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ANDROID IN
THE CLOUD
Access and share your
Hacker Zøne
» Discover themes » Make your own widgets
data on any device ISSUE 21
» Master the Paranoid Android ROM
(Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and satellite);
Welcome
To issue 21 «

Welcome
““We’re taking a look at the entire cloud scene,
HOW TO showing you which services you need, and which
USE THE you should avoid“
avoid
QR CODES MY HOME SCREEN
T
he cloud has been touted as
Zero-click access to the best the next big thing for years, and
apps in the Google Play store On (and off) Andy’s
it looks as though it is finally
A QR code is a 2D barcode that can act phone this month…
about to become reality. Most of us
as a shortcut for delivering information,
have been using various cloud
such as weblinks. You’ll notice them
throughout the mag – scan them on services for some time – Dropbox for
your phone and you can download apps storing files, and Google Drive as a
Falcon Pro Puffin Web mobile word processor – but it has
and send us messages instantly. Browser
ShopSavvy Free usually been as a backup to local
Download this free barcode scanner apps and services rather than a replacement for them.
APPS

APPS
OUT

to use our QR codes. Handily, you can


IN

scan normal barcodes with it too, to But now it is becoming unavoidable. Android, led by
help you find bargains on all your Google, is moving further and further towards the cloud.
favourite purchases! Zombies, Run! BaconReader
5k Training for Reddit Devices like the Kindle Fire HD are fundamentally designed
This month as cloud devices, wherein the distinction between local
I’ve been using: and remote files and content is almost non-existent. And
HTC One X+
The sequel to one Google, as it demonstrated with its clutch of Nexus
of my top phones devices last year, is trying to wean us off memory cards,
Snapseed of last year fixes all utter!
of its foibles and with them the idea that we need to have all our files
saved on some piece of hardware that we physically own.
So this month we’re taking a look at the entire cloud
scene, showing you which services you need, and which

1 Get scanning you should avoid, and how you can get all your different
Open ShopSavvy, hit the Scan a services working together.
Barcode button and then hold your Also in this issue we’ve got a massive tips guide showing
phone over a QR code so that it appears
you exciting new ways you can push your phone or tablet
in the window.
GET IN TOUCH to the next level, and if you’re really keen to go that extra
Let us know what you’d mile, this month’s Hacker Zone is based around several
like to see in next issue… unique ways you can customise your phone. If you’ve ever

»facebook/littlegreenrobot
wanted to design your own widget, now’s your chance,
and it’s not as difficult as you might think!
Enjoy the issue!
Like us on Facebook to send us

»email
your comments

qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Drop us an email and let us know what

2 Launch the link


»twitter
you’d like to see in the mag

When it has read, the phone will


beep and vibrate, then launch the link.
You may need to choose an app to @lgrobot
Follow us on Twitter and send us
launch it with. your thoughts Andy Betts Editor
3
Contents

CONTENTS
»Inside issue 21 www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk

0
15 Special offer for USA readers » 70 Exclusive subscription offer

5
Launcher Previews, 18
news and
speculation
from the
Take
Android world your
06 Is Samsung
unstoppable? phone
Is Android set to become a
one-horse race dominated to the
by Samsung?

09 The weird world of


next

T
level

R
Android keyboards

P E
We take a look at some of the

X
best, and barmiest, third-party

E
keyboards on the Play store

10 Million Sellers

S
How did McAfee sell a million

C K
units on Android? We chat to

RI
them to find out

T PS
&T I
12 10 things you need to
know about designing on 28 Get creative 48
Android Unleash your artistic Android
Design your dream home and side with the best art
more with your tablet and photography apps in the
14 Gallery of Android’s cloud
best weather apps Access
Beautiful weather apps you will and share
want to own
your data
16 Messages on any
Sound off about anything and device
everything to do with Android
and Android Magazine

4
Contents
Hacker 62 Hacking tips
Explore the full potential of your phone
Inside issue 21 «

Zøne
Explore the limits of
64 Master Paranoid Android
Discover the popular custom ROM

66 Customise your phone


Use themes to give your phone a new look Apps
your Android phone 68 Make your own widgets
Build your own clock and weather widget Your complete
guide to
Reviews Tutorials
Cutting-edge tablets and Essential guides to getting more
Google Play
28 Get creative
Unleash your creative side with
86 smartphones on test from your phone or tablet the best art and photo apps

Samsung 84 Reviews
84 HTC One X+
32 Get news and info on your
Android smartphone
81 Sports apps
Which is the best tool for
Galaxy Ace II 86 Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
89 Vodafone Smart Tab II
Find out the easy way to use your phone as
a source of news and information
keeping up with your team?

Full review of the 90 Sony Xperia J 82 Game reviews


new budget 92 Accessories 36 Tutorials The latest games for phones
36 Context-aware searches and tablets reviewed
superstar Power up your phone or tablet 38 Master the Applications manager
with this collection of goodies 39 How to make a conference call
40 Control which apps use
background data
App review index
43 How to switch between keyboards 74 365Scores: Sport Scores &
45 Resizing widgets News
46 Discover new music via Google 78 Adblock Plus
Play Music
83 Ayakashi: Ghost Guild
76 Cabwise
79 Clone Phone
79 The Co-operative Bank
73 Echofon PRO for Twitter
75 Fab
79 ForeverMap 2
84 73 GAME Reward Mobile App

HTC One X+ 56 Droid Support


79 Goodnight Moon
82 The Hobbit: Kingdoms
Is this the fastest Readers’ questions answered, plus 79 Mumsnet Talk
Android phone troubleshooting tips and tricks
72 NOOK
you can buy? 60 Android challenge 79 Official West Ham United
Make a blockbuster movie: Can you shoot 76 Phil THE POWER Taylor
and edit a film using nothing more than 76 Pixlr Express
apps on an Android phone?
73 PocketWarwick

40 83 Predators
79 PSY GANGNAM STYLE LWP
Control and Tone
background 74 Rdio
data 83 Sleepwalker’s Journey
82 Slice
Get to grips with
which apps are 77 Talkray (Beta)
using data in the 78 ThisIsWhyImBroke
background, even 74 Todoist

68 Make your own widget when you don’t 78 Tyype Keyboard


73 Ultimate Rugby
Simple guide to building your own want them to
79 VoucherCodes.co.uk
custom widget
Check our website daily
for even more news »www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk 5
All the latest from the world of Android devices

“Samsung also holds


40 per cent of the
Android market”

Is Samsung THE big STORY

unstoppable?
With Samsung dominating sales, Paul Rigby asks whether
Our view
“The two Ms –
marketing and
momentum – are
crucial in the mobile
Android is in danger of becoming a one horse race? world. Samsung (along with Apple)

O
n the face of it, all is rosy in 22.9 per cent of the worldwide Check out the revenue streams from markets the life out of its products
the Android garden. market, gaining the number one spot other Android manufacturers and it and reaps the rewards. And given
According to analysts in the market share league table. seems that, despite the general that most users buy the same
Gartner, Android increased its If you dig a little deeper into the Android success, the only company devices as their friends and family,
market share by almost 20 per cent figures, however, there are worrying actually making money from the once you’ve got a bit of momentum
in the last quarter, compared to the concerns. To begin, Samsung also operating system is Samsung. behind your brand you can grow
same period in 2011, to holds 40 per cent of the Android Francisco Jeronimo, research quickly. Equally, once you lose your
122,480,000 units sold, capturing a market with its nearest competitors manager for European mobile momentum it can be hard to claw
worldwide market share of 72.4 per taking around 10 per cent, while devices at IDC, confirmed that view: it back. HTC is struggling in this
cent. Market leader within the pack even on a national level, analysts “For the next couple of years it will be
respect, and with Sony also
of attendant manufacturers is uSwitch has five Samsung mobile Samsung dominating growth, unless
making very slow progress it looks
Samsung, selling almost 987 million phones occupying the top ten Google does something with Android
like it’ll be Sammy’s year again.”
devices in the same period to effect smartphone seller slots in the UK. and focuses more on Motorola. For Andy Betts, Editor

6
Stay up to date
Catch up with the latest
»twitter
@lgrobot
Follow us on Twitter for
Android news and gossip the latest updates

How Android dominates the market… and Samsung dominates Android


Platform Manufacturer Share of the
market share market share Android market
BlackBerry 4.3% Others 5.8% Samsung Apple Others 44.2% Samsung 42.6%
32% – up 103.6% 15.5% – up 57.6%

Others
42.6%

Sony HTC
iOS 14.9% Android 75% 5.1% – up 41.1% 4.8% – down 38.4% HTC 6.4% Sony 6.8%

Worldwide Q3 2012 Worldwide Q3 2012 compared to 2011 Worldwide Q3


(Source: IDC) (Source: Canalys) (Combined data)

“Android is not as Cripps, principal analyst at Ovum.


“Do they really want to be one of the
more like webpages, which can run
on any device. Samsung can draw on

strong at the top end as power players or are they happy


enabling someone else’s system?”
its extensive supply chain,
manufacturing capability and

Google would want it“ The difference between it and the


likes of HTC, for example, is that
research and development facilities
to make this happen.
Geoff Blaber, director of devices Samsung is not just a phone maker, For now, no one denies Samsung’s
and platforms at CCS it does have, “the potential to create pre-eminence and it is believed that
platforms which deliver content and Samsung is more than happy to reap
web services to TVs, PC, phones and the Android benefits, but in five
the time being, I don’t see any other market. Should Samsung start to media players and connect them,” years’ time, it is conceivable that we
vendors with such strong investment switch allegiances, it would have said Caroline Gabriel, research may see Samsung picking up its ball
and capacity to push Android.” serious implications for Android.” director at Rethink Technology and going it all alone.
Does this translate to a problem The relatively low revenue streams Research. This is Samsung’s And what happens if in the
lurking on the horizon? Is Samsung from Android has certainly pushed competitive advantage, said Gabriel, meantime the other main players
becoming too big for Android? More HTC towards greater investment in as the world shifts more to web- decide their Android businesses are
to the point, does Samsung’s the Windows Phone operating based technologies like HTML5, no longer viable, and decide to turn
dominance place Android under system alongside Nokia, while LG which reduce the relevance of their attentions elsewhere? For
threat? Geoff Blaber, director of and now Sony have announced individual operating systems and Android competition is not only
devices and platforms at CCS Insight Windows phone developments – as platforms like Apple’s iOS and healthy, it’s essential to the future of
argues Samsung’s dominance of has Samsung. This leaves Samsung Android. Instead, applications will be the world’s most popular OS.
Android could end up a problem if, for in an odd situation. It is already a

“The potential to create


example, the Korean manufacturer’s dominant player within the Android
attention moves elsewhere. universe and, by licensing the free

platforms which deliver


“Samsung accounts for around 40 Android OS from Google, Samsung
per cent of Android’s volume. There’s saves itself millions of dollars in

content and services“


a huge reliance on one player and if software development costs and
you take the S III out of the equation, license fees but, then again, leaves
Android is not as strong at the top itself dependent on Google. “It
end as Google would want it to be. comes down to this sense of what it Caroline Gabriel, research director at
Apple still dominates the premium is Samsung wants to be,” said Tony Rethink Technology Research

7
»www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Visit us daily for news and more

WHAT’S HOT
Developments to watch in
the Androsphere

Playing games on a console from


CPU-maker NVIDIA
Android gaming is going to be huge over the next 12
months, but it won’t just be small startups like OUYA
involved. NVIDIA, the company that produces the
processors that power most Android phones, is
launching Project Shield, a controller with an
Android-powered console attached.

The Nexus 7 effect


Has the popularity of the Nexus 7 finally encouraged
developers to start building apps for Android?

A
ndroid tablets have found it hard to delineation for tablet apps within Google’s
compete with Apple’s iPad, primarily Play area. Despite Hamilton’s assertion
because there haven’t been apps to that, “we are seeing the smart Android
The longest battery life ever on support the format. The iPad enjoys upward of developers move quickly towards great
250,000 optimised tablet apps. In October, tablet experiences, which sometimes
the Lenovo IdeaPhone P770 Google released a checklist to help developers means rethinking their apps.” There are
Lenovo’s IdeaPhone P770 packs a 3500mAh battery create software for devices with larger screens. other executives, like director for Android
and promises to deliver a huge 29 hours of talk time, “We’d like developers to think more and partnerships, John Lagerling, who when
as well as over 12 hours of normal use. Sadly it’s only
more about great tablet experiences. There’s a faced with a question on low tablet app
likely to be available in emerging markets.
lot of really good Android tablets out there numbers, responded with, “… people who
now,” said Robert Hamilton, product manager have smartphones are a huge target for
in Google’s mobile team. “The Nexus 10, for us. If you look globally that’s something
example, is a world-class device that we think we worry more about, not so much about
will be really successful, so we want more competing with other smartphones but
people to take advantage of the tools that more about how can we get more people
Android provides for developers to think about onto the internet on mobile phones? And
what their tablet experience is.” that’s a big deal. That’s why low cost is
This is a big change from Google’s earlier so important.”
policy which seemed to focus more on the Maybe, if Google and company were all
developer’s needs rather than the consumer. pulling in the same direction, there would
In 2012, Google senior vice president Andy be more tablet-specific apps on Android.
Cooking your dinner in an Rubin was quoted as saying, “I don’t think
Android-powered oven there should be apps specific to a tablet… if
There’s nothing that cannot be improved with a little someone makes an Ice Cream Sandwich app,
it’s going to run on phones and it’s going to
“Google released
a checklist to help
bit of Android. Luxury appliance maker Dacor has
unveiled the Discovery oven compete with seven- run on tablets.”

developers”
inch display. Just key in what you are cooking and Yet, enter Apple’s App Store and you will
Android will take care of the rest. see tabs for iPhone and iPad apps. There is no

8
Get in touch!
Send us your thoughts
»email
qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk
»facebook
/littlegreenrobot
»twitter@lgrobot
Follow us on Twitter for
on all things Android Got questions or comments? Drop
us an email and let us know
Like us on Facebook to
send your comments all the latest gossip

The weird world of


Android keyboards
From gestures to thumbs, there are plenty of innovative
input methods to help improve your typing speed

O
ne of the most commonly methods are constantly pushing concept
overlooked features of your phone boundaries, allowing users to achieve
or tablet is the keyboard, but if the faster typing speeds, better precision and
stock keyboard isn’t working well for different ways of staying in contact.
you, did you know there are a whole host We’ve gathered a selection of some of the
of alternatives waiting for you on the best, weirdest and most wacky keyboards
Google Play store? Innovative input that offer something entirely different.

SwiftKey
Flow
If you’ve ever looked
into changing your
keyboard, chances are
you’ve come across one
of the many
incarnations of
SwiftKey. Its newest
addition, Flow, is the
best yet and offers by
far one of the most
thorough and ingenious
keyboards available.
The keyboard uses a
swipe motion which registers individual letters
you go over. It also includes an impressive library
of recognised words, and even mysteriously
predicts what you’re typing from the previous
texts you’ve sent.

“A swipe motion which


registers individual
letters you go over”
Keymonk Flit The Pet Dasher
Essentially Keyboard Keyboard Keyboard
Keymonk is a two- Press on the centre The larger keys Dasher brings a
handed version of letter in each key contain letters and whole host of
Swype, where you and then swipe to syllables of gesture-based
to use two fingers the letter you need. different words, controls to your
to swipe different The keyboard with an impressive keyboard, and
sets of letters for rearranges the 100,000 word calling it unique
the same word at letters as it learns dictionary to help would be an
the same time. It the ones you use cut down the understatement.
works, but you need to be well most while typing, helping you speed number of keypresses. A steep It’s complicated but definitely worth
co-ordinated to make it useful. up your messaging. learning curve with minimal benefit. a giggle trying to figure it out.

9
Stay up to date
Catch up with the latest
»twitter@lgrobot
Follow us on Twitter for
Android news and gossip the latest updates

Millionsellers
The inside story on Android’s most popular apps
VITAL STATS
MCAFEE
ANTIVIRUS &
SECURITY
Price: Subs
Launched: July 2010

McAfee
Installs: 1mil-5mil
Q&A with Lianne Play store rating:

Caetano – McAfee

M
alware is a serious issue on Android, and there’s been countless stories on Why do you feel people choose McAfee over one of the other
dodgy apps and links affecting devices. With that in mind, it’s no wonder security-based apps available on the Play store?
why McAfee Antivirus & Security has rocketed in downloads in the past McAfee Mobile Security stands apart because it offers the most
couple of years. The McAfee brand is a household name, with millions of desktop comprehensive solution, especially when it comes to privacy.
computers all over the world using the antivirus software. The mobile version includes Risky apps or apps with loose privacy policies that leak data are
the same variety of features, offering the ultimate package when it comes to keeping the gateway into your phone for hackers. With the App Alert
your phone safe from malicious content. But with so much choice on the market, why feature, McAfee closes these doors for hackers so that you can
is McAfee Antivirus & Security a hit with users? Here’s why… ensure your security is kept without having to understand
complicated privacy policies.
What makes McAfee a hit? It’s very rare to see an app on the Play store exceed a million
Any threats found?
McAfee includes a vast library of paid downloads. What is the secret of a successful app?
knowledge regarding malicious
threats. If a threat is discovered on
From a protection standpoint, McAfee Mobile Security was the
your device, the app will soon be able first mobile security app to combine antivirus, anti-theft, web
to tell you the name of the virus, as and app protection, call/SMS filtering and protection from
well as some crucial info
potentially unwanted programs. But McAfee Mobile Security is
more than just a comprehensive and well-respected app. It’s
designed to enhance the mobile experience for Android users,
rather than interfere with it. The app, for example, optimises the
mobile device battery life because it was built from the ground
up rather than adapted from existing desktop solutions so that it
would be light on resources.

Regular What are your favourite features in McAfee?


updates My favourite features include backing up my personal data – I’ve
To make sure the lost too many phones in the past to risk not having my photos,
app is up to the
task of dealing with videos and contacts backed up; app protection, so I know which
Sync to all threats, the apps are potentially mining my data and might be sharing my
your needs team behind
information with third parties; and remote lock and alarm of
One of the best McAfee do a good
features in McAfee is job at providing phone. If your phone is stolen, you can remotely lock it and then
being able to tailor regular updates have it sound a screaming alarm. Aside from the screaming
when your virus scans when they can
sound being hilarious, it will draw attention to or startle the thief
take place. Set the
app to scan whenever just as a car alarm would!
you’re not busy
Are there any areas of the app you’d like to improve?
In the future I’m hoping we can develop a way to reduce mobile
Scanning
far and wide device theft before or right as the device is lost or stolen. Nearly
Your Android phone has millions of half of all robberies in San Francisco this year are mobile
tiny elements that need to be fully
scanned for malicious code, so the phone-related and the New York City Police reported that more
scanning process does take a while. than 40 per cent of all robberies now involve mobile phones.
The comprehensive nature of the These brazen incidents are part of a ubiquitous crime wave
scan can leave you with the peace
of mind that if there are any striking coast to coast – it’s modern day purse snatching. We’re
gremlins, McAfee will find them looking for ways to stay one step ahead of the thieves!

Every year brings at least one new


Android Android
A brief history of… version of Android, and each new
version brings further polish and 1.5 2.2
refinement to the user

the Android interface. The latest versions


are now as classy as any
All the key features
are in place: search,
Froyo saw continued
development of the UI.

home screen
other mobile OS, but it hasn’t notifications and an The dock was now in
always been that way. app drawer that uses place at the bottom of
Looking back to the older the drawer the screen, giving
versions highlights the metaphor, sliding up access to web, phone
massive changes we’ve seen. from the bottom. and apps.

10
CROWD
SOURCE
Opinion from the
Twittersphere

Google declares victory @lgrobot


lgrobot What apps do you
use to help keep yourself
organised at home and at
Is Google ‘winning the mobile war’ against Apple? work?
Paul Rigby takes a closer look… @UbuntuBhoy

G
oogle executive chairman and former CEO Eric disputes, yet they’ve Google drive, Evernote & Pocket.
Schmidt recently declared to the business actually been able to
@MummyLion
website Bloomberg that, “This is a huge platform have huge trade with
I like evernote & myfitnesspal but
change; this is of the scale of 20 years ago – Microsoft each other. They’re not
it would be great if these had
versus Apple. We’re winning that war pretty clearly now.” sending bombs at each integration with a calendar and
The words were a response to the recently published other,” he said. endomondo (supposed to but
Gartner analyst research which stated that Android There is still an doesn’t)
increased its market share of the smartphone market by a ‘apples and oranges’
massive 19.9% in the third-quarter of this year, up to a element to this story. @dpmcalister
total of 72.4% with iOS lagging behind at 13.9%, which Google has a clear Smooth Calendar (widget),
changed from the 52.5% versus 15% split of 2011. advantage in terms of LastPass (password manager),
There is, though, a slightly bitter taste within Schmidt’s volume because it gives Box/Dropbox/SkyDrive/
Eric Schmidt has had some strong GoogleDrive (68GB of free cloud
happy tone. “Obviously, we would have preferred them to away its operating words to say about the mobile war
storage)
use our maps,” he said. “They threw YouTube off the system and leaves the
home screen. I’m not quite sure why they did that.” hardware to its partners. Apple has an advantage in terms @Whantie
Schmidt then appeared to, er, retreat, from his of profits because it covers hardware, software and, in Pocket Informant
competitive stance. “The press would like to write the sort many cases, retail. This isn’t Microsoft versus Apple in the
of teenage model of competition, which is, ‘I have a gun, desktop computer age. The sheer ubiquity of mobile @BobbinPin
you have a gun, who shoots first? The adult way to run a phones (Google earns money from iOS apps, for example) Box and SugarSync for me
business is to run it more like a country. They have negates the very idea of a ‘war’.
@MarkWilson_86
Evernote, Dropbox, Google

Sony unveils Calendar (Shared calendar)

waterproof Xperia Z
@lgrobot
What do you think the
BIGGEST change is
between smartphones
New feature set to make a splash from three years ago and

A
lready standard in Japan, waterproof devices today’s offerings?
have taken their time to make it to the West.
Sony is about to change that with the Xperia Z. @dpjamesp
The company’s new flagship device is one of the most Screen size/resolution
powerful Android phones ever launched, and it comes
@erten111
with one key differentiator – it is sealed against the
I think the general price of
elements. While this might not mean you will be able to smartphones has gone way up,
sit in the bath watching Skyfall, it should at least put an but there’s loads more choice
end to those worries we all have about using our which is nice.
devices in the rain. After all, one of the main causes of
an invalidated warranty is water damage. The Xperia Z, @edwardsj1978
coupled with its not as tough, but somewhat more internal memory. My first
svelte cousin, the Xperia ZL, represent something of a smartphone, the X10 Mini Pro,
comeback for Sony. After several years of struggling to only allowed me to have a
handful of apps installed at any
make real inroads into the Android market, the devices
one time.
– Sony’s first quad-core handsets – put down an early Does Sony have a trump
marker for the industry in 2013. card up its sleeve for 2013?
@The_DaveWard
the massive amount of owners of
Android Android Android smart phones users and probably
the cost. The prices are high in
2.3 4.0 4.2 comparison.
Gingerbread saw the Ice Cream Sandwich The third iteration of
final stage of the initial saw the arrival of the Android 4 completed the
Android UI. A new
colour scheme and
Holo theme, with a
new font, clean lines
transformation into a
mature UI. With more and
twitter
tidied-up menus meant
this was the most user
and a Tron-inspired
colour scheme. This
more apps adhering to the
Holo style the UI was now
Follow us @lgrobot to join
friendly version to date. was grown-up Android. more consistent than ever. in the conversation

11
»www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Visit us daily for news and more

1Gallery app
With the Android 4.2
update, you have a
3Follow
tutorials
If you’re new to
wealth of photo editing design, then trying
techniques available to to use the likes of
you within the Photoshop is a truly
impressive Gallery daunting thought.
app. There are a wide Use a combination of
variety of effects and
templates you can
apply to your images
2From desktop to mobile
Some of the best creative suites available for
desktop computers are also available from the Play
an eReader app and
a design book or
podcast to help get
that put the likes of store. The Photoshop Express app encapsulates all the your design skills up
Instagram to shame! best bits, with a few added features thrown in. and running.

