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31

Samsung finally started to rollout the official final build of Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich for their flagship Samsung Galaxy SII device. For now its available through the OTA updates in some European countries and other countries should follow soon. Note this ICS update for now is only meant to be for the international version of the SGSII but not the local US variants of the device for which no update schedule has been announced yet. If you are using an international version of the Galaxy S2 and still waiting for the Android 4.0.3 update to be available in your device then might wa
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nt to go ahead and try the firmware that has been posted on the XDA forums ahead of the time.
The build that is available is named I9100XXLPQ and is is stock ICS based Samsung firmware with the usual flavor of TouchWiz on top that we are used on the Gingerbread based stock firmware from Samsung. Firmware weighs in over 300MB in size and you need to flash using the Odin. Here is a simple on how to flash it on your Samsung Galaxy S2. Provided stock firmware includes the latest firmware, kernel and modem from Samsung for SGS2.
Note: Rooting, Jailbreaking or customizing your device can be risky, and you may end-up bricking your device! Follow the instructions posted here at your own responsibility as InspiredGeek will not be responsible for any damage to your device.
Required Downloads
- Download the ODIN file and then extract the .zip file.
- Download I9100XXLPQ [Mirror]  and extract the contents/files of Android 4.0.3 ICS I9100XXLPQ to the desktop.
– Correct KIES USB drivers must be installed, so that programs can communicate with the device. Reboot computer after driver installation if required.
- If KIES is running in the background then turn it off as it may interfere with the ODIN.
Procedure – Flash Android 4.0.3 On Samsung Galaxy SII
Please make sure to wipe  your device before flashing this firmware to avoid any FCs and other errors. Make a Nandroid backup of your device through the CWM recovery console and then do usual wipes i.e., cache partition, dalvik cache and data format factory reset before proceeding!
Step 1: Make sure that your device is in USB debugging mode: Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging. Step 2:  Reboot your device into download mode. To do so: Turn the device off, then power it on again by pressing and holding Volume-Down + Home + Power simultaneously.
Step 3: Start ODIN.
Step 4: Connect the device to your computer via USB. Step 5: Wait a few seconds, the ODIN screen will show that a device is now connected - Make sure that in ODIN nothing is checked, except the "Auto reboot" and "F. Reset Time" checkboxes. - Press the "PDA" button, and select the the extracted tar file (from extracted Download above that you placed on desktop) to flash the firmware.
- Press "Start".
- ODIN will now flash the above components.
- Device should reboot after flashing the Android 4.0.3 firmware components on your Samsung Galaxy SII device.
Step 6: After the device reboots you will have Ice Cream Sandwich based on Android 4.0.3 & TouchWiz final I9100XXLPQ  build on your Samsung Galaxy S2 (SII)!
Note that after flashing first boot might take some time as OS builds the cache and optimizes the different apps code before startup. After that it should be smooth sailing!
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52
Hey all you ROM lovers out there, there’s a great new mod called Pimp my Rom which will give you all those awesome scripts that you wish your ROM had.  PimpMyRom is an aroma-installer based script that will allow you to choose between a plethora of nice tweaks, mods, apps, themes and features to add to [...]
23
Original Article on UltraLinx Website - Microsoft Release Video On Uses of Surface
I’m pretty excited for the Microsoft Surface, purely because it looks like it’ll be great competition to the iPad.
Microsoft really showed us what a “Smart Cover” should really be, by including a keyboard right into the screen cover for the tablet. The design of it is exceptional too, very different from the iPad and it has a lot more connectivity options.
This new video shows off how much you can do with the Surface and it’s pretty impressive. It’s great to see
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that there is a HD port, USB port and a MicroSD card slot – these options alone can be very inciting for people who want a productive tablet.

Follow UltraLinx on - Facebook | Twitter.
100
With camera lens and sensor specs getting more and more impressive, Android devices have easily become our go-to choice for point-and-shoot cameras. Photos on our phones keep getting better and better but the issue is with transferring and backing up those precious memories seamlessly.
The best place to automatically store photos is in the cloud so we can access them anytime and anywhere. Many apps and services offer this option but with only very little free space — 2GBs is ridiculous given the higher resolution sensors on cameraphones — and expensive additional space. Google+ will backu
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p photos with no storage limit, except it counteracts that by downsizing the image resolution. Wouldn’t it be perfect if we could back those photos up to our Google Drive account, making good use of the free space offered with the reasonably priced additional storage? Well, there’s a simple app called FolderSync to do just that.

