Tag Archives: Android app

Evi : Best Siri Alternative for Older iPhone & Android

best Siri alternative

Since the release of the iPhone 4S and it’s amazing personal assistant Siri, everybody with an iOS device wants to get their hands on something similar. There are many options available on the internet and there are ways to even run the original Siri on older iOS devices. However, the battle for the best Siri alternative is still raging and I think I may have a winner. Of course, you will never find any app or jailbreak tweak that will bring you the complete functionality and interface of Siri, but something is better than nothing isn’t it?

The app in question today is called EVI and is a product of True Knowledge and the speech is powered by Nuance, the same company that powers the voice search in Siri. So, you must already think that Evi can do stuff that Apple’s Siri can. You’d be wrong! Because Siri has far more capabilities and can understand much more than Evi. However, this app is available for both Android and iOS, which makes it one of the best Siri alternatives out there. Evi is, as they say, a similar personal assistant to Siri, but not the same.

Evi : The Best Siri Alternative

After installing Evi on your iOS device or Android phone, you’ll be shocked to hear all the things that the one eyed personal assistant has to say. The voice recognition is pretty awesome and it works great in any country, however, it’s not really good with finding services in anywhere outside the United Kingdom. But, according to the developers, such services will soon be available for other countries too. I tried finding for some restaurants nearby and I was given some recommendations on Yelp!, which doesn’t work very well in India.

Evi screen 1

You can talk to Evi in plain and clear English and it should understand without any problems. During the first days after it’s launch, the performance was not so great because of the server load. Now though, it works great every time I try. You can ask it questions about things, definitions, answers to math problems, time and weather in various places and much more. If Evi doesn’t understand you, then you can simply type in your question and get the answers.

The most astonishing thing is the voice recognition, and the way it understands normal spoken and conversational English. Below are some screenshots of the app in action:

Evi voice recognition

Evi weather

If you speak clearly in to the microphone, the speech is very accurately recognized. Although, it still will not recognize names and places very well. Evi is currently available in the App Store for $0.99 and in the Android Market for free. I would definitely recommend you to try out this amazing app.

Have you tried Evi yet? How’s your experience with it. Do you have recommendation for any other best Siri alternative which works with older iOS phone?

DoubleTwist AirSync : AirPlay for Android Devices

DoubleTwist Airsync first began as an iTunes alternative for everyone, but now has transformed in to an Android app that currently brings Apple’s AirPlay extension to your favorite Android devices. Previously, when DoubleTwist was launched it did not have this new feature that enables AirPlay features to be used on your Android phone, but only had the ability to sync your iTunes playlist, videos, photos to your device. Recenlty, we also told you about Shairport4w, the AirPlay for Windows.

DoubleTwist AirSync

DoubleTwist Airsync for Android

Now though, with the updated DoubleTwist AirSync, you can also use your Android device to stream songs, videos to Macs, Apple TV’s and AirPlay supported devices. You can also use the updated version of DoubleTwist to stream music on to Windows Media Player 12, sync just one song or video, sync everything, checked items all with the tap of a button. The app interface is very simple and easy to understand.

AirSync contains two inbuilt features known as ‘Twist to’ and AirTwist that help DoubleTwist in performing some of the above mentioned tasks. Streaming music to an Apple TV, Mac, AirPlay enabled device or Windows PC requires ‘Twist to’ and streaming to an X-Box 360 or PlayStation 3 requires AirTwist. Those are the main features of the new and updated DoubleTwist AirSync.

DoubleTwist AirSync Screens

How to use DoubleTwist Airsync for android

Here’s what you’ll need to setup the whole thing and start syncing wirelessly over Wi-Fi and stream music, videos and photos to AirPlay enabled devices or Windows:

  • First download the DoubleTwist desktop app from here. Works both on PC and Mac.
  • Then search for the DoubleTwist app on your Android device using Market, it will cost you $4.99 so keep your hidden stash ready.
  • Launch the app on your Android phone, hit the Sync button, follow instructions and voila!! You’re all set up.

You can also download DoubleTwist AirSync from the Android Market. DoubleTwist is actually a free app, but this version with the Twist to feature will of course cost you $4.99. The desktop app requires MacOS X 10.5 and above or WinXP SP2/Vista/Windows 7. If you want to listen to your iTunes music collection on your Android phone then this is the app for you, plus think of all the extra features that you now get.

What do you think of this amazing app? Will you spend $4.99 to enjoy some AirPlay on your Android phone or would you rather not?

