How important is app design to you? While the answer to that question varies depending on who we ask, it’s hard to deny that an app’s layout and overall design can either make or break the experience. It’s not enough to be a “functional” app, usability and aesthetics play an equally important role.
With that in mind, the Android design team have posted a new video to the Android Developers YouTube channel, highlighting some of the best-designed Android apps available.
In the 25-minute long video, the team mentions quite a few popular apps that it feels are worth focusing on from a design stand-point including Four Square, Air BB, Google Play Newstand, Google Chrome, and of course the highly-praised Timely. As they talk about each app, the team points out just a few of the design elements that they feel really stand out.
Although the video is primarily targeted towards app developers, it’s worth watching even for us “average Joes” simply because it gives us a better look at Google’s design philosophy and what its designers consider to be most important design aspects when it comes to developing a good app.
Find and enjoy TV shows and movies better than ever with these amazing companion apps for iPhone and iPad
Forget tuning in and turning off, modern TV is all about the second screen. Coach potatoes have become coach surfers, passive watching has become active engagement, and a lot of that is thanks to iPhone and iPad companion apps. Not only can they help you find more of what you love, they can help you enjoy what you love more than ever. However, not all companion apps are created equal, and it can be tough to tell the App Store’s greatest hits from its biggest bombs. That’s where iMore comes in. Here are my favorite iPhone and iPad companion apps for TV and movie watchers!
GetGlue is available for both iPhone and iPad. On the surface, GetGlue may appear to be your run of the mill social check-in app, but don’t be fooled. It contains a vast amount of information on your favorite TV shows and movies. I’ve been using GetGlue pretty much since it launched and I’ve discovered tons of shows that I never would have even known about otherwise. If I’ve ever been bored and wanted to find something to watch, the first place I check is my GetGlue feed. The fact that you get virtual stickers you can turn into real ones is just an added bonus!
If you want to add a social component to your TV and movie watching routine, GetGlue is the best possible option out there.
Free – [#protected_0#]
If you’ve got lots of TV shows and/or movies on your Mac or PC, Plex is an awesome option to stream them all to your iPhone or iPad without eating up any of the precious storage space on your iPhone or iPad. Plex can connect to your library and let you access any of your content that isn’t DRM protected. If you already use services like Plex Media Center, Plex is an absolute no brainer. Plex has support for both iPhone and iPad.
For digital video hoarders, Plex isn’t an option, you need it.
TeeVee 2 lets you easily track your favorite TV shows and can then notify you when a new episode is coming up. Not only is it easy to use, it’s one of the best looking TV tracking apps you’ll ever lay your eyes on. It comes complete with episode and show summaries and video when available. You can also share your shows and episodes socially through TeeVee 2. Right now TeeVee 2 is only compatible with iPhone, but a little birdie told us TeeVee 3 is on its way and adds support for iPad as well.
If you want to know what’s on and when, you want TeeVee!
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Many of us are still accustomed to looking at TV guides in order to find content to watch. While most of us can do this when in front of our TV’s with a remote and a tap of a button, when you’re not at home, i. TV is the best you’ll find. Not only does it have a great interface, it’s got guides for all the major providers with detailed descriptions. i. TV also integrates Netflix, Hulu, and IMDb support so all the information you could want about your favorite movies and TV shows is just a tap away.
If you like traditional guides and want information quick, look no further than i. TV.
IMDb, or internet movie database for those not familiar, is one of the most authoritative sources for anything you could ever want to know about a movie or TV show, as well as any actor, actress, or director involved with it. As you could have guessed, IMDb has an iPhone and iPad app that makes it easier than ever to look up information about movies and shows. From cast lists to director profiles, every piece of information you could ever want is there.
If you consider yourself a TV or movie buff, IMDb is an essential app to have in your collection.
If you have an Apple TV, the Remote app made by Apple is a necessity. I’m thoroughly convinced the little silver remotes Apple sells with the Apple TV have minds of their own. Not only is typing in search terms and WiFi passwords painful, they get lost in the couch, in sheets and blankets, and pretty much anywhere they’ll fit. I’ve spent more time tearing apart my living room in the past looking for the stupid thing than I’d care to admit. The Remote app lets you use your iPhone or iPad to control your Apple TV as long as you’re on the same network. I barely ever pick up the silver remote anymore.