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FolderSync comes in a lite version for free in the Play Store that does everything we need to set up our automatic photo backups. The interface can seem tricky at first glance if you don’t understand how it works so let’s do a step by step walk-through to explain the whole process.
Step 1: Get Familiar With What Makes a Sync
There are three different parts that make up a sync: the original file location, a cloud storage account (in this case, Google Drive account), and a folderpair. In the ensuing steps we will go through each one of the parts and soon you’ll see how simple it is to set them up to work together.
Step 2: Set Up a Cloud Storage Account
Foldersync supports a great list of accounts you can set up, from Dropbox and Skydrive all the way down to your own FTP server. Since we’re looking at taking advantage of our available Google Drive space, we’ll choose that option.
On the home screen, you will see the navigation options where you can choose Accounts.
Foldersync homescreen
Once you go to the Accounts screen, you’ll see a tiny cloud button in the lower left-hand corner with a small plus sign on it. Tapping that will give you the cloud services you can choose from. Simply choose Google Drive.
Setting up a Google Drive account
Attaching your Google Drive account is as simple as following the steps to sign in and validate it. Once you do, make sure you tap the save button in the upper right corner of the screen to save it.
Step 3: Set Up a Folderpair
Setting up a folderpair is simply telling the app which folder on your phone you want synced with which cloud service you just set up. You can have several folders syncing to several services all at once. What we want to do is to back up our photos on our Google Drive account, making sure none are missed.
Folderpair setup
From the drop down menu, choose Folderpairs. Tap the small plus button in the lower left-hand corner to add a new folderpair. Most of the fields here are pretty simple to figure out but let’s have a walk-through.

Name: This is simply to identify what this folderpair is doing should you choose to set up more than one. You can name it something like “photos from phone” or something similar.
Account: This space needs to be the Google account we just set up.
Remote folder: It’d probably be good if you set up a specific folder in your Google Drive account before just placing the photos anywhere, so name it something you’ll remember like “photos from phone” then come back here and choose this new folder.
Local folder: This is for the folder on your phone that you want backed up. Most Androids have a folder on the SD card — whether it’s physical or the internal virtual one — called DCIM. To be safe that all of your photos make it to the backup session, choose the whole folder.
Sync type: Choose the “to remote folder” option.
Scheduling: This is entirely up to you. Choose when you want the backup to occur.
Sync options: Pay attention here because you’ll either get errors or you’ll miss some photos if you check or uncheck some of these wrongly. I typically ignore the first two boxes but the rest are imperative.

Make sure “Sync subfolders” is checked so all photos in the folders beneath the DCIM folder are synced.
Make sure the “Sync hidden files” box is unchecked or you’ll get errors. You don’t need any hidden files to backup your photos anyway.
Unless you want the photos deleted from your phone as they’re synced, make sure the “Delete source files after sync” option is unchecked.
I usually check the “Do not sync deletions” option because I don’t want to accidentally delete a wanted photo off my phone and then have the backup automatically deleted too — just a safeguard.



If you want to set up sync filters, you must opt to purchase the full version but that’s for another day. Finally, make sure you tap the save button in the upper right corner to save those changes.
Step 4: Start Your First Sync
Choose Sync status from the drop down menu to see a history of your syncs. Since this is the first time, there won’t be a list there but you will be able to start your first sync.
Sync status
To start the sync, simple tap the sync button in the lower left-hand corner of the sync screen. The first sync will probably take some time, assuming you’ve got a lot of photos and videos ready to back up. Once it’s done, ensuing syncs should be quicker as it only backs up the files added or updated since the last time.
Conclusion
Although it would be nice if there was a built-in feature with Google Drive to automatically back up photos in full-resolution, that doesn’t exist yet and Foldersync fills the void very well. Now you can backup photos to your Google storage in two different ways. You can either have Google+ send the lowered resolution version without it counting against your free storage, or you can use Foldersync to sync and safely keep the full-sized images.


6

Android 4.0.3 final build for Samsung Galaxy S2 is now available in many countries and more countries are being added to the update list with the time. If you have already updated your SGSII device to the latest official build of ICS through OTA or you manually updated your device to the latest stock firmware from Samsung using our guide, either way its likely that you would like to now root the firmware. Look no further as we have a very simple method to root you Galaxy SII device on latest Android 4.0.3 firmware using the well known CF-Root pre-rooted kernel release now available for t
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he final officially available build of ICS for our beloved Samsung Galaxy SII.

Note: Rooting, Jailbreaking or customizing your device can be risky, and you may end-up bricking your device! Follow the instructions posted here at your own responsibility as InspiredGeek will not be responsible for any damage to your device.
Rooting your device is very simple using CF-Root. Just get the CF-Root v5.4 LPQ from here. Extract the .tar file and then flash it through the Odin. Done! It will install the SU binaries, busybox as well latest CWM (clockworkmod) recovery on the device. For the novice users I would suggest to follow the guide that we put together here as the procedure is exactly the same but of course you must use the .tar file that extracted from the download link mentioned above.
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74
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’re probably aware of the battle that has been raging between the iOS and Android platforms. Loyalists on both sides have been taking turns throwing punches at each other. For a good few years, the one punch Android fans were having a tough time deflecting was about the visual quality of apps on iOS. Make no mistake: to this day, iOS apps trump their Android counterparts in the aesthetics department.
Things have been changing pretty rapidly though, and since our first roundup of beautiful Android apps, a huge n
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umber of new contenders have arrived. Here, then, is a look and some more Android apps that are gorgeous to look at and – in most cases, if not all – also do a stellar job of functioning as well as they look.


