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We have long witnessed some juicy rumors about the upcoming HTC flagship device in the Android arena and now is the time to put these rumors to rest as we have hard facts about this highly anticipated device that some consider to be a worthy competitor to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy SIII. As most people in the industry believed HTC just announced the specifications of its soon to be released HTC OneX device. At the heart of this new baby is a recently released Tegra 3 SoC which we discussed about a lot in the past. Tegra 3 is actually a 5-core device – 4+1 where the additional core will be use
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d when device don’t demand heavy duty number crunching power to save energy in those scenarios. Among other major feature include the gigantic 4.7-inch screen with an equally fitting 720p high resolution display based on the IPS technology. Device will support 1GB of RAM as well as integrated 32GB of internal storage (26GB will be available to the users). HTC OneX will come loaded with a 8MP rear-facing camera with HTC ImageChip technology to take clearer snaps even under low-light conditions. In terms of camera device will support simultaneously taking pictures while capturing 1080p videos. LED flash supports 5-levels of automatic brightness controls. Front-facing camera is 1.3 MP shooter supporting 720p video shooting.
HTC OneX will also come with a newer version of the Sense with a much deeper integration of Dropbox. HTC OneX buyers will also get the Dropbox deal with a 25GB of storage capacity for 2 years! Connectivity options include quad-band GSM and quad-band 42Mbps HSPA+. It also seems that device 1800mAh battery cannot be replaced as well as no place to insert additional memory card. But at this point in time we are not completely sure about these last two details.
As for the release date, device should be available globally in April 2012. So just few quick weeks more to wait for this Amazing HTC OneX!
On the performance front it will be interesting to see that how it compares to the already available devices like Samsung Galaxy SII and Galaxy Nexus etc. considering that apparently this packs quite a punch in the performance department in the form of quad-core Tegra 3 based awesomeness. We will update you on the real world performance numbers as soon as we have some real figures.
[via]


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Google’s announced and released a new Chrome Beta channel for its phone and tablets. Google’s recently did this with their desktop browser (on Mac Windows, Linux and Chrome OS) and now the  builds and now it’s going mobile. Google promises updates, likely just as regular as the big screen version, and it’ll be compatible with [...]
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I was really excited to get a tablet because I was finally able to show off my photography portfolio to clients in a sophisticated manner — no clunky laptops or slow-to-load websites and galleries to worry about. It’s also a great way to accompany your vacation stories when you meet friends and family, discuss a mood board with colleagues, and enjoy pictures from your social networks.
So what’s the best app to view images with? Today, we’re taking a look at the cream of the crop of galleries and photo browsers available in the Play Store that are designed with tabl
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ets in mind, in the hopes of finding the ultimate photo viewer, taking into consideration performance, features and UI.

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QuickPic
QuickPic is elegant, fast and loaded with features, and not just shallow bells and whistles. It can play video, rotate images as per device orientation, hide folders with a password, sort images logically  — by following numbering systems in file names — and even use hardware acceleration for a smoother experience. It’s highly customizable and has perhaps the best slideshow engine I’ve tried so far. You can read more about it in our full review.
It’s rare that such a well crafted, polished app is made available for free, sans ads. QuickPic manages to pack great performance, plenty of functionality and a very usable interface into a small package, weighing in at under 400KB. And did I mention it’s free?
Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.0 or above
Google Play Link: QuickPic
Developer: alensw.com





Photo Gallery (Fish Bowl)
While I’m not a fan of the name, I really like this app. Fish Bowl is packed to the gills with cool features, such as the ability to store albums as favorites for quick retrieval, gorgeous responsive animations when you load, swipe through, zoom and rotate images, and even search — which works astonishingly well! It’s pretty, quick and does a number of things very well.
With Fish Bowl, you can tweak the image quality for displaying, sharing or using as a wallpaper to maximize performance, as well as lock images to hide them from view, check your trash can if you need to bring back pictures you deleted by accident, and of course, run slideshows. The interface is pleasant enough to look at, very usable, and well laid out. And it’s also free!
Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: Photo Gallery (Fish Bowl)
Developer: Pixie Reef LLC





