Rabu, 01 Mei 2013

Boot up your Android device with these launcher apps

One of the things that I love about my Android phone is the ability to customize wallpapers, themes, icons, you name it. Custom launchers are the other main apps Android users can use to help customize the phone to be what they want and need it to be. I have tried a few of them over the years with, and GoLauncher is the one I have used the most. In todays post I cover a few of the other launchers out there. A couple quality apps not mentioned here were covered in a post back in December 2012.

Vire Launcher (Free)

VIre Launcher comes in free and pro versions, and its available for most Android devices out today. The pro version has some added features, but the free will probably suit most users. With Vire you can add 3-D effects to your phone. When you first launch the app, you are set up with a basic home screen with a neat looking clock widget and a set of the standard icons. As with any launcher customization is the key. Vire will allow you to create folders, resize widgets and manage your screens.

In addition to being able to add shortcuts to app and widgets on your screen, Vire has its own Vire applets which are the metal clock, clock, and picture frame. When you add a shortcut to an app, Vire will adjust the icon to fit the theme. This is pretty cool, giving your screens a uniform appearance. In the settings of the app you can enable reflections, HD shaders, full screen transitions, change the UI theme and in the free version they show the various features which would be unlocked when you upgrade. Overall, this launcher is pretty easy to use.

Also on Android Apps

The American Society of Magazine Editors recently announced the 2013 National Magazine Awards. Zinio scoped out the finalists and hand-picked potential future winners.

FTL Launcher (Free)

FTL LauncherFTL Launcher also comes in free and pro, and it too works with most Android devices and OS versions. The lite version has some of the configurable options pre-loaded and cannot be changed, which is reason enough to download the pro version. When you first launch the app, you are taken to the settings screen which has a ton of options in it. In it is the theme manager, background, number of desktop rows, endless looping, transition speeds, and more.

The option that caught my eye is that you can (in the pro version) use existing ADW, GoLauncher and LauncherPro Icon and Dock theme. This is very,very cool. I have used the GoLauncher for a while. You can mix and match the theme aspects. This launcher does have a lot of different options and really allows you to customize your phone.

Chameleon Launcher for Phones ($2.91)

The Chameleon Launcher was initially compatible with Android tablets, but theyve broadened their appeal with a new version for Android phones. It should be noted that you cannot use one version on both tablets and phones, and Chameleon will not run with some of the older phones and Android OS. With Chameleon you can create multiple home screens as with any other browser, but the key aspect of this launcher is the widgets. They have some of the best looking widgets. You can create specialized widgets for your calendar, Facebook, music, weather, Twitter, and more.

Another cool feature of this launcher is that you can set up within the app context rules based on time, Wi-Fi networks, even GPS location different home screens. I like this feature because when I come home each day I normally switch to my Wi-Fi and being able to get customized screen for when I am home is just cool. I have a larger screen phone so not sure how it would look on a sma ller screen. They do have a calendar add on if interested. Unfortunately there is no free version to try out.

Nemus Launcher (Free)

Nemus LauncherI recently discovered Nemus, a decent little launcher that will run on most Android phones and OS. It has the basic settings setup such as the home screen settings (page looping) wallpaper, grid size, dock number and more. With the app you can lock contents and editing capabilities, which is new to me. You can of course set the orientation and backup/ restore your settings, and hide apps with Nemus Launcher.

The developers behind Nemus Launcher also produced Regina 3D launcher, which has been out for some time. The launcher does not seem as fancy or glamorous as say the Chameleon launcher, but it most cer tainly gets the job done. I like how you can adjust the grid size and in the dock, the apps/home button is always in the middle with the other dock icons sliding around it. With the apps listing area, there is a task killer feature. This is a nice free alternative launcher.

These are just a few of the launchers out there and I suspect there will be more as Android phones and OS change and develop. Which do you use?

New Android apps worth downloading: Facebook Home, Fotor - Photo Effect Studio, Epic Pirates Story

Facebook Home has finally hit the Google Play Store! Facebooks new app lets users add social networking feeds from the service to their home screens and integrate the service a lot more deeply into the Android experience, but it's currently available for select devices. We've also got the powerful photo-editing app Fotor Photo Effect Studio, and Epic Pirates Story, a simulation game in which you build up a powerful band of scallywags so you can take down an evil pirate king who's terrorizing the Caribbean.