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1Weather
Widgets have been Android’s trump card over iOS since the beginning and apps like 1Weather are the reason widgets make so much sense. An absolutely gorgeous interface, crisp visuals and hig quality implementation make it one of the best ways to check weather, period.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: 1Weather
Developer: OneLouder Apps





Action Method
Coming from the guys at Behance – one of the most respected design portfolio services out there – you’d expect Action Method to shine in the looks department. And it does not disappoint. The subtle use of color, gradients and drop shadows make it as elegant a productivity solution as any. Why wouldn’t you get things done?

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Action Method
Developer: Behance LLC





AirDroid
Right, so AirDroid is not primarily a phone app. But the interface, colors and overall look of this desktop app for managing your phone is so good, I wish they’d expand more on their phone interface – which is not bad itself – and bring some more of that bling right into my hands!

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: AirDroid
Developer: SAND STUDIO





Alarm Clock by doubleTwist
doubleTwist has been a name to respect in the Android media player space, so when they came out of the blue with a fairly unrelated alarm clock app, I was a bit apprehensive. Fortunately, the app brings the same quality and sleekness that made their media player so popular to a much more rudimentary app and quickly rendered most other alarm clocks old and clunky.

Price: $1.99
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Alarm Clock by doubleTwist
Developer: doubleTwist ™





Alfred
Often referred to as the “Pandora for the real world”, Alfred is an app that recommends new places based on what you already like. The fresh and lively interface make browsing through your recommendations easy, and make you want to keep coming back for more. A beautiful combination of light and dark grays, and primary color accents give the app a unique look that is hard to miss.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Alfred
Developer: CleverSense





Any.DO To Do List | Task List
Todo list apps are a dime a dozen on Android, but I can safely say that none come close to Any.DO in the look and feel department. Silky smooth looks – accentuated by an absolutely gorgeous font – and buttery animations that just work on pretty much any Android device make Any.DO the best way to make lists on Android. And the shake-to-remove-completed-tasks is just the cherry on the sundae.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Any.DO To Do List | Task List
Developer: Any.DO





Audiotool Sketch
This one is not for everyone, but it you are into making music, there is no better way to do that on an Android tablet (or the Galaxy Nexus, apparently) than Audiotool Sketch. A clean realistic interface complete with responsive controls and multi-touch functionality make it the perfect companion to any musician’s toolset.

Price: $3.99
Requires: Android 3.0 or above
Google Play Link: Audiotool Sketch
Developer: Des Pudels Kern GmbH





avast! Mobile Security
Like Windows, Android has proven to be a hot bed for malware over the last year or so and there has been a flood of security software. If you like your security app to look as good as it works, avast! is an option. With a virus scanner, firewall, phone tracker and a whole lot more packaged in a nice dark and orange package, this one is a nice deviation from the boring old antivirus apps of the past.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: avast! Mobile Security
Developer: AVAST Software





BabyBump Pregnancy Pro
BabyBump is a pregnancy app that meant for soon-to-be parents to track and share their progress. With a pretty pink interface, detailed illustrations, comprehensive descriptions and pretty graphs for data visualization, it makes the whole process pretty simple and sleek.

Price: $2.99
Requires: Android 1.5 or above
Google Play Link: BabyBump Pregnancy Pro
Developer: Alt12 Apps, LLC





BaconReader for Reddit
Reddit is by far one of the most popular sites on the web and those who use it regularly swear by its power. There are a number of Reddit clients for Android, but BaconReader stands out with its extensive feature set and a beautiful interface. For those who find Reddit’s web interface too simple and barebones, this app can be a nice change of pace and I actually recommend it over the official website – something one can’t say too often.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.0 or above
Google Play Link: BaconReader for Reddit
Developer: OneLouder Apps





Barclays Pingit
Barclays Pingit is an Android app that lets you transfer money to anyone in the UK directly from your phone – whether you have an account with Barclays Bank or any other bank in the country. As has been a trend with financial apps lately, the app makes excellent use of the parent company’s branding with a nice clean white and blue interface and some nice fine details thrown in to create a pretty streamlined mobile user experience.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Barclays Pingit
Developer: Barclays Bank PLC





Bump
Bump has been around for a while now – letting users bump their phones together to instantly exchange files, contacts and other information wirelessly. They recently launched an entirely redesigned interface with some social features, media management and a more reliable core functionality. It also works across Android and iOS platforms.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Bump
Developer: Bump Technologies, Inc





Bzzy
Let people know you’re busy in style with Bzzy. The app’s premise is as simple as it gets – it is a text-message auto-responder that sends out messages on your behalf when you’re busy – like driving or watching a movie. The interface, likewise, is minimalist but drop dead gorgeous. (And, dare I say, unlike anything else I’ve seen in a mobile app to date.) If you are a stickler for brilliant visuals, this is one app to check out for sure.