10Start designing
your own apps
Why not try your hand at a
4Stunning
apps
You’ll be surprised
spot of app designing and get with the level of
your idea on the Play store? detail you can
The Android Design site achieve when using
contains everything you need your Android
to get started, and you can device as a virtual
even test your new apps out. easel. Remember
that anything you
do create on your
smartphone can be
sent and shared for
you to proudly
showcase to the
rest of the world.

93D modelling
3D modelling is a tricky
topic, but one that your Android
5Perfect photos
Whether you want to
improve the lighting, or add a
can help you with. ModelAN3D new effect, there are some
is best suited to tablets, and fantastic photo editing apps
helps bring 3D objects to life
using augmented reality. things you need to know about... around. Apps like PicsArt offer
a quick and easy solution to

Designing
getting the best look for any
image you take on your phone.

with Android
8 Design
esign your dream home
7Improve your sketches
Even designing your dream home is
possible. Floor Plan Creator lets you design
If you have a stylus to hand, then creating
detailed sketches should be a breeze on your
6Kids
There’s no
need for your
rooms to exact dimensions, and share device. As well as having a good selection of kids to be left
them with estate agents to let them know sketching apps, you can even use apps like Grid out, especially
the sort of place you’re looking for. Drawing Assistant to get some help along the way. when you
consider some of
the apps at your
disposal. Kids
Finger Paint gets
your child
painting without
the mess!

12
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Send us your thoughts
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on all things Android Got questions or comments? Drop
us an email and let us know
Like us on Facebook to
send your comments all the latest gossip

Play store picks


Our favourites from the Play
store this month
Young
Samurai
Price: £2.49/$3.99
Follow the story of Jack
Fletcher who avenges the
death of his beloved father
by training to become a

The 18-inch
samurai warrior.

Prometheus

Android tablet
Price: £3.49/$4.99
Ridley Scott’s blockbuster
hit Prometheus is the
ultimate sci-fi adventure,

I
discovering the origins of
f you thought phones were getting a bit on the large Tegra 3 processor ramps into gear, giving you access to
mankind on earth.
side, then brace yourself for the latest entrant in the a full, if somewhat oversized, Android experience. This
Asus Transformer range. The Transformer AiO is one of the first sightings of what is set to become a Swedish
measures a massive 18.5 inches from corner to corner, trend over the next 12 months. Intel’s new Bay Trail House Mafia
and comes with a handle on the rear so you can pick it processor supports both Windows and Android and is – Until Now
up. It sounds like a terrible gimmick but there is a likely to help usher in an era of dual-booting devices, as Price: £5.99/$7.99
reason behind the device’s huge size: it dual boots with well as the possibility of the same hardware being Filled with some of the
Windows 8 and is essentially a normal PC when housed available running whichever operating system you want, best songs of 2012, and
some future hits, Until Now is one of the
in its stand, which contains your choice of processor with that being installed in the shop before you buy. The best albums currently available for
from i3 to i7. Lift it out of the stand and the quad-core AiO will cost around $1,500. download on the Play store.
Stay up to date
Catch up with the latest
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@lgrobot
Follow us on Twitter for
Android news and gossip the latest updates

01 02 03

The gallery of…

Beautiful
04 05

weather apps
1. eWeather HD 5. Optimistic Weather

2. Palmary Weather 6. Met Office Weather

3. Weather 7. Eye In Sky Weather

4. Sunny Air 8. Beautiful Widgets

06 07 08

14
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Messages
Inside Android Magazine’s virtual mailbag
Roger’s kit all
laid out

Letter of the month


Shooting stars
Do you remember back in March 2012 when I sent impressed?
The writer of our Letter of the Month
wins a Samsung 32GB micro SD card
worth £59.99. The Class 10 card is
shock, water and dust proof. For more
you some photos of the moon that I’d taken with my These are my information visit
HTC Sensation and my telescope? Well I mentioned first efforts and I www.samsung.com/
memorycard
that I really needed a mount to hold the camera and am sure I can
that I’d try and invent something, well here it is with improve the quality,
a couple of shots showing the results. again there are no
It’s made from a car phone holder which I got enhancements of any
from a bargain bucket in a shop for a couple of quid. kind. In one picture
I used Velcro strips cut to the correct size and of Jupiter you can see one of its moons at the lower
attached a piece of Perspex that I cut into a circle edge of the shot. Saturn needs a lot more work but I
(kind of circle!). Next I stuck Velcro on the telescope will get there.
diagonal (as in the pictures). Then I attached the All the best for the coming year to you and all at Home-made DIY
sucker that normally goes on your car windscreen to Android Magazine. at its best
the Perspex and lined everything up. It did take quite Roger B. Egerton
a bit of setting up to get the phone’s camera over
the eyepiece but it does work! Hope you are We say: Great work, Roger! This is a truly ingenious
project, and the results you’re getting from
the camera are surprisingly good – we’re
quite amazed that you can even make out
the rings of Saturn, as well as the colours
of Jupiter. We’re sending you our letter of
the month prize to ensure you can shoot
even more of your fantastic galaxy
pictures. Keep them coming!
Putting the HTC
Far left: Saturn, as shot on an HTC
Sensation to great use
Sensation. Left: Jupiter with a moon

I nearly went back to to be worth a try. Boy was I right. In exploit the Nexus 10. When that

TRENDING
Let us know your thoughts
the iPhone!
Well my first dip into Android was
through the original Galaxy Note.
your latest review you say it is naked
compared to a Samsung or HTC
product. If the Nexus 4 is naked then
happens Apple will certainly become
a rotten fruit…
PS. Even if this is good enough for
on these hot topics After struggling to see why iPhone call me a naturist because I love it! the ‘letter of the month’ accolade,
wouldn’t release a decent screen The Nexus 4 is a true iPhone beater. please don’t bother – the pain of an
• Are you happy to buy a
phone without a size I took the plunge to have the The 2GB RAM and quad-core absent SD slot is something I can’t
memory card slot? monster of all Androids. processor make it perform like a talk about. The iPhone lacks it too
And I loved my Note at first. It high-end PC! though and I hasten to add it hasn’t
• How often do you quickly became clear though that it I’m in love. It’s so smooth and held that back from great success.
upgrade to a new was bloated with extras by Samsung. never stutters. I have infinitely more Ryan Clee
smartphone? You could see where they’d added options within the phone’s settings
their take on Android and I started to than you can ever achieve with an We say: We’re also big fans of the
• Which would you long for the simplicity of my old iPhone but it has that ‘complete Nexus 4 in all its stripped-back glory.
prefer: a higher res iPhone handset. package’ feeling the iPhone gave me. The inclusion of custom software
screen or longer
With all the added extras my Note To think I nearly went back to an and skins is what separates all
battery life?
couldn’t cope and its now lower-end iPhone! I would have missed out on Android devices, and while many
Get in touch! RAM was struggling and frequently the best phone to ever come to users prefer the more consumer-
qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk crashed. Then I read the stats on the market in my opinion. Now I’m friendly touches added by
new Nexus 4 and I thought it had got waiting for devs to make apps to manufacturers like Samsung, the

16
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The second call was also a waste rest of the industry can be mixed

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only safe bet” connect your phone to our PC


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17
Feature

0
»50 expert tips

5
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Take Aunr in-depth guide
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18
Feature
50 expert tips«

Enhance system performance


1 Kill select
background apps 2 Use the
internal memory
One of the quickest ways to give your If your device includes expansion
Android device an immediate card capability, it is very tempting
performance boost is to kill some of to just move every app to the card
the apps that are currently running in to save on internal memory. This
the background. You can either do will offer some performance
this manually or enlist the help of a benefits thanks to the extra
third-party app such as Task Manager memory, but if you use an app
which is available from the Google stored on the external card a lot,
Play store. It can kill tasks you could be forgoing these
automatically and also enables you to improvements with reduced
select applications in bulk for quick performance when opening the app
manual adjustments. Only close apps each time. The general rule of
you don’t need, though, and not thumb, if you have enough internal
system ones. Android will simply memory, is to try to keep your
open them again, and that can have most often used apps stored away
an adverse effect on performance. from an expansion card.

3 Background
syncing 4 Optimise
your RAM
By default, many of the Google apps Just like desktop PCs, Android
and indeed many third-party services smartphones and tablets will benefit
will attempt to synchronise in the from defragmentation from time to
background as often as they can. time. One quick way to clean things
This is useful for some apps like up is to simply turn your device off
email and calendar, but not for and back on, but for more serious
everything. Go to Settings> Accounts tweaks an app like Memory Booster
and select one of your accounts (available for free on the Google Play
which will show how it is currently store), will do the trick. It will not
set up. You can then, for example, offer significant improvements for
go to the Calendar app, hit the menu the more powerful high-end devices,
button and choose Settings. Here but for slower models the benefits
you will be able to define exactly will quickly become clear. This is
which calendars will sync and when, something you should try to run
and this process can be repeated for every few days if you have regular
email and other syncing services. performance problems.

5 Understanding developer options


Developer options let you access parts of Android you would otherwise be unaware of. In the latest version of Android they are hidden very well.
You have to go to Settings>About phone and tap the Build number section seven times for them to appear. It will be worth the effort, however.

1. USB debugging 3. Stay awake 5. Allow mock locations


This feature lets you connect an Android device Stay awake performs an obvious task and that is This clever feature allows you to fake your
to a desktop computer to transfer data between to keep the screen awake when charging. This is location and to not be stuck with your current
each device and to install apps directly without useful if you need an onscreen clock or photo GPS co-ordinates. You can then search for
any standard notifications. slideshow running. other areas quickly when planning trips.

2. Show CPU usage 4. Background process limit 6. Show touches


Even though this feature is designed for If you own a device that is lacking in processing A simple option that will visually highlight each
developers, you can also use it to show the power, you can use this feature to limit the point on the screen as you touch it. It is
current CPU usage at any time. Useful for finding number of background process that can run designed for development, but is actually useful
apps that are using all of your processing power. between nought and four processes. for normal day-to-day tasks.

19
Feature
»50 expert tips

6 Boost your battery life


BetterBatteryStats is an app,
available from Google Play, that SINCE WHEN? USE THE NUMBERS
You can choose to hide
is designed to help you You can view the
the graphs and
understand exactly what is battery drain since
concentrate purely on
the screen has been
using your battery life. It the numbers for clarity
turned off, since
includes multiple customisation charged and for
options and a myriad of many other states
statistics and results that will
lead you to varied and accurate
conclusions. You will need to
install the app and leave it
running for some time for it to
build up the necessary data, but
once you have done this you
can use the ‘Since’ options on
the front screen to show how
the battery is being used. You
can also read the exact drain
for a number of states such as
CPU and Alarms using the top
option. From these, you will be
able to use the knowledge base
to fix any battery drainage
problems you have.

EXACT
INFORMATION
Ratios and times down to the second
are measured and presented to you for
accurate adjustments to be made
COMPLETE
CUSTOMISATION
“Multiple customisation options and The views are fully
customisable and are able

a myriad of statistics and results”


to be set to your exacting
Android preferences

7 Make sense 8 Wait to update


It is all too easy to hurriedly download the
of the latest update for the Android OS as soon as it is
battery screen available for your device, but sometimes it will make
1. Tap the graph at the sense to wait. Check online to see what the feedback
top and you will be shown is from those who have already updated their devices
a more detailed screen to make sure it doesn’t have bugs that could affect
with all the extra your device’s performance. On the whole, these
information included. updates should improve performance, but they can
use more memory as more features are packed in.
2. Behind each section
below the graph is a lot
more information such as
exact timings and the
9 Change the launcher
Manufacturers often like to add their own
specific services using the software and launchers to devices, but these can
battery power. sometimes slow down the overall performance. If you
do not need all of the extras that are bundled, take a
3. The stats update
look on the Play store for a replacement launcher
automatically, but you can
with less features. Some of these are designed to
manually refresh them
work efficiently, but still include a number of options
using the arrows icon at
and features that could be beneficial. You do not
the top of the screen.
need to live with the manufacturer’s stock system.

20
Feature
50 expert tips«

Power up your phone 21 Overclocking and


underclocking
If you have rooted your phone or tablet you
10 Avoid live 14 Reduce the brightness can overclock it to improve performance
wallpapers Automatic brightness is useful and shown and underclock it to increase battery life.
Try to avoid using in Settings>Display, but is not always ideal in Experiment with which settings work for
live wallpapers. There are every lighting situation. You can untick this setting you, but don’t push things too far or
many available in Google and choose your own lower level which will have a performance will be hit.
Play and also a selection positive effect on battery performance.
built-in to each Android
device. But besides
offering a more engaging
15 2G only
experience on home 3G uses a huge amount of battery power
screens, they offer little. and on many phones you can select to use 2G
Expect battery drain and only. Data will be much slower, but battery
slowed performance if you use one. performance will be greatly increased.

11 Turn off Location access Cut the


Location access is very useful for a 16 widgets
number of apps and services, but if you are Widgets can be useful
struggling with battery or general performance, and provide a lot of 1. Grab an app
you can temporarily turn it off in useful information at a Search for ‘Overclock’ on Google Play to find
Settings>Location access to save some juice. glance, but remember a suitable app. We are using No-frills CPU
that they are technically Control to demonstrate how clocking works
background processes. If – make sure you accept any permission
12 Selective sounds you use one rarely, you requests before you continue.
You may not need all of the sounds that will be better off just
are set by default on your Android device. Go to jumping to the associated
Settings>Sound and choose only the ones you app instead and removing
need. The benefits are minimal, but they will the widget from the home screen altogether.
make a difference over time.

Speed up 17 Sync intervals


13 data entry You can adjust the synchronisation
Performance can be intervals in many applications, such as your
down to you as well as a email, and lowering it to one-hour intervals will
tablet or smartphone, help performance and battery life markedly.
and so speeding up your
typing will have a
Quick locking 2. Set your speed
dramatic effect. Apps like
Swype let you input data
18 Try to use a quick security method such Tap the ‘Max. clock freq.’ option and then
without moving your as pattern locking so that you can get into your choose the maximum allowable speed. The
finger from the screen device very quickly. The pattern lock is also app is designed to not let it be overpowered
and can greatly speed up extremely secure. which may cause damage. Do the same for
your typing in text messages, emails and the minimum speed.
anywhere else.
19 The correct time
“They are technically
The date and time must be fairly accurate
or you may be barred from accessing the Google

background processes” Play store. This is a common problem for many


Android users across the ecosystem.

20 Clever notifications
The notifications that are accessible by
tapping the top bar on the home screen are not
merely designed to tell you what is happening.
They can be used as shortcuts and to potentially
let you spot problems. If you see a notification and
3. Meet the governor
The Governor option lets you quickly change
are not sure which app it is from, hold your finger
the profiles of the maximum and minimum
down on it and an ‘App info’ dialog box will appear.
speeds with just one tap. These are useful
Tap this and you will be taken to the settings
when trying to undertake specific tasks, but
screen for that app where you can uninstall it
your mileage may vary.
immediately if required.

21
Feature
»50 expert tips

22 Download your playlists


Make your Google cloud music playlists available offline

1. Find the playlist 2. One small pin 3. Time to download


Open the Google Music app and scroll through Tap the small pin near the very top of the If you pull down the notifications bar at the
each screen until you reach the Playlist screen and it will turn blue. This is all you top, you will see an entry showing the
category. Tap a playlist to select it – the list of need to do to make offline copies of all progress of the downloads. Once complete,
songs will be shown. songs in the playlist. the whole playlist will be stored offline.

23 Full
screen 24 Closed captions
The closed captions can be
movies displayed during a movie by tapping the
You can change ‘CC’ icon in the bottom-left hand corner.
the way movies A dialog will pop up which lets you
are displayed on a choose the language and whether you
mobile screen by want them on or off, but the display may
tapping the small not always be suitable for you if you are
icon in the watching on a small screen. Tap the
top-right hand menu button and then select the ‘Caption
corner when font size’ option. Here you can change
playing a movie. It will show widescreen by default, which highlights blank the captions from small to huge with one
bars above and below the screen, but a quick tap will fill the screen and further tap. It’s a simple setup procedure
hide the edges. Different movies will suit different settings so find which is and perfect for those of us that struggle
most comfortable for you, and your device, and try to stick with it. with our eyesights.

25 Boost
volume
your device’s 26 Instagram everywhere
The latest versions of the stock
Not all Android devices come with Android camera let you add various
external speakers that make the most special effects to all of your photos as
of the audio components inside. This is soon as you have snapped them. When
tricky to resolve because it is a you are in the default Gallery app, select
hardware limitation, but there are apps one of your photos and the tap the three
that can help to get around the problem. circles at the bottom of the screen. You
Volume+, available from Google Play, is a will now be presented with a selection of
good example and is known to work varied effects to apply and one tap will do
with the Galaxy Nexus, which does not all of the work for you. Once complete,
have the best speaker in the world. It you can select the photo again and share
won’t solve the problem completely, but it on any social network you care for. It’s
does provide a welcome boost in terms like the popular Instagram service without
of the general speaker volume. using the actual app.

22
Feature
50 expert tips«

27 Video
codecs 28 Streaming data
If you stream movies or music
Home-made videos often, you will need to ensure that your
and those available data plan allows you to do this. Go to
on the web can be Settings> Data usage and you can set a
formatted using data limit to make sure you do not
various codecs and receive any expensive overuse charges.
this can be You can also check to see what exactly is
problematic if you using all of your data in this screen and
just want to load it the general rule of thumb is to try to
up and play it watch movies that are stored on your
straight away. There are tools available that let you convert your movies to device if possible or use a connected
different formats, but the quickest way around the problem is to look for Wi-Fi network when it is available. Keeping
apps that come with the ability to play all of the most popular codecs. MX the Wi-Fi antenna on all of the time is not
Player is one among many that can help. a huge battery drain.

29 Quick file transfers


When you are moving large selections of music,
movies and photos to your Android device from a desktop
Mac, you want the process to be easy and quick. Android
File Transfer (available from here: http://www.android.com/
filetransfer) is an official tool that will immediately open
when you connect your device and which acts like the Finder
app software. Simply drag what you need over to the right
directory and all of your installs will be done in one painless
go. Windows users do not need a tool like this to transfer
Android files, however.