Monte Gallery – Image Viewer
Looking for a fresh new image gallery for browsing your locally-stored images? This new kid on the block is no slouch. Monte Gallery packs a ton of features, including hidden folders, a lock for the app itself, EXIF data display, customizable slideshow, image rotation and cropping, file copying and moving, and more, into a pleasant UI that’s as fast as it is good-looking.
That’s not all. Monte Gallery also packs a comprehensive image editing suite, allowing you to adjust everything from curves to vibrance and includes a number of photo filters and frames to enhance your pictures. Plus, you can add voice and text notes to images, and even tag them and add them to custom albums. This is definitely worth the low asking price and sets the bar for other apps in terms of quality and features.
Price: $1.33
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Monte Gallery – Image Viewer
Developer: MonteApps





F-Stop Media Gallery
A fierce competitor in the image gallery space, F-Stop includes a nice feature set and a clean interface with a differentiating image viewer screen that uses fragments — or columns — to let you see your photo as well as thumbnails of other images inside the folder you’re browsing. The splash screen allows you to quickly access your local image folders, custom albums, tags, ratings, and password-protected folders.
F-Stop can also create smart albums, including or excluding images by folder, date taken, tag or rating. You can also sort your images, check out your most-viewed images and see them all on a map. It also includes the same image editing features as Monte Gallery. The free version is ad-supported, and the paid version removes ads and throws in a few extra features like nested albums and metadata writing.
Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: F-Stop Media Gallery
Developer: Seelye Engineering





DayFrame (preview)
If you ever let your tablet out of your hands and place it on a dock or stand, you can still enjoy photos with Dayframe. Still in the works, this clever app brings a continuous stream of photos from Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Tumblr to your device. You can see shared photos, as well as accompanying tweets/captions and user profile pictures.
Dayframe also includes a large voice command button which you can use to control Google Now on devices running Android 4.1. The functionality is standard on such tablets but the implementation makes sense for when your device is docked. You can additionally comment on photos using voice recognition. The app is still in the works and will see an official release — purportedly with even more features — this fall.
Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.3 or above
Google Play Link: DayFrame (preview)
Developer: cloud.tv





500px
While a number of us are busy debating which, between Flickr and 500px, is the better photography community, the latter has released a lovely app — which we’ve reviewed earlier — for browsing through photos from members. The official app keeps things simple, with a simple category filter for images, image stats and comments, sharing and a basic slideshow. There aren’t any settings to configure here, but that’s probably best for most users.
500px does a nice job of giving you a glimpse into what the community is up to, and can feed your thirst for photography inspiration just the way you want in a clean no-frills interface that’s ridiculously fast. If you’re looking for more control over your photo browsing experience, you might want to check out the next contestant in this battle.
Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: 500px
Developer: 500px





Brilliance Tablet Edition
This is the 500px app on steroids. The app launches with a dashboard showing what’s New This Week; swiping left reveals your history and swiping right shows your bookmarks. You can browse the 500px community’s content by selecting a filter criterion — choose from Newest, Editors’ Choice, Upcoming and more — and categories of photos to include and exclude.
Digging into each user’s gallery by tapping the large thumbnail brings up his/her photos, that you can view large versions of, and additionally download, share, favorite and like them. Swiping left here brings up the user’s profile and favorites. Strangely, you can’t comment on photos with Brilliance, but that may be a limitation of the API. If you want to spend all day looking at beautiful photos, give this a try.
Price: Free
Requires: Android 3.0 or above
Google Play Link: Brilliance Tablet Edition
Developer: Brilliance Mobility





Glimmr, for Flickr
Glimmr is an elegant app to browse through pictures on Flickr, and stay in touch with those you know on the photo-based social network. You can swipe through the tabbed interface to see content from your contacts, your own photostream, your favorites and sets, and even groups that you’re a part of. Plus, you can check the community’s best uploads in the Explore tab.
Glimmr offers snappy performance, and the UI is really well done too: comments and image info look great, and even the lone navigation bar disappears with just a tap on any image for a clutter-free viewing experience. While the free version is great for most users, you can support the developer by grabbing the paid version and gaining access to high-quality thumbnails and the option to set images as your device’s wallpaper.
Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Glimmr, for Flickr
Developer: Paul Bourke





