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TED Air Android App, “Ideas Worth Spreading”

Posted on Aug 7, 2011 in Multimedia, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

The TED Air Android app lets you watch and listen to a multitude of TED talks on some of the most important topics in today’s world.

  • Version: 0.9.539 beta
  • Size: 300KB
  • Category: Multimedia
  • Price: Free

If you aren’t familiar with TED, it stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. It has been held since 1984 with the motto “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Just a few of the famous speakers who have given talks include Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Bill Gates.

The TED Air Android app currently has 971 unique talks, all watchable from your Android device. To begin, check out the list of talks organized by the month/year they were added. Note: the list coincides exactly with what you’d find if browsing their podcast on iTunes.

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Top Android App: AudioManager

Posted on May 20, 2011 in Multimedia, Top Rated Apps | comment

AudioManager is a sleek tool that simplifies the volume adjustment process on your Android device.

  • Version: 2.2.4
  • Size: 540KB
  • Category: Multimedia
  • Price: Free (Pro version $2.99)



AudioManager is both an application and a widget that lets you view all system volumes from your homescreen. You have one-click access to the alarm, music, alerts, ringer, system, and voice call volumes. Each of the volume meters has different level settings like 0-5, 0-7, and 0-15 which are Android presets. To make changes, just drag the marker to your preferred levels. If set to silent, certain volumes like the ringer & alerts give you the additional option to enable/disable vibration.

With the homescreen widget, there are two different sizes in the free version of this app, either small or large. When creating the widget, you’ll have the option to set the refresh rate of the volume levels. As with other apps/widgets, the more often it refreshes the more battery consumed.

Overall, the interface and graphics of this app mesh well with almost any homescreen. However, if you want additional customization options, the Pro version enables you to apply over 100 different skins (downloadable from the Android Market). The Pro version also features the ability to save preset volume profiles, built-in schedule to apply presets, and the ability to create and publish your own personalized skins.

Pros:

  • Adjust all system volumes from one place
  • Homescreen widgets for instant accessibility
  • Pro version enables application of 100+ customized skins
  • Simple functionality in an attractive user-interface



Areas for improvement:

  • Large widget should allow you to set volumes directly, not just open the app



Conclusion: An extremely simple, functional, and reliable Android app for quickly adjusting volume settings.

[AppBrain Link]


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Music Beta by Google Released

Posted on May 10, 2011 in App News, Multimedia | comment

During today’s keynote presentation at Google I/O 2011 in San Francisco, Music Beta by Google was officially announced. In its current beta state, the music service is available by invitation only in the U.S. Make sure to request an invite at music.google.com. For our international readers out there, we do hope that the beta quickly breaks through the American borders although no timeline was given. Important to note is the fact that the service is completely free in its beta form but might have a price/monthly fee with its official release.

Benefits of Google Music:

  • Upload songs, playlists, and ratings/play counts from iTunes or Windows Media Player directly to the cloud
  • From the cloud, play music on any device, anywhere, anytime
  • Manage, upload, sync songs without ever using any sort of cable!
  • “Pin” songs or playlists to the device to enable offline listening
  • InstantMix creates new playlists based on a single song’s genre, beat, tempo, etc. (described as an “ingenious” feature during the keynote, a nice jab at the iTunes Genius feature)



Even while you’re waiting for your Google Music invitation, download the new and improved Music app from the Android Market. Check out the smooth, beautiful UI and listen to songs you already have on your Android device.

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Top Android App: TuneIn Radio Pro

Posted on May 9, 2011 in Multimedia, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

TuneIn Radio lets you browse and listen to radio – live, local, and global.

  • Version: 2.0
  • Size: 1.26MB
  • Category: Multimedia
  • Price: $0.99 – Amazon App Store (Free version available)



To begin, browse the categories of available radio stations; local radio, music, talk, sports, by location, or by language. The “local radio” category features all of the programming you’re used to listening while in your car. When you’ve found the station you’d like, click it to instantly buffer and begin listening. Save in to your “presets” if it’s a station you’ll be coming back to often. At the bottom, there are controls for play/pause, stop, and even a record button to save a song for playing again later (Pro version). Other links on the station page let you find similar stations, view a complete schedule, choose the stream type (32/64 kbps .aac or .mp3), as well as set a sleep timer if you’re listening to the radio before bed.

The “Music” category lets you find stations by genre (e.g. alternative rock, country, and hip-hop). Similarly, the “Talk” category has topics like business, conservative, news, and technology.

Overall, the quality and functionality of this app is on par with similar personalized music Android apps like Pandora and Slacker Radio. There were no buffering or quality issues while streaming with WiFi/3G.

Pros:

  • Stream local, national, and international radio stations
  • Choose categories by music genre, talk radio type, or language/location
  • Record live radio for future playback



Areas for improvement:

  • Not much to say here!



Conclusion: Listen to over 50,000 radio stations including your favorite local AM/FM stations.

[AppBrain Link]

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Top Android App: QuickPic

Posted on Apr 30, 2011 in Multimedia, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

QuickPic is an efficient, powerful app for viewing and organizing all of the pictures on your Android device.

  • Version: 1.1.1
  • Size: 242KB (no apps2SD)
  • Category: Multimedia
  • Price: Free



QuickPic‘s claim to fame is its speed and responsiveness (something the stock Gallery Android app can’t say), which is accomplished by caching images to reduce their loading time. The default display is folder-based with thumbnails being shown of the 4 most recent items. Or, if you prefer a list-like view, you can click the icon of a bulleted list in the top left of the QuickPic toolbar.

To manage your photos’ folders, long-press them to pull up a list of options including hiding, deleting, and renaming it. Plus, the slideshow feature lets you show off your photos one-by-one without any manipulation. Each image will be displayed for the length of time you have specified in the settings (default is 3 seconds). Additionally, if a folder contains images you don’t care to browse (e.g. images associated with an app you’ve installed), then choose the “exclude” option. You can also choose to password protect hidden folders in case you don’t want the content accessed by anyone else.

While browsing your photos, you can long-press each individual image to edit, copy, or share it. Selecting “details” from the popup window will provide you with the file location, resolution, size, date, camera, and geolocation of the image. Make sure to use the bulk selection tool to apply changes or other options to multiple images all at once.

Pros:

  • Speedy, responsive substitute for the stock Android gallery app
  • Manage and edit photo folders/pictures with ease
  • Rotate, crop, share, set wallpaper, watch slideshows, sort, move/copy images



Areas for improvement:

  • Support for animated .gif files



Conclusion: The fastest, most intuitive app for viewing, managing, and editing photos on your Android device.

[AppBrain Link]

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