November 28, 2013 By: TK
Big events in life hold a strong meaning to us. And when we plan such events, we start counting the days and minutes.
You may remember XDA Senior Member MOST2K2‘s application APPoint. Now, he brings us another productivity tool—this time in the form of a simple, yet customizable countdown widget that can be placed on your home screens.
As stated by the developer:
A simple countdown widget to never miss an important meeting, birthday, vacation.
You can add more than one event at the same time of course!
This app is a great way to stay focused on upcoming events. The app itself is available in both lite and premium versions, and is compatible with Android 2.2 or higher.
If you’ve been looking for a simple, home screen countdown widget, make your way over to the application thread for more information and download links.
November 27, 2013 By: egzthunder1
Our devices have turned from the communicators they were meant to be a decade and a half ago into multimedia powerhouses capable of doing most of what we do with other gadgets and larger equipment. Of course, the all-in-one aspect and reduction in component size come at a cost (normally quality), but that is a topic for another discussion. For all practical purposes, our devices are powerful enough to do what we want to do without having to be stuck in a room or waiting for others to do stuff for us.
One thing that has truly grown on mobile devices over the last decade or so has been the camera. The sensors have been getting better and better, lenses have become not only more durable, but also enable us to take better pictures, and apps in general enable us to be more creative with how we do things. Today, we will talk about an app that enables you to do something with that gigantic stash of pictures in your SD card (no, not that stash…).
A photo mosaic is basically a picture, which is composed entirely of smaller pictures, arranged in such a manner that the eye perceives the formation as a different picture than the ones used to form it. The arrangement of pictures is something that is normally left for PCs, as it requires quite a bit of processing power to get something done efficiently, that will look half decent.
XDA Forum Member zagonico just released an app that enables you to perform this same task, but on your mobile device. Why is this good? Well, for starters, you no longer need a computer in order to create these. On top of that, it saves you a few minutes worth of transferring gigs of pictures into your computer’s HDD. Yes, you could connect the device to the PC via USB or even take out the card and plug it in the PC, but that hinders your overall speed due to data transfer rates via USB/card reader being considerably slower than those that come from reading off the internal drive. And last but not least, you can do it any time, any place. The app uses rather decent resolutions for the small pictures, so the resulting image looks quite nice. It also allows the use of grayscale and sepia effects for added creativity.
The dev has stated that he tried it on a LG L9 and a SGS2, both of which presented different completion times for the same project. In other words, your mileage may vary depending on your device’s hardware. Please take it for a spin and report your results in the thread so that others will know what to expect whenever they try this on their device(s). Also, feedback and bug reports are welcome.
You can find more information in the original thread.
Not too long ago, we talked a bit about dialers and how they have shaped a large chunk of what we do here at XDA. They are an integral part of our devices, and such, they need to cover all the basics: They need to be visually appealing, functional, and easy to use. There are a few alternative dialers out there in the Play Store, but many of them are so cumbersome and filled with options that they need built-in tutorials. A tutorial… for a dialer? One thing is to add functionality. Overloading it with options and making it borderline unusable is something entirely different. That said, the core of these apps remains the same, despite all the added “flair.” It is a matter of how to use this core function that makes all the difference.
Right now, we are going to take a step in the opposite direction and talk about Old School Rotary Dialer by XDA Forum Member sylsau. This app emulates the use of, yes you guessed it, an old rotary phone. The app has all the sounds you would expect from the old mechanized communicator, including the unforgettable taca-taca-taca-taca noise as the disk returns to its original position. Other commonly used functions are there and easily accessible, such as quick dial, save number, and all the core functions that you would expect on a dialer.
While this is not conceptually novel, it certainly does provide a decent, free alternative to other overly bloated dialers. The dev is simply looking for feedback, so if you are looking to drastically re-shape how you use your phone to call others and would like to lend a hand and offer your two cents/report bugs, now is your chance. Enjoy your trip down memory lane.
You can write more information in the original thread.
With a launch of the Google Nexus 5 and the release of the Google Experience Launcher, Android users were allowed to enjoy the new translucent status bar and other goodies offered by Android 4.4 KitKat. Of course, many of you have used similar third-party modifications in custom ROMs years before, but now these features are available for regular users to enjoy as well. Many developers realized that the new Google Experience Launcher has a big potential, but lacks functionality. That’s why new launchers are springing up all over the place.
One of these launchers was created by XDA Forum Member kkappteam. KK Launcher offers a variety of customization options like setting up desktop text size, hiding the search bar, and modifying icon scale. The functionality can be expanded because this launcher supports icon themes designed for other launchers such as Apex, Go, Nova, and ADW. The performance is simply amazing. Scrolling is very smooth, and transitions are handled in blink of an eye. Another great thing is that the developer seems to be listening suggestions and implement them into new releases.