30 Using the Equaliser in Google Music


Get the perfect sound with a few simple tweaks
TURN ON!
You need to turn the equaliser on before
MARKERS you make any changes, and it is set to
You can off by default
change any of the
markers on
screen and see
how each affects
the overall tone of
the music

EXPERIMENT
Take time NEW EFFECTS AUDIOMASTER
experimenting The Bass boost option is If you want greater control over
with each one that most people tend the audio output of your device
frequency until to dive straight for. It’ll likely get the AudioMaster app from
the music sounds cause distortion if you push the Play store, which is
just right it too far though far more powerful

23
Feature
»50 expert tips

Use live widgets One calendar


There are many live Try to set up just one
31 widgets available for 32 calendar to synchronise with
Android devices that your Android device and use
are constantly updated in this one every day. The temptation
the background. Whether to create multiple calendars and to
you want to see your latest have every entry colour-coded in the
emails or calendar entries right category is great, but ultimately
or anything else, there will all it will do is slow you down when
be a solution available. They you enter new appointments, which
will enable you to quickly no one wants.
glance at your device and Sometimes a simple list of
see what you need with no appointments in the same colour
further interaction, which works best and will make the
can be a huge time-saver if synchronisation process much
you are checking quicker as well. Multiple calendars
information many times a only work well if you have a ‘very’
day. Remember that battery busy schedule and need to be able
and performance can be to keep certain parts of it separate
affected if you use too from one another.
many of these, as they will
often continue to be
updated even when they “Quickly glance and see what you
are not in the foreground.
need with no further interaction”
Increase your productivity
33 Organised 36 Files are important 39 Quick settings
folders As you become more productive, files In Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), you can pull
To be really productive, and documents will play an important part in down the notification bar and tap the top-right
you will likely be using your mobile life. File Manager, from Google Play, hand icon to bring up a series of quick settings.
many apps and services lets you explore every part of your device and These let you adjust brightness, Bluetooth and
on your Android device enables you to move files or to share specific Wi-Fi with single taps. It sounds simple, but is
every day. If you drag one entries with anyone. It really does let you under without doubt a productive time-saver.
on top of another you the hood of your Android device.
can create a bespoke
folder, but the real trick is 40 Unique
notifications
to keep your most-used
apps in a couple of
37 Know
what’s local You can easily set
folders on your opening home screen for quick to you unique ringtones for
and immediate access. Whether you need to different contacts on
quickly find a venue for your device. Simply
a meeting or a coffee upload some new
34 Stick with what works shop to entertain sounds to your device or
If you find a solution that works for you
clients, using the SD card and place them
and your device, try to avoid spending lots of time
included Google Local in the Ringtones folder.
searching for better apps that do the same job. If
app will ensure that you In the Contacts app you
it isn’t broken, why fix it?
can find everything you can now assign different
need in seconds. A few tones to different people which lets you quickly
35 Use Google taps and you will have directions and full decide who to take calls from.
Drive contact details for each establishment.
Google Drive lets you
share files with anyone
you wish while retaining
38 Super-quick contacts “Share files with
all of the security you
need. It is simple to use,
In the Contacts app, you can hit the
menu icon when you have a contact selected anyone you wish while
free and very easy to set
up. Head on over to the
and then choose ‘Place on Home screen’ to have
shortcuts available for quick calls. This is a retaining all of the
brilliant Google Play store
to pick it up.
particularly useful function for important
business contacts and close family members.
security you need”
24
Feature
50 expert tips«

41 Keyboard shortcuts
Shortcut (what it does) Keys to press (or gesture, Keyboard (eg stock Android)
combination of buttons etc)
Show software keyboard Hold Menu icon Stock Android on selected phones
Reply to email message R Stock Android
Compose new email Menu + C Stock Android
Open SMS app Search + S Stock Android
Refresh email inbox Menu + U Stock Android
Quick punctuation Hold down full stop key Stock Android
All capital letters Make a circle above the keyboard Swype
Page down in web or document view Spacebar Stock Android

42 Email labels
Try to assign labels to important
43 Backup!
There are many different
emails to make viewing your inbox more methods for backing up your data and
logical. Within Gmail you have a variety apps. For starters, you can go to
of options that let you assign categories Settings>Backup & reset and tick a box
to each email you receive, and with the to have all of your app data backed up
colour-coded highlighting available, you by Google. There are also third-party
will be able to see what needs to be apps like Titanium Backup which offer
dealt with next and what can wait. Once all of the reassurance you need. Don’t
you start seeing your inbox like this, forget to back up your expansion card
you’ll wonder how you ever managed! from time to time as well.

44 Set up a VPN
Securely connect to a work or home network
You can use the VPN feature in Android to securely connect to a work network or even a
home LAN that you want to keep as secure as possible. Here’s how to do it…

1. Setting up 2. The exact settings 3. Time to connect


Go to Settings and tap the More option in the Tap the ‘+’ icon at the top and enter the The account will be saved and when you tap
Wireless & networks section. Tap VPN. You network name followed by the type of it, you will be asked to enter a user name and
will be prompted to set up a lockscreen PIN connection and server address. You need to password. You will then be able to connect
before you can use VPN. be as exact as possible with this information. securely without any worries.

25
Feature
»50 expert tips

45 Tether with
your phone
You can use your phone as a hotspot for
Web
laptops and other devices using a few
simple settings. Make sure your mobile 46Sync
contract allows tethering though, because
many do not.
Chrome
between PC
and phone
You can easily sync your
bookmarks and open tabs
between a desktop and
Android device which are both
running Chrome. Once set up,
it all happens automatically in
the background.

1. Find the settings


Go to Settings and tap the More option in
Wireless & networks. Select Tethering &
portable hotspot to proceed. Some phones
do not have the option, but most should
show it as available.

Android settings Chrome settings What to sync The end result


Go to Settings>Data When you have Choose to sync You can select
usage on your Android installed Chrome on everything or just your Bookmarks to view the
device and tap the your Android, hit the bookmarks and open desktop bookmarks or
menu icon. A pop-up menu button and tabs. Make sure you check the open tabs on
box appears – make choose Settings. are signed in with your your desktop via the
sure the Auto-sync Select your Google Google account on your Tab option. They’re
data option is ticked. account and tap Sync. desktop Chrome app. always perfectly synced.

47 Read webpages offline


You can save any webpage you like in the
48 Automate your forms
One problem with virtual keyboards, smaller
2. Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Android browser. The option is held under the screens and web browsing is that you often have
You can now choose if you want to allow main menu and is called Save for offline reading. to fill out forms and the process is not always easy
other devices to connect via Wi-Fi, It’s a facility that may seem strange at first, but using this combination. In the stock Android
Bluetooth or both. On most occasions, Wi-Fi for those times when you have trouble gaining a browser you can go to Settings>General>Auto-fill
will work best as it is more powerful. signal, such as on a train, or for when you just text and add all of your information to be
want to be offline, this is a simple and effective automatically inputted the next time you have to
way to create a store of reading material that you complete a web form. It will save you a huge
can read whenever you like, regardless of where amount of time in the future and brings Android
you are in the world. browsing one step closer to the desktop version.

49 Ignore the 50 Home


default bookmarks
You don’t have to Go to your bookmarks
accept the default and hold your finger
Android browser over one of them. A
because there are a menu will
huge range of subsequently pop up.
3. Time to connect third-party options Choose Add shortcut
Tap Set up Wi-Fi hotspot and choose a available that have to home screen from
name. Input the security type you want to specific focus on the list and a new icon
use (WPA2 recommended) and then choose different types of will appear on your
a password. Now tick the Portable Wi-Fi usage. For example, Opera Mini is designed to be home screen with a
hotspot option to activate it. as fast as possible while Dolphin Browser has a direct link. This will give you
focus on accuracy and page presentation. instant access.

26
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Feature
»Get creative

28
Feature
Get creative «

Unleash your creative side with the best art and photography apps

W
e all have creative juices running through of creative apps which strip away the burden of advantage of a tablet or smartphone over a
our veins but sometimes it is hard to truly technology, using simple interfaces to let you get computer, it is that apps are tailor-made for specific
unleash our potential. Not any more. An on with the task in hand, be it making notes, tasks and this ensures that you can concentrate on
Android device lets you do so much that you will sketching an image, producing music, altering one thing at a time. Of course, you could, if you
wonder why you never noticed some of your photos you have taken or using incredible effects wish, combine the power of many of these apps
undoubted talents before. Here we look at a range to make images stand out. If there is one together. Now that would be truly creative.

Learn image editing


While there are many image editing apps, none have of the screen. They range from auto correction,
the incredible user-friendly interface of Snapseed. selective adjustment and tuning to straightening,
The front end has won numerous awards for the iOS cropping and cool bespoke effects. Swipe your
version and, now available on Android, it has lost fingers around and edit intuitively. It’s a winner.
none of the gestural functions which make it so
Name: Snapseed
effective. Once you have your image, you can use Price: Free
the selection of tools which scroll along the bottom Best for: Image manipulation

Tap Auto Correction and you can correct the Use the Straighten option to place a grid on The Tune Image function allows for brightness,
contrast or colour of an image. Swipe left and your image and then use your fingers to rotate ambiance, contrast, saturation and white
right to find the required level. Tap Compare to the photo. You can rotate at 90-degree angles balance adjustment. Swipe up-and-down to
see how different it is to the original. and select Preview to view it. select the option and left-to-right for the level.

“You can also overlay other effects including black This is the Grunge option, but you can also
overlay other effects including black and white,
drama and vintage. Move the centre point to

and white, drama and vintage” alter the effect and shuffle through
sub-effects.

Capture your mood


Although you will need to have a powerful Android
device – not even the Nexus 7 will handle this app –
it is easy to see why the requirements are so
specific when you begin to use Adobe Collage. The
complexity of the app is hidden by the simple
interface which lets you pull in photos, add text, find
images on Google, produce colours and grab video
and mash them all together. Images can be scaled
and rotated and you are able to use different pen
types. You can also make use of Adobe’s Creative
As the intro screen shows, you can add images, video or text, edit them, The range of options down the right-hand side of the
Cloud. This is the ultimate collage app. share, draw on the screen, edit images and change the backgrounds of screen let you alter colours and tailor your screen for
your collage for the ultimate creativity. the mood you are trying to create with your collage.
Name: Adobe Collage
Price: £6.99/$9.99
Best for: Creating a collage

29
Feature
»Get creative

Note down ideas Take fun photos


If you get a spark of inspiration, then it, great if someone sends you their Paper Camera has little practical use, Noir but there are so many inventive
firing up Skitch and producing a quick own idea, for example, and you want but it is sure good fun and you can filters as well. Different options
drawing to make a note will prove to make changes. Skitch gives you really be creative with the results. appear depending on the type of filter
incredibly useful. The app has been access to arrows, text and drawing Unlike Instagram, this app places you are using, then the image is taken
produced by Evernote so it is brilliant tools. Your new go-to note-taking app. effects on your photographs before and saved. Hassle-free effects.
for storing ideas in the cloud. It also Name: Skitch you even take them. There are lots to
allows you to grab a photo, map, choose from too. We love Andy’s Pop,
Name: Paper Camera
Price: Free Price: £1.19/$1.19
screen grab or sketch and annotate Best for: Napkin notes Pastel Perfect, Half Ton and Gotham Best for: Real-time effects

There are lots of


cartoon-like filters,
each of which let
you see the effect it
will have on your
chosen image
before you press
the camera option.

When you choose


an effect, a bespoke
set of options will
appear on the right
Produce a sketch from scratch using your It is possible to use photos, maps or images
of the image frame
fingers to draw, and annotate it with built-in grabbed from the web. You can crop these
which let you further
functions. The images can then be saved or and you can also make notes over the top.
tailor the photo to
shared so others can see your idea. The menus bring up a range of tools.
your liking.

Create 3D images
Sketcher 3D Pro makes three-dimensional design rather head around the interface, good structures can be produced
easy. You start off with a grid and you can place different in next to no time. The app has physics simulation tools and
types of solid objects on to it. It takes a little bit of getting it supports .OBJ files, which are crucial if you want to take the Name: Sketcher 3D Pro
used to in terms of object placement and the viewpoint images and use them in other apps (you can import these Price: £1.24/$1.99
(there are different cameras) but once you have got your into Sketcher 3D Pro as well). Best for: Drawings in 3D
Tap and hold the As well as being able
screen and it lets to add different
you choose from blocks, you can also
different types of 3D change the camera
blocks, including view using the icons
solid squares and in the bottom-right of
triangles, which you the screen.
can move around
and zoom in and out.

The app starts with a The app also allows


moveable grid onto for the importing of
which objects are .OBJ files, and there
placed. They can be are two built in to the
altered in terms of app which you can
colour and play around with as
transparency and the you create your own
results can be saved. 3D world.

30
Feature
Get creative «

App in focus: Snapseed


Name: Snapseed
Price: Free
Best for: Image manipulation

How to make amendments to your images


using the amazing effects in Snapseed

Go compare
The Compare option lets you see the
original photograph so that you can
contrast it with the one that you have
manipulated in the Snapseed app. The
photograph appears in the main window
of the home screen and from here you
can go on to add many more effects.

Share to Google+
As well as being able to
save your image to
your Photo Gallery for
later viewing (they
automatically go into
their very own
Snapseed folder) there
is a Google+ option too
which lets you share
photographs with Get editing in seconds
people who you are Opening a photograph is the
connected to as long simplest process of them all in
as you are signed up to Snapseed. The ability to do this is
this service. presented at the top of the screen
and only needs a tap before you are Experiment with effects
asked if you wish to take or choose a There are plenty of effects all presented
photo. Make your choice and within in this carousel of options, which you
seconds you have an image ready to can scroll through left and right. Tapping
start manipulating. on an option gives you the ability to alter
the photograph by sliding your finger
until you are satisfied that you have the
perfect final result. You can then go
back to the home page.
More help
If you make a mistake, hit the Revert button to go back to the original artwork. There are
other options here too. Tap the menu in the top-right corner, and as well as allowing you

“Share with people who you


to share and find online help, you can also show the instructional overlay which lets you
work out what does what.

are connected to”

Name: Caustic 2 Name: Songify Name: Solo Name: Audiotool


Price: Free Price: Free Price: £2.49/$3.99 Sketch
Price: £2.49/$3.99
Boasting samplers, synthesizers and Although you don’t have to do much, With three guitars to choose from Sequence sounds using emulations
a sequencer and costing absolutely the results can surprise and excite (acoustic, classical and electric to be of three different tools, including
nothing, this great-looking, almost- you. Simply talk to your Android precise) all of which are spot on in drum machines, and arrange them in
retro app lets you create a rack of device and the speech will be terms of authenticity, you can not ever more complex ways. Various
machines – from a sampling drum transformed into your own song. only produce your own chord but features, from reverb to delays, can
machine to a PCM synthesizer – and Many of the results have gone viral in access a large chord library and play alter the pattern of a tune to make it
allows for the production of music. the past, so play around and you may along to music loaded on your unique. You can also use real-time
Performances can be in real time and be the next overnight sensation. It’s Android device. Or you can just jam tempo change for better control over
you can also import .WAV files. another freebie too, so no excuses! – whatever takes your fancy. your musical creation.

31
Tutorials
» masterclass
Get news and info
on your phone
Stay informed and get the latest news and
information straight to your Android device

N
ews and information are two 2. Social search
of the more obvious uses for Google Reader is all about news
any mobile device. They sources and this includes a host of
provide the option to access both from social networks and blogs. When
pretty much wherever you are. How adding a new content source, use the
you choose to get that information can Social option to choose from Twitter,
be very much a choice of preference, Flickr, Blogger and WordPress.
but there are some great apps out
there that everyone should have in 3. Play Book searches
their collection. Ask your own The lookup search facility in Google
Google Play Books and Reader are question online at Play Books is location-restricted. To
littlegreenrobot.co.uk
two of Android’s best tools for check that a location is available
gathering info, and both have
What is the for further investigation simply
best news app
advanced features you might not be tap and hold on it.
on the Google
aware of. Pocket is another app that Play store?
brings together web content in one There is an impressive 4. New news categories
easy-to-read format. Share any page array of news apps on The News & Weather app is
the Play store with
and open Pocket when you need it. some stand out restricted to a selected number
The News & Weather app is also a candidates. Location of categories but there is the
quick and easy way of staying up to does dictate option to create custom ones.
preference, but the
date with what is going on. With this official BBC News app However, there is no option to
selection of apps at your disposal you is hard to beat. The choose the content.
user experience and
will always be up to date with the sheer volume of
content and information you want. top-quality news 5. Site log-ins
coverage is unrivalled. Pocket adds webpages for
The newly revamped
Top tips for Android’s news apps USA Today is another future reference. To avoid
1. Play Book highlights app that should be having to log in every
The annotation feature in Play Books checked out. This has time, head to Settings and
a vast range of quality
allows you to add a highlight colour news, though sticks select Manage site
and a note. Assign each colour a very much to its subscriptions. Select a
location. To customise
purpose or category and make a note the news experience,
site or add a site and
of what each colour represents for Google Currents is a enter log-in details and
future reference. good choice. save for automatic log in.

Read all about it Get the latest news from your favourite newspaper

Check your Get news Read the


finances from abroad latest news
» Financial » USA today » Daily Mail
Times USA Today is one of Online
The award-winning the biggest The Daily Mail Online is
newspaper is a British newspapers in the a free app that
institution and the FT world and its recent reflects the content
app reflects the overhaul found in its print
content found in the demonstrates how a publication. Regular
print version. The app news app should readers of the Mail will
is updated daily and work. Users will get all recognise a familiar
further news is added the info they need layout with headline,
throughout the day. from various subjects. image and caption.

32
Ge and
»mhe l form
t t in
as ate at
ter st io
cla ne n
ss w
Works with » Varies with device Difficulty » Easy

Add an annotation 2min

s
Pick out preferred
words to discover
more related
guide information

in Play Books
Add a highlight colour and bespoke note to selected text
Look up
locations
for easy future reference
in Books
G
oogle Play Books is the free eReader app that allows users to read their favourite
book wherever they are. Users can jump to their favourite chapter, adjust the size of
text, change the screen brightness and bookmark pages. A recent addition to the feature
list is the ability to add annotations. Users can select a single word, a sentence or whole
paragraphs ready for annotation. The first step is to choose a highlight colour, of which there
are four available. This allows users to create their own colour code definitions. Then a note can
be added to offer further explanation or more information.

Select a book from your collection and


1 locate a word or phrase to search.
Currently this is restricted to locations, eg La
Rochelle. Tap and hold text and the location
will appear at the bottom of the screen.

1 Select text
Open a book and head to the page where
2 Highlight colour
With the desired text selected, now tap the
an annotation is to be added. First, tap and hold pen icon at the top of the screen to display the
on the screen above the desired text. This will add different highlight colours available to you. To
a set of blue markers either side of the word. Drag select a new colour simply tap one of the options
the handles to select the text to be annotated. that takes your fancy.
Drag the location to the top of the
2 screen and tap the map pin. Choose
Maps or Earth to view and then select
whether or not this will be the default action
or select Just once for single use.

3 Change or remove
The previous step will apply the selected
4 Add a note
Tap and hold any highlighted text to select
highlight colour to your chosen passage of text. To it. Now tap the Note icon situated at the top of the There are two text links associated with
change or remove the highlight colour tap and hold page. This will in turn open the Add Note option.
3 the selected term. Selecting Search will
the highlighted text. Now tap the pen icon to Now add the desired text and tap the tick icon in head to the default browser and show all
change its colour or tap X to remove the the top-right to save it. Tap the Note icon in the related search items in Google. Google also
highlighting altogether. margin to read your notes. redirects to Wikipedia to show related info.

33
Tutorials
Works with » Android 1.6 and up Difficulty » Easy

Follow the news in


Google Reader
Search, subscribe
G
oogle Reader is all about keeping users up to best experience. The main player is Subscribe. Users
date with their favourite online content. It is can perform a simple search with a keyword or key
and set up the a tool for gathering and sharing all the phrase to see what’s on offer. For more specific
Reader app to get unmissable blogs and websites that users read on a searches there is the option to search via URL. Social
regular basis. It is very much a personalised news channels include Blogger, Twitter, del.icio.us, Flickr
the content you source. Google Reader is part of a user’s Google and WordPress.com for more great news sources. For
want whenever account meaning that changes made on the app are a quick start, Reader offers a few suggestions. With

you need it immediately available via a desktop and vice versa.


To make sure that Google Reader users get what
sources in place users can take time to tweak the
experience. Set the text size, sort subscriptions,
they want there are a host of features to help get the change folders, change icons and synchronise feeds.

1 Select Google account


Head to the Google Play store on your
Add a subscription
2 Tap the menu icon, top-right, and select
device, search for Google Reader, download and Subscribe from the list. This will give you the
install. First-time users will need to choose a option to search by keyword. Add a keyword, eg
Google account to use. If the account is not listed, Android, and tap Search. Select a feed from the
select Add account and choose an existing list to view the latest stories. Tap Subscribe to add
account or create a new one. and No thanks to view another feed.

3 Mark as read
By default, new items will be unread. To
4 Default icons
Tapping Google Reader will take the user
Reading preferences
5 Tap the menu icon in the top-right corner of
mark a story as read, tap, hold and select Mark back to the main screen where the new feed will the application and select the Settings feature.
previous as read. Alternatively, select the menu be displayed. Subscriptions are assigned an icon Tap the Volume key navigation option to allow for
icon and select Mark all as read. A message will when selected. To switch to the default icon set, the use of the volume keys for navigation. To
appear asking ‘Are you sure?’. Select Mark all as tap the menu icon and select Use default icons. To modify the default text size, select text size and
read or Cancel. switch back, repeat and select Use favicons. choose an option from the list.

34
»facebook »twitter

»mt the info


Ge and
Message us!

as lat rma
Get in touch via Facebook /littlegreenrobot @lgrobot

te es ti
Get help from our Follow us to send your
and Twitter

rc t n on
Facebook community questions and thoughts

la e
ss w
Works with » Android 2.2 and up Difficulty » Easy

Save webpages to Pocket

s
T
Create a he web is a gold mine of information and normal share tab. Selecting the Share option presents
entertainment – it has every conceivable subject Pocket alongside other well-known options. One tap and
collection of that people can imagine. The vast swathe of the page is added to Pocket.
your favourite information is hidden away in billions of pages, so Saving is that simple, but control passes to the Pocket
websites and finding it all is not always easy. However, when you do,
Pocket is on hand to help store for future reference.
app after the initial sharing process. Users can sync to
update content, filter by title, type or URL and add tags
locations The whole process is swift and simple. When users find for easy finding. Take a look at the three mini steps
a page, video or image they simply need to tap the below to get to grips with the process.

1 Default browser
To save pages via the default Android
2 Open Pocket
Adding to Pocket is very much the same
3 Manage pages
Saved pages are by default stored in the
browser, first tap the menu icon, in the top-right. from browser to browser. Once webpages have order they are saved. To filter the content tap the
From the menu select Share page. This will display been saved, they are added to Pocket. Head to the page icon and select a category, eg Videos.
a list of options, which typically doesn’t include Pocket app to view your latest selection of saved Alternatively, use the search filter to search via a
Pocket. Tap See all and select Add to Pocket. pages on your device. keyword or a URL, for example, YouTube.