If there is an Apple TV in your home, the Remote app is a must have. Period.
These are the iPhone and iPad apps we pick up when we’re in front of our TVs or afraid we may miss something when we’re not at home. Everyone’s habits are different though, so we want to know what your favorite companion apps are for tracking and watching your favorite shows and movies. Be sure to let us know in the comments!
In our always-connected world, it’s coming to a point where you’re pretty much expected to have a smartphone. Of course not everyone can afford the latest and greatest.
The good news is that technology has advanced to the point where you can actually get a great smartphone without breaking your bank — this is even more true now that Motorola has taken the veil off the Moto G.
In this article, we take a look at some of the best low-cost Android phones on the market.
In order to be included on this list, said device must meet the following criteria:
From a major brand (Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony, Motorola, Huawei, Lenovo, ASUS)
Be under 0, unlocked.
Editors note – we will be updating this list as more devices hit the market. This article reflects things from a US/EU centric perspective.
#1 – LG Nexus 5
The much awaited successor to the LG Nexus 4 has arrived, and it is easily the most powerful device on this list. Of course, it’s also the most expensive, flirting with the line between “cheap” and mid-priced at 9 for the 16GB model. Still it’s worth mentioning because there is no better way to get a high-end Android experience without breaking the bank (or signing a contract).
The LG Nexus 5 is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU and has 2GB of RAM. The new Nexus also ships with Android 4.4 KitKat right out of the box.
While the KitKat update has started rolling out to several other Nexus devices, the Nexus 5 has the distinction of being the only Android device with Google’s brand new “Google Experience Launcher”.
LG Nexus 5 Specs
4.96-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution
2.3GHz Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU
2GB of RAM
NFC, A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Wireless charging
16GB and 32GB storage options
8MP rear cam with OIS, 1.3MP front
2300 mAh battery
130g, 137.84 x 69.7 x 8.59mm
Android 4.4 KitKat’
For more on the LG Nexus 5, including our review, click here.
The Moto G is a major game-changer in the mobile world, offering mid-range specs at a price that is significantly cheaper than any other handset on this list. Motorola’s new budget handset features a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU and includes 1GB of RAM.
The Moto G essentially runs on stock Android 4.3 with few modifications, and is guaranteed to get an update to Android 4.4 KitKat in January. While the handset doesn’t have tons of special features, it has reasonably solid specs and a price tag that’s under 0.
Samsung’s Galaxy S3 Mini has a 1GHz CPU and 1GB of RAM. It features a wonderful 4-inch Super AMOLED display, and it has a microSD card.
It runs Samsung’s TouchWiz interface atop of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean right out of the box. Finally, it’s equipped with a 1,500 mAh battery and a decent 5-megapixel camera is on the back. All of this can be had for 2+.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini Specs
121.6 x 63 x 9.9 mm
A dual-core 1GHz processor
an 800 x 400 Super AMOLED display
VGA front cam, 5MP back cam
HSPA bands 14.4/5.76 900/1900/2100
EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900 bands
Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
8GB and 16GB onboard memory
1500 mAh battery
4.8 inches by 2.5 inches by 0.39-inch
weighs 3.9 ounces
runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box
For more on the Galaxy S3 Mini, including our review, click here.
Any particular favorites in your list? Did we miss one? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below. We’ll be updating this piece regularly. There’s a lot of great phones coming from lesser known players, and we’ll be sure to include them if they meet our criteria. Let us know what devices you think we should include!
Getting in and out of the mall with your sanity intact can be a challenge in and of itself, nevermind trying to save money in the process. Life can be made just a little easier with the help of a few apps on your iPhone or iPad, however. We’ve found some of the very best apps for finding deals, amassing coupons, and checking prices.
eBay is the grand-daddy of selling stuff online. You’ll find individuals and full-blown stores selling obscure and mainstream items, a securely integrated payment platform (PayPal), and a proven karma system to provide both buyers and sellers with confidence. The mobile app is fully-featured, including filters in search results for price, buying format, model, and brand.Selling from your phone is pretty easy too, with barcode scanning to identify your product, and integration with the native gallery to upload pictures.
If you’re having trouble finding that specific something in stores, eBay is certainly worth a gander.