Price: $0.99
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Bzzy
Developer: PixelMEDIA, Inc.





Conmigo
There are tons of finance and money management apps out there, but what do you do when you want to track all the money people owe you or that you owe others? You use Conmigo. The app lets you easily manage expenses you share with friends and family, letting you always stay on top of who owes whom how much. The interface is non-traditional and overly orange, but it does a good job of keeping all the information you need always at your fingertips.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Conmigo
Developer: Conmigo Team





CoTweet Enterprise for Android
CoTweet is a social media engagement platform that helps organizations of all sizes engage and track conversations about their brands on the real-time web. If you are an enterprise customer, the Android app is the perfect companion that keep you posted on all the updates and lets you manage your workgroups right from the phone.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: CoTweet Enterprise for Android
Developer: CoTweet





Cyworld (싸이월드)
Okay, this one is strictly for the Korean speaking folks, but I couldn’t resist keeping it out of this list for its beautiful interface and vibrant graphics. Cyworld is a South Korean messaging application that lets users exchange messages and media with their friends, comment on photos, and so on.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.0.1 or above
Google Play Link: Cyworld (싸이월드)
Developer: SK Communications





Do it (Tomorrow)
We’ve already discussed how awesome Any.DO is for a full-featured todo app, but if you prefer to keep things nice and simple, you might want to give Do it (Tomorrow) a try. All you get are two lists – today and tomorrow – represented by the left and right pages of a diary respectively. Add items by typing them in, strike them off when you complete them or move them over to tomorrow. Simple, clean and beautiful.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Do it (Tomorrow)
Developer: Adylitica, Inc.





Doit.im
And nope, we’re not done with todo apps yet. Doit.im is different from the ones we’ve covered before in that it is a client for a web app of the same name. Like its web version, the app is extremely polished and comes with pretty much every feature you could ask for to help you get things done. Of course, everything is synced online with the web app so you have access to all your data from anywhere you want.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Doit.im
Developer: SnowOrange.com





easyJet
easyJet is the Android client for the UK-based budget airline company, which lets you manage your flights with easyJet from the phone. Search for and book flights, manage bookings, get schedule updates and track flight status all from a brilliant orange and white interface that stands out from the crowd.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: easyJet
Developer: easyJet Airline Company Limited





Feedly
Feedly has been my choice of feed readers on the desktop as well as my phone for quite some time now, and for good reason. Although a lot of news reading apps synchronize with Google Reader, I’ve found none that do it as seamlessly or beautifully as Feedly does. Feedly does a brilliant job of laying out updates to your subscribed websites in a minimalistic interface, letting you easily scan through and manage them while on the move, or even share or save them for later.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Feedly
Developer: Feedly Team





Fitbit
The Fitbit Wireless Tracker is a neat little piece of gadget that you clip on to yourself while exercising, and it keeps track of what you’re doing – like the number of steps you take, calories burned, sleep hours, etc. The Android client lets you keep view, manage and analyze all this information and also add more data manually, things like what you eat, drink etc. The interface makes it super-easy to see how things are going and where you need to pay attention moving forward.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Fitbit
Developer: Fitbit, Inc.





Foursquare
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about FourSquare and are possibly even using it right now. The Android client for the app has been a benchmark in mobile UI design for some time and only continues to get better. With the trademark blue color, unique icons and an overall consistent feel the FourSquare Android app is one of the best I’ve seen.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Foursquare
Developer: foursquare





Friendcaster for Facebook
What Baconreader is to Reddit, Friendcaster is to Facebook. Developed by the same team at OneLouder Apps, Friendcaster is by far the best third-party Facebook clients out there. With a smooth, ICS-inspired look, a snappy interface and more features than you can shake a stick at, there is hardly a need for me to bother with the official Facebook app on my phone anymore.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Friendcaster for Facebook
Developer: OneLouder Apps





GO Weather Widget
The GO Dev Team is very familiar to Android fans. They have been credited for some of the best apps on the platform to date and the GO Weather Widget only carries that legacy forward. The widget is pretty customizable with multiple layouts available and with a whole host of themes you can make it look exactly the way you want. Note that you need to have GO Launcher Ex running to get the widget.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: GO Weather Widget
Developer: GO Launcher EX