Speaktoit: The Perfect Siri Alternative for Android

Siri, the personal assistant on the iPhone 4S is the next big development in mobile technology. We have to agree to that, but it’s not limited to the iPhone 4S alone. I recently posted on how the iPhone 4 can also run the elusive personal assistant and I also gave some Siri alternatives for the iPhone 3GS and 4. Of course, Android users may have been wondering when they’re going to get something as awesome as Siri, well, they already have.

Speaktoit is an Android app that works exactly like Siri, if not better, and can understand what you say to it. It’s also really smart and has an avatar or a face. This app is the best Siri alternative for Android, and I’m sure it’ll make all you guys happy. The personal assistant works really well, which you can see in a video later on. For now, let’s talk about what Speaktoit is and can do.

The Speaktoit Assistant is a virtual buddy for your smartphone that answers questions in natural language, performs tasks, and notifies you about important events. The Assistant saves you time and makes communication with gadgets and web services easier and less stressful.

That should answer most of your questions, but I’m sure it doesn’t. Siri has taken the mobile market by storm and it’s certainly going to revolutionize how we use our mobile device, but should Android users be left behind? No. Hence, if you happen to be one, then head over to the Android Market and download Speaktoit right now. It’s a free app. And how is it similar to Siri?

  • You can have a conversation with Speaktoit in your natural voice. And most probably it’ll understand.
  • You can ask it to send emails, texts, look up information, post to Twitter, check you in places, update your Facebook, find news, look up traffic, look up weather, call people, take notes, add things to your calendar, translate foreign languages, help you find nearby places like bars and much much more.
  • You can add a custom Avatar or choose from the ones provided. It’s like talking to a person, only it’s a cartoon character and has a robotic voice, but whatever. It’s still pretty awesome.
  • Changes and improvements keep happening based on user suggestions.
Check out the demo video now;

Speaktoit app will soon be available for iOS and Blackberry too, so if you’ve been looking for a Siri alternative, this is the best one out there, yet. You can download Speaktoit for Android from the Android Market.

How to take screenshots of your Android device [Tutorial]

Being a blogger, I frequently write reviews about different websites, softwares, mobile applications etc. To make my posts more attractive and interesting, I always make sure that I include the screenshots of the app or website I am reviewing. Taking screenshots on a computer is very easy, as there are hundreds of tools available that enable you to do so. But, how do you take screenshots on an Android phone?

Well, I had to do a lot of Googling before actually finding a solution to this. Basically, there are 2 ways to take screenshots on your Android phone. The first method is a little tricky and involves the use of Android SDK to capture the screen. The second method involves installing apps on your phone to capture your screen. In this post, I will explain both the methods of taking screenshots on your Android phone.

Method 1 : Using the Android SDK

The Android SDK is basically a software development kit which enables developers to create applications for the Android platform. The kit contains a utility called Dalvik Debug Monitor. This is the software we will be using to take the screenshots.

Step 1 : Installing the SDK and other necessary files

Before you install the Android SDK you need to make sure that you have the Java Development Kit installed. If not, you can download it from here. Scroll down to the Java SE Development Kit bundles and download the “JDK x Update xx with Java EE”. Install the SDK and it’s various libraries, including the Android tools.

Once you have installed the Java Development Kit, head over to the Android Developers website and download the Android SDK. The SDK is available on Windows, Mac as well as Linux. If you are using Windows, it is better to download the installer rather than the zip file as it provides an easy way to install the Android SDK. In case you have downloaded the compressed file, just extract it’s contents into a folder.

Now, for the purpose of taking screenshots, these steps should be enough. But, those who want to develop applications for Android, can check out this comprehensive tutorial on how to install the Android SDK.

Step 2 : Getting your device ready

The SDK can communicate with your device, only when USB debugging is enabled on your device. To do this, just head to Settings->Applications->Development on your Android device and tick the “USB Debugging” option. You can also tick the “Stay Awake” option to prevent your device from going offline when plugged in.

Once you have enabled USB Debugging on your device, just connect your device to the computer. Your Android device is now ready to communicate with the SDK.

Step 3 : Launching the Dalvik Debug Monitor

To open the Dalvik Debug Monitor Service, just navigate to the folder where you have stored the SDK and go to tools->ddms. The Dalvik Debug Monitor window opens.

Here, in the left pane you will see the list of all connected devices. Just double-click on your device. Also make sure that your device is “online”.