2min Master the News & Weather app


guide Get the latest hourly, daily and weekly weather and read the latest stories from around the web

Locate the News & Weather Swiping right will reveal a The news is divided into a The default selection of
1 app which will typically start
2 selection of news stories
3 selection of default categories
4 categories is limited and there
with the weather. The default screen under a selection of headings. as mentioned. To add and remove is the option to add a custom topic.
will display the temperature and a These include Top Stories, UK, categories, tap and hold the menu Tap Customised topic, add the new
weekly forecast. Tap the information Sports and Entertainment. Each button and select Settings. Tap topic title and press OK to add the
icon to view a graphical summary story includes a heading and source, News settings>Select news topics new category. This will be added
with the option to view details and a single tap will redirect the user and tap to add a new category or automatically to the news section of
minute by minute. to the selected story on the web. remove a category. the app. To add more, repeat.

35
Tutorials
Works with » Android 4.0 and up Difficulty » Easy
Quick searches
A quick slide of your finger brings
the search box at the top of the
screen, and the options along the
bottom of the screen up where
ever you are. Especially handy if you
want to refine your search or go

Context-
looking for something else

aware
searches
How to make sure your Google searches
hit the spot every single time

M
ost people know that Google
started off as a search engine, but a Context-aware
lot of people don’t know that if you Here’s what you get at the top of
the page when you search for
use the Google search bar that comes London, for example. As you can
installed on pretty much every Android see, rather than a series of links to
webpages, Google Search presents
device, you get far better results than if you you with pertinent information to
just use a web search from your browser. digest right from the get-go
We’re not just talking weblinks either, we’re
talking tailored information about places,
events, movies and a whole heap of other
things too. Plus, using the search bar can
save you time, letting you search straight
from a home screen. If you don’t see the
Google search bar on your device, long press
on one of your home screens and you should
be able to find it in the list of available
widgets. It’s worth taking the time to get it set Points of interest Get the links
up, because the results you get are going to You can scroll left and right through The information on the page in this
mean searching from the browser becomes a the points of interest, and tapping instance comes from Wikipedia,
on them will take you to a page with but depending on what you search
thing of the past. In this tutorial we’ll walk detailed information. At the top of for that changes. When you’re done
you through what you can expect from your the screen you’ll find a map that, reading it you can tap on an arrow
shiny new search bar. when tapped, takes you straight to to minimize it, letting you get to the
the Google Maps app weblinks below with no problem

1 Find the bar


First up you’ll need to locate the bar on one
2 Start your search
As soon as you tap in the box you’ll be
What are you looking for?
3 As you type you’ll find different suggestions
of your device’s home screens. If you can’t find it, taken into the app. You’ll see recent searches coming up underneath the search bar. These can
long press on the screen or go to the widgets below and, if your device is running Google Now, be contacts or apps, webpages you’ve visited in
screen in your apps pane and you should be able you’ll see a lot of personalised content below as the past or tabs that you’ve got open in your
to add it from the Widgets menu. Once it’s there, well, which will in many cases cut down your browsers right now – all of which can be tapped on
tap in the text box. search time by some margin. for instant access.

36
quick Some quick tips to get your searches up to scratch
1 Get connected 2 Do the shopping 3 Use related searches 4 Download offline speech 5 Hide from Google

tips
Using Chrome on your PC and linked Use the Shopping tab to search for Google often knows what you’re Want to search with your voice Don’t want your searches to show
Android devices means you can the best deals online and those near looking for better than you, so check when you’re offline? Download it up in Google Now? You can turn it
share search history. to where you are. the related searches. from the settings menu. off in your Settings.

Ask your own


question online at
littlegreenrobot.co.uk

Do I need to have
the widget to use
Google Search?
Nope. If you’re running Android
4.1 (Jelly Bean) or up just hold
down the Menu button and
you’ll be able to get to Google
Now, which integrates the
4 More of a talker?
If your fingers aren’t free to do the typing,
5 Keep digging deeper
In the information section at the top of
search bar. For older phones,
you can have Google Search as
just tap on the microphone icon next to the search some searches you’ll find links to more content. In a regular app on a home
bar instead and you’ll be taken to the speech films, for example, the names of the actors and screen. Look for it in your apps
recognition search. Say what you’re looking for directors and search links which, when tapped, will list – it’s usually a Google ‘g’ on
and, more often than not, Google will be able to automatically look up more information about the a blue background.
perform a search for it. performer in question.
Can I still use
Google as a
currency converter?
Absolutely. You can use all the
same tricks you use when using
Google on the web, such as
converting currency and
measurements, and if you add
‘define’ before a word you’ll be
given the dictionary entry for
the second word.

6 The usual Google options


If you’d rather see images or news posts
7 Be more specific
Searching for a specific place shows you
about the object of your search you can do so by even more useful advice. There’s the obligatory
scrolling through the options bar at the bottom of Google Maps option, Wikipedia information, a link
the search until you find the correct heading. You to the place’s website if it has one, and a search
can even see if there’s anything located on your bar that lets you find info within that website. It’s a
device that matches the search parameters. very powerful function.

Need help?
Got a problem with your
Android phone or tablet?
Get in touch with us...
»facebook/littlegreenrobot
Get help from our
Facebook community

8 Find things near you


If you allow Google to know your location,
9 Let Google learn
The more you search the better it gets,
»twitter @lgrobot
Follow us to send your
questions and thoughts
it’ll even show you businesses and services near learning the sort of things you search for and
you if you search for them. Handy links let you
jump straight to the Google Maps app to get
directions from your current position if you’re in an
creating a much better and personalised service.
This is even more useful if your device is running
Google Now, which will show you relevant
»email
qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Send your questions for our team of
unfamiliar town or city. information based on your searches. experts to tackle

37
Tutorials
Works with » Varies with device Difficulty » Easy
Get more info
You can tap on each of the
individual apps to find out more.
From there you can uninstall and
force stop apps, find out how much
of your device’s memory they’re
using and check the number of

Master the
permissions you agreed to

Clear defaults
If you’ve got an app that’s set to
open as default for an action, you
can clear that here too. Scroll down
and you should see a button that

Applications
says Clear defaults. Handy if you’ve
installed a new web browser to try
out, for example

manager
Get to grips with the apps and
processes that are running on your
Android device

O
ne of the most important, and useful, aspects of your
Android device is the Applications manager. From
here you can keep an eye on everything you’ve got
installed, everything that your phone is running, and quickly
uninstall or stop apps and processes you don’t want
anymore. There are plenty of apps on Google Play that offer
more control, but we’re going to look at the stock
Applications manager, which is going to be more than The full picture
The first page that opens should
enough for most people. To get things started, bring up the show the applications you’ve
Settings menu, then find where it says Applications downloaded. Swiping through you’ll
manager, then tap on that to open the app. Once you’ve also see applications and
processes that are running and a
done that, read on for some useful tips and handy hints. complete list of everything on your
Android device. You can sort these
lists in different ways by tapping
the Menu button
Go deeper into app management
Now you know the basics, here are a few handy tips
to make sure you’re getting as much as you can out
of your most popular apps

Know your RAM Get some help Clear the cache


Along the bottom of the If you’re not sure what You’ll sometimes find that
screen in the Running something in the Running apps have a lot of
tab, you’ll see how much tab does, Google it. unnecessary cached
RAM you’ve got and how You’re likely to find your data. Clearing that out is
much you’re using. The answer, and you’ll know a good way to free up
lower you get the latter, whether you need the app space. From an app’s
the smoother and quicker running, or if you can individual page, just tap
your device will be. close it for a speed boost. on Clear cache.

Live processes
Swipe across the screen to see
running processes. A lot of these
Reset default settings are necessary, so it’s best not to
If you’d rather clear all of the defaults, you can do that close anything if you’re unsure.
from the main page. Tap menu, then tap Reset app Some apps will leave processes
preferences. It also reverts your setting for disabled apps, running even when they’re closed.
notifications and background data download preferences Stop these to boost efficiency

38
Works with » Varies with device Difficulty » Easy

How to make a
conference call
How to make
S
ometimes it’s a lot easier to make one call than This is how it works
it is to make three. If you’ve got big news to tell on a Samsung Galaxy
calls to more a lot of people, or some work you need to discuss S III, and while it’ll be
than one with colleagues then making a conference call is pretty similar on other
going to be much simpler than repeating yourself over phones, you might need to
person at and over again. Luckily, your Android phone is more change round some of the steps to
once on your than capable of handling conference calls, so you’re make sure everything works the way it

Android already well equipped to get the word out. In this


tutorial we’ll show you how it’s done. Bear in mind
should. Please note that your network must allow
the feature as well. With that in mind, let’s start the
smartphone conference calling can vary from phone to phone. phone call ball rolling and move on to step one.

1 Make sure you can


It’s worth checking before you try to make a
2 Call the first number
To get started you must first call one of the
3 Wait for a reply
You’ll now have to wait until the person
call that your network allows you to conference people that you would like to add to the call. Do you’re calling answers. Unfortunately you can’t add
call. Some will disable the feature and have their this in the normal way, either using the contact people into calls until you’ve got at least one
own way of doing things instead. A quick Google details that are stored in your phone, or by typing person connected. Once they answer you can go
search should tell you whether or not your carrier in a number using the keypad and pressing the straight on to step 4. If they don’t, you’ll need to
allows conference calls. green call button at the bottom. call someone else.

4 Add another caller


Once the first person has answered you’ll
5 Wait a bit more
You’re now going to have to wait while the
6 Merge the calls
Now the moment of truth. Once the second
see that the Add call button isn’t greyed out any next person answers this new phone call. Your person has answered, tap Merge and the two calls
more. Tap on that and then choose the next first contact will be put on hold while this second should join and your conference call is in full flow.
person you want to add, again using either their caller is being connected, so you don’t need to You can now repeat the process if you want to add
details from your phone’s Contacts application or worry too much about them for now – you’re only more people by tapping Add call again. The
by typing in their number. dealing with one caller at a time. number of callers will be limited by your network.

39
Tutorials
Works with » Android 4.0 and above Difficulty » Easy

Control which apps use


background data
Disable your
O
ne of the great things about Android 4.0 Ice when you don’t want them to. Some apps are
Cream Sandwich is the way it hands control designed to do this as standard, and if they are data
apps from using of your mobile data back to you. With a intensive apps, such as a music streaming service like
background data sensible stock app that’s built into every smartphone Spotify that can download tunes for offline use, they
that runs the OS, and any Android OS since, you can can ease through your allowance before you know it.
and set limits for not only keep an eye on how much data you’re using, In this tutorial we’re going to walk you through the
your data you can make sure you never spend a penny over basics of the Data usage app, show you how to make

consumption your contracted amount.


One of the best ways to do this is to make sure your
sure apps aren’t taking up precious mobile data when
they shouldn’t be, and explain the best ways to keep
apps aren’t using mobile data in the background a close eye on your data usage all round.

1 Find the app


Bring up your Settings menu and you
Get to know the app
2 You’ll see something like this, although
should find the Data usage app near the bottom of colours and forms will differ from manufacturer to
the Wireless and networks section (the section manufacturer. Right now we’re looking at the graph
names may vary between devices). Tap on it and that traces your data usage and how we can
you’ll get taken to the main screen of the app, manipulate it to give us a clearer view of exactly
which is where the real fun begins. what is using it up.

3 Spread the difference


The two white bars in the graph can be
4 Go a little bigger
If you need to view historical information
Down to business
5 You’ll see a list of apps below the graph.
moved with swipes. This expands or narrows the you can use the drop-down date menu shown here Tap on one of them and you’ll see a breakdown of
range of the data information that the graph is above the graph. These controls are the same the data usage for that app split between
displaying. If you want to see your usage for a set when you’re looking at the information for specific Foreground (when you are explicitly using the app)
period, such as the last couple of days, you’re applications that are listed below the graph, which and Background. If you think it’s been using too
going to use these. we’re going to do now. much, then tap the Restrict Data Usage check box.

40
Get in touch
We’re on Facebook and Twitter, or
»facebook
/littlegreenrobot
»twitter @lgrobot
»email
qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Like us on Facebook and Follow us to send your Need help? Got a question? Drop us
just drop us an email join our community comments and pics an email and let us know

Ask your own


question online at
littlegreenrobot.co.uk

Can I stop apps


using data
altogether?
There are two solutions to this.
First, go to each of your apps
that use background data and
set the updates to Never or
Manual. Alternatively, go into
6 Cut off the supply
You’ll see this message when you restrict
7 More drastic measures
Once you’ve set up which applications you
Settings>Mobile networks and
turn off Mobile Data. In this
the data usage of an app. Some apps will have don’t want to use background data, you can set a latter case nothing will sync at
better controls in their own settings, others won’t. cap on total usage to make sure you’re not in all without you turning the
If you’d rather check for yourself, cancel the danger of allowing apps to exceed your monthly feature on again.
operation then tap View App Settings on the allowance. Head back to the main menu and tap
previous screen. Set Mobile Data Limit.

8 Set your levels


Drag the lines into place. The red line is
9 Play with the settings
Bring up the menu and you’ll be given extra
10 Set up your hotspots
Tell your smartphone which of your saved
your absolute limit, the orange line is when you options. Unchecking the Auto sync box will mean wireless networks are actually Wi-Fi hotspots. This
want to be warned you’re getting close to your apps won’t update themselves without asking your will make sure your apps warn you when they’re
limit. Bear in mind your network might calculate permission. That will let you make sure you update going to download huge files over the hotspots,
data differently, so aim low with your limits rather over Wi-Fi. Helpful if you don’t want to waste data, and won’t try and use them to grab your precious
than being precise. although also potentially inconvenient. background data.

11 Set when you’re roaming


If you’re in a different county you might
12 Check your Wi-Fi too
If you’re on a limited internet package at
13 If all else fails…
Sometimes turning off your mobile data is
need to tell your phone you’re going to be roaming. home, it’s worth keeping an eye on how much data the best and only way to make sure you’re not
Bear in mind that in this case your usage will still your apps are using when they’re connected to it. using any. Tap the checkbox and your device won’t
be calculated on the chart but won’t be included Tapping on the option in the menu will add an extra connect to anything other than a Wi-Fi network.
as part of your allowance and will be something tab that displays your usage. The features are the Bear in mind some phones need a data
you pay extra for. same, but your usage will be much higher. connection to make calls though.

41
FOR THE GNU GENERATION
www.linuxuser.co.uk

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Works with » Depends on keyboard used Difficulty » Easy

How to switch
between keyboards
Not satisfied with the keyboard you’re using? Swap it!

T
he stock Android keyboard is certainly process easily enough. However, swapping
better than it used to be, and most between already-installed keyboards can be a
manufacturers’ Android devices now have bit of a chore, especially if you haven’t done it
a decent software keyboard to boot. Usually, if before. This tutorial will take you through the
you want to swap out for a different choice, different steps and make sure you’re tapping or
something like Swype or SwiftKey is ideal. Once sliding away with the keyboard you want to use
the app is installed it should run you through the in no time at all.

[FIG 3] This dialogue as other applications. You can’t just pop


box always comes up into your device’s task manager and set
when you’re swapping
to different third-party which keyboard comes up when you tap a
keyboards. If you’re text box. If this dialogue box doesn’t come
happy to continue, up, you’ll need to run the keyboard’s app
then just tap on the OK
option to proceed settings to change things around. Bear in
mind that most first-party keyboards won’t
need you to do this.

5. Type away
You should now be all set with your new
keyboard. To make sure everything has
synced correctly, just pop to the nearest
text box and see if the right keyboard pops
up when you tap on it. If it doesn’t, you
might need to check that the defaults are
right by finding the app for the keyboard in
your applications drawer.

[FIG 4] You need to set


your new keyboard as
the default, otherwise
your old one is going to
keep popping up when
you tap on text boxes
1. Find the right settings but the next step will be the same. You
menu first need to find the keyboard you want to use
Oddly enough, you can’t change which in the list and tap on it.
keyboard you’re using from the keyboard
itself, you’re going to need to go to your 3. Who do you trust?
home screen and bring up the Settings If you’re swapping out to a third-party
menu for the whole of the phone. Scroll keyboard, then it’s likely you’re going to be
Ask your own
down and you should see the Language & confronted by a message similar to this question online at
input option in the Personal section. Tap one [fig 3]. Don’t fret, it’s a precautionary littlegreenrobot.co.uk

on that and it’ll take you to exactly where measure more than anything. If you are Why would I
you need to go. worried about your new keyboard stealing switch my
your data, a quick Google search for keyboard?
2. Check out the list reviews should assuage your fears. Or in Third-party keyboards
usually offer different
You should now be confronted by a list of some cases, confirm them. features to the one
the different keyboards you’ve got that came with your
installed. Depending on what version of 4. Set your defaults device, or a nicer
typing experience.
Android you’re using, and who made your Another strange thing about keyboards is Can’t hurt to try!
device, things might look a little different, their Default doesn’t work the same way

43
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Learn the truth about iPhone, iPad, Android, Photoshop and


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Try again
Once your widget is the right size
just tap anywhere on the screen
and you’ll be taken out of the
editing process. If you’re not happy
with things, long press the widget
Works with » Android 4.0 and up Difficulty » Easy Drag around
and then release and you can try
and get the size right again
Press on one of the dots and you’ll

Resizing
be able to drag it to the position
you want. Bear in mind the widget
will snap to the same grid as the
apps on your home screen, so
there are some restrictions when
you’re sizing up

widgets
Fitting widgets onto your
screen is like a jigsaw puzzle.
But did you know you can
resize them to fit?

W
hile widgets have always been
useful little tools, it wasn’t until
Android 4 that you could change
their dimensions. It’s not the case with all
widgets, but now when you’re adding one to
a home screen, or moving it around, you get
the chance to stretch and pinch the widget
to a size that suits you. Usually changing Flexible widgets
Some widgets can only be made
the size of the widget adds or takes away wider, others can only be made
information, and the extra layer of longer. The Calendar app does
customisation means that you can have a both, as you can tell from the dots
on the left and right, and top and
more individual looking device, with bottom of the lines. These are how
widgets tailored to your need. It might you change a widget’s size
not be the most taxing of tasks, but there
are a few things you need to do to get
the best results. In this tutorial we’ll
walk you through the process of
resizing a widget, and give you a few
tips about getting the most out of the
widgets you have on your screen.

Choose your widget


First you’ll need to select the widget you want. Here we’re using the Calendar
widget, but there are plenty of others that you can resize. Drag your chosen
widget onto your home screen through the widgets pane. Once you’ve chosen,
keep your finger pushed down and place the widget on the correct home screen

How to resize awkward widgets Any luck?


Your Android device is pretty good at reorganising itself as you add or change widgets. Here’s Once you’ve released your finger,
how you can sort out a messy looking home screen… you’ll find that lines appear around
the widget. These show that the
widget can be resized. If they don’t
show up, that means the widget
won’t resize, so if you want it bigger
or smaller you’re out of luck

“A more individual
looking device, with
1 Look at the mess
After deleting some items to
make room for a widget you might
2 Resize as normal
Long press then release on the
widget and you’ll bring up the resizing
3 Nice straight lines
Once you’re done, tap the
screen and you’ll be left with a neat
widgets tailored to
end up with a messy home screen.
Don’t worry about putting them in a
straight line once you’re done, your
bars, then drag the top circle up as
you normally would if you were
stretching out a widget. You’ll see
home screen. Bear in mind that if
there are more apps or widgets on
screen your device won’t shove them
your need”
device will do that for you. the apps rearrange as you stretch up. off, you’ll have to do that manually.

45
Tutorials
Works with » Android 2.2 and up Difficulty » Easy

Discover new music via


Google Play Music
How to use the
I
t can be daunting being confronted with a wall of the music library and the connections between artists
musical choices and not knowing where to begin. grow, we’re convinced you’ll start to see an even
Similar Artists You might like a few artists, but digging deep into better service appearing.
feature to find the thousands of songs on the Google Play store is So if you’re feeling adventurous, or just in need of
going to take ages. some new music for a journey or a party, it’s going to
some new tracks That’s where the Similar Artists feature comes in. be worth your while spending a few minutes
to listen to It’s a simple and elegant visual system that lets you mastering the app so that if you’re ever stuck for a
search for your favourite band and from there find song again, you can jump right in and find something
recommendations that are going to be suited to your to your taste. We’ll start with the most impressive
tastes. It’s not super expansive at the moment, but as way to find new music.

1 Head to the Play store


Open up the Google Play store on your
An artist’s page
2 This will take you to the page for that artist
device and head to the Music section. From there or that album, giving you the chance to preview
you’ll want to search for an artist whose work you some of the tracks. At the top of the page next to
already like, in order to find similar acts. When the the artist photo you should see a button that says
list comes up, tap on either their main page or one Explore similar artists with some circles next to it.
of their albums to head to the next step. That’s what we want, so tap on it.

Artists in a similar circle


3 This 4 Dig a bit deeper Add to your wishlist
5 Tapping
will take you to the nice-looking Similar If you slide your finger left to right around on the small bookmark icon just
Artists section. Your original artist is in the large the original circle you’ll see new smaller circles above the blurb about a band will add them to your
circle at the bottom and one of their tracks is featuring different artists. Each of these circles will wishlist. This is a handy way of remembering acts
playing (which you can pause by hitting the button in turn link out to their own collection of various you want to check out while still being able to
in the top-right corner). Now it’s time for you to be artists you might not have heard of. Something continue your search through this impressive and
adventurous and find something new. new and random is just a few taps away. detailed musical maze.

46
quick Tips for getting the most out of the Play store’s music collection
1 Get out of there 2 Use your wishlists 3 It’s good to share 4 Leave a review 5 Check out genres you like

tips
Tap on the headphones icon any Wishlists are a great way to If you find an album you like, tap the If you like, or dislike, what you hear, You can group artists and acts by
time to be taken straight to the remember what to download when share icon to let all your social let people know your thoughts in the genre by swiping to the left of the
Google Music app. you get a chance. network friends know. reviews section. main page.

2 The other way to


min find similar artists
guide Avoid the circles and graphics and just get down to the nitty
gritty of finding some exciting new music

6 Make your next move


Tap on one of the bands you like the look of
and you’ll get taken to their own circle. Here you’ll
hear a sample of one of their best tracks and be
able to read a bit of a blurb about the artist and
their past as well. You will also see a new
collection of acts related to your selection.