DroidIris+
If you’re into 3D effects, you’ll love DroidIris+. You can view photos from your device, Picasa, Facebook or Flickr accounts as thumbnails on a wall that you navigate by flinging images across the seemingly three-dimensional space. It performs well enough once images are cached, and offers a smooth browsing experience, whether you’re looking at photos saved on your tablet or your Facebook albums.
My only gripe with this app is that it doesn’t take the 3D bit far enough — the slideshow feature is as plain-jane as it can get, and would’ve really benefitted from some interesting effects. Other than that, this is a fine solution for browsing photos on your tablet.
Price: $0.99
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: DroidIris+
Developer: Alexandre Delattre





Pictarine: Your Social Photos
Remember how we loved Scope Beta, the app that brings together all your social network feeds into one place? Pictarine takes the same approach and applies it to photos from your contacts from all over the web. It features a beautiful, simple UI and performs pretty well, loading up images from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Picasa, Tumblr, Dropbox, Live, 500px, Photobucket and Shutterfly without skipping a beat.
With Pictarine, you can like, reblog, share and comment on photos you find interesting, which some other 3rd-party apps can’t manage. It can even show you photos stored on your device’s memory, pull up all your photos from your social network accounts, filter them by contacts, and even surprise you with random photos from all your sources. It’s easily one of the best multi-network browsing apps out there, and at the price of free is well worth a look.
Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Pictarine: Your Social Photos
Developer: Pictarine


Conclusion
Of the browsers we’ve looked at here, I particularly liked QuickPic and Monte Gallery for local photos, the former being my long-time favorite — since it’s free — and the latter winning me over with its great feature set. For social photo browsing, Pictarine is a must-have, given its ability to handle all your social networks and its above-average performance.
Sticking to a single photo community? 500px users should certainly check out Brilliance Tablet Edition which trumps the legacy app by way of additional functionality, and those on Flickr will love Glimmr for its minimalist interface that lets the pictures take center stage.
It’s only since recently that Android fans have been able to get their hands on quality tablets, and it’s great that we now have a fair amount of choice when it comes to apps we use to consume content. And with these wonderful image browsers, you can now show off your photos to friends and family with your device too.














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Amazon has recently upgraded its status in the Android ecosystem, transforming from a lowly OEM to a powerful force and one of the most popular manufacturers. They capitalised on a smart business decision that pushed other Android OEMs towards that model. But how did Amazon achieve such greatness while others fell short?