Step 4 : Taking Screenshots

If you have followed the above steps correctly, your device should now be ready to take screenshots. To capture the screen of your device, just go to Device->Screen Capture or press Ctrl+S. The Device Screen Capture window opens with a screenshot of your device screen. This image is a static image, and hence you will need to hit the “Refresh” button in order to update the captured image.

If you want to change the orientation of the screen, just hit the “Rotate” button. You can save the screenshots as a PNG file or even copy the image to clipboard.

That’s it! You can now take screenshots of your device any time you want. Well, if you find this method a bit tricky you can always opt for the second method which is relatively easier.

Method 2 : Using third-party Android applications

Those who don’t prefer using the SDK for the purpose of taking screenshots, can use third party applications to do so. If you search for the term “sreenshots” in the Android Market, you will find that there are various apps available that let you take screenshots of your device. But the problem is most of them require you to root your Android phone. There are quite a few apps which lets you take screenshots without rooting. Below, you can find simple steps on how to root your Android device as well as a list of Android apps that lets you take screenshots.

Taking screenshots by rooting your device

Rooting is a process of modifying your phone to gain complete control over it. There are various methods to root your Android device. A very simple method is by using an app called Universal Androot to root your device. Using this app is very easy and you can root your Android phone with just one-click.

In case Universal Androot doesn’t work for your device, you can try the methods posted here.

Once you have rooted your phone, you can use any of the apps listed below to take screenshots of your Android device.

1. Screenshot It – Screenshot It is a simple app that lets you take screenshots of your phone’s screen and save it as a jpg or png file. It lets you take screenshots by setting a timer or by even shaking your phone. In addition to this, it also enables you to crop the screenshots and choose a custom directory for your screenshots. However, this is a paid app and will cost you $3.99.

2. ShootMe – ShootMe is a free app to take screenshots of your device. You can shake your device, shout or even use the light sensor to take the screenshot.

3. PicMe – Compared to the above apps, PicMe lets you control as well as take screenshots of your device from a remote browser. All you have to do is fire up the app and go to http://your_phone_ip_address:8082 to control your device and also take screenshots. This app too is available for free in the Android Market.

Taking screenshots without rooting your device

There are various reasons why people do not root their Android device. Well, in that case you can use the app below for taking screenshots.

No Root Screenshot ItNo Root Screenshot It is a paid app that lets you take screenshots of your phone without rooting. It is similar to the app Screenshot It, both in looks as well as features, since it was developed by the same person. You can download this app from the Android Market at $4.99.

Well, these are the different ways I could find to take screenshots on Android. If you are experiencing any problems with the above listed methods or happen to know any other method to take screenshots on Android, tell us about it via the comments section.

Launch Applications on your Android Phone with Style Using SwipePad

The best thing that I like about smartphones is that there is an endless supply of applications to meet your needs and to quench your tech savvy thrust. Not all apps are dazzling or turn out what you want them to be but they are few that become part of our every day lives. So with so many apps on our smartphones, launching these apps sometimes turn out to be quite a hassle because as the number of apps start increasing so does the homescreen expands. One solution is that use launchers, but launcher are also a bit slow and sometimes they crash also causing quite a hassle.

What is SwipePad?

So today I am introducing a new kind of an app launcher for Android users and I can bet that it will make your application launching thing a piece of cake. SwipePad is the name of an App launcher, which basically is a quick application launch-pad for smartphones powered by Android 2.1 or above. The launcher constantly runs in the backdrop and it just occupies a line in the notification area. The moment you touch on any of the edge of your phones touchscreen, SwipePad pop-ups a grid showing twelve buttons that give a look like this:

SwipePad Homescreen
A virtual circle also pop-ups at the bottom showing where your finger is on the screen, once you find an icon of your choice from the grid you just have to slide your finger over to that app icon and it will automatically turn BLUE. If you let your finger go at this point when the icon is blue, app will launch. But if you keep on holding it for 2 more seconds it will turn its color to Orange.

SwipePad ScreenSwipePad Orange

At this particular instant if you let it go a menu will pop-up that will look like this:

SwipePad menu

This menu is pretty easy to understand, first two options let users set an application or a shortcut for the slot you have selected. The third option is a dedicated app launcher that will ultimately increase your option launching capability with SwipePad. Last button Hide is a very interesting thing because it allows users to hide any app from the launcher grid. It is useful for those users who by mistake keep on launching a particular app.

Because of the muscle memory, SwipePad becomes faster with the passage of time. All you have to do is remember the apps posted on 12 grids and then you can launch your favorite and most used apps by a single swipe from one edge of the screen.

I think it’s a pretty innovative and fastest way of launching apps on your Android phone and you should definitely try it on your device.