Free – [#protected_0#]
ShopSavvy is the perfect app for figuring out whether or not a sale is actually a good deal. With a quick scan of the barcode using your device’s camera, you can find out if there are better prices for the same thing online or at other stores in your neighborhood. Even if you can’t be bothered to make the purchase through any alternatives, ShopSavvy can be a helpful tool when getting stores to price match. You can also see any historical pricing data they may have on file, so you can get a sense of how much more (or less) you might pay later. There are also a ton of social elements built in, including optional Facebook integration, and a commenting system where you can leave tips on goods for other ShopSavvy users, add new friends, and share wishlists.
Overall, ShopSavvy on Android adds a lot of polished utility and social networking to your shopping experience.
Amazon is the biggest of the big online retailers. With their mobile app, you can browse their exhaustively massive catalog of stuff, including apps. It has all of the same filters and sorting options as the eBay app, like price range, brand, and category. You can add items to your wishlist, share them out to your various channels, and check out high-quality imagery.
Toss in an Amazon Prime subscription, and you can get just about anything in the world delivered to your doorstep with lightning speed, and you don’t have to be at your PC to do it.
RetailMeNot is one of the top couponing websites out there, and with their Android app, you’ll be able to stay on top of all of your local deals. You can set notifications to pop up based on nearby malls, which is particularly important for those time-sensitive coupons, and mark certain stores as favorites for quick reference later. Claiming coupons is easy enough with the embedded browser.
If you want to get a deal on something and you’re pretty sure there isn’t going to be any massive sale any time soon, RetailMeNot can help you out.
Groupon continues to offer really excellent local deals. Coupons offered through the service are either limited in quantity or timeframe, but the Android app helps you take advantage of them as soon as they’re ready. Groupon deals can be gifted to friends and family with ease, check out the Groupons you’ve already cashed in on, and browse what’s new in each category.
Groupon is especially good at finding sales on courses and restaurants on your neighborhood – be sure to keep an eye out!
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Android Authority Q&A! As always, we try to answer as many of your great questions as possible, and this week, we tackle questions related to flexible displays, mid-range devices, the Samsung Galaxy S4, and enhancing battery life. Let’s get started!
Will Samsung Galaxy S5 be released with flexible OLED near future? – Kannan R
For now, there is no credible rumor that suggests that the Samsung Galaxy S5 will feature a flexible OLED display. Of course, Samsung has demonstrated that the technology is available with the Samsung Galaxy Round, which was later announced to be just a prototype. The debate over the practical use and necessity of a curved display is ongoing, but with the technology available, hopefully we will be seeing it on their new smartphones sooner rather than later.
While the Galaxy Round is just a prototype, LG officially announced its curved display smartphone, the LG G Flex. Boasting great specifications, and a smartphone that can actually flex (even though we’re not sure if that’s safe or not), the stand out feature is the back of the display, which is apparently made of a “special protective film” that can fix itself “within minutes” after being scratched. So while the curved display may be considered gimmicky by some, there’s a lot to look forward to with the upcoming advances in display tech.
I am a teenager and I am a huge tech fan. Since I can’t afford the best smartphones in the market, what mid-range device would your recommend? – Francisco Rocha
We assume that by mid-range, you’re looking for a smartphone under 0 off-contract. With the recent announcement, the Google Nexus 5 is the best choice for anyone looking for a smartphone with great specifications at a mid-range price point. At 9 for the 16 GB version, the Nexus 5 is an absolute steal.
Unfortunately, the Nexus 5 isn’t available everywhere yet, and so, our recommendation for a good mid-range device would be the Sony Xperia L, which is currently available for around 0.
I am thinking of buying the Samsung Galaxy S4. What are the common problems with the phone? Thanks! – Peter
The biggest issue (and cause for major debate) with the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the plastic build material of the smartphone, which some people have complained to feel like poor quality, considering the premium price you have to pay for the device. Another issue users have faced is that while the phone itself is very fast, it has been known to be quite slow when uploading its gallery, a problem compounded with the microSD card, that is, the more you have on the card, the more the phone has to parse. Finally, we know about all the cool features of the Galaxy S4 such as AirView, gestures, Smart Scroll, and many more, some people have complained about these features being overly complex and, marring the overall simplicity of Android.