1 Find an artist you like


The more visual solution may not be
2 Explore your options
This will take you to a large list of bands
available on all phones, but you can still find that are similar to the one you started on (or
new acts through the store. Find an artist you listened to by other fans of your chosen act).
like, and instead of tapping the button at the top There are no blurbs or song previews here, just
of the screen, scroll down about half way and images and band names. Choose one you like
you should see the Similar Artists tab. Once the look of and tap on it to get more information

7 Take the plunge you’ve found it, tap on it. on that particular act.
If you like what you hear from the preview,
tap the large circle and you’ll be taken to that
band’s page within the Play store. From here you
can listen to some more samples and decide
whether or not they’re worth purchasing. Once you
do, tap on a title.

3 Have a read 4 Get listening


8 Still a bit undecided?
You don’t need to buy a whole album.
You’ll be taken to the standard main
page for the new band and from there you can
Tapping on one of the songs will play you
a brief sample so you can get a taste of what
Buying a single track usually costs about 79p, and have a read of their bio and find out if you think this band sounds like. Tap the Wishlist icon to
should give you a decent idea as to what the band they’re going to play the sort of music that remember them in future or buy tracks if you
are about. If you like them, use them as a base to you’ve been looking for. There is a Similar Artists like them enough. Tapping the Google Music
explore other artists; if not, move on as there are tab at the bottom of the panel that you can use icon at the top of the screen will launch the app
plenty more to discover. to continue your search. so you can hear your new favourite band.

47
Feature
»Android in the cloud

ANDROID IN THE
CLOUD
Everything you need to know about getting more from Android’s brilliant cloud apps
T
here’s no denying that the Android OS is similar apps spawning and creating real competition of a terabyte of storage for your files. Long gone are
slowly becoming more cloud orientated, with in these areas. With every new app that follows, we the days where you’d solely use the cloud as a quick
manufacturers less likely to provide an SD find them to be faster, more reliable and easier for way to store your documents in an emergency – the
card on their latest device – but without making the people to get to grips with. Competition is key in cloud is now seen as an integral part of how you use
device’s internal storage significantly bigger, cloud storage, and with so much on offer, now is the your Android smartphone or tablet. For many it’s a
people are looking for new ways to store their files. time to start getting involved with the cloud. massive part of how they can store and manage
Although the concept of cloud storage isn’t a new The lack of the aforementioned SD card was a their various media files, and with 2.5 million books
one, it has sprung to life in the past year or so, with real pain for a lot of users at first, but now because available in the Amazon store and thousands of
more and more apps becoming fully integrated with there is so much competition, users can get 50 or movies available on Netflix, you’ll certainly need the
the cloud, and even more users taking advantage of 60GB of storage for their files without ever needing extra space. So read on as we give you the ultimate
it. Apps like Google Drive and Dropbox have long to spend a penny. Even if that isn’t enough for you, guide to using the cloud, and show you what you’re
been at the forefront of cloud development, with by spending just a few pounds, you can get upwards potentially missing out on.

48
Feature
Android in the cloud«

Exploring the cloud with Google apps Get to know the cloud
The answers to some commonly asked

G
oogle has always put a massive emphasis document stored in your Drive account directly to questions about your cloud adventure
on using its apps in conjunction with one any Cloud Print-enabled printer, and then perfect
another, providing a full Google experience your printing options using your smartphone. What type of files can I store?
on your phone, tablet or any other device you have Under a single Google account it’s a phenomenal FAQ One of the best things about using
access to. It has been one of the leading thing to see the variety of apps and features you cloud storage is being able to store
companies when it comes to cloud innovation on can uncover when taking full advantage of the almost any file on it. All your text, eBooks and
the Android platform, and now the majority of its cloud. With this single account you’ll be able to have music can live there, but you cannot run apps
apps are fully cloud operational, but without the full access to every single file you upload, every from the cloud.
loss of still syncing its apps together. calendar you sync with Drive and every photo you
At the epicentre of the Google cloud is Google upload on each device you use your Google account Is it possible to create multiple
accounts on various sites?
Drive, its premier file storage and sharing app. Apart in conjunction with. Google is definitely a company FAQ Yes. Many of the biggest cloud storage
from being a suitable place for storing your various making full use of cloud capabilities.
files, big or small, it’s also the hub from which many services come with a decent amount of free
other Google apps connect to. Each Android user storage you can take advantage of. By creating
has access to 5GB of free storage when using Drive, accounts on a variety of sites, you’ll have more
with competitively priced packages for people free storage to play around with. Just make sure
looking for more storage space. Google Docs is now you know where specific files are stored!
fully integrated into Drive, meaning any document,
spreadsheet or presentation you create using the Can I delete the files off my
Docs app is instantly uploaded to the cloud for your FAQ phone after I’ve added them?
editing and sharing needs, and even allows for Once you’ve added a file to the cloud,
multiple users to collaborate on single documents. it’s available for you to download and use
Google Calendar includes a variety of sync options whenever you need it. With this in mind, you can
allowing you to add your appointments and then fully remove the file off your phone or tablet.
schedule to your Google Drive account, and then
export them to wherever else you need them to, Will my data be safe?
including a wide variety of third-party calendar apps. FAQ It’s advised that you don’t upload any
Google’s very own social network, Google +, has sensitive data to the cloud, but your
undergone a mammoth move to the cloud, with its files are certainly not at risk while there. Services
new photo uploading system. Not only does the app like Dropbox provide encrypted servers.
itself include a considerable amount of free storage
for your photos, users also have the option to add Can they link to other apps?
all these uploaded photos directly to their Drive FAQ A large portion of apps can be synced
with other apps to offer automatic
account as well. One of the few fully integrated
cloud apps Google has released is Google Cloud uploads. The entries you add to most third-party
Print. This enables you to wirelessly send any calendar and notification apps can be synced to
also appear in your cloud storage account.

Head-to-head: Which service is right for you?

GOOGLE DRIVE AMAZON CLOUD DRIVE MEGACLOUD SKYDRIVE SUGARSYNC DROPBOX


FREE 5GB 5GB 8GB 7GB 5GB 2GB
STORAGE
FEATURES • Integrated • Easy transfer between • Direct photo • Create documents • Instant backup • Manually set
Google Docs Cloud Drive and your uploads to within the service of all your bandwidth limits
support Kindle Fire Facebook • Selective Sync lets uploaded files • Create photo
• Syncs with • eBooks purchased from • Create playlists of you pinpoint files to • Easy sharing galleries to share
Google Calendar Amazon are the music you’ve send and share with from Android to with friends
and Google automatically uploaded uploaded others Blackberry • Fully available
Reader • Plenty of security • Invite friends to • Automatic uploading devices when you’re
• Compatible with options to protect files download your of recorded videos • Preview images offline
iOS, Windows stored files to YouTube and videos
and Linux within the app
devices
Verdict The ultimate cloud Full support from the Considerably better Full support for the The best service Fantastic for
service that Amazon ecosystem, and priced than the complete Microsoft for transferring and beginners getting
integrates with a some great security competition, with a Office Suite means storing media files, started with cloud
variety of other options make this a hit. whopping amount of SkyDrive is the perfect as loading speeds storage, and plenty
apps to offer a free storage app for working are ridiculously of options to make
seamless sharing available to users. between home and quick. using it even easier.
experience. the office.

49
Feature
»Android in the cloud

Keep in sync
There’s no need for loads of cables – use the cloud to keep your devices connected
Sharing files is the main reason many people use more so when you consider the simplicity of the cloud in just a few steps. As you begin to share and
various cloud apps on their Android devices. The process required. Having a convoluted array of wires stay in sync with your devices, you’ll soon realise
sharing capabilities of devices has got better thanks to transfer files is no longer necessary, and instead that the process is never ending, and that’s exactly
to the various cloud apps at your disposal, but even the process can be entirely completed within the what makes these sort of apps truly fantastic.

2
1 The process of accessing the file on your tablet is
Now pick up your phone and download the Google
the same as accessing it on your phone. Download
the app from the Play store and use the exact same Keep your Drive app from the Google Play store. After it has
finished downloading, you’ll need to log in using the
log-in details that you’ve previously used. The tablet
version of Google Drive is a little easier to control, devices cloud same details you did to access it on your desktop.
The app has a completely different layout, so you’ll

connected
primarily due to the larger screen, so finding your file
need to go to the left-hand side of the app to access
and downloading it is simple. All the images you
your saved files. As long as the document was
added to your document previously can be resized
correctly uploaded, you’ll find it here. Open it and
on the tablet, as well as the ability to save the
make any changes you want. Choose the Import
images to the tablet’s very own Gallery app. Save
menu and import a few images. Save once again
the document once again.
when you’ve made all the necessary changes.

You’ll now be able to go back on to


your desktop computer and find Begin by creating a Google Drive account via
the original document with all the your desktop browser. The process is simple,
changes implemented on it. The and requires just a few details. When signing up
make sure you use the Google account you
process is never ending – you are
able to add and remove changes 3 currently have on your phone, as this will make
on each of your it easier to keep them in sync. Once you’re
devices. The logged in, find the Google Docs page and
cloud can really create a new document. Save the document,
keep your devices in and wait for the file to be automatically
complete sync. uploaded to your Google Drive account.

Stay in the cloud with Chrome OS


Get hands-on with the new operating system that’s based entirely in the cloud
The Chrome OS and Android OS are completely
different products, but do crossover and include a
recognisable amount of features that Google has
implemented into both. Chrome OS is a full
Windows-styled desktop that includes full access to
your emails, apps and multimedia. A range of
manufacturers have produced Chromebooks, a
laptop that runs the Chrome OS independently. As
you’d expect with any Google product, the Chrome Springpad is a feature-packed All of your cloud services can be The entire Audiotool suite is built
OS has huge ties with many standard Google apps. note-taking app that saves managed in Jolicloud, and the files into your desktop browser, making
The biggest of these is the Google Drive service, everything you create directly to within them can be transferred to for a very capable audio editing
which acts as the default file save system for every the cloud, allowing you to access all the services listed. Move, edit suite. The level of detail helps you
file you create and save while using the Chrome OS. the same notes on your phone. and remove files at will. effortlessly make the perfect beat.

50
Feature
Android in the cloud«

Using the cloud at work and at home


How to make the most of Drive, Dropbox and co at the office and at home
The cloud at work
Using the cloud in your
workplace can help increase
productivity with little effort
In a busy work environment you always need to
make sure you’re organised, and with a handful
of different cloud-based apps, you can stay
organised even easier. The most common apps
you’ll use while in the workplace are the likes of
Google Drive and Dropbox. Both of these apps
act as secure ways of being able to store all
your documents in one place, as well as helping
you access your work files from home or while
commuting. Another area of cloud apps which
can be used in the workplace is by creating
virtual backups of your files. G Cloud Backup is a
superb tool that creates a full cloud-based
backup of any file you create on your device,
and then if an accident occurs, you’ll be able to
download an exact copy of it from the cloud. You
can also take backing up a step further by using
the Mozy app. Use Mozy to create a full backup
of databases, folders, various presentations
and documents all at the same time. It also
includes a great selection of security options to
keep your uploaded files safe.

Let the cloud make


“G Cloud Backup is
work life easier
a superb tool”
Fun and games Cloud apps can entertain too

Keep yourself entertained by


taking your media to the next
level with these cloud apps
Whether you’re reading, watching films or
playing games, there’s a great selection of
Android cloud apps that will keep you
entertained. Apart from the Kindle and Nook
apps, you’ll definitely want to check out the Dark
Horse Comics app if you’re a budding reader.
The app includes a vast cloud-based library of
comics from all over the world for you to
purchase at competitive prices. It has its own
dedicated cloud reading app integrated with it,
which isn’t as feature-packed as the Kindle, but
offers an good overall reading experience. If
films and TV are your thing, then you’ll definitely
want to check out the LOVEFiLM app. You can
rent a variety of programmes and movies
directly to your device, and then stream them
straight to your TV, if you so wish. On the other
hand, you might be into making movies, and to
help with this you’ll want to take a look at the
Video Cloud app which includes a vast amount
of available storage for you to upload and
distribute anything you create.

51
Feature
»Android in the cloud

Entertainment on the go
Your cloud experience needn’t be all about documents – store and stream your own entertainment hub

Amazon Cloud Player


Many traditional cloud services don’t include a
streaming service for you to play your music
Stream through. Your best bet is to use a dedicated
There are a wide variety of cloud music service. Amazon Cloud Player lets
movie streaming apps on the you store 5GB of music on its servers, and then
Play store that use cloud play at your leisure
storage for their huge
databases of movies. Apps
like Netflix offer thousands
of movies over the cloud,
while also providing quick
ROMS
As long as you own the original
loading times and great versions of the games, playing ROMS
prices is also entirely possible via the cloud.
All of these ROMS can be uploaded to
most cloud accounts, and because of
their small sizes they can easily be
downloaded on any device where you
have an emulator stored
Google TV
A large portion of Google TV is
based in the cloud, making it a
truly immersive experience.
Users are able to access
Google Drive, Dropbox and
other similar apps, while still
being able to download a
selection of apps and
extensions developed for
Google TV G Cloud
Being able to get a full
gaming experience in
the cloud sounds like
a rather strange
prospect, but works a
treat thanks to G
Cloud. The app
contains hundreds of
Music great titles that you
Google Music is a great can play exclusively
service to share your music through the cloud,
collection over different without ever needing
mobile devices and your to download them on
desktop computer. Any to your device. Some
playlist you put together in of the games are even
the cloud can also be compatible with
transferred across multiple third-party gaming
devices accessories

Manage and sync your entire reading library with the Amazon Kindle app
Use WhisperSync and other Share among your Borrow books Bookmark pages
services to get the best cloud 1 multiple devices 2 One of the coolest features
4 By far one of the coolest
reading experience on any one of No matter which book you download, present in the Kindle app is the features included in the Kindle app is
your Android devices or on what platform you do it, with one borrowing feature. This allows you to go WhisperSync. This lets you create
singular Kindle account, you’ll be able into your local library, take a look at the bookmarks, notes and highlight certain
to access all your downloads across eBooks available and instantly send parts of text that then sync across
various devices. After uploading your them to your Kindle account. There’s every device your Kindle account is
purchase to the cloud, you’ll have no limit to how many you can send, and linked to. When you then remove a
instant access to it on your Android, most of them are free. bookmark or continue reading, the
PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry and virtual bookmark will be removed from
Customise
Windows device. When accessing a
previously purchased book on a
3 The Kindle app has a wide
the other platforms as well.

Upload existing books


completely new device, chances are
you’ll need to re-download it on to the
range of customisable elements to
help make your reading experience a
5 With over 2.5 million books,
new device, but this isn’t the case all little bit easier. Text and font can be comics and periodicals on the Amazon
the time. Some books also support adjusted to different colours and sizes, Kindle store, you won’t ever run out of
virtual bookmarks too. To ensure there and the formatting of the text can also content to read. But if you’ve already
are no problems when using the app be altered. Thanks to the cloud-based got a library of pre-existing titles on
on multiple devices, make sure you’re features, any customisable changes your device, you can upload them to
using the same account on each you make will be carried through every the Amazon cloud server and have
Enjoy a seamless reading experience in the cloud
platform, or your library may not sync. device you use the app on. access to them over all your devices.

52
Feature
Android in the cloud«

Which cloud photo service is best for you?


Get snap happy with these brilliant photo-storage offerings

AMAZON CLOUD PHOTOS NAVER PHOTO ALBUM FLICKR


AVAILABLE 5GB Unlimited 20GB with paid account options available
STORAGE
UPLOADING The app automatically uploads all the Although all your images can be uploaded The app links directly to your Gallery app,
AND images on your Android device, but with ease, the speed in which it completes meaning any archived photos and subsequent
requires you to manually upload this, as well as downloading, is far slower photos are instantly uploaded. It does have
DOWNLOAD subsequent images. Downloading is an than it really should be. trouble uploading images created using the
IMAGES easy process on any device. Photo Sphere feature, however.
EDITING There aren’t any editing tools to hand Editing is kept to the absolute basics within It isn’t the easiest process to apply some
PHOTOS within Amazon Cloud Photos, but it does Naver, with only a few editing tools at hand. edits to your photos in the Flickr app, but the
a great job of quickly uploading your Uploading edited photos can take a while to choice available is pretty good. Edited photos
previously edited images to the cloud. complete, which is a massive problem for take a bit longer to upload, however.
the application.
CREATING To make things easier when it comes to The app is really simple to navigate and Flickr has by far the most comprehensive
ALBUMS finding individual photos, Amazon creating a new album can be done in just a filing system, and the level of detail you can
automatically creates folders and few steps. Once you create a new album, it go into when creating new folders is
sub-folders based on the name of the will automatically highlight it when you fantastic. Pictures can be separated by their
photo, and the date it was taken and access your account on a different device. subject and date of capture.
uploaded to the cloud.
SHARING Whenever you upload a new photo to the You can set up Naver to automatically post Not only is Flickr a great way of showcasing
OPTIONS server, you’ll have the option to instantly a link on your Facebook and Twitter your photos to the masses anyway, it also
share it to one of many popular social accounts every time you upload a photo. has quick share links to Facebook and Twitter.
media sites, as well as all your friends There’s also the same option for sending a
and contacts. text message to your phone’s contacts.

WINNER: The sheer speed in which you can upload and download your images to the cloud
while using Cloud Photos is a massive plus, and something that many of its
Amazon competitors can’t match. Being an official Amazon product, it also benefits from
Cloud being readily available not only on your phone, but also your tablet, desktop
Drive computer and web browser. If you need a place to store photos, Amazon Cloud
Photos Photos is the perfect app for you.

How to sync iCloud with your Android device


Move your contacts, emails and calendars from your
iPhone to an Android device
Download CardDAV Enter iCloud details
Switching between various mobile
operating systems tends to be a real pain,
1 Download and install CardDAV
3 Now enter your iCloud user
and what should be a simple process turns from the Google Play store. When you name and password, and make sure
out to be a complicated and arduously long enter the app for the first time you’ll the SSL box is ticked. The app will now
task to complete. need to create a new account within attempt to remotely log in to your
the app, but this can be used over the iCloud account from your Android. If the
If you’ve recently moved from an iOS
entire DAV range of apps in the future. app is having trouble connecting,
device to an Android device, trying to figure
The app will take a few seconds to double-check that you’ve entered the
out a logical way of transferring your correct details for your account.
process your account details.
contacts can be difficult, but with the
thanks of the expansive library of the
Add server details Start syncing
Google Play store, the overall process is 2 The next screen will require you
4 Once the app has secured a
generally an easy experience.
to input the server you want to connect stable connection between your
To complete a full sync of your iCloud
to, in order to sync that list of contacts Android device and iCloud account,
account, you need one of a range of apps
with your phone. In the Server Name you’ll be able to select contact details
from the Google Play store. The DAV range to sync over. There’s also an option to
Field you’ll need to type: http://
of apps include different sync options to contacts.icloud.com and wait for the add the details to either Google Drive
sync your iOS contacts, calendars and app to connect. Depending on the or a Dropbox account. The other apps
emails over to your new Android device. For contacts you have stored on your in the DAV range, including CalDAV will
this tutorial we’ll be using the CardDAV app iCloud account, this can take up to five let you upload your iCloud calendar
to transfer iPhone contacts. Make the move to Android painless minutes to complete. directly into your Google Drive account.

53
Feature
»Android in the cloud

Eight things to do with your cloud-based Android


1 Sync your entire phone to the cloud
“Put all your
Syncing various files to the cloud is a backup of them whenever you need them. By using
pretty standard feature, but what about syncing the same Jottacloud account on multiple devices,

contacts, texts and


your entire phone contents to the cloud? Jottacloud you can download and upload all the contents at a
allows you to put all your contacts, texts and MMS click of the button, without the tedious task of

MMS messages
messages within the cloud, creating a virtual having to copy each individual contact or text over.

Your guide to within the cloud”


Jottacloud

Intelligent app
The app automatically scans your phone to
see which device you’re using to sync with.
Once discovered, the app then tinkers its
own settings to provide the best uploading
experience possible while using the app on
Contents said device. The name of your device can
be found at the top of the app
All the various content that can be uploaded
to Jottacloud is listed on the left-hand side of
the Autosync screen. Under each tab is the
number of items currently stored on your
device, and how many of them have already
been uploaded to Jottacloud

Customise
Each switch on the
right-hand side of the
Autosync can be toggled
on and off to determine
Manual uploads which files you want
If you want to disable the Autosync uploaded to the Jottacloud
feature completely, go into the server. If you leave all the
Jottacloud settings and disable the toggles on, you’ll find your
highlighted box provided. This will allow phone is constantly
you to manually upload the files you uploading stuff to
want to add to the cloud, instead of Jottacloud, so it’s best to
everything currently on your device use them sporadically

2 Merge multiple services 3 Email items to Dropbox 4 Access a desktop PC remotely


into one app If you have ever had the issue of wanting a via the cloud
If you have a wide range of files spread across a friend to send you an item, but are reluctant to give Microsoft’s cloud storage app, SkyDrive, is a great
number of alternate cloud accounts, it can be them the log-in details to your Dropbox account, place to set up a remote desktop connection via
tricky remembering which files are placed where. then there’s a great solution at your fingertips. The your Android smartphone. After following the
By merging all your accounts together, you can Send To Dropbox service creates a free, public installation process on your phone, you’ll be able to
keep track of your various Android files from your email address so that people can send things use your log-in details on SkyDrive’s web client, and
desktop computer or mobile device. The perfect directly to your account. As well as receive emails, this will connect to your phone. When you then
service for this is Otixo, which offers a free service the service also automatically creates folders and want to access certain files on your desktop
for users to manage all their Android cloud sub-folders based on the mail subject, the date of computer, you simply need to choose your
accounts and share files between them with ease. the file and the sender’s email address. computer’s IP address through the SkyDrive app.
Not only will you be able to quickly identify where You’ll have access to files stored on your desktop
certain files are located, you can also put I regularly get zipped files sent to computer, and then have the option to transfer
passwords on each account to help make them FAQ me, but it’s a pain trying to use
them on my Android phone. Is
them across to your phone.
more secure from intruders.
there a way Send To Dropbox can unzip I’m worried that if I lose my phone,
I use a selection of Android and them for me? FAQ someone will be able to access
my desktop computer. Is it
FAQ iOS cloud storage accounts. Is it
possible to interchange files
By accessing the Settings menu within the Send To
Dropbox service you’ll be able to set up a feature possible to add some sort of password to
between these different accounts? that allows Send To Dropbox to automatically make the process safer?
Although there are some compatibility issues with extract any zipped files that are sent across to you. To access your desktop through the SkyDrive app,
some file types, for the most part you’ll find Otixo a You can also use this menu to unzip any archived you’ll be required to set up an authorisation code
great way of quickly transferring various files files within your personal Dropbox account that you that you will need to enter every time you want to
between the two platforms. currently have saved. log in to your desktop computer.