Grocery Smart – Shopping List
Grocery Smart is a nice little shopping list app to make your grocery shopping experience a breeze. The beautifully designed app lets you categorize your shopping list so you know you will not be scooting all over the food store trying to pick up things at random. It also has a section of saving your discount card details, and you can sync between multiple devices so everyone in the family is always on the same page.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Grocery Smart – Shopping List
Developer: Handmark





Hipster
The perennial wait for Instagram to hit Android meant there was a huge void to fill in the Android universe for a photo sharing application. There have been a lot of contenders, but hardly any that can beat Hipster in the looks department. The app lets you take photos of wherever you are and then share the location and the images with friends and family, like picture postcards. Yes, there are filters. And they’re pretty nice.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Hipster
Developer: Hipster





Historious Athens
Ever wondered about the history behind a country or city you were visiting? Enter Historious Places, a travel guide (currently only for Athens) that focuses on the history of the place. If you are visiting Athens, take this app along and it will point you to historical places near you, provide directions and give you all the information you need to make the most of your visit.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 – 2.3.7
Google Play Link: Historious Athens
Developer: iMellon





Hybrid Stopwatch and Timer
Hybrid Stopwatch and Timer is just what it sounds like – a timer and stopwatch app – but with an incredibly detailed UI the likes of which are rare to find on a mobile platform. The app simply does what it says, so there’s not much to talk about regarding features. In the looks department, though, this one is a piece of art.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Hybrid Stopwatch and Timer
Developer: Javier Salmona





Instant Heart Rate
The first time I heard about Instant Heart Rate, I honestly thought it was a joke. How could a mobile app tell what your heart rate is? But it does. Place your finger on the phone’s camera and the app will identify the heart rate by looking for tiny variations in the blood flow of your finger. The concept is brilliant, the functionality just right and the interface gorgeous.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Instant Heart Rate
Developer: Azumio Inc.





Instinctiv Music Player
Music players on the Android platform abound, many of them way better that the stock music player in most aspects. Instinctive Music Player is one of them that does an incredible job in the looks department. Every function, every control and icon is thoughtfully crafted, making for a much improved and satisfying music management experience.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Instinctiv Music Player
Developer: Team Instinctiv





Intimity-Tracking my own cycle
This one’s strictly for the women. Intimity is an app that lets women track their cycle and predicts the fertile and ovulation phase. You simply log in your vitals and the app will get to work with reports and visual indications of your status through a neat and pretty interface.

Price: $1.59
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Intimity-Tracking my own cycle
Developer: Twinbo





Labelbox
There are tons of photo editing and filter apps on Android, but what if all you want to do is add some pretty labels to an image before sharing it with the world? Labelbox makes the process easy with a pretty good collection of label designs and fonts. Don’t like what you create? Just shake the phone to start over!

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Labelbox
Developer: Stepcase





Mario Batali Cooks!
The developers of Mario Batali Cooks! call it the most advanced and comprehensive cooking app yet. Even if you’re not a big fan of cooking yourself, there’s merit in checking out this app for its unique take on the UI for a mobile application. Easy navigation, clean visuals and beautiful photographs make the app one of the best food-related apps on Android.

Price: $4.99
Requires: Android 1.5 or above
Google Play Link: Mario Batali Cooks!
Developer: High Five Labs Inc.





Money Tab
Mint.com’s mobile app is the king of the hill when it comes to finance apps on Android, but there are always new contenders trying their hand at the market. Money Tab is the latest entrant in the arena and it makes a great first impression. A clean, ICS inspired user interface, beautiful typography, visual cues for each category… what’s not to like?

Price: $0.99
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Money Tab
Developer: Talionis Software





MyHeritage
A few years ago, genealogy apps were all the craze. They don’t crop up as frequently any more, but every once in a while you come across one that seems just perfect. MyHeritage guns for the top spot in genealogy apps with a very strong feature set, letting you build a family tree and sync it with their web app so you can connect with your family’s accounts and share the same data across family members and devices.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: MyHeritage
Developer: MyHeritage.com





Onavo Extend
The Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android now comes with a built-in data usage monitor, albeit a very basic one. If you need more control over your mobile data plan, Onavo Extend can help you squeeze the maximum juice out of it by compressing all incoming and outgoing traffic. You can also continuously review and analyze your usage with detailed reports and beautiful graphs.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 4.0 or above
Google Play Link: Onavo Extend
Developer: Onavo





Pageonce – Money & Bills
Another finance app that has been making the headlines for some time now is Pageonce – Money & Bills. Unlike Money Tab, Pageonce comes with a fresh, colorful UI that makes money management on your phone as pretty as it gets. The app also connects with all your financial accounts and automatically tracks your income, expenses, bills and credit cards, all from one consolidated interface.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.0 or above
Google Play Link: Pageonce – Money & Bills
Developer: Pageonce





Path
Path made a lot of big splash with their gorgeous new interface in version 2 when they launched simultaneously on iOS and Android late last year. Loved by many as the closed social network that allows only a limited number of friends, the app has made quite a mark for itself. The unique flyout menu for post types is a very nice touch to a beautiful app that works equally well on both platforms.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Path
Developer: Path, Inc.