Best Educational Apps, Handpicked By Experts

Appolicious is pleased to introduce appoLearning.com, where parents, teachers and students find great education apps.

Facebook Home (Free)

Whats it about? Facebook Home plugs the social network into your Android device's home screen, integrating your feeds into your phone experience on a deeper level than ever before.

Whats cool? Instead of popping into an app and waiting for it to load to access Facebook, Facebook Home brings the social network to your Android device at the top level. You'll see messages, comments, status updates and more on your home screen and be able to interact with other people without having to pop open the app, and Facebook Home includes an app launcher that lets you quickly get to other social networking essentials, such as Instagram. The app is only available on certain devices for now, so make sure to check your compatibility before downloading.

Whos it for? Facebook junkies, this is the app you've been waiting for.

Whats it like? The standard Facebook app is still a solid alternative if your device can't yet support Facebook Home, and you can get more social networking on your home screen with the help of SO.HO.

Fotor - Photo Effect Studio (Free)

Whats it about? Fotor brings powerful photo-editing capabilities to your Android device, packing it with new effects and features to make your mobile photography even better.

Whats cool? Fotor is an enhanced camera, but the focus of this app (as opposed to the other Fotor camera app) is the post-production side of your Android photography. It includes some 60 effects, the ability to enhance your images with a single tap, borders and frames, and full capabilities such as cropping, blurring and sharpening. When you're finished making your photos better , Fotor packs a full range of sharing capabilities across social networks, as well.

Whos it for? If you find yourself shooting lots of photos with your smartphone or tablet, try Fotor to help make them better.

Whats it like? Fotor Camera and Photo Editor is slightly scaled-back alternative from the same developer, and PicShop - Photo Editor also offers some useful photo-editing features.

Epic Pirates Story ($1.27)

Whats it about? Simulation title Epic Pirates Story tasks players with creating their own pirate strongholds by adding buildings, then sending their pirates out on quests.

Whats cool? Working through Epic Pirates Story starts with you control ling a single pirate, sending him out on missions and earning money to make him more powerful. As you complete quests and add buildings to your pirate town, you'll gain more fame, which will bring more pirates to join you, and allow you to finish more quests. As you make your pirates stronger, you'll eventually be able to take down your nemesis, Duke A. Blizzardo, as well as fight other bosses and monsters along the way.

Whos it for? Fans of management and simulation titles, as well as pirates, will have lots to do with Epic Pirates Story.

Whats it like? Check out games with similar mechanics such as Epic Astro Story and The Simpsons: Tapped Out.

Download the Appolicious Android app

Why we created appoLearning

My son was born about a month before the debut of the iPad, and has quite literally grown up alongside touchscreen devices. As a parent and longtime app reviewer, I can tell you with conviction that most educational apps for the iPad stink.

While there are countless educational apps that claim to teach my son how to do things like count, trace letters, or identify his home state on a map, the vast majority fail to deliver on what is promised in their iTunes Descriptions. I hear the same complaints from friends and family who are trying to find legit apps to teach their older children topics ranging from fractions, to physics to foreign languages.

Downloading substandard educational apps is at best a waste of time and money. More disturbingly, bad educational apps can promote poor learning ha bits or compromise privacy.

On the flip side, the iPad is ushering in a new revolution in learning. Many schools across the country are rolling out 1:1 iPad initiatives that put devices in the hands of every student. Apps likeDuck Duck Moose Reading,Monster Physics andLearn Spanish with Lingo Arcade are engaging students in ways not possible with traditional textbooks and other learning materials.

There are apps available that can at least complement the study of virtually any subject for students of all ages. The challenge ultimately lies in finding the good ones and determining if they are useful for your kids particular needs.

It's way too hard to find relevant educational apps

Unfortunately, there are few meaningful ways for parents, teachers, or students to find quality educational apps for their desired age group and field of study. There are three reasons why:

  1. There is no consistent and organized metho d in the iTunes App Store - or elsewhere - to discover and learn about apps specific to both a subject and age group.

  2. Most user and professional reviews of educational apps lack context, and fail to explain in specific detail what an app teaches, how lessons are presented, and whether or not your kid will use it without much parental prodding.

  3. All too often, educational app reviewers have no teaching experience or credentials to convey if and why a given app offers any educational efficacy.