I have a battery question. For example, if it was at 70%, I would charge it back to 100% before work. My question is, is it bad on the battery or the phone to charge it that often? Normally I only charge it at night when I sleep. I’m just curious on how often I should charge it. Thank you for your help and time. – Adam
A great question, and something I’ve been wondering about too. The surprising answer is that we should avoid fully charging, or fully discharging our phones. Avoid fully discharging your device, because, unlike Nickel-based batteries, Lithium-based batteries are designed to be charged early and often, and letting the battery run out too often may damage it. With Li-based batteries, shallower, frequent charging is said to prolong battery life, according to independent tests done by Gizmodo and Battery University.
Don’t forget that the Android Authority Q&A exists because of your great questions, so keep ‘em coming! Fill out the form below, and we’ll try to get you the answers you need in our upcoming weekly shows.
Twitter is a member of a prestigious group of social networks. It’s one of the three biggest ones out there with several hundred million daily users. This means that there hundreds of millions who use Twitter who own Android phones and, obviously, use a Twitter application. There are a boat load of great Twitter apps, but which one is the right one for you? Read on to find out!
First on our list is Carbon for Twitter. This is a feature packed, dark-themed Twitter application that is also a long time fan favorite. It also comes with a number of nifty features like tilting the feed to update, built-in browser and YouTube player, List and Trending support, and filters. It’s a solid app that’s also free. If you’re looking for an app that fills those qualities, give it a shot!
HootSuite is next on our list and this is the first that supports multiple social networks. In this case, it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Twitter so if you’re looking to knock out four birds with one stone, this is the way to go. Aside from the social media support, the app is pretty basic in terms of features. You can post things, read things others have posted, and the interface is competently put together. Also, it’s free and that helps.
In terms of pure ratings, twicca is the highest rated Twitter app on the list with a 4.5 in the Google Play Store. It has pretty much all of the features of the regular Twitter application, but puts it in a nicer interface that people seem to really enjoy. It has a lot of features, but most of them are things you’d expect from a Twitter app. It’s possible that’s why it’s rated so high. In any case, if you haven’t looked this one over, it’s definitely a good one.
Next up is Plume and this is the first one on the list that has a paid option. In the free version, you get a very nice set of features, all underlined by advertisements. In terms of features, this is one of the more powerful Twitter apps. It has Facebook support as well as live streaming support. It also has pretty decent theming options and a strong widget selection. This is definitely geared for people who take Twitter more seriously, but occasional users can still enjoy it.
TweetCaster is one of the most popular Twitter apps on the list and it’s because it’s so feature packed. Themes, Facebook support, light photo editing, real-time feed streaming, the ability to mute people without unfollowing them, and a host of other unique features. Like Plume, there is a free version and a paid version so you can use it before you buy it. It’s one of the strongest Twitter apps out there and definitely worth checking out.
Seesmic was one of the first Twitter apps to include Facebook support. Unlike many of these that include Facebook support, Seesmic aims to be a competent client for both. Instead of just the standard post-to-both feature, Seesmic includes more complex Facebook features like posting to pages as an admin. It includes things like Twitlonger for longer posts and link shortening via three different services. The interface is a tad outdated, but the feature set is very strong and that makes this worth looking at if you’re an avid user of both Facebook and Twitter.
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UberSocial is a feature packed Twitter app. So much so that it fancies its users as octopi with swiss army knives. It has most of the features you’d expect out of a Twitter app like muting hashtags and theming. However, it does have a few more unique features such as menu customization. If you want something that’s just different from the norm, we’d recommend you give this one a shot.
Here is our obligatory nod to the official Twitter app. It makes the list because it is the official app and while many prefer third party options, the official app is still capable in its own right. A host of updates including a new way of tracking conversations has added some pizzazz to an otherwise aging interface. They’re also working on Android tablet support which will be wonderful when it gets done. If you want the official Twitter experience, this is the app you want.
We wanted to put Falcon Pro on the list, but because of Twitter’s ridiculous token system, the app was sadly pulled from the Play Store. It’s wildly difficult for your average person to get into the app and use it. It’s unfortunate because it’s one of the best. As we stated earlier, there are a lot of Twitter apps out there. If there’s one we missed that you feel should be mentioned, feel free to leave us a comment and let us and our future readers know!
Productivity on Android has always been important. Now, with tablets and devices that are bigger and better than ever, productivity is starting to become even more important. This is especially true for office applications because on-the-fly document, spreadsheet, and presentation editing and creation can really help in a bind. Here are the best office apps for Android.