PlayerPro Music Player
PlayerPro Music Player is another contender in the music players space for Android, which takes the visual approach a few notchees higher with multiple skins – something you don’t see too often in mobile apps. Of course, the does not fall short on the features front either with pretty much everything you would expect from an established – and expensive, if I may say so – Android app.

Price: $4.99
Requires: Android 2.0 or above
Google Play Link: PlayerPro Music Player
Developer: BlastOn LLC





Power Tune-Up
With the infinite control that Android puts in your hands over the mobile operating system, there’s no end to how much you can tweak it to your advantage. Power Tune-Up from Bitdefender lets you optimize your Android device for maximum performance, battery life and data usage. Choose an option and toggle settings on and off to your heart’s content using this sleek little app and take control of your device.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Power Tune-Up
Developer: Bitdefender





Project Noah
Project Noah is an app aimed at nature lovers, letting them discover local wildlife and allowing citizens to participate in related research projects. Through it’s unique user interface, you can share photos of plants, birds, and so on with fellow enthusiasts, access location based field guides, and join field missions that interest you.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Project Noah
Developer: Networked Organisms





SanDisk Memory Zone
No matter how much space you have on your phone or how big an SD card you get, there is always going to be a time when you run out of space for that new kick-ass game you want to play. Enter SanDisk Memory Zone, an app that lets you control, manage and organize your files from the phone as well as the cloud. The app gives you a clear perspective on what’s hogging your phone’s memory and connects with a whole host of cloud services to help you back up files and clean things out to make room for more.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: SanDisk Memory Zone
Developer: SanDisk Corp.





Sincerely Ink Cards
Remember the days when greeting cards were made of paper and we used snail mail to send them to our friends and family? Smartphones and the internet have changed all that, but if you still crave good old-fashioned dead-tree wishes, Sincerely Ink Cards has you covered. Use photos from your phone to create a beautiful card with whatever message you want to add, choose from a whole host of layouts and actually get a printed version of it sent to whomever you want.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Sincerely Ink Cards
Developer: Sincerely Inc





Snaptastic (Photo Editor)
There are tons and tons of photo editing apps on Android and new ones keep getting added every week. The one photo editing app I’ve actually stuck with for more than a few months is Snaptastic, for its easy, intuitive interface and just the right mix of features that I need to quickly tweak my photos and share them on a whole slew of online services directly.

Price: $4.18
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Snaptastic (Photo Editor)
Developer: MCurrent





SPB Shell 3D
When SPB Shell was released, the welcome from the Android community was overwhelming – in spite of the insane price tag of nearly $15. A lot of users felt the price was justified given how beautiful the custom launcher made their Android home screen experience. With some incredibly detailed 3D animations and effects, nifty launcher features and overall eye candy, this is arguably the best looking launcher on Android.

Price: $14.95
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: SPB Shell 3D
Developer: SPB Software





Speedtest.net
Speedtest.net has long been the best way to check your internet bandwidth on the desktop, so when they released their Android app, everyone sat up and took notice. The app bring the same glossy blue and grey interface the website is known for. The speedometer UI and animation are super-smooth and you can also save your results and analyze them with a nice chronological chart of test results over time.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Speedtest.net
Developer: Ookla





Jamie's 20 Minute Meals
Another cooking app that nails the visual part perfectly well is Jamie’s 20 Minute Meals. After its huge success on the iOS platform, the app is finally available for Android and it doesn’t disappoint. If you are a fan of quick fix meals that don’t take too long to make but taste amazing, this one should be right up your alley. That everything is stored locally and you don’t need a data connection to access recipes is definitely a plus.

Price: $7.99
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Jamie's 20 Minute Meals
Developer: Zolmo





Wallbase HD Wallpapers
Wallbase has emerged lately as one of the most popular wallpaper sites on the web. Their Android app lives up to the hype with a beautiful interface and a ginormous collection of wallpapers that should meet pretty much anyone’s needs. Just a word of caution though: the collection has its fair share of NSFW images, so make sure you keep your finger over the “sketchy” toggle button to keep them out of your stream.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Wallbase HD Wallpapers
Developer: Tim Clark





WHERE
Looking for a place to hang out? Try the WHERE app to find nearby restaurants, bars, stores and more. WHERE is a social network for places. Find, rate and suggest places that you like and get recommendations on what else you might like, wherever you are. And while you are at it, get special offers and deals for your favorite hangouts.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: WHERE
Developer: WHERE Inc.