54
Feature
Android in the cloud«

5 Keep your files safe


One of the common issues users bring up can use to encrypt your files and various cloud
when taking advantage of cloud services is how storage accounts. The best example is Safe In
secure their files are. Although apps like Google Cloud, a simple-to-use password manager that
Drive and Dropbox don’t include a very secure way lets you add various levels of security to your
of protecting files, there are third-party apps you cloud accounts. Here are its three best features…

View files Choose your account Time your lock


As well as setting up passwords All of the main cloud storage The passwords and security
for your accounts, you can view applications are catered for features you can add to your
your currently stored files, and within Safe In Cloud, as well a accounts can be fully Make Google Drive your default
manage any sensitive data you selection of lesser known ones, customised and implemented 8
have uploaded. such as Box. to appear at different times. save folder for documents
Google Docs’ impressive integration with Google
Drive means it’s the perfect way of creating and
6 Add Android game saves to 7 Send webpage files directly to saving documents on your Android phone. But
your cloud account the cloud what about when you want to create a document
on your desktop computer, but are then having
The quality of gaming on Android devices has Instead of having to manually download PDFs and
trouble adding it to your Google Drive account so
certainly increased in the past year, with more spreadsheets you encounter on the web, there’s a
you can edit them on your phone again? Luckily,
blockbuster titles being made available for service available that will let you send all files found
there’s a great fix to make all documents you
smartphones and tablets. Alongside these big new on a webpage directly to your cloud account for you
create on your computer instantly accessible on
games comes a whole lot of internal storage on to access on your phone. URL Droplet allows you to
your Android phone. It’s a straightforward process
your device being taken up. Some of the most simply save the URL of the file in question, and
that we detail for you below.
graphically demanding titles can now take up then add the details of which cloud account you
around 1GB of your storage, so finding a way to wish to send it to. By then opening up the cloud
save some space is key. Thankfully, by using the account on your device, you’ll find the file ready Step 1:
Dropsync app you can send all your game saves and waiting for you, and even formatted to Right-click on your Documents folder and select
directly to the cloud. By setting up the app to perfectly fit your smartphone’s screen. the Properties option.
automatically sync anything saved to your SD card Step 2:
directly to your Dropbox account, you can delete Choose the Include a folder option and search
those massive game saves from your phone’s for the Google Drive icon.
internal storage.
Step 3:
Once found, highlight the Google Drive icon and
select Set save location.
Step 4:
Every time you create a new document in Word,
Excel or PowerPoint, it will automatically save in
Google Drive, by default.

“A great fix to make


all documents you
create on your
Save space on your device by storing games in the cloud Send webpage files to the cloud and view on your phone computer accessible”
55
DroidSupport
»troubleshooting advice »hints and tips
»emailGotan expert

Is there a firewall
an Android-
related problem that
you need solving?
Let us know!
qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Share your tips & tricks
Join us on Facebook and Twitter
to share and receive some
great tips and advice

»facebook
for Android?
/littlegreenrobot “In Windows it is pretty easy to block a suspicious
program. You start up the Firewall application, create
Like us on Facebook and join
in our Android community

»twitter
@lgrobot a new outbound rule and add eg STATISTICS.EXE to it,
Follow us on Twitter to send

choose block program etc. Done. But how about


your thoughts and questions

Android? Is there a firewall app that lets you do the


same thing and how are executables named
anyway?” Alex Armstrong
A
There is no firewall built

Did you know? into Android, and to be


honest there isn’t much
In Apex Launcher you can choose the need for one. So long as your
Lock desktop option to fix all your icons
apps come from the Play store or
in place. This means you won’t be able
to accidentally move any of them any other reputable Android app
through errant screen presses, although store then you are extremely
you must remember to unlock again if unlikely to encounter any issues
you want to add or remove anything with suspicious apps, or any that
from your home screen in future.
are doing things that are not
plainly a part of the app’s core
functionality. Executable files for
Android are in the .apk format
and unlike the situation on
Windows, which has in the past
been able to run executable files
without warning, they cannot
run on Android without first
having been installed. This basic
security measure helps you use
your device with confidence. Any
attempt for any malicious code
you encounter to run an No executable files can be run on Android without installing them first
executable files will, of course, is an excellent firewall app for You can then refuse access on
open the installation prompt the platform called Droidwall. It a one-off basis or block the
screen which you would then be only runs on devices that have application’s online capabilities
able to dismiss and alleviate any been rooted, so will not work on permanently. Note that
potential threat. devices in their original state. uninstalling the app will
That said there are still a few But on a rooted device Droidwall deactivate all the rules you set
reasons why you might want to prompts the user every time an up, so you can use it freely
take control over which apps are app tries to go online for without the danger of any
connecting to the internet. There whatever reason. long-term problems.

56
Ask your questions »facebook »email

DroidSupport
Got a problem with your Android phone or tablet? /littlegreenrobot qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Get help from our Send your questions for our team of
Send it to us and we’ll find the solution Facebook community experts to tackle

How can I create bi-


weekly appointments?
“I have got a Samsung Galaxy S III which uses the S Planner app
instead of the standard Android calendar. I do like it but I cannot
work out how to set up bi-weekly appointments with it. The options
seem to cover all possible combinations apart from the one that I
want most of all.” Tim Atherton
This is something we get However, if you would prefer
A asked on a regular basis,
and is something we’d
to have this happen
automatically then you will need
like a proper solution to as well. to look into some of the many
The fact is it isn’t possible to add third-party calendar apps.
bi-weekly events in S Planner, or There are two that we’re most
in the stock Android calendar fond of. Touch Calendar and
either. The obvious work around Gemini Calendar (both available
is to simply create two recurring in free and paid versions) are The Touch Calendar app is able to produce
four-weekly events in your both extremely powerful and bi-weekly appointments
calendar, a fortnight apart. Or configurable calendars. The By the way, if you’d prefer to
alternatively you can create a latter has arguably more options, switch back to the stock Android
bi-weekly appointment in Google while the former is by some calendar instead of S Planner
Calendar on your desktop, which margin the best looking. We’d then it is available as a
Gemini Calendar is
would then be synced to your recommend testing them both standalone download in the Play extremely powerful,
phone (where its schedule would out to find the one that you are store. Simply search for Google although its design is
an acquired taste
be fully supported). happiest with. Calendar and it will be there.

hints&tips Get more from your Android phone with our handy hints
1 2 3
Remove your searches Pay by phone bill Build a wishlist
Over time your search history in the Play Although you will need to set up a credit The latest version of the Play store app
store grows to an unwieldy length and card on your Google account to access includes a wishlist feature. When you find
contains so many entries that there’s no value some functionality, you can also pay for apps on something you’d like to try, tap the wishlist icon
in having a history list at all. You can start again supported networks using carrier billing. Choose at the top of the screen and it will be stored so
at Settings>Clear search history. the option from the Pay with drop-down. you can be reminded of it in future.

57
DroidSupport
Did you know?
The Galaxy S III features a bandwidth management function
that enables you to control how much data the browser uses
compared to how quick it is. Activating the Webpage preloading
option makes pages appear faster but uses more data.

A launcher won’t remove HTC whether I should be deleting some of


Sense, it simply runs in place of these or if they should be left where
it, and it won’t lose your old they are. What I do know is that my
settings either. You can try as tablet is filling up and I would like to
many as you want without any reclaim some of the space. If only I
issue at all – the only thing you knew where it had gone.
will lose is some of the added Alex Prescott

“You can try


HTC features that are reliant on
HTC Sense. HTC’s trademark There are loads of apps

as many as
clock widget is the most obvious
example of this, but you’ll find
A on the Play store that
will give you a complete

you want” that pretty much everything can


be replaced with an equivalent
through a few choice downloads
breakdown of what is using the
storage on your Nexus 7. We like
ES File Manager for its all-round
from the Play store. file management capabilities, but
There are dozens of it also supports a plug-in that

What’s
launchers you can try out scans your system and shows
what is using how much. You can

Launchers launcher that I choose? Is there


anything else I should know about eating my use this information to find large
files or folders that you no longer

explained
I’m getting a bit bored with my HTC
them as well?
David Jenkins space?
I consider myself a fairly advanced
need – often it will be long
forgotten multimedia files,
backups or large data downloads
Sensation so I’m thinking of Launchers are the user of Android but I need some help for apps or games that aren’t
freshening it up a bit by trying out
some of the launchers that are on
A quickest and easiest way
of making an older
in getting to grips with the storage
issues on my Nexus 7. I’ve not had a
even installed on your device
anymore. Try and stick to
the Play store. However, I’m not phone seem like new. They’re good clear out of the storage via my deleting things you recognise
completely sure how they work. Will also ideal for power users that desktop computer but, having (the file names should give it
they replace HTC Sense, or will I need want to maintain the same setup installed and tested so many apps, away) so you don’t accidentally
to set my Sense screen up again across multiple devices that may the storage area is completely delete anything you still need.
from scratch if I don’t like the have different software and UIs. packed with folders. I don’t know You can’t break anything if you

Recovering my memory
“I have owned  a Galaxy Ace for three months and am very pleased with it,
but I am concerned by the vanishing memory available for apps. Am I right
in thinking that as I have updated several of the pre-installed apps that
these will have ‘stolen’ memory available for my apps, rather than
replacing the originals? Can I revert to the original versions and if so, how?
Can it be done simply without invalidating the warranty? If I select
‘uninstall all updates from Android system apps’ does it literally mean from
all apps or just this selected app?” John Cousins
Installing an update to a pre-installed browser. You can solve this in the same place,
A app won’t result in the app effectively
being installed twice – the original
selecting Clear Cache for each app to recover
the used space. You can partly automate these
version is simply updated. Therefore this is processes using the app, ZDBox. This has
not the cause of your loss of storage, which we options for batch moving apps to the SD card,
would suggest has two reasons. First, the and it will also scan your entire system for
phone itself has limited internal storage, a caches that can be deleted, and you can then
problem you can overcome by moving your delete them with a single tap of the screen.
installed apps to the SD card. If you go to the On any device with limited storage you will
Apps manager in Settings then you can move need to perform these tasks on a regular
all supported apps to the card individually. basis to ensure the device’s memory doesn’t
Second, your storage might be filled up by get filled up with junk Clearing caches can help
app caches, such as the cache from your web without you knowing. recover memory

58
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DroidSupport
Got a great tip, or found a cool /littlegreenrobot @lgrobot qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter to Discovered anything good about your
shortcut? Let us know! join our online community send us your tips & tricks Android phone? Let us know!

Amazon Appstore
“What are your views on the Amazon Appstore for Android, and also,
for an average user, is the new Google Nexus 4 by LG 8GB version
more than sufficient (although it is already unavailable on the Update
Google Play store)?” 60% Complete
Simon Jethwa
The Amazon Appstore,
A which can be freely
downloaded for all
Android devices from www.
amazon.co.uk/appstore, is a update update
primary part of Amazon’s » We bring you the news and
ecosystem for its Kindle Fire rumours on the latest Android
tablets. Its main selling point is updates, and the phones that can
Turn on the Auto-fit messages option to be run them…
able to pinch and zoom in messages that it is a curated store,

A
meaning that Amazon only s 2013 gets fully into
do, you might just find you need allows apps that it deems to be swing, the final stage
to reinstall an app or that some of sufficient quality (and safety) of updates to the Jelly
saved data has gone missing. rather than the free-for-all that is Bean OS are set to be rolled
Google’s Play store. This doesn’t out. Devices like the Samsung

New Gmail mean that the Appstore is


restricted to only a very limited
Galaxy S III and the HTC One
X were among the first to be

on Android number of the best apps, as


there’s still plenty of junk in
updated at the back end of
last year, and now it’s the

4.1
I recently spotted an update to the
there, but it does mean that you
can at least be sure that the apps
have met a set of limited
The Amazon Appstore is not
an essential download
turn of Sony to serve up the
presents to its users. Not all of
the Xperia line will receive
Gmail app on the Play store which I requirements in quality to be As for the Nexus 4 we’d guard Jelly Bean, and no devices
have now installed on my Galaxy S III. there. The store itself is fine, but against the 8GB model as there’s from 2011 will get it at all. The
I thought it would bring me the offers little of value to non- only about 5GB free on the schedule at present shows
features of the new version on Kindle Fire users. The store does device itself. Installing The Dark that the Xperia T, Xperia TX
Android 4.2, and while I can swipe to have the free app a day offer, Knight Rises game will use 40 and Xperia V will get Jelly
archive a message, the promised giving away a paid app every per cent of that space all on its Bean in the middle of the first
pinch-to-zoom in emails is missing. Is day. Otherwise there’s no real own. Here’s how much else you quarter of this year; and the
this limited to 4.2 only? My S III is on reason to have it installed. can fit on the device… Xperia S, acro S, ion, P, go and
4.1 Jelly Bean. J will also get it at an as yet
Jamie Harper
1 2,500 photos
A Nexus 4 photo is typically around 2MB in
unconfirmed date. Motorola is
also set to push out its
You’re right that the size, depending on how much information is in the updates shortly. These are
A Gmail app in the Play
store is the one launched
shot. This means you can fit a couple of thousand
images on the device, although if you turn on the
likely to be among the last
showings for Jelly Bean,
alongside Android 4.2, Jamie. auto-upload feature in Google+ or Dropbox then which has not been as widely
And there are no features that you need not worry about storing them locally. adopted by the industry as Ice
are exclusive to that version of Cream Sandwich (although as
the OS. However, for some reason
the pinch and zoom support in
2 1,250 songs
A fairly heavily compressed MP3 track will
a far bigger release, that was
more essential). As of the
the app is turned off by default. come in at around 4MB, giving you room for just beginning of January, Jelly
Open the Gmail app and go to over a thousand tracks on the 8GB Nexus 4. Bean was on just 10.2 per cent
Settings>General Settings. Now Unless you’re using a service like Spotify the of devices, according to
make sure the Auto-fit messages storage will fill up quickly if you’re using the phone Google’s own data which
box is ticked. You will now find for music. records details of the devices
that your messages automatically accessing the Play store. A
zoom out to fit the screen when
you first open them, and you can
3 Seven movies
At around 700MB for a standard definition
further 29.1 per cent were on
ICS, and a massive 47.6 per
double-tap or use the reverse film you can fit half-a-dozen onto a Nexus 4. Using cent were still stuck on
pinch gesture to zoom in to read the Nexus Media Importer app, connected to the Gingerbread. This summer is
them. It’s a fantastic addition to phone via a USB host cable you can increase expected to see the launch of
the Gmail app, and one that storage with a USB flash drive. You cannot charge Android 5, the next milestone
we’ve wanted for some time. the phone at the same time, though. release for the OS.

59
Challenge
Can you make a

blockbuster
using apps?

Create the next Titanic or Avatar without a multi-million pound budget

H
ave you ever had an idea for a movie you get full script formatting software for a
so good that you wish someone would decent price. Not only can you add your full
make it? Well with your Android phone, script in to the app, but also use the cloud-
you can make that dream reality, by creating based sharing option to work on your script
your very own movie. Or can you? We put the wherever, and whenever you need to.
vast library of apps on the Play store and their
great selection of tools to the test… Create your scene
Without a lavish budget to hand we need to find
Putting pen to paper a cheap solution to buying the few props
Whether you’re working in Hollywood or in your needed to help shout our short masterpiece. A
front room, you’ll need a brainstorming session couple of the best apps to use in this situation
to put all your ideas in one place. We are the GumtreeSpy and Craigslist apps. The
downloaded the iMindMap app to help kick-start former lets you search for specific items in your
our creative flow. With this app you can branch local area, from which you can pick up there
out your ideas on paper and add further ones and then, while the latter includes a thorough
whenever you need to refer back to it. It’s search system of free items. To shoot the movie
simple to use, and can also be accessed on itself we had very limited options, in terms of
multiple platforms. Accompanying any decent apps, and had to make do with the ropey quality
movie is a decent script and with Fade In Mobile Fade In is your go-to app for all your script work of the default video recorder on our device.

60
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Test us out through
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Facebook and Twitter share your thoughts send your comments

App checklist
Fade In Mobile
Price: £3.11/$4.99
Developer: The General Coffee
Company Film Productions
iMindMap
Price: Free
Developer: ThinkBuzan

MyScreenplays Pro
Price: £1.94/$1.99
Developer: Muaki Lt.

GumtreeSpy
Price: £1.49/$2.39
Developer: TripleJumpInc

Craigslist Mobile
Price: Free
Developer: YYH Creative

Magisto - Magical
Video Editor
Price: Free
Developer: Magisto

Lapse It
Price: £1.99/$1.99
Developer: Interactive Universe

VidTrim Pro
Price: £1.76/$2.84
Developer Goseet

Clesh video editor


Price: £2.99/$4.99
Developer: Forbidden
Technologies plc

Clesh is not YouTube


for beginners Price: Free
Developer: YouTube
Can you get your movie
featured on Netflix?
Success
rating Verdict:

45
That’s a wrap [tip] If you’re a
amount of features, but isn’t one for
people new to video editing as there’s a
With our movie shot we were ready to hit
video editing lot to take in to start with. Once we were
the editing suite. Unfortunately we don’t
novice then happy with our work, we used the
have the privilege of being able to use Final

%
take a look at YouTube mobile app to publish our
Cut Pro on our phone, so we had to
some tutorials finished product with ease.
compromise on a selection of different
on the basics
apps. A large part of our editing took place

Complete
of video editing
on Magisto. It’s a simple enough editor to
before starting.
use, and perfect for putting movies quickly
together, but lacks a lot of the features we It’s entirely possible to shoot a
[tip] Make sure
wanted to see. Similarly, Lapse It was the
perfect app to piece different shots
you watch the short movie on your device,
together, but was a bit rough around the
finished product but there are problems.
to help see if
edges when it came to intricate details. We Editing a movie is a very
there are any
were impressed by two apps, however.
stuttering
difficult process, and the lack
Firstly, with VidTrim, we especially liked the of video camera options is
frames in it. If
simplicity of chopping bits out of our movie.
The other app was Clesh, a powerhouse of
so, you’ll be able disappointing. Guess we’ll
a video editor which includes a ridiculous
to edit them.
Filming was done in the default camera app
hold fire on the Oscar for now!

61
Explore the limits of your Android device

status update
Hacker Zøne Tips and tricks
Which devices are best for
the hacking scene?

HTC One X+
Multi- progression as screen sizes and
resolutions increase. An enhanced

Rooted? Yes
Active Development:
window version of the feature has now come
to the original Note as well as the
■■■ Medium
A few options are mode Note 10.1. The Floating Multiwindows
mod by developer xperiacle enables

comes to
available, but the
device is not nearly as
most apps to not only be able to be
popular for ROMs as viewed in multi-window mode on the
its predecessor the
One X was.
the Galaxy
The multi-window mode feature in
original Note, but in resizable floating
windows as well. You can find full
instructions on installing this
Nexus 4 the Note II, and also coming to the precursor to true windowed
Rooted? Yes
Active Development:
S III in the Premium Suite update, multitasking at: http://bit.ly/
■■■ Yes was one of the more intriguing TWnX8H. Meanwhile, the Note 10.1,
At such a low price the developments in Android software which also supported the multi-
Nexus 4 is set to
become one of the over the last year. Being able to use window view as on the Note 2, has
must-have devices for two apps side-by-side is a logical now had the feature extended to
developers. Great support more apps. The process is
news for the rest of us!
not trivial (or indeed uncontroversial)
as it requires modifying apk files in a
Amazon desktop PC application. You can find
Boot multiple ROMs, including Ubuntu

Kindle Fire more information at the xda- switching between the two as you
HD developers.com website here: http:// boot the tablet. You can add other
Rooted? Yes bit.ly/TQqoqK. ROMs as well if you wish, although
Active Development:
■■■ Low since they have to run from internal
You can put the Play
store on a rooted
KFHD, but not a whole
Boot Ubuntu storage you might find that space is
at a premium in such cases. Ubuntu
lot else.

Sony Xperia T
on a Nexus 7
We talk a lot about ways that you
itself requires around 1.5GB with
another couple of gigabytes free
during the installation process (which
Rooted? Yes can power-up your Android device takes a while). Using MultiROM is a
Active Development:
■■■ Low
but there can be no better way than lot more advanced than merely
The James Bond installing a full desktop operating flashing a ROM or kernel, so there is
phone has been system on it. MultiROM is a a greater risk to your device if things
rooted but there are
few ROMs or kernels to multi-boot solution for the Nexus 7 go wrong, but if you’re an advanced
play with. Jelly Bean is that enables you to run a stock user then you will struggle to find a
available, though. Android ROM and a full build of better way of hacking your tablet
Proper windowed multitasking on the S III Ubuntu on the same device, than this.

quickhacks
Mount the
Galaxy S III
as a drive 1 Activate UMS mode 2 View drive on desktop 3 Return to MTP mode
The Samsung Galaxy S III, like a Download SGS3 Easy UMS After a short delay your SD First eject the drive from
number of other recent Android Mode from the Play store and launch card will now appear mounted on your PC in the normal way. Hit
phones, does not show up as a it. Connect your device to your your desktop computer as a drive. Mount card in Easy UMS to make
USB Mass Storage device on your computer and tap the UMS mode You can now copy and paste files to the card accessible on your phone
computer. You can change this button. The card will unmount and it with ease. Remember to unmount again. Now press the MTP button
using the app SGS3 Easy UMS. remount as a mass storage drive. it when you’ve finished. to switch back to MTP mode.

