One of our favorite parts of Android is the wide variety of applications that are readily available to be installed on your device at any given time. One of the hard parts is finding a good selection of applications to add to your device, but fear not, that is where we come into play. Hit the break with us and let's check out some of our favorites from this past week!
Anndrew Vacca - Desktop SMS (Free Beta)
Isn’t it annoying that the Market lacks an app to sync text messages across multiple phones? While we wait for one, we have Desktop SMS to tide us over. It achieves the task, albeit in a roundabout way: download Desktop SMS to your phone and it will forward all incoming texts to either your Gmail inbox or your Google Talk account. This means that you’ll receive all incoming texts on any device on which you’re running Gmail or Google Talk, whether it be your computer, tablet, or another smartphone. And to answer your burning question: yes, you can respond from these other devices simply by replying to the incoming message, and yes, to the recipient, it appears to be sent from your smartphone. Sure, you have to keep your smartphone turned on for the app to be able to forward the text messages, and we wish there was a more direct way to get this job done, but Desktop SMS does the trick. And it does it quite nicely, too. [Market Link]
Menno - iCookbook ($2.49 on sale)
iCookbook was the free app of the day on Amazon on Thursday, and like a lot of you, I tend to download as many as I can, provided they're not something pointless like a task-killer application. After I installed it on my Tab, I decided to boot it up and was pleasantly surprised that it was optimized for the larger screen, and it looked great doing it. iCookbook takes those recipes that companies like slapping onto the back of soup cans and pouches and puts them all in a easily searchable, visual appealing app. Each recipie will give you step-by-step instructions, as well as the ability to put in notes so you can make your own adjustments to the portions. At $2.49, it's not the cheapest application out there, but if you want a quick guide to some easy to prepare meals, iCookbook is an excellent choice. And yes, the cookies were delicious. [Amazon Market]
Sean Brunett - Square
The company started by Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter’s co-founders, Square allows users to accept credit card payments on their Android device. It’s completely free and once its installed, Square will send you a card reader for free. Once you have installed the app, you’ll have to go through the process of adding a bank account, which doesn’t take long at all. You’ll need your account and routing numbers; all of your data is encrypted and secure. If you’re at all worried about any of your information, check out Square’s website. It has been a great app for me because if friends owe me money, instead of forcing them to find an ATM, they can just pull out their credit card and pay me that way. Once the card is swiped, the payment will be authorized and a receipt can either be sent via email or SMS. It’s a great innovation and one that I think will have a large effect on small businesses. It should also be mentioned that Square accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. [Market Link]
Alex Dobie - Wifi Analyzer (Free)
Setting up a Wifi connection isn't always as easy as it might seem. With most homes now running their own wireless network, the 14 (or fewer, depending on where you live) 2.4 GHz Wifi channels can soon become pretty crowded. So it's important to select the best channel in order to avoid interference from other networks, and that's where Wifi Analyzer comes in. It offers real-time charts showing the strength of each available Wifi access point, as well as a breakdown of what's running on each channel. If you'd rather not crunch through the data yourself, though, the app can also suggest alternative channels for the network you're connected to. Other neat features include a Geiger counter-like page for precisely monitoring the strength of a network's signal as you move around, which could be useful if you're trying to track down that elusive public hotspot. There are PC and Mac-based apps that offer many of these abilities, but the fact that Wifi Analyzer is free, and runs on easily-portable Android devices makes it a no-brainer for anyone looking to tweak their Wifi settings, or set up a new network. The app is ad-supported, but there's an option in its settings area to disable ads for up to a week at a time. [Market Link]
Jerry Hildenbrand - NXP TagWriter (Free)
NXP TagWriter allows you to read and write to NFC tags from your NFC-enabled Android phone. Using any Mifare Classic, Ultralight, Ultralight C or NFC Forum Type 1-4 tags you can create tags that hold information like a contact, a web URL, generic URI strings, or any plain text. Even cooler, you can create tags that send an SMS or even post your status to Google+ using the NXP Tagwriter app. You can use NXP TagWriter to create custom business cards that have your contact details, posters or flyers that have more details or weblinks embedded via NFC, or just fool around and create a tag on your desk that let's everyone on Google+ know you're bored and they should talk to you. You can purchase the correct tags from many online shops, including here, already embedded into things like business cards, stickers and wristbands. Just be sure to use one of the types mentioned above. Now get cracking and do something useful (or fun) with your NFC chip! [Market Link]
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