As parents and media publishers who specialize in mobile app discovery, we concluded that there has to be a better way to curate and categorize the best educational apps for the iPad.

Here's what makes appoLearning different - and better

We collaborated withdozens of teachers, administrators, educational consultants and technology specialists to create the most comprehensive and detailed showcas e of quality educational apps available.

Together, we came up with an ever-expanding category taxonomy that features nearly 100 subjects (and growing) across four distinct age groups: Early Childhood, Elementary School, Middle School and High School.

For each subject, our experts showcase the five best educational apps available and explain in detail what factors motivated their selections. The hundreds of educational apps reviewed on appoLearning are givenReport Cards so parents, teachers and students can understand how and why they were deemed to be the best of the bunch.

Report Card evaluations are based on the following criteria:

  • Educational Content: What are the apps educational objectives and what skills does it teach?
  • Kid Appeal: How wi ll the app stimulate and engage the student?

  • Assessment: How can parents, teachers and students best track lesson progress?

  • Features & Design: Is the app unique, and does it encourage repeat use?

  • Value: Does the app justify its download price and offer enough meaningful content before asking for more money?

  • Safety & Privacy: Will the app expose kids to external services or solicit personal data?

All of the apps curated by appoLearning Experts are cross-checked by a team of app review specialists. As new and innovative educational applications are released seemingly everyday, appoLearning subjects are constantly updated in order to showcase the absolute best apps available at any given time. We also will be adding new categories that focus on more particular skills, subjects and disciplines each week.

Invariably, there will be apps that you and your children use t hat should be showcased on appoLearning. If you have an educational app that you think is worthy of consideration, pleaselet us know.

There are incredible educational opportunities with the iPad, and we are just scratching the surface. Let appoLearning serve as your guide and trusted resource for educational app discovery.

Zinio Guest Post: Digital magazines all mothers will love

Although we love to talk about the momeconomy and mommy bloggers, there is no typical mom. Theres no content that appeals to every woman who does what Jackie Kennedy Onassis called the only job that matters. But there is a lot of content that digital publishing has made available to the wonderful diversity that is mom.

Here are are some of my favorites:

Readers Digest: I know. Could we start out any more square and boring? But here us out. You havent seen Readers Digest in its digital version, which has gone way beyond the doctors office. It has become a great compendium of womens interests and issues and, to its credit, has focused on physical and emotional health without the celebrity obsession. Readers Digest digital is colorful and accessible. On Zinio it curre ntly sells for ten issues for $10.

Check out Reader's Digest on Zinio here.

Hello! Tabloids Brit-style. If you dont get enough of the royal family from People, Us, and E! Online, prepare for the royal deluge. This is a weekly with more cred than the Enquirer and a little less cruelty and disregard for privacy than the British dailies. A little less. The magazine claims to be balanced with practical features. It does have a surprising amount of them, but this is the royal-fest. Nothing wrong with that.

Check out Hello! on Zinio here.

Working Mother: I dont like some of the stereotypes around what moms want. Were a lot more than horoscopes and diet tips. Leave it to Working Mother to get this right. It manages to present the greatest balancing act of all within its digital version. Its the kind of magazine I refer and share a lot of article from, so digital is pe rfect. Its the only magazine that helps you deal with a tough boss and a tough babysitter. On Zinio its eight issues a year for $9.99.

Check out Working Mother on Zinio here.

Professional Womans Magazine: This is a quarterly that flies a bit more under the radar than Working Mother. I like it because it is almost completely focused on career and business development. In a word: Opportunity. I love the profiles and each issue is a case study in success.

Check out Professional Womans Magazine on Zinio here.

Organic Spa: Now were talking. Actually this magazine is more about a healthy lifestyle than it is a travelogue about spa destinations. Yes, it has those (and brilliant artwork and photography to match). But its main mission is to bridge spa wisdom and wellness with the modern green lifestyle. It manages to inspire and inform. Its one of my favorite wish books.

Check out Organic Spa on Zinio here.

Eating Well: This magazine strikes a great balance for me. It balances food that tastes good with food thats good for you. It balances nutrition with economics. It balances cooking healthy food with a busy schedule. Again the digital version is great for sharing recipes and the photos and prose actually make you aspire to make healthy eating a way of life. On Zinio its six issues for $6.99.