[Price: Free with .99/month subscription]
First up is our obligatory nod to Microsoft’s offering. Even if Office 365 isn’t the most popular option for Android owners, it is one of the most popular options for Microsoft Office users. It provides native support for Office documents both on and offline and once you choke down that Office 365 subscription price to use the app, the app isn’t half bad either.
Next up is Quickoffice, which is the official office app of Google Drive. Using this app, you can browse your Google Drive files, edit, and create documents. It can create presentations, word files, and spreadsheets and it’s free. It takes place almost entirely in the cloud, which saves you space on your device. The only downside is you have to use it with Google Drive, but that’s not really a downside.
Documents to Go
[Price: Free Trial / .99]
Number 5 on our list is Documents to Go and this is one of the earliest office suite apps that actually worked fairly well. They’re a tad behind the times in terms of usability as you have to enter the menu for every bit of formatting you need to do, but it is a solid app that gets the job done. Be warned, the free version doesn’t really do anything so you have to buy it to see any of the useful parts of the app.
Smart Office 2
Smart Office 2 is number 4 on our list and so far, it’s the best looking one. It has a sleek interface with the standard document, spreadsheet, and presentation options. It takes a few extra clicks to do what others will let you do in one click, but other than that it’s a solid option. It also supports cloud storage integration with Google Drive and Dropbox.
office apps for Android” src=”http://cdn02.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/03-OfficeSuite-Pro-7.png” width=”124″ height=”124″ />OfficeSuite Pro 7
[Price: Free / .99]
The first in our top 3 is OfficeSuite Pro 7. This is about as professional as you can get. It includes the standard document, spreadsheet, and presentation options that you can save in a variety of file types. It also includes cloud storage integration and templates. There are both free and paid options, so if you want to see what is has to offer before shelling out the to get it, you can do so without worrying about a trial running out.
[Price: Free with optional upgrades]
Number 2 is Google Drive and you may be asking why Drive is on here along with Quickoffice. Well, because Google Drive is more simplistic. You can create and edit documents using the Google Drive app and it still supports all of Drive’s features, like simultaneous document editing. This option is better for people who use Google Drive as a cloud storage service first and document creation second, whereas Quickoffice is vice versa.
Last on our list is Kingsoft Office and it really is as good as it gets. It has all the standard features in terms of document creation and cloud storage integration. One thing we really liked about it was the layout and interface. Things were easy to find and use, the interface was friendly, and it really was pleasant to use. Also, it’s free and it’s always hard to beat free.
Best office apps for Android wrap-up
Office app quality is only slated to improve as Android becomes a more viable business platform. There are dozens of office apps out there trying to be your solution for productivity. Some are free, some are paid, and some are included with devices as bloatware. If you have a favorite that we forgot to mention, feel free to tell us what it is in the comments.
Some Android users absolutely want the latest and greatest devices, regardless of the price. Others are budget conscientious and will gravitate to mid-range or budget handsets all in the name of saving some cold hard cash.
Why settle when you can have the best of both worlds? Right now Best Buy is offering folks the opportunity to upgrade to Motorola’s flagship Moto X for just with contract. The lowered pricing applies to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint subscribers. Even better, this offer is for both new and existing customers.
That’s half off of what you’ll pay when buying the Moto X directly from the carrier of your choice. You’re going to be hard pressed to find a better deal than this on the Moto X, with the exception of Amazon, where new users can get the Sprint version of the Moto X for as little as .99.
Is the Moto X worth picking up? Absolutely. Sure, it might not be as impressive in the hardware department as many of the other Android flagships out there, but it makes up for that by offering some pretty cool software features including Touchless control and active display technology.
So how about it, anyone planning to jump on this deal?
Apple has just posted a YouTube video showing off highlights of their 2013 iTunes Festiva. It encompassed 60 artists over 30 nights, and according to Apple, these are the moments you might have missed. Give it a watch and let me know – what did you think of the show?
Mobile devices have enabled a whole new category of creativity, allowing us to do things we’ve never been able to do before. They’ve put a camera in our pocket wherever we go, they’ve permitted anybody to engage in business anywhere, and they’ve changed the way we listen to music. Is it good, is that bad? It’s time for you, the reader, to sound off.