Wunderlist Task Manager
And last but not the least, arguably the prettiest cross-platform todo list app ever created: Wunderlist. Since the app debuted on the web and iOS last year, it has steadily gained its fair share of fans. If you are looking for a todo list manager that works on pretty much any desktop or mobile platform out there, syncs seamlessly between all of them and looks gorgeous while doing all that, Wunderlist is by far the best choice out there.

Price: Free
Requires: Android Varies with device
Google Play Link: Wunderlist Task Manager
Developer: 6 Wunderkinder GmbH


Now I’m not even going to try considering this an exhaustive list by any means. With the feverish pace of development on Android, there is no way one can scour through everything and keep up with all the new apps releasing every day to find the best looking ones. So if you find any that aren’t up here but do take the aesthetics quotient on Android a few notches up, lets hear about them in the comments.


101
This week in apps has been a hectic one, with a new app that has you guessing the logos to major corporations, a Flickr competitor’s entry into the mobile app world, and the latest photography craze GifBoom, all making a splash not only on the Play Store, but on my device as well! So read on to see what’s happening this week in the world of Android.

Logo Quiz
First there was Temple Run, then Draw Something, and now Logo Quiz, the latest mobile game frenzy. As you may have guessed from the name, the main aim of the game is to guess the logos of brands familiar to tho
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se all over the world.
As I said above, these types of apps are the latest craze in the Android world and so the usual rush of apps mimicking identical functionality are to be expected, but the aptly named Logo Quiz still reigns supreme. It contains logos ranging from Shell Oil to Starbucks Coffee. I’ve been playing it a lot and so far have noticed little to no overlap of questions, so you can expect it to keep you entertained for hours on end!
Logo Quiz
500px
Hailed by many as Flickr’s first true competitor, 500px’s Android offering is a sight to behold. Apart from offering a beautiful and easy to use interface, it also sports some amazing pictures taken by truly talented photographers. Thankfully, the developers decided to make the app free, without ads that would detract seriously from the viewing of the pictures.
Whilst some will agree that this app benefits from larger screen estate (such as offered by the Galaxy Note or other Android tablets) it’s also a pleasure to use on a smaller scale and is definitely a leap forward for Android photo browsing apps!
500PX
The Avengers Live Wallpaper
It’s hard to go on to any movie news site without seeing The Avengers mentioned. Adored by critics and fans alike, this film made (and still is making!) a huge splash in cinemas everywhere. Having grossed millions before even being released in the USA, it’s certainly popular. If you’re a fan then this live wallpaper is perfect for you.
Although there is a free download, this only comes with the basic wallpaper; but for an extra $0.99 you can upgrade to the full wallpaper, sporting the full Avengers cast including Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man and Hulk. Performance wise this wallpaper isn’t too shabby either. It ran very smoothly on my device, and I can only imagine how well it could run on devices such as the Galaxy S II or the Nexus.
The Avengers Live Wallpaper
ViBe
A while back here on Android.Appstorm we published a post of the best ringtone apps. In that roundup several apps that added custom vibrations to specific contacts made an appearance, and if we were to re-write that roundup, we would definitely include ViBe. Apart from making setting custom vibrations easier and faster, it also has several discerning features that set it apart from the standard flurry of vibration apps.
Apart from the usual features, this app also integrates tightly into some major apps that deliver notifications. It currently does so with Handcent and Go SMS Pro and the developers are looking to expand this further by integrating into other massively popular apps such as Instagram, Twitter and Gmail.
ViBe
Gifboom
Instagram is so last week. Now it’s all about Gifboom. This app is taking the GIF community by storm, allowing users not only to easily create animated GIFs but also to view and share them with the Gifboom community. Although some users have reported that the app’s functionality can be quite sporadic, thankfully I have yet to experience a hitch.
For those of you who love GIFs (who doesn’t?!) you’ll begin to wonder how you ever woke up in the morning without being able to tap an icon and see a collection of user generated GIFs waiting to be enjoyed. Apart from offering its own network (á la Instagram), GifBoom also allows sharing to many of the most popular social networking websites around today, such as Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Overall this app will definitely reserve a special place in GIF lovers’ hearts (and homescreens).
GifBoom
Pocket Academy
Kairosoft’s latest venture in the Android market is very different than its other offerings. Rather than letting you control a glamorous space station, a game development startup, or even your own spa, this game lets you manage somewhere that everyone has been: a school. Although it’s hard to argue that managing a school in real life is actually fun, Kairosoft manages to make it so.
You can build dorms, classroom, locker rooms – basically most of the things that probably existed in your high school! This game is definitely one of Kairosoft’s better offerings (and you can definitely expect a full review here on Android.Appstorm sometime soon).
Pocket Academy
PicFrame
The quality of phone cameras improves by the day, and the craze of photo editing apps seems to keep pace. PicFrame basically allows you to put several of your images all into one via the use of frames. Not only does this make photography more fun, it also makes for a neat way to present your pictures to your friends and family.
PicFrame
So far I’ve used this app to showcase a few pictures from a recent trip (and even a few screenshots) and it has yet to let me down. If you use Instagram or are constantly using your phone as your camera and are looking for a way to present your images in both a functional and beautiful way than this app is definitely one you’ll appreciate.