If you are looking for an actively developed launcher featuring lots of customization, you should consider visiting the application thread and giving KK Launcher a try.
We’d like to think we’ve gotten launchers all figured out on our Android devices. And for the most part, we’d be correct. A launcher normally consists of multiple sliding panels, where widgets and shortcuts can be placed, an app dock for your most accessed apps, an app drawer that’s opened with a grid-like icon, and maybe some custom themes and icons to choose from. Of course, these aren’t strict requirements. We’ve covered plenty of fantastic launchers with their own twists and perks, but they’re more or less modifications of your standard launcher template.
Which is why XDA Senior Member Suxsem‘s Slide Launcher is such an intriguing concept. Despite billing itself as a “launcher,” Slide Launcher strays away from the standard in many ways, one of which is the fact that it only runs when you want it to. This is achieved with its ability to launch only when you slide up from the home capacitive button, overlaying itself over the app that’s currently running. This means that unlike your conventional launcher, Slide Launcher doesn’t run in the background eating up RAM and battery when you’re not using it. It also means that you can have Slide Launcher run concurrently with another launcher if you wish.
Once activated, Slide Launcher displays a personalized arrangement of shortcuts to apps, contacts, and actions such as a direct call or message. If you’re running a Paranoid Android ROM, apps can also be launched in halo mode, which is another nifty feature. As far as customization goes, you can adjust and change just about every element of the launcher, from icon arrangements and size, to background transparency and color, to haptic feedback.
Slide Launcher is definitely a launcher you’ll want to check out if you’re looking for something different and unprecedented, or even as an alternative to the popular sidebars. Suxsem has made the app free to download, and is compatible with Android 4.0 and newer. For more information, visit the application thread.
Although a calculator is one of those taken for granted pre-installed apps that you are likely to find on most devices, the bundled apps are often quite simplistic and useful only for simple calculations. Those of you who might need something a little more heavy duty are certainly not short of choice when it comes to finding a more capable number crunching application. And if that’s something that you do need, you might want to check out aCalculator by XDA Recognized Developer zFr3eak.
aCalculator is a simple, yet very functional and stylish alternative to the bland OEM offerings. In addition to the basics, it supports a number of math operations likely to boggle the mind of a numerical plebeian such as myself. Most notably:
There are also other useful features such as a history, storage for up to five variables, support for radians and degrees, and more. The UI of the application is clean and stylish, with both a Holo dark and light theme and support for all sizes of device from phone through to tablet. Yes that’s right, I’m acknowledging phablets as a category all of its own now.
The developer hopes to continue development of the app and add even more operations, as well as support for graph view, so please do check this one out and offer some feedback if this is something that you’re likely to find useful. aCalculator is 100% ad-free and available in the application thread.
There’s certainly been a new wave of apps focused on alternative device navigation and control, harnessing the previously overlooked potential and capabilities of internal sensors. The most obvious and popular options would definitely be the proximity sensor, originally used only to prevent unintentional contact with the phone screen during calls. With it, we’ve covered many apps and mods that utilize the sensor to allow users to perform a whole host of actions.
One alternative that we haven’t seen many novel uses for is the accelerometer. Most commonly used for screen rotation, XDA Senior Member voriax decided to utilize it in Magus, an app that triggers actions on your Android device in response to tilts and flips.
With Magus activated, you’ll be able to perform a series of tilts and flips to compose Emails, mute audio, open the default picture gallery, and pause and play music. These combinations can be customized through the designated settings panel, and can be turned on and off, and deleted if you wish. Magus also has a wide range of settings, including adjusting the sensitivity of the gravity sensor, activating ‘pocket protection,’ and more.
It’s a pretty revolutionary idea actually, as it creates more choices for those who are looking for alternative ways to control their devices, or aren’t able to use a device otherwise because of disabilities. The latter has been attested to by voriax, who cites that Magus has been used by those with visual impairments to perform actions that we take for granted, such as dialing a phone number.
If you would like to give this a go, make sure to visit the application thread for more information and download.
November 21, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Smartphones are smart because they are more than just phones. In fact, I’m betting most of us don’t even really use the phone functionality of our smartphone all that often. They are our entertainment devices, and perhaps most importantly, they are our Email communications devices. The default Email applications on Android work great. But to be honest, they are not that pretty.
XDA Senior Member ashwinsadeep offers an Email client with better looks and functionality. In this videom XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews CloudMagic. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts, so check out this app review.
Most default email applications that ship with Android devices are pretty bland, both in aesthetics and user interface. And I guess we can’t blame the OEMs for keeping it that way, since providing an immaculate and flawless Email experience on their devices isn’t their top priority. Despite this, the default email app has served me well, with little cause for gripes, until I noticed XDA Senior Member ashwinsadeep‘s CloudMagic in the XDA Forums.
