTC Droid Incredible has had a rough life. Between supply issues, problems sourcing components, and the difficult time folks had rooting it, a lot of people had to wait a long time to to get one in their hands, and make it their own. All that is behind us now, and even with new models coming out people still love the DInc. With good reason -- its unique style and huge development community make it the perfect phone for anyone on Verizon who likes to tinker.
Android Central forums member PvilleComp shows us all the above is true with his review of Incredibly Re-Engineered for the DInc. This one is a complete re-work of HTC Sense, and by all accounts will make you think you have a different phone compared to stock. In the words of the developer chingy51o it's "Fast, Beautiful, and Simply Magnificent". Who am I to argue? Read all about it, after the jump. Thanks, Mike!
I guess this is a testament as to how many people out there love CyanogenMod 7. The latest Release Candidate hasn't even fully populated in ROM Manager as of yet and already our inbox has been slammed with people letting us know CyanogenMod 7 RC3 is now available for some devices. Hit the source link for the downloads to see if your device is listed. In the meantime -- if you're looking for any sort of change log and such you will need to hit up the CyanogenMod forums for complete details on each device. [CyanogenoMod] Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
There's a lot of talk around these parts (especially lately) about "openness." And one of our favorite examples of "open" is Mozilla and Firefox. It's an open-source browser, developed in the open. And I've been following the development of Firefox Mobile (previously known as Fennec) way back from its start (and finish) with Windows Mobile.
So it was quite the treat to meet with Mozilla principal project manager Thomas Arend at CTIA and give the release candidate of Firefox for Android a spin.
Forget the early complaints that previous builds were too big and too slow. Now that Firefox is just about ready for release, it's lighter, faster and is about to become my daily mobile browser, thanks to Mozilla's excellent sync system.
Anyhoo, check out the video above, and there's a more formal video with Thomas after the break.
The wide variety of applications available in the Android market make it so that there is an application for just about everyone, for just about any purpose. Unfortunately finding the perfect application is not always the easiest, as the market is growing quite rapidly, but fear not. Here we have yet another edition of our favorite applications, and we hope that you find some that you enjoy as well. Let's take a look at what we have for you this week.
The Pulse news reader has long been one of our favorite -- and more graphically pleasing -- ways to crank through news. While it might not be the best way to sort through hundreds of hundreds or RSS feeds (what, you think this job is easy), if you want a great experience reading a couple dozen, you can't beat it.
And Pulse just got even better in Version 2.0. The UI has been divided into "pages" (or think of them as tabs if you want). There's a bunch of preloaded content, and a couple blank pages, and you can customize things to you heart's content.
And new for us Android users is an entire section of Android news. Not that you'll need more than the Android Central feed, of course. Check out our hands-on and get download links after the break.
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