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Amazon’s Strategy
When entering the Android ecosystem, Amazon took a completely different strategy than other companies like Motorola and Samsung. In fact, it was clear that they had t
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o go in a completely different direction if they wanted to stand a chance.
Devices
Amazon started their Android adventure by releasing a tablet designed for a very specific group of people. With the release of the Kindle Fire, Amazon created an incredibly easy way for people who have never owned a tablet before to get into the game. They targeted the crowd who did not want a tablet badly enough to spend a few hundred dollars on something like the iPad or the Galaxy Tabs.
By keeping the price extremely low, Amazon made the original Kindle Fire an impulse buy. This was the first time a high quality tablet had ever been cheap enough to be purchased by people who weren’t necessarily looking for a tablet at that time. In addition, the Kindle brand was already extremely popular and trusted.
Amazon remained the only competition in this small Android tablet market for quite some time. However, Google’s introduction of the Nexus 7 changed everything. All of a sudden, Amazon found their beloved Kindle Fire competing against a tablet that had much higher specs, a full operating system, and the exact same price.
How did Amazon respond? They released the Kindle Fire HD which improved nearly every specification that was on the original Fire. However, none of the new specs were any better than what Google was already offering. The only major advantage to the Fire HD was the battery and audio output. Hence why Amazon had to take a new rout and offer a larger, 8.9″ tablet in addition to the already popular 7″ model.
Amazon’s Kindle Family
This was an odd move by Amazon, not in the introduction of a larger tablet, but in the pricing strategy. Starting at $299, Amazon’s 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD is still cheaper than the iPad, but the price goes significantly higher, topping out at over $600 for the highest end model. This certainly does not jive with the previous business models as it’s no longer an impulse buy. And given that Amazon uses a very restrictive operating system, it seems pretty illogical to spend a large amount of money without getting a full Android experience.
Software
Amazon’s take on software has been rather controversial. The Kindle Fire line uses the Android operating system and can run Android applications. However, Amazon has managed to achieve this by completely side-stepping Google. In fact, a person not familiar with the Android ecosystem could pick up a Kindle Fire and not even realize that the operating system is Android.
For starters, Amazon has created a heavily skinned version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The reason is they want people to use this device exclusively for content. Multimedia consumption is forefront, whereas almost all productivity and multitasking takes a secondary role.
Amazon’s Kindle Interface
In addition, Amazon uses their own app store to distribute software to Kindle Fire users. While the apps that are sold are technically the same, they will be completely independent of your Google account. This is where open source software can either be fantastic or destructive depending on your point of view. Some may say that Amazon is taking full advantage of the great features of Android’s open source nature by adapting it to their needs and service capabilities. On the other hand, some people think they are reaping all of the benefits from the ecosystem Google has created without giving them any credit.
The Ecosystem’s Response
As with any major change in an ecosystem, other companies are bound to respond. Amazon literally created a new market when they were able to produce a high end device that sells for a budget price. As a result, the demand for high quality, inexpensive devices exploded. The rest of the Android manufacturers had to come up with something to fill the void in the newly created market.
Google
Google was the first company to truly challenge Amazon’s marketing strategy. While other manufacturers had indeed made smaller tablets similar to the Fire, Google was the first one to take a similar business approach. Google liked the idea of marketing a device based on content consumption. By releasing the Nexus 7, they began pushing their multiple Play Stores — Books, Music, Video and Apps — harder than they ever had before.
The reason Google was able to be so successful in this approach, was because they already had an expanding library of content. In reality, the only companies that can actually pull off a release of a content consumption device are those who personally maintain an expansive library. Google and Amazon had success with this business model because they are currently the top two content providers in the Android ecosystem.
Kindle Fire HD vs Nexus 7
Google’s Nexus 7 is currently one of the highest selling Android tablets ever released. That’s bad news for Amazon because it shows that consumers want a complete Android experience, not a watered down version. If other OEMs follow in Google’s path by producing fully-featured Android tablets at a low price, then Amazon’s altered interface is going to look more and more like an inconvenience.
Other OEMs
So where do the other manufacturers come into the mix? In all honesty it isn’t realistic for companies like Samsung, HTC, or Motorola to introduce content consumption devices. They do not provide content of their own and would be relying only on Google’s services, an uninspiring approach because people would be more apt to simply purchase a device straight from Google. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t indeed respond to Amazon in their own way.
Take Samsung for example. Since the growing popularity of devices like the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7, Samsung has been attempting to find their own niche. With their expansion of the Galaxy Note line of devices, Samsung is reaching towards a specific “phablet” and tablet market. While the sizes and prices are vastly different from what Google and Amazon is doing, the Galaxy Notes offer a unique functionality that can’t be found even in high-end tablets.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note Family
Additionally, it is only logical to assume that other manufacturers will attempt to do the same. Motorola, LG, and even Sony will begin exploring the possibilities that can be achieved within a certain price point. I’m sure the types of devices will be quite different, but the overall goal will be the same. What’s currently unfolding is a demand for inexpensive devices and if manufacturers don’t comply, they will struggle to find some ground in this newly created market.
Conclusion
We are in the middle of a very interesting time for the Android ecosystem. It is during this period that we can reap all of the benefits from an open source software model. We are part of a community that is literally pushing out devices with every sort of physical dimension and software adaptation possible. Whether you think some companies are being too harsh with how they handle Google’s services, one thing remains very clear: this type of competition and market shift will do nothing but benefit consumers.


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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!
[via]
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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.
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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.