Check out Eating Well on Zinio here.

Selasa, 30 April 2013

New Android apps worth downloading: SendHub, The Traveler, Rayman Jungle Run update

Today's apps worth downloading start with SendHub, an app that provides a free phone number over your Internet connection, which is great for business professionals. The Traveler is up next, which helps in documenting travels through GPS, photos, video, audio and even drawings. Finally, the popular platformer Rayman Jungle Run has just received an update that adds 20 new levels.

Best Educational Apps, Handpicked By Experts

Appolicious is pleased to introduce appoLearning.com, where parents, teachers and students find great education apps.

SendHub (Free)

Whats it about? SendHub sets you up with a free phone line for your business, and gives you the option to set it in any area code you want.

Whats cool? Firing up SendHub gives you the ability to send and receive calls and text messages through the app, providing you a voice-over-Internet alternative to your phone. You can request a number in whatever area code you want, so it's great to create a phone number when you need one for your business (like if you're a freelancer, for example) or to keep your personal number, you know, personal. SendHub also supports features such as voice mail and call fowarding.

Whos it for? If you could use a spare phone number for whatever you've got going on, try SendHub.

Whats it like? A solid alternative is Google's free phone line service, Google Voice.

The Traveler (Free)

Whats it about? Part digital sketchbook, part travel journal, The Traveler helps you document your trips and save your memories.

Whats cool? The Traveler is basically everything you need to capture everything you can about a given trip or excursion. The app lets you shoot photos and video, record audio, and even draw what you're seeing, in order to help you save anything from a trip that you want. You can even track your movements with your Android device's GPS capabilities and replay the paths later, syncing the things you record to it so you can see them in context, or watching the path played out in 3-D through Google Earth.

Whos it for? As the name suggests, travelers are going to get the most out of this one.

Whats it like? Try getting more GPS info straight from the dedicated Google Earth app, and plan vacations with the help of Gogobot.

Rayman Jungle Run update ($2.99)

Whats it about? Starring Ubisoft's well-loved character, Rayman Jungle Run is a running title mixed with a platformer, challenging players to power through levels that include dodging hazards and helicoptering through the air.

Whats cool? Rayman Jungle Run is a running game that has players maneuvering Rayman through each level and grab as many floating points as possible. The challenge is to execute perfectly, hitting every jump and dodging every obstacle as you work through the game's challenging levels. Packing high production values and simple touch controls, the game manages to be just tough enough to be addictive, and its latest update brings in 20 new levels for players to work through. This one was among 2012's most p opular games in Apple's iTunes App Store, and the Android version is just as good.

Whos it for? Fans of platformers shouldn't miss Rayman's mobile excursion.

Whats it like? You might also like Babel Running and Prince of Persia Classic.

Download the Appolicious Android app

Android App Video Review: Nimble Quest

Many hardcore gamers have looked at Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes, realizing that there is quite a lot of talent over at Nimblebit, even if those kinds of social management games aren't their cup of tea. Many of us have been waiting for the day Nimblebit releases a more traditional kind of game, and that day is now here. Nimble Quest is still pretty casual, but it's also very creative and interesting. Essentially, it's the classic arcade game of Snake mixed with an RPG. Interested yet?

Als o on Android Apps

Founded by Anna Jarvis in 1908, Mothers Day is just around the corner. Zinios tribute to mothers offers magazines for the wonderful diversity that is mom.

The game is simple as can be. You lead a snaking conga line of heroic heroes around an arena as enemies spawn. You start with one leader hero, and pick up more as you play. Different heroes have different abilities, from the sword swinging knight, ranged archer, mage, and pirate, and bomb throwing Gizmo. Different conga line formations make for different play styles and strategies, like hitting enemies head on with melee front liners, or zig-zagging towards them with ranged front liners. The leader of your party gains experience and eventually levels up, getting a cooler costume and better stats.

As you play, various power-ups and gems will be dropped by enemies. Power-ups include healing potions, attack rate boosts, enemy clearing bombs, shields, and ice that freezes all enemies in place. Gems are used to sometimes heal your leader, and also to buy all the various upgrades. You can make those power-ups more effective, or skip the grind and upgrade your heroes right away through gems. There are also tokens, which are much more rare to see dropped, but they still pop up enough. These are used to buff your heroes before a level, add extra heroes right off the bat, or replay a level if you die, thus avoiding having to restart the level progression.