62
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Hacker Zøne
Discovered a great hack or
tweak? Let us know!
/littlegreenrobot
Like us on Facebook and
send us your comments
qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Is there anything you’d like to see us
cover in the mag? Drop us a line!
Buster
Get up to speed on all the

HDMI-out on “Increase the output from the terms you need to know
when hacking your phone

non-TouchWiz tablet’s tiny speaker” ADB


Stands for ‘Android Debug Bridge’. ADB

Galaxy S III Boost the


While we are strong advocates of
is mainly used for software
development, but it also has some
uses for hacking your phone. It can be
used to push files onto the system

volume on
using custom ROMs on our devices
as a way of getting the absolute best
folder, for instance.

Flash
your Nexus 7
performance out of them, it is
important to be aware of what you
might lose when you flash a ROM. Nexus devices tend to be known for
The storage in your device comprises
flash memory, a type of solid-state
storage. The terms ‘flash’ or ‘flashing’
mean installing new software onto your
Often it is limited to software their low volume and the Nexus 7 is device’s storage.
features – and often these are the no different. With a handy mod you
very things you’ll be looking to strip can increase the output from the Nandroid
out anyway – but in some instances tablet’s tiny speaker, making it more You might come across the phrase
‘perform a Nandroid backup’. This
it may be a hardware-related one. A suitable for use as an all-round means using a custom recovery tool
big example is on the Galaxy S III, multimedia machine. The Nexus to make a back-up image of everything
currently on your phone: OS, apps,
which uses a proprietary MHL port Louder mod comes from the data, etc. It’s very useful should you
for its HDMI-out functionality. This developer Misledz and increases the wish to restore your phone to its
means that it has not been able to volumes across the entire device, previous state later.
be implemented on non-TouchWiz including headphones. To install the
OS
custom ROMs such as mod you simply flash it in Recovery Short for ‘operating system’. Often the
CyanogenMod. Other ROMs that are (you will of course need a rooted Android ROM will be referred to as the
OS – this just means the system files
still based on TouchWiz are not phone with custom recovery on the Android device that make up
You can fix permissions in ROM Manager
affected by this issue, so if you installed in order to get it working). your user experience, similar to
connect your phone to your TV, stick You can then activate it under on your device, or can also do it Windows, Mac OS X or Ubuntu on a
desktop computer.
to these ROMs only. Settings>Sound>Music Effects. You manually through Recovery Mode.
can download the mod and get Boot into Recovery using the key Radio
further information from the XDA combination specific to your device ‘Radio’ refers to the software on your
Android device that deals with making
thread at http://bit.ly/12nqbkz. (it normally involves something like phone calls and data connections.
holding the volume and power Updating your radio version can bring

Permissions buttons, or the volume, power and better battery life and signal strength
to your device. Some ROMs require the
home buttons at the same time latest radio.

fix can stop when booting), then work your way


into the Advanced options in your ROM
app crashes
Stands for ‘read-only memory’. In the
Recovery menu. You will now see the context of Android, the ROM refers to
option to repair permissions. Choose the files that make up the operating
If you’re experiencing a number of this and the process will begin. It system installed on your device.
Gaining root privileges allows for
apps crashing on a regular basis typically takes around five or ten replacement of the standard ROM
– especially apps that have minutes to complete and cannot be with a custom one.
previously been running just fine interrupted, so make sure you’ve got
– then a relatively straightforward time and that your phone is
ROM Manager
An app available from the Android
way of trying to solve the problem is sufficiently charged as well. Once it Market that enables you to install
a whole new version of your OS with
by fixing the permissions. This can has finished, reboot your phone and a single click. It requires a rooted
be done on any device that is rooted test out one of the apps that had phone to use and is ideal for those
and has a custom recovery installed. been playing up. It should now be far new on the scene.
You can perform the job through more stable, and any problems may
Root
MHL only works on TouchWiz ROMs ROM Manager where it is supported be due to the app itself. ‘Rooting’ your phone gives apps access
to parts of the OS that are normally
hidden from consumers. This enables
you to run more powerful software and
Hacking the easy way Get great new features without getting your hands (too) dirty install custom ROMs on your phone.

BetterBattery Mobile Odin BusyBox Free Titanium Backup


This app from the Market enables you
Stats Lite » Free to back up everything on your phone
» £1.99 » Free From: Play store – apps, data, settings and all. It means
From: Play store From: Play store Need root? Yes that you can restore your phone to how
Need root? Yes Need root? Yes When performing a it was, even after you’ve updated or
The most Flash ROMs to your variety of tasks that changed the ROM.
comprehensive app for Galaxy device without require root access you
analysing battery
consumption on your
increasing the flash
counter. This is an
will sometimes
encounter one that Unrevoked
needs BusyBox Available from www.unrevoked.com,
device. Find out which on-device version of this is a one-click tool that can be
apps are using up all the official Galaxy installed. This app
installs it quickly. used for rooting many popular
your power. flashing utility. HTC smartphones.

Check our website daily


for even more tips & tricks »www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk 63
Hacker Zøne
Works with » See www.paranoid-rom.com Difficulty » Intermediate
Get tips, tricks, help & advice
Send us your comments, tips and questions
through email and social networks

Customise
the whole
Android UI
The Paranoid Android ROM enables you to switch between
phone, tablet and hybrid modes on the fly
1 Flash the ROM
There are versions of Paranoid
Android for most popular devices,
including the Galaxy S III, HTC One X
and Nexus 7. Flash the ROM using the
usual method (check our guide in
issue 20 for a complete run through
on how this is done). You will now find
a Vanilla Android 4.1 OS, albeit with
plenty of extra features.

I
t seems as though screen sizes on Android absolutely the right choice for you. If you’re a
are on a never-ending increase. The leading power user, for instance, you might wish your
phones are now typically around 4.7 inches in apps could fit more information onto the screen
size, while the Galaxy Note II is five and a half. at any given time. Or maybe if you find the size
And then there are the tablets as well that can of a device like the Galaxy S III too large for
go anywhere from seven to ten inches. As a one-handed use you’d rather move the
result, Android has multiple options for the notification bar to the bottom of the screen, a
user interface. Phones have the phone UI,
designed for one-handed use, tablets have a UI
style seen on Android tablets. With the
Paranoid Android ROM you can make all these
6 Tablet
phone
apps… on a
designed for two hands and more landscape tweaks and a whole lot more. Paranoid Android While the Interface setting is a global
use, while the so-called phablet devices like the combines the phone, tablet and hybrid user option you can also make tweaks to
Note II have a combination of the two – still interface designs from the various versions of how your apps perform on a
based on the phone design but attempting to Android, and makes them all available for you case-by-case basis. Select the Apps
make use of the larger screen real estate they to choose from. It’s not a one size fits all option and a complete list of the
have available to them. But even with these solution – you can change the home screen apps installed on your phone –
options in place you cannot guarantee that layout, or have just certain apps display in system and third-party – will be
what comes installed on your phone is tablet mode on a phone. Read on for our guide. displayed. Pick the one you want.

64
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Hacker Zøne
/littlegreenrobot @lgrobot qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Like us on Facebook to Comments or questions? If you’ve got questions or just want to
join our online community Follow us on Twitter say hello, drop us an email!

2 Locate the
Settings 3 Adjust the
launcher 4 Reboot or
continue 5 Interface options
Tap on Interface. Here you
Navigate your way through to the The Launch settings enable you to After each setting changes you’ll be can choose the default look for your
Settings screen, which is shown in adjust the launcher. Choose prompted to reboot the screens, system apps and
the tablet-style split screen mode. between stock phone UI, phablet smartphone in order to activate the third-party apps. You can, for
Under Interface there are several mode with slightly smaller text, and changes. You can press Cancel instance, force all your apps to
options for customising Paranoid Tablet UI, which puts notifications instead to continue making your display in tablet mode on a device
Android, and we’re concerned with at the bottom of the screen. Pick changes to the settings. A where they’d normally be used in
the Paranoid Settings option. Tap your DPI – a smaller number means subsequent reboot will then apply phone mode, such as is the case
that to continue. smaller text and icons. to all of your changes in one go. on the Nexus 7.

7 Tweaking an
app’s appearance 8 The result
Here’s an example of a
9 Going wrong
It’s worth experimenting with
10 Revert back to
the start
Experiment with the options subtle but very useful change made many of the settings to see the All of your changes can be undone
available to you to see how they on our test Galaxy S III. The impact they have. You will easily enough. If you get completely
affect the way the app looks. With notifications shade has been set to occasionally come across a new lost and wish to start again, go to
each change, hit the Launch button tablet mode, making it appear at look that you’re not so keen on. Tools and choose Reset properties
to see it in action. You can choose the bottom of the screen. This puts Here we’ve managed to increase to return to the default settings. You
between phone, tablet and phablet it within reach of your thumb, the size of the icons so that there’s can also back up your settings so
modes, and also increase the helping to make the phone a more only room for two columns of them they can be used within the same
amount of info displayed on screen. one-handed affair. in our Apps pane. ROM installed on another device.

65
Hacker Zøne
Works with » All versions of Android Difficulty » Intermediate
Get tips, tricks, help & advice
Send us your comments, tips and questions
through email and social networks

Use themes
to customise
your phoneGive your phone a whole new
C
ustomising your phone can
go a whole lot further than
look by exploring the world of just changing your wallpaper.
1 Install Apex
launcher themes One area that is quite easy but not Install the Apex Launcher from
especially well-known is using the Play store. There are both free
themes from third-party launchers. and paid versions and you can access
Launchers replace the home screen a few extra features if your phone is
and Apps pane on your device to give rooted, although this is not a
a new look instantly, as well as prerequisite for using the app. Press
additional benefits such as faster the Home button on your device and
performance or extra features. They set Apex as your default launcher
also support themes. These, which when the prompt appears.
can be designed by anyone, can
completely change the look of the
launcher – replacing not only the
wallpaper but the fonts and app
icons, as well as applying a skin that
gives the entire visual side of the UI
an overhaul. For this tutorial we’re
focusing mostly on Apex Launcher,
which is our preferred launcher
due to its simplicity and the way
it best replicates the look and feel
of Jelly Bean even on devices that are
already heavily skinned, such as
those by Samsung or HTC. Applying a
skin does not slow the launcher
down at all, so they can be used
without any adverse effect on
performance. We also take a look at
GO Launcher EX, which is a far larger
and more ambitious launcher
replacement. This comes with dozens
of additional add-ons that can be
used to create something as
6 Pick and mix
If you only want to utilise one
comprehensive as TouchWiz on any part of a theme, such as the
device. Note that while many skins background, then reapply the default
are free, some are not, but since they theme as before and repeat step 4,
are all installed via the Play store the but deselect those elements that
15-minute trial period still applies, you don’t wish to use. You can apply
enabling you to test them without individual parts of different themes
committing to the purchase. like this, enabling you to produce
your own unique creation.

66
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join our online community Follow us on Twitter say hello, drop us an email!

2 Choose
settings
Theme 3 Download a
few themes 4 Get a preview
Back in the Theme settings
5 Test them out
Click the Apply button and
Press the menu button on your Tap the Get more themes button screen, your downloads are now the theme will be instantly installed
home screen and select Theme and the Play store will launch with a displayed. Tap on one and you’ll see and the app will exit to the home
settings. You will now see a list of list of available themes. Some are a full preview of what it will look like. screen. You can now take a full look
all the themes installed on your free and some are paid-for, and they Themes include icons, fonts, at the changes the theme has
device. There’s only one initially, the download in the same way apps wallpapers and skins as separate made. A common change is that
default theme, but this list will fill up download. Grab half-a-dozen to give elements so you will be able to popular apps will have new icons
as you download more and more yourself a good selection of skins to choose only those parts of a theme assigned to them. The layout of
options to test out. choose from. that you like. your screen will not change.

7 Alternative
choices 8 Installing
themes
GO 9 Apply themes
In the Themes screen in GO
10 Back to normal
If you want to revert your
Most third-party launchers support After installing GO Launcher EX, tap Launcher EX, swipe along to the phone back to its original state, the
themes, although only the most the menu button and select Installed tab to see your available easiest way is to simply uninstall the
popular will have a wide selection to Themes. You can now browse themes. Some Apex themes are third-party launchers you’ve got. You
choose from. GO Launcher EX is through all the available themes for also compatible with GO so they will need to reset your wallpaper
quite large and complex as a the app. They are downloaded may also appear here. Tap on one once again, and don’t forget to
launcher, but does have an through the Play store like with and choose Apply to install it. uninstall your downloaded themes
enormous number of themes you Apex, and while most are free, not Repeat the process until you find from the Play store to remove them
can make use of. all of them are. one you’re happy with. from your device.

67
Hacker Zøne
Works with » All versions of Android Difficulty » Intermediate
Get tips, tricks, help & advice
Send us your comments, tips and questions
through email and social networks

Design and
create your
own widgets
With UCCW, the Ultimate Custom
W
idgets are the most unique
part of the Android
Widget, you can design and build experience. Often the
1 Open UCCW
your own unique widgets quality of a widget will determine Download and open UCCW.
whether we even continue using an The interface takes a while to get
app or not, such is their value. But, used to, but basically you add
for ultimate control, you can always elements to the widget one at a time
create your own, giving your phone and tweak them each individually.
its own truly unique style in the Select them with the Select Object
process. UCCW (Ultimate Custom button then swipe left and right to
Widget) is a free app from the Play uncover additional editing options
store that enables you to create related to that object.
surprisingly advanced widgets
without the need for programming
knowledge and with only a very
small amount of design ability.
Mostly all you need is an idea.
UCCW can be quite a daunting app
when you first load it up. The UI is
not the simplest to use and it does
appear to be quite complex. However,
the principles behind it are quite
simple, and you will be able to create
a rudimentary widget all of your own
very quickly. All you need is a
background image that forms the
basis of your widget and then you
place the dynamic pieces of a widget
– the clock and date, weather
forecast, Gmail alerts, battery
information and so on – on top of that
image. These all fit together
remarkably well.
In this tutorial we’re creating a
simple clock widget using a
6 Resize the clock
Now swipe to Controls #3 and
personalised version of the Android tap the Scale button. You can now
mascot as our background image, as adjust the size of the clock object
a way of introducing you to the using the slider, and then tap the ‘+’
wonders of UCCW. It is an incredibly and ‘-’ buttons for more precise
powerful app with almost unlimited control. Use this in conjunction with
scope for creativity. To see great the Position option in step 5 to get
examples of what can be done visit the clock in just the right spot on
http://bit.ly/OCMO1H. your custom widget.

68
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join our online community Follow us on Twitter say hello, drop us an email!

2 Choose your
background 3 Set the
aspect ratio 4 Add a clock
Now begin adding the
5 Put it in place
The clock appears small in
Start by picking the background First swipe to Controls #2, hit the various dynamic objects that will the top of the screen. Use Select
image you will use as the basis for Image button and locate the image make up your widget. Tap the +/- Object to choose the clock. Use the
your widget. You’ll need to create you wish to use. It will be displayed icon to see a list of what you can Position control to move it towards
this separately on a desktop and in the window – if it has been use. Tick to add items (and untick to the location on your background
copy it to your device. Save it as a squashed out of shape swipe to remove them). It’s best to do one at image you want it to take. Tick the
.PNG file if you want to have a Controls #3 and tap Use Image a time until you’re familiar with the ‘Faster movement’ option to move
transparent background. The total Aspect Ratio and Save. You might software. We’re using the Analog it quicker, then untick it again for a
must be less than 160k pixels. need to reload the image. Clock object first. more refined placement.

7 Add extra
features 8 Save your widget
To save your widget, press
9 Add it to the
home screen 10 Your own widget
in action
Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 with other the menu button and select Save Add your widget in the normal way, You can now see your very own
objects you want to include in your skin. Give the widget a recognisable picking UCCW from the widget list widget in action. You can add as
widget. We’ve added ‘Icon forecast name so that you are able to and choosing whatever size you many UCCW widgets as you need. By
day 1’ and ‘Battery Bar’. Experiment identify it properly when you choose want – your widget will be resized as default, tapping the widget will open
with the other settings for the to apply it to your home screen. You you need it. Place the widget on one the UCCW app for editing, but for
objects – you can change colours, can also export your skin so that of your home screens and tap the more advanced use you can add
add effects and even replace with you can share it or use it on more Touch here icon that appears in hotspots to the widget to launch
images of your own. than one device. order to launch it. specific apps when you touch them.

69

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The only magazine for Android!
Apps Playmarkers
Scan these QR codes for direct
links to the Google Play Store NOOK
15min wonder
Want your money back?
You’ve got 15 mins to decide!
! 5
15 10
»0-5 minutes
Discovering a vast library
of titles

NOOK
! 5 »5-10 minutes
Not enjoying the poor
15 10
filtering system

! 5 »10-15 minutes
Using the try before you
15 10
buy service
Read wherever and whenever you like keep refund
Nook aims to stake a obscure. The newsstand selection is you’ll receive might not be up to the samples and purchases are stored in
claim for being the a little lacking when compared to levels you’ve come to expect. the library of the Nook app. This
ultimate reading app other apps, but they’re well priced. Once you’ve found a title you’re section is cleverly designed to make
that Android users can With so much content on offer, interested in reading, you’ll be able to sifting through your titles easier, and
experience. On many levels it you’ll need a good searching and take advantage of Nook’s generous should’ve been implemented in
succeeds, but for several reasons filtering system to find the titles you sampling system. Any book, comic or other areas of the app.
it’s also pipped to the post by other want. Unfortunately for the Nook newsstand item can be sampled The other main area of the app is
rivals. The Nook library is vast to say app, it has neither. There a bunch of through the app, with no compulsory the reading section, which takes
the least, and through the app you’ll preset categories you can search for need to purchase the item. All your spirit from similar apps in providing a
have access to over two million specific kinds of titles, but searching clean and simple reading experience.
books and magazines in a single app. through the Teen Fantasy section Reading consists of simply scrolling
The selection is phenomenal, and provided many results which through pages from side-to-side, or
Barnes & Noble have done a good shouldn’t be there. This problem is a quickly moving to a specific section
job in getting a wider variety of regular occurrence with other using the bar at the bottom of the
publishers on board with the app. categories too. The search function app. Fonts can be customised to
Nook includes a decent choice of is also far too basic, and if you don’t make it easier to read for those with
comics, graphic novels, as well as know the exact, and we mean exact, limited sight, and any images are
certain foreign titles, but nothing too title you’re looking for, the results rendered superbly. There’s even a
couple of slick additions that Nook
implements well. Page turning
animations add a bit of flair to the
app, and being able to bookmark a
specific page is a great touch.
At the core of Nook, you have a
great selection of titles to choose
from. The reading section is brilliantly
designed. It’s let down by several
niggling issues though, which will
need to be rectified.
Read samples of books before you buy them

» like this? try this!


Moon+ Reader Pro
A feature-packed reading app that
caters for a wide range of file types.

» specification
Price Free (Books extra)
Designed for: Phone and tablet
Requires Android: 2.1

» verdict
Performance
Design
Value
Vast library, but niggling
issues take away from the
FREE APP smooth reading experience
OF THE MONTH Text can be customised to suit your eyes and
make it easier to read

Books can be filtered


by categories and »best free
alternative
KINDLE » The king of reading apps is polished and user-friendly for
Android users all around the world.
authors

72
GAME
Echofon PRO Ultimate Reward Pocket
for Twitter Rugby Mobile App Warwick

Echofon PRO
for Twitter
Take control of your Twitter account
phone’s GPS. Echofon should be
applauded for certain areas though.
The accompanying widget is
fantastic, and can be customised to
View and
create lists
of certain
people to
follow
Among the plethora of by simply scrolling down the list.
Twitter clients comes Retweeting, adding someone to a list fit whatever space you have left.
Echofon, a simple and following a new profile all have Echofon PRO certainly has its good
enough app that specific icons, meaning you won’t points that will please a lot of
promises fantastic design and get confused, and shows how experienced users. In some ways,
usability. From the get-go you’ll soon Echofon is suited to people looking however, it’s far too similar to the
notice the similarities between for a more simple user experience. stock Twitter app.
Echofon and the stock Twitter app, When you start looking a little
and in terms of design the two are deeper, a few problems do start to
almost spitting images. You can arise. Thumbnails for profiles are » specification
navigate between the various very pixelated. Creating an entirely Price £2.99/$4.99
sections of the app by using the new list is tough, and without Designed for: Phone and tablet
icons at the bottom of the app, and knowing your way around the stock Requires Android: 2.2
scroll through your timeline of tweets Twitter app, you may even look past
the menu that lets you perform this
» verdict
function. Adding locations to your Respectable Twitter client,
» like this? try this! tweets is also a bit hit and miss, and but not one to make you
Falcon for Twitter depends on the functionality of your stay away from the default
Simple Twitter widget with all the
functionality of a fully fledged app. Customise and
edit your profile

Ultimate Rugby GAME Reward


Mobile App
PocketWarwick
A little bit of Hollywood
Scrum down with this brilliant rugby app
Collect and redeem your magic in your pocket
If you’re passionate about rugby, the Ultimate Rugby app will be right
up your street. The app provides a comprehensive overview of all the
loyalty points PocketWarwick involves
major leagues around the world, as well as each individual club that Track your current rewards sending out Warwick Davis
plays within them. After you choose your favourite team to cover, you’ll be able to balance from your Game or to a variety of film
track their recent scores, fixture list, Gamestation account. auditions and charity events with
news stories and even see the current Check the points you have, as well as the aim of completing various
injury table for that team. how much they’re worth in sterling. auditions and getting Warwick as
Each match has a detailed report to The app includes a map that shows many roles as possible. Between
accompany it, and tells you everything you where the nearest stores are, as auditions you control Warwick,
from the exact minute a try was scored, well as the latest deals to use your allowing you to dress him as you
to the top scorer of said match. points on. From time to time, the app want, and try to keep him happy.
If you’re more of a general rugby fan, will also display exclusive deals that You’ll also need to educate him, and
you’ll appreciate the vast coverage the aren’t available train him in different theatrical
application gives to some of the biggest in-store. There styles. One for Life’s Too Short fans.
rugby tournaments all over the globe, isn’t much else to
including detailed guides to the RBS Six the app, but if
Nations, Heineken Cup and, of course, you’re interested
the Rugby World Cup. in checking your
current balance,
» Price Free this does the job
» Designed for Phone and tablet
» Requires Android 2.2 very well indeed.
» Price Free » Price Free
» Designed for Phone and tablet » Designed for Phone and tablet
» Requires Android 2.3 » Requires Android 2.3.3
»best free
alternative
NRL - RUGBY LEAGUE LIVE 2012 » Your guide to any upcoming
matches to be played Down Under.