What the default email client on most devices cannot provide, CloudMagic does, and pleasingly so. The UI is logical in design with mainly gesture-driven actions, smooth transitions of panels and pages, and pleasing colors. CloudMagic does a superior job than most, if not all, default Email clients.In fact, I may even say that CloudMagic does a better job than Google and the official Gmail app.
Furthermore, CloudMagic has support for a wide variety of email hosts and other services, including:
A comprehensive list, no doubt.
In addition to the standard unified inbox, CloudMagic allows easy access to all folders and sub-categories you may have with your Email accounts, as well as offline Email search. Among the remaining plethora of options and features, the app also includes a handy passcode lock and reminders for starred emails. Unfortunately, CloudMagic “only” supports up to three accounts due to server restrictions, so for those who handle quite a number of Email accounts may be let down.
CloudMagic is pleasing to the eye, easily navigable, and feature packed. These add up to form quite an Email application. If you’re starting to get tired of your current client, CloudMagic is an alternative you must try out. For more information and download, visit the application thread.
November 18, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps, and it’s widely available on various mobile platforms. It allows users to contact friends in many countries cheaply. However, many are unhappy with its default UI, hence the dozens of themes spread across the forum.
A great idea was presented by XDA Forum Member seebye, who decided to combine WhatsApp with some of the good originally seen in Facebook. As a result, Seebye Chat Heads was created. In short, this application uses the WhatsApp messaging system, and displays messages in a manner similar to Facebook’s chat heads.
The notifications can be freely moved around the screen and used while in other applications, just like Facebook messages. Despite the relatively early stage of development, as this app is beta, the overall experience is impressive and the application very easy to use. To be fully functional, WhatsApp needs to be installed and root access granted. And if you experience issues, good old reboot may be required.
So if you can’t live without WhatsApp and find your current client boring, visit the application thread and enjoy the HALO-like experience.
[Thanks to Forum Moderator GermainZ for the tip!]
“Hey… uh, which apps should I download?”
So your friend or family member finally puts the trusty but long overdue Nokia 3310 into retirement and picks up a brand new Android phone. Good for them. Unfortunately, being the only person they’ve seen holding an Android phone as opposed to an iPhone, you’re stuck having to answer everything Android-related, including the ever elusive, “Which apps should I download?”
So rather than downloading the apps for themor citing each one manually, you might want to try List My Apps. Developed by XDA Forum Member onyxbits, List My Apps allows you to compile a list of app names and corresponding Play Store links, easing the process of sharing apps with one another. In the event that an app cannot be found on the Play store, a Google search link is provided.
There are multiple templates and formats already made available, each optimized for certain sharing intents, including:
Additionally, the app is open source, so you’ll be able to tinker with its features as you please. The source code can be found at its Github.
List My Apps will definitely prove to be quite useful every time you’re wanted to share your favorite apps. If you’ll like to check it out, make your way over to the application thread for more information and download.
Task automation has become quite a big feature in Android. The success of Tasker and NFC tags brought much in that realm, as modern devices have many sensors that can be used to determine many variables such as location. Some OEMs have even included various predefined automation schemes in their official firmwares.
A few months ago, there was an XDA TV feature about Llama. The program is a free alternate to the popular automation program Tasker. The concept of this application is to create predefined macros that act in various ways in certain scenarios. For example, you can turn WiFi off outside and silence your phone at night.
Another interesting alternative was presented by XDA Forum Member UndeadCretin, who created an application called MacroDroid. With this app, creating a macro is as easy as pie, and takes just few seconds. The list of available templates is impressive, as it has almost 30 predefined presets ready to be used or customized. It’s even possible to make your device to speak. This is useful in certain cases, such as when your battery is low.
If automation is your thing, you should give MacroDroid a try. Visit the application thread to get started.
November 16, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that a few weeks back—you know, before the KitKat Kraze—we featured a guide by XDA Senior Member SimplicityApks aimed at helping app developers create custom soft keyboard layouts for their apps. While the default keyboard layouts may work in the vast majority of apps, it certainly doesn’t work everywhere. Case in point: his own application, FunctionCapture.
As its name would suggest, FunctionCapture is a math plotting and analysis tool. The app allows you to capture up to 3 functions and save them (or share a picture of their graph output). It is able to draw powers and roots, log operations with any base, and trig functions. It is compatible with common constants like e and pi, and it is able to perform various conversions like rounding, truncating, and getting the absolute value.
As part of its analysis functionality, FunctionCapture is able to find the zero and intersect points, as well as come up with a table of values and more. The premium version is even able to find the extrema and graph in full screen mode.
With all of the capabilities and its efficient interface, FunctionCapture is a must for any advanced math student or anyone who works with various functions in their 9-5. Make your way over to the application thread to give FunctionCapture a shot. And don’t forget to also check out the previously covered guide if you’re developing an app that requires a custom keyboard layout.
[Many thanks to Simplicity and Nikwen for the tips!]