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What’s your preferred mobile voice control interface?

Today, Joe Casabona argued Google missed with Voice Actions, and Connor Turnbull said, “Siri’s an interface, voice actions are a proxy“.
Both authors highlight an important difference between Android’s Voice Actions and iOS’s Siri (aside from the marketing): Voice Actions works like a command line or keyboard shortcut, while Siri aims to be a natural language computer assistant.
It reminds me of Yahoo Search vs. Ask Jeeves back in the early 2000s; so-called “natural
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language” recognition may be more elegant and impressive and capable of constructing complex queries, but it’s far from natural – the natural way to inquire about something is to point at it and grunt. This could be why keyword-based search engines have typically been way more popular and useful. Want food? Search [food].
I’ve been enjoying playing with Vlingo in the past week, grunting commands like “play music”, “call Bob”, “search killer whale length”. This, to me, is much more comfortable than asking “How long is the average killer whale?”
I’m not trying to knock Siri – I don’t even have an iPhone so I can hardly give it a fair evaluation, and I believe it can cope with “grunt” commands as well – I’m just making the point that I’m happy happy with voice commands, without the need for full natural language processing.
What about you?


56





If you’re a user of the new Tweetdeck application, you’ll be happy to know it’s just received a major update.
Lists
Lists have been updated hugely. You can know create, edit and delete lists right in the app. With the dedicated Lists button in the toolbar your Lists will always be very close. Of course you can now click on people’s profiles and add/remove them from lists.


Activity & Interactions
When the web version of Twitter was updated, they added a new “Connect” tab which showed you all a
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ctivities and interactions to do with your Twitter account. Twitter have now adopted this into their new Tweetdeck application.
You now get two columns which you can add, an interactions column and an activity column.
The interactions column now shows mentions, who are your new followers, if you’ve been added to a list and retweet and favourite notifications.
The activity column shows a real-time feed of activities from the people you follow. Activities such as who they are following, tweets they favourite and who they are adding to their lists.


Media
Media viewing right in the application has also been added. You can view images and videos a lot faster, and you get a small preview of them right in the feed itself.


It looks as though Twitter are catching up with the old version of Tweetdeck, but I’m still not taken by it yet. The new version still doesn’t offer the basic feature of a custom URL shortner.
How to get the new update:
Windows – close the app and restart, it should auto-update.
Mac – Download it from the Mac App store
If you’re still looking for the old version of Tweetdeck, you can find it here – Old version of Tweetdeck
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Visit the site for more content! - UltraLinx

51

Camera ICS is an interesting and very useful application available on Google Play that you can get for free. A paid version named Camera ICS+ is also available that is Ad free but I guess free version should serve the purpose for most people. Apparently this app is basically a direct rip of the AOSP version of the camera app from the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. So it supports all the interesting features that are available in the AOSP Android 4.0.3 flavor. It also means that this is most useful for the devices which don’t have stock ICS camera app such as official Touchwiz flavo
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red firmware available from Samsung for their Android devices. Another benefit is that app not only supports latest Android 4.0 firmware but also the older Honeycomb based tablets as well as Gingerbread Android 2.3 based devices. Although some features may be disabled on the Android 2.3 and 3.0 based devices.Camera ICS also enables the built-in Panorama mode feature. I have tested this application on my Samsung Galaxy SII (S2) on a Android 4.0.3 based firmware and application works as advertised. one of the most useful features I found is that it supports to configure the vol +/- buttons to be used as a trigger to capture camera pictures instead of usual touching a button in the camera app interface. This is very convenient in my opinion and is similar to a feature that is available in iOS 5.x released by Apple for the iDevices. Camera ICS also enables the built-in Panorama mode feature that is very simple to use if you are in to this kind of fun stuff. It can also disable the annoying camera shutter sound if desired. During testing I found that interestingly this camera app is slightly faster at taking stills than the stock camera app on my Galaxy SII which is a nice bonus.Here is a list of features provided by the developer:- Color effects (mono,sepia,negative,…) - Silent mode (no shutter sound, might not work on some devices) - Picture quality setting (low/medium/high/ultra) - Video bitrate selection (normal/2x) - Video stabilization on/off (only 4.0) - 720p face effects (only 4.0) - Panorama mode and time-lapse video on Honeycomb tabletsI really recommend that you give this app a go as you might find it useful for your Android device particularly as there is nothing to loose (no cost involved!).Download Camera ICS For AndroidNo related posts.