Shake to Answer or End Calls on Your Android Phone: ShakeCall

As a previous Android user, I’ve experienced some difficulties when answer calls using the slider function on Android phones. Sometimes they just don’t respond or you end up sliding it the wrong way. ShakeCall for Android phones brings the really cool feature of shaking the phone to answer or end a call instead of using the slider or the normal function keys.

ShakeCall Android App

You might wonder what might happen if you’re running and you get a call, will that answer because the phone is shaking? Of course not, do you think the developers won’t have thought of that and many other circumstances such as that. ShakeCall provides many functions that you can use to adjust the sensitivity so that only when you shake it with your hand will it answer or end a call.

That’s not it, you can also use ShakeCall and answer your phone just by placing it near your ear. This only works on phones with Proximity sensors, which almost every smartphone has these days. However to be able to use this feature you’ll have to enable the Shake to Answer feature in the settings. ShakeCall has many settings that will enable you to set things like Shaking Sensitivity Value and Proximity Sensor Value. These settings will help you when you want to answer or end a call.

ShakeCall Screenshot

So once again, here’s what this tiny little application ShakeCall can do:

  • Receive and Disconnect the Phone with a shake
  • Answer calls when you place the phone near your ear. (Proximity Sensor)
  • Corrects the problem when sometimes the screen is still blank once you move it away from your ear
  • You can test your settings using the Virtual Phone Sensor Test

There are few other features that you can use, find out more about it once you install it on your phone as they are phone dependent.

ShakeCall is a free application and can be downloaded from the Android Market. It requires Android 1.6 and above.

Do let us know how you liked this application. Do you think it’s a useful one?

Track Storms and Weather Updates on Your Android Device with 2 Amazing Apps

Storms and Tornadoes are no doubt a force of nature that cant be avoided altogether, even with all the technological advancements in the weather forecast industry the best we can do is get out of the way of this nature’s ferocious phenomenon.

Although our weather channels provide minute-to-minute update of any weather calamity but if you own an Android phone then you can carry some pretty useful storm tracking and weather forecasting apps in your pocket. Here is a brief run down of these apps:

My Cast Weather Lite

MyCastweather

You will find loads of forecasting apps, storm tracking and radar apps on Android marketplace but one app that will definitely catch your attention is My-Cast Weather Lite.

The app is basically a radar storm tracker but it offers features like forecasts, weather alerts, maps and current weather conditions. App provides local weather alerts based on your location and also gives an easy to read forecast.

mycast-weather-lite

My Cast Weather Lite also provides an RSS news feed for weather as well that you can find in the social section of app. You can download My Cast Weather Lite from Android marketplace.

Rainy Days for Android

rainy_days_android

This particular weather app is not a full fledge package, rather it is merely a radar app that gives you weather updates and conditions on a map. The app takes radar information and simply superimposes it on Google Maps.

The radar information available on Rainy Days app is very much detailed, it is also possible using this app that you can zoom-in and check out the weather conditions right above your home.

You can download Rainy Days from Android marketplace for free, the only thing lacking in this app is weather updates in any kind of dangerous situations. But overall it’s an amazing app with a really cool interface.

Do let us know in comments if you are aware of some good weather apps for Android devices.

Browse Internet In Style with Miren Browser For Android

Android’s stock browser is pretty much sufficient for normal users who want a browser that allows them to type in a web address and it quickly takes them to that website. But if you are a tech savvy user possessing thirst for more feature heavy internet browser on your Android phone then there is a good news for you. Miren is the latest addition in Android browser realm and as per developers claim, it is a browser that will provide a very instinctive browsing experience to users.

Miren For Android Features

miren-browser

When you launch Miren, first thing that you will come across is start-up screen. The start-up screen is full of details from top to bottom, as you rotate your device from normal mode to landscape mode a Lock icon appears that is an orientation lock.

Miren Startup screen

Although the orientation lock button goes away after sometime but it reappears every time you switch orientation of your Android device.

The moment you touch the screen within Miren interface, 3 large transparent buttons appear on screen. The middle button is for RSS Feeds that automatically detects feeds on a website, rest of the two buttons are Back and Full-screen. Using Full-screen button you can easily toggle between address bar and tab bar.

The interesting thing you will notice about it is that for any active tab there is no website label, rather the tab displays only a big ‘X’. I think Miren developers have assumed that users will know that what site they are browsing so instead of cramping label on a tab they have just included a X button so that they can close it easily.