73
Apps Playmarkers
Scan these QR codes for direct
links to the Google Play Store Todoist 365Scores Rdio

Todoist
Stay focused and keep
your tasks organised
365Scores: Sport
Scores & News
Combining both elegant
design and simple
software, Todoist is a
productivity app that aims to keep
your life in order. Through the app
you can create a series of labels that
can be as broad as possible, which Super-fast sports news at your fingertips
you then add individual tasks that
need to be completed. Creating a 365Scores tries to fill a prompted to choose which sports
new task is easy enough and major hole in the Play you’d like to first see on your news
requires very little detail to complete, store by offering a feed. You won’t find any niche sports
but being able to add a bit more comprehensive coverage and catered for, but it does include a
detail at times would’ve been nice. news service for a wide variety of wide range of American and
Once you set a date for when each sports in one singular app. When European sports. From the sports
task needs to be completed by, the you first open the app you’ll be you choose, you’ll then need to
app will notify you of it through push select the leagues and teams you
notifications and by the homepage want to follow. These can be
of the app when you open it up. changed at any time you wish, but
Any tasks and labels you create the level the app goes in to in
can be synced with Gmail and catering for the sheer number of
Google Calendar to provide more teams on offer is incredible.
functionality, but the former seemed Once you’ve made your choice,
to take a long time to sync with, you’ll be taken to your team or
especially if we had a large number league’s homepage. This screen is
of labels to take across with us. split into three distinct sections. The
Todoist is a simple enough app to top provides a thorough match
use and understand, and provides a report of their recent results, and 365Scores lets you read the latest
match reports from UK newspapers
great service that many users will includes as much detail as you’d
really enjoy experiencing. It isn’t as expect to find on BBC Sport or Sky tweets or find new people to follow.
feature-packed as similar apps, and Sports. At the bottom is a tweet The third and final part is the news
upgrading to the pro version is a bit section that displays the latest section, which shows previews of the
costly for our liking. tweets about said league or club, latest news stories regarding your
from which you can form your own choices, but then directs you to
Choose the leagues and teams you want
to follow »best free
alternative
SCOREMOBILE FC » Simple app to track your favourite football
team’s matches and their recent results.

Rdio
Discover a whole world of new music
The Rdio app has now much more functional. Sound
undergone a vast face-lift quality isn’t perfect, but it’s still
in an attempt to improve surprisingly clear, and you’ll find a
the overall look and functionality of selection of audio tweaking tools
the app. All the main features are still included to enhance your listening
present, and there’s a wide selection experience. Rdio isn’t a new app by
of songs and albums for you to listen any means, but it has undergone a
to. There’s a new menu system that big overhaul that makes it the best
lets you effortless switch between app in its category.
the various sections, and we
especially liked the new charts
» Price Free
» Designed for Phone and tablet
Create tasks to put in your labels section of the most listened to » Requires Android 2.2
albums. Profiles have also
» Price Free ($24.99 year subscription)
» Designed for Phone and tablet undergone a big change, and are
» Requires Android 2.2
»best free
alternative
GOOGLE PLAY MUSIC » Shop for music on Google Play Music and
listen to it in its very own cloud player.

74
Fab

quickhits
» like this? try this!
ESPN ScoreCenter
Get live scores delivered to your
mobile handset from hundreds of sports
leagues all over the world.
5 top apps for...
cooking quick
meals

external sites to read the rest of the


article. You’ll also find a great
highlights section that shows the
key moments from your team’s
previous matches.
365Scores packs so much
into one package and it has to
be commended for that alone. It
isn’t as refined in some places
compared to other apps, but for the
sheer amount of content involved,
this is one app that any sports
enthusiast should download now.

» specification Quick Meal Free


Price Free Use Quick Meal’s simple
category system to find a
Designed for: Phone
Requires Android: 2.2
15min wonder quick meal in a matter of
minutes. Search for
Want your money back? breakfast, dinner and even drink recipes

» verdict You’ve got 15 mins to decide! that can be conjured up quickly.

Performance ! 5 »0-5 minutes


Choosing all the leagues and
15 10
clubs to follow
Design Jamie’s 20 Minute
! 5 »5-10 minutes Meals £2.49/$3.99
Value 15 10
Not impressed at being The Naked Chef provides a
redirected to news sites wide range of simple and
The complete package for quick meals that anyone can
any sport fanatics ! 5 »10-15 minutes EDITOR’S cook up. Much better than sticking a
15 10
Enjoying the speedy push
notifications
CHOICE burger in the microwave!

keep refund
BBC Good Food -
Recipes Free
Fab This expansive list of recipes
can be sorted for their total
cooking time, allowing you to
find a quick meal in just a few moments
Shopping on your Android device made stylish of using the application.

Although Fab looks nothing categories. Each product is well


more than a shopping app designed, and the team behind Fab
from the outside, as soon have done a great job in including Recipe Search Free
Recipe Search allows you to
as you dig a little deeper, you’ll high-quality pictures for each listing. search for recipes by the
uncover a surprisingly feature- All the necessary pricing and delivery ingredients you currently have
packed and beautifully designed details are handily displayed, so you’ll stored in your kitchen
cupboards. It’s fast, very simple and
app. Fab allows you to buy gifts and find the info you require. Fab doesn’t effective too. Happy cooking!
other products through it, giving you match up to some shopping giants,
the latest discounts for each listed but it comes well recommended.
item. Discounts are surprisingly
good, and the range of products on
» Price Free Simple Meals ready in
» Designed for Phone and tablet 10 mins Free
offer is superb. Each product is » Requires Android 2.2 This app does exactly what its
placed in a variety of categories, and title suggests. Prepare and
there are a wide selection of enjoy one of the 101 simple
meals listed within the app. It isn’t the

»best free
alternative
WOWCHER » Daily deals from all over the UK in one great little
money-saving application.
most responsive app at times, however.

Check our website daily


for even more app reviews »www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk 75
Apps Playmarkers
Scan these QR codes for direct
links to the Google Play Store Cabwise
Phil THE
POWER
Taylor Pixlr Express

Cabwise
Get help finding a taxi on the busy streets of London
Pixlr
Express
Cabwise is a taxi booking app with a London-centric focus. Use the
search function to find taxi listings in your area, from which you can
then contact them with the provided telephone number, or see a
Google Maps image of their offices. The app also tracks your current location
using your device’s GPS, meaning the app
will book you a cab based on the closest
company to your location.
There’s a black cab service included as
Take full control over your images
well, allowing you to get a ride in one of the From the developers of major hit Pixlr-O-Matic comes Pixlr Express.
classic taxis if you live in the centre of The app aims to encompass all the depth of photo editing, but in a
London, or in the surrounding areas, by manageable and simple UI. After choosing to import a picture from
using the automated phone number that the Gallery app, or take one using your camera, you’ll be able to apply over
the application provides. 600 effects to your images. The variation of these effects is astonishing,
It’s a pity the app is only currently and Pixlr Express covers any sort of effect you could desire.
available in the London area, as there is a Once you’ve applied an effect, you can then personalise it even further
clear gap in the market for an app like this. by altering the fade, contrast and colour balance of the image. If you’re
We’re hoping Cabwise expands to cover completely new to photo editing, then these sorts of changes may be a
different parts of the UK and abroad. little confusing at first, but you’ll soon get to grips with it. The same can
be said about the layout of the app, and although Pixlr Express does a
» Price Free great job of containing all 600 effects, it’s clumsily laid out. As well as
» Designed for Phone and tablet
» Requires Android 2.2 effects there are some other great touches to discover, including
borders, settings editing and even fire. Pixlr Express is far from a
perfect app, and it’s certainly let down by a clumsy interface. But as
far as detail goes, few other apps come close.
»best free
alternative
CAB4ME » Cab4me taxi finder gives you a detailed list of the taxi
ranks that can be found in your area.
Incredible detail
Whenever you apply a certain effect to an image, you can then apply

Phil THE POWER Taylor


small changes to said effect to make the image stand out even more.
The level of detail really is fantastic

Keep track of the world’s greatest darts player “Pixlr Express covers any sort
If you know anything about darts, you’re going to know who Phil
Taylor is. The 16-time world champion now has his own Android app, of effect you could desire”
where you can read about his latest darting triumphs, as well as the
upcoming tournaments he will be playing in. There’s a large database of
images included, but unfortunately not Get to know Pixlr Express’ effects
many of them are high quality, which is a With so many on offer, we’ve highlighted the ones
massive let down. you should try out first…
The calendar section of the app, which
is meant to show The Power’s schedule,
isn’t working properly, making it a
completely pointless section of the app.
But if you’re looking for some
memorabilia, there’s a great shop built in
to the app that includes a wide selection
of Phil Taylor-themed items you can
purchase to get your full darting fix,
including exact replicas of The Power’s
favourite darts and flights.
Soft Creative Too Old
» Price Free The Soft range of effects Some of the most All your classic black and
» Designed for Phone adds small colour outrageous effects within white-based effects can
» Requires Android 2.1 enhancements all over Pixlr Express fall within be found in the Too Old
your image. For the most the Creative category. effects tab. Strangely, all
part they lighten the These use a combination of the effects listed here
image, but certain ones of bright colours and are known by
add a darker effect. picture separation. old-fashioned names.
»best free
alternative
DARTS SCORECARD PRO » Keep a track on your darts progress
and use the app to try and improve your three-dart average.

76
Talkray
(Beta)

Talkray
(Beta)
Send texts, videos and audio with this
promising instant messaging service
In an attempt to take
Apply your style the free messaging » like this? try this!
With over 600 effects at your disposal, crown from the likes of WhatsApp
the choice of various styles is fantastic. Facebook Messenger Free messaging service that benefits
There’s also a great selection of borders
and WhatsApp, Talkray offers a from an incredibly simple-to-use interface.
and overlays to personalise your images
comprehensive and thorough
messaging service. As well as the the competition, and in some cases
No camera required standard text messaging, you can goes above and beyond what’s
There’s no need to take a photo directly also send video and audio files to already on the market. Impressive.
through the app, as you can select any your contact. We especially liked
image stored in your Gallery app from the
get- go. All your edits are then saved being able to send a voice recording.
back into the Gallery app At any point you can add and
remove contacts to your current
conversation, although with more
than four people in one room, it can
» like this? try this! be a little confusing. The video
sharing capabilities are good, and
Paper Camera
Real-time cartoon and painting effects are quick to send.
that you can apply to your camera lens. The stand out feature in Talkray is
being able to conduct conference
calls. It’s a brilliantly designed
Using Auto Fix feature that works flawlessly.
The brilliant Auto Fix feature is your
Despite being in beta still, Talkray is
one-stop shop in helping you to get rid of
any major issues in your picture. By using already up there with the rest of
it, the app will automatically balance out
the colours, adjust lighting conditions,
and try and improve image quality
wherever possible

» specification
Price Free
Designed for: Phone and tablet
Requires Android: 2.2

» verdict » specification
Performance Price Free
Designed for: Phone and tablet
Design Requires Android: 2.2
Value » verdict
Simple, but detailed photo A genuine contender to the
editing on your Android instant messaging crown

Page people to notify them that you’ve sent


them a message

»best free
alternative
PIXLR-O-MATIC » A simple way to add a wide variety of retro
effects to your photos.
»best free
alternative
PALRINGO GROUP MESSENGER » Connect with multiple contacts
while sending audio and voice messages.

77
Apps Playmarkers
Scan these QR codes for direct
links to the Google Play Store
This
IsWhy
ImBroke
Tyype
Keyboard Adblock Plus

ThisIsWhyImBroke
Shut up and take my money!
Although your wallet online. There’s a wide range of
won’t forgive you, products available, and you’ll find
» like this? try this!
ThisIsWhyImBroke is a most of them are completely zany. eBay
Find all the weird and wonderful
free magazine showcasing some In some cases you’ll also find some items you could ever want in eBay’s listings.
of the coolest products available very, very pricey items.
Each item showcased has its
own listing from which you can read
a full description of the item and
» specification
look at the accompanying gallery. Price Free
You can’t buy any products through Designed for: Phone
the app directly, however, and Requires Android: 2.1
instead you’ll need to go to the
linked online retailer where you’ll be
» verdict
able to purchase said item. Performance
If you find a handful of products
that take your fancy, you can use
Design
the bookmark feature to create a Value
virtual list of products that you then
Find that diamond
refer back to whenever you need encrusted tiara you’ve
them at a later date. Anyone for a spot of volleyball?
always wanted…

»best free
alternative
MIDNIGHTBOX.COM DAILY DEALS » Grab a bargain and find
some good deals in your local area.

Tyype Keyboard Adblock Plus


Bring gestures to your messages Keep adverts from disrupting how you use your phone
Tyype uses the familiar Qwerty keyboard layout, but adds in a host of Having adverts all over your favourite apps is annoying, especially
little features to try and differentiate it from the rest of the market. It when one click can close the app and open up your browser. Adblock
uses a familiar design, and you’ll find all the usual shortcuts and hot Plus looks to put an end to this problem by offering a no-frills service
keys located either side of the keyboard. The biggest, and most noticeable to to remove all ads from your apps and online browsing. Unfortunately, it has
this keyboard, however, is the touchpad decidedly mixed results. Setting up
that can be placed either below or above Adblock is easy. It doesn’t require your
your message. The touchpad has phone to be rooted to work over Wi-Fi,
multiple functions to help make typing but it does over 3G, so don’t expect an
that bit easier. You can highlight text, ad-free experience when you’re out and
copy and paste with a few touches, skip about. The results are really hit and miss,
through words and manipulate the and it ultimately depends on the app and
direction of the cursor. websites you use. Through our tests it
It does tend to be unresponsive at worked well on Google Chrome, but
times, however, and the small size of the struggled from blocking any sort of ad on
touchpad is a real pain. On top of that, Firefox or Opera. When it does work,
Tyype lacks the sheer simplicity of apps however, it’s a massive success, and
like SwiftKey, which at the moment are being able to experience several free
much better than Tyype. apps without ads is fantastic.

» Price £1.21/$1.58 » Price Free


» Designed for Phone and tablet » Designed for Phone and tablet
» Requires Android 2.2 » Requires Android 2.1

»best free
alternative
SWIFTKEY 3 KEYBOARD » The undisputed king of Android
keyboards. Easy, feature-packed and a joy to use.
»best free
alternative
ADFREE ANDROID » Adfree removes a large portion of the ads you
encounter within apps and browsing.

78
quickhits
PSY GANGNAM ForeverMap 2 Goodnight The Co-operative
STYLE LWP Offline maps ready Moon Bank
at your fingertips
and Tone The detail that ForeverMap
2 goes into is fantastic,
Interactive storybook for
your kids to enjoy
Check your bank balance
wherever, whenever
Never escape PSY again
and offers a wide selection The traditional Goodnight The Co-operative Bank app
If you aren’t already sick of of online and offline maps from all Moon bedtime story has provides you with instant
PSY’s monster-hit over the world. Calculate journey been re-imagined as a full access to your Co-op bank
Gangnam Style, then the times to make travelling easier, and interactive app in this great account 24 hours a day. Check your
official live wallpaper and ringtone save repeating journeys to have adaptation. The story itself is still as account balances, and switch
might be right up your street. The quick access to them when you need charming, but the way your children between your various accounts.
ringtone plays the full Gangnam Style them. You can change between can interact with the characters and Each account also has a mini
song at 320kps, giving you a decent pedestrian and transport modes to items has completely changed. statement feature, allowing you to
quality tone on your device. Choosing see optimum routes, but the app There are over 200 touchable see your most recent transactions,
between one of the various live doesn’t do a good job at providing objects that can be used to alter how but you aren’t able to process
wallpapers is great you the quickest the animation is designed, and there transfers within it.
fun, and includes routes possible. It are plenty of hidden interactions too. If you’re strapped
several of the isn’t up to the for cash, use the
most famous standard of app to find your
scenes in the Google Maps, but closest Co-op ATM
music video, the ForeverMap 2 machine, or use
including the app is a great one of the contact
cringe worthy substitute worth phone numbers
elevator scene. checking out. displayed in-app.
» Price £1.49/$2.39 » Price £0.69/£0.99 » Price £3.12/$4.99 » Price Free
» Designed for Phone and tablet » Designed for Phone and tablet » Designed for Phone and tablet » Designed for Phone
» Requires Android 2.3 » Requires Android 2.3 » Requires Android 2.3.3 » Requires Android 2.1

Clone Phone Mumsnet Talk VoucherCodes.co.uk Official West


Create a backup of your
EE phone
Active forums for soon-to-
be-mothers
Make big savings on high
street brands
Ham United
Clone Phone creates a Participate in the active With purse strings
Are you forever blowing
virtual back up of all the Mumsnet forums to ask tightening, saving as much bubbles?
contacts, calendars, questions and participate money as possible is a The official West Ham
photos, videos and music that are in discussions of mothering and necessity for most. VoucherCodes United app provides fans
stored on your device, in case at pregnancy. You can sign in to the app aims to provide details of the best with the latest team
some point you lose your phone, or using the same account from the deals currently being offered. The headlines, along with live audio
it’s accidentally wiped. The backup web version of the forums, and still choice is fantastic, and you’ll find commentary of every game they play.
process takes a while to complete, have access to all the familiar deals from a wide variety of Regular interviews with players and
and it sometimes crashes midway sections of the forums. Creating a restaurants, shops and websites. coaches are added to the app in
through, meaning you need to topic is easy enough, as well as Where the app is thoroughly let down video format, although the quality
annoyingly start all over again. Once leaving a response in an already is by its design: it’s horribly slow, and isn’t the best. The best section of
backed up, you can switch on a created one. Every time you receive a going between menus is a chore that the app are the match reports that
secondary device, reply, or someone many will give up go in to a lot of
log in to your EE mentions you in a on. Although rare, detail about
account and post, you’ll be able some deals are individual players
restore your to receive a falsely labelled, and even the
details. When you notification meaning you could opposing team.
get it to work, the directly to your be expecting a 30 This is a must-
backup and smartphone that per cent discount, have app for any
restore function will take you and receive just 10 Hammers fans,
works a treat. quickly to it. per cent instead. but no one else!
» Price Free » Price Free » Price Free » Price £2.99/$4.81
» Designed for Phone » Designed for Phone and tablet » Designed for Phone and tablet » Designed for Phone
» Requires Android 2.3 » Requires Android 2.1 » Requires Android 2.1 » Requires Android 2.1

79
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MAGAZINES BOOKS DVDS DOWNLOADS GIFTS


head tohead
to head
Which of these score-tracking apps
takes the title? We put them
head-to-head to find out…

ESPN SCORECENTER
vs
SCOREMOBILE
If you have a wide interest in sport, having to
download a bunch of apps to track the
score for every sport can be a pain. With
these two apps, however, you’ll have
access to a wide
» specification range of sport » specification
Price Free scores whenever Price Free
Designed for: Phone and tablet
Requires Android: 2.2
you need them Designed for: Phone and tablet
Requires Android: 1.6

ESPN ScoreCenter ScoreMobile


Although more American- There’s a great selection of
centric than the competition, lesser-known sports that
ESPN provides a wide range of SELECTION OF aren’t typically covered in
coverage for some of the
most popular leagues in the SPORTS these types of apps, as well
as all the usual NFL, NHL
world of sport. and Premier League results.

The app does a great job of Content is key here, and


displaying individual results ScoreMobile crams in as
in a simple, but classy CHECKING many results on one page
design. Each result can be
expanded on to see a full RESULTS as possible. It offers a great
overview of each score, but
match report. lacks a decent design.

Each report includes a Once again, ScoreMobile


timeline of events from that provides a wide range of
match, as well as some of content, sacrificing design
the key players. There’s STATS SCREEN in the process. Data is far
also a preview feature to more comprehensive than
see ESPN’s prediction too. the competition though.

There’s a distinct minimalist ScoreMobile packs in as


approach to how ESPN much content as possible.
displays its content, and for Although this should be
the most part it works a DESIGN applauded, it does lead to
treat. Loading times are a an occasionally clumsy
problem, though. user experience.

Each game can be The app links with Google


personalised, so that you Calendar to provide you with
receive notifications. If
you’re tracking multiple
NOTIFICATIONS notifications when the game
you’re tracking is starting.
games, however, your phone AND ALARMS It works a treat, but we
will constantly be vibrating. wanted more options.

And the Both apps offer comprehensive score-tracking, but ScoreMobile pips
winner is... ESPN to the post by offering a more detailed stats-based app.
Although it lacks the design niceties, ScoreMobile is definitely an
SCOREMOBILE app that any sports enthusiast should have on their phone or tablet.
81
Games Playmarkers
Scan these QR codes for direct
links to the Google Play Store
The Hobbit:
Kingdoms Slice

The Hobbit: Kingdoms


Revisit Middle Earth for one final adventure
Journey back to Middle with, but after you dig a little deeper,
Earth as you begin a you’ll soon uncover a game enriched
memorable quest to help in detail