You'll spend a lot of time replaying the same levels again and again, as the whole point is to get as far through the levels as you can. Each new level you beat unlocks a new hero and increases your party size. This can feel like a brutal grind, but it's not so bad. The amount of pride you feel when you unlock a new hero or upgrade an existing one pretty much makes up for it. There is also a kind of competitive multiplayer. Essentially, you can play with a pre-set hero if you've unlocked them, and compete with other players for top scores. The winners get some pretty nifty in-game stuff.

The pixel art and music are all top notch, and full of that beloved Nimblebit charm, and while extended play sessions will probably bore you, this is a great game to pull out a few times a day when you've got a moment to spare. It's simple, fun, and a great distraction. Not quite hardcore, so to speak, but worth playing nevertheless. And it's totally free too, so check it out.

Best Educational Apps, Handpicked By Experts

Appolicious is pleased to introduce appoLearning.com, where parents, tea chers and students find great education apps.

New Android apps worth downloading: Do It! Pro update, Notifications Off, Dungeon Hunter 4

Get organized and accomplish your daily goals with Do It! Pro. The to-do list app syncs with your Google Tasks to help maintain organization of all the things you need to accomplish across multiple devices. For those of you with rooted devices, we've got Notifications Off, an app that gives you centralized control of all your device's notifications. Finally, there's Dungeon Hunter 4, the latest in Gameloft's action role-playing game series.

Also on Android Apps

Founded by Anna Jarvis in 1908, Mothers Day is just around the corner. Zinios tribute to mothers offers magazines for the wonderful diversity that is mom.

Do It! Pro: ToDo & Tasks Lists update ($2.99)

Whats it about? Do It! Pr o Is a task list manager that lets you sync up with Google Tasks to keep track of everything that needs doing.

Whats cool? There are plenty of to-do list apps in the Google Play store, but the really good ones come bursting with features. Do It! Pro starts by letting you take down tasks, create lists and monitor what you have to do in a day, but it begins to expand by letting you sync with Google Tasks in order to stay more organized. It also can produce account-specific reminders about what you have to do and when you have to do it, and supports multiple lists that you can swipe between to keep organized. The app supports widgets for the newest versions of Android, and its latest updates include a number of changes that make everything work better.

Whos it for? If you need help staying organized with everything you need to get done, try Do It! Pro.

Whats it like? Grab Tasks To Do Pro and Clean Gtasks Widget for alternative to-do organization.

Notifications Off (Free)

Whats it about? Need a quick way to shut down all your phone's notifications? Notifications Off can handle the job.

Whats cool? Notifications Off centralizes control of the notifications that pop up on your phone, allowing you to bypass shutting them down individually by going to each app and hunting down the controls to do so. If you've got your Android device rooted, you can use Notifications Off to shut down all notifications at once, or switch off the notifications of individual apps even as soon as they're installed. Keep in mind that this one's a beta release, though, so it might contain some bugs.

W hos it for? Notifications Off requires your device to be rooted, so if you're not into that sort of thing, you'll want to skip it.

Whats it like? Notification Toggle and Notification Launcher offer more ways to control your notifications and what you do with them.

Dungeon Hunter 4 (Free)

Whats it about? Gameloft's Dungeon Hunter series expands again with Dungeon Hunter 4, which takes a free-to-play stance on the developer's Diablo-like action-role-playing franchise.

Whats cool? Like the rest of the Dungeon Hunter series, Dungeon Hunter 4 packs great production values and some solid gameplay as players take on the roles of heroes and venture into dungeons to kill m onsters and demons. The series takes a page from action-RPGs such as Diablo III on PC, with players grabbing loot and weapons while raising skills and unlocking new abilities. You can choose from one of four types of warrior to play with, each packing different capabilities, but keep in mind that the free-to-play model limits what players can do in the game without paying.

Whos it for? If you like Gameloft's other high production value games or PC games such as Diablo III and Torchlight 2, you'll want to try the Dungeon Hunter games.

Whats it like? Check out Dungeon Hunter 3 and Zenonia 5 for more role-playing fun.

Best Educational Apps, Handpicked By Experts

Appolicious is pleased to introduce appoLearning.com, where parents, teachers and students find great education apps.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Best Web Host