Miren Settings

Settings page for Miren

The browsers settings is divided into two tabs, Common and Advanced. Common settings menu includes options like “scroll using volume button” and “load images”. Advanced settings page is for tech savvy users, it includes options like “tab bar visibility” and some other.

Built-in RSS Reader

That’s True! Miren browser boasts a full fledge RSS Reader, meaning that developers must have added loads of coding. Most of the users will not find this RSS Reader to be useful and it also do not sync with Google Reader. But it is a fair effort from Miren developers to include a RSS module altogether.

Overall I think Miren is an extremely useful browser and it will definitely turn out to be a serious contender to the likes of Dolphin Browser HD that have already consolidated their name in Android marketplace.

You can download Miren for free from Android marketplace.

Give us your opinion on Miren Browser for Android. What other browsers do you use on your Android device?

WatchESPN App Now Available on Android Devices

If you like watching TV shows and Sports on your mobile device, then you must be familiar with ESPN’s WatchESPN app that was released exactly a month back on April 10, 2011 for iOS. And today, ESPN has launched this application for Android devices as well.

WatchESPN APP

As for all free live video streaming applications, WatchESPN app has it’s limitations too, rather stingy ones just like the iOS app. Watching TV shows, movies and sports on a mobile device or a tablet has become somewhat of a trend these days. Advantages of such mobile TV apps include the freedom to travel and watch your favorite shows, channels and sports and the ability to view them anywhere, anytime. They don’t cost any extra money either, everything is included under the cable operators service.

To watch ESPN on your Android device, you’ll need to subscribe to one of the following cable networks: Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks or Verizon FiOS TV. If you’re not subscribed to any of the those, then you won’t be able to stream any of those NASCAR races that you’ve been looking forward to watch on your Nexus S. Subscription to these cable services will give you the option to watch ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com on your Android phone or tablet.

WatchESPN App Screenshot

The Android app is quite similar to the WatchESPN iOS app and has the same look and feel, but is more optimized for Android devices. The WatchESPN app is freely available in the Android Market, but remember that you’ll need to be subscribed to those cable services to enjoy free live streaming of ESPN shows on your Android phones and tablets.You can also use Verizon’s High-speed Internet Service to view ESPN3.com on your device if you aren’t subscribed to any cable services.

Watch the ESPN Networks Live on your phone. Stay connected to live sports and shows from ESPN – wherever and whenever you want them. Download the FREE WatchESPN app to your Android device and get 24/7 access to live streaming feeds from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPNU.

You can download WatchESPN for Android from the Android Market.

Tell us what other TV streaming apps you use on your Android device!

Use Your PC to Send and Receive Texts: Texty for Android

Using your mobile device to text all the time can get a little tiring, if you’ve been doing for a really long time. After a while you don’t feel like replying to anyone, and that sometimes could lead to problems. How about an extension on your favorite browser that you can use instead of your phone to send and receive text messages? That’s right, we all know how your Boss is going to react if he catches you texting someone while you’re supposed to be finishing up some work.

Texty App for Android

This is where Texty, an Android app and a Google Chrome extension comes to your rescue. This application, with the help of a Chrome extension will save your ass when it comes to sending and receiving texts without using your Android phone. Although, Texty currently works on Android powered smartphones, but not everyone can use it yet.

The app currently requires invites to be able to use it, so all you Android users shouldn’t start rubbing it on your friendly iOS, Symbian and other OS users. Texty is a very useful app, once setup you can sync all your contacts and texts to your Google account via the extension and then start sending SMS through PC using the chrome extension.

Texty App Screenshot

So in short, Texy App for Android saves you loads of time, as you can now work and text at the same time using the same keyboard. But of course you’ll need to try to experience how awesome the whole interface and the speed the whole thing works. As soon as you receive a text on your Android device it pops on your Chrome extension. There’s isn’t much to set too, all you have to do is:

  • Download the Texty for Android app from the Android Market onto your phone.
  • Install the Texty Google Chrome extension on your browser, but first apply for the Beta over here. Once you’ve applied, a download link will be sent to your e-mail.
  • Login to you Google account on both the Texty app and the Google Chrome extension, it will start syncing all your contacts and SMS messages. You can however not want the extension to do that by using the settings tab.

That’s all you’ll need to be able to use this amazing and really very time management app when you’re at work or at home and your phone is charging or you’re just too lazy to type. It requires Android 2.2 and above with an active data/Wi-Fi connection. Also background data must be enabled on your device for this to work perfectly.

What do you make of this app? Would you download and use it and do let us know of any other SMS apps that you use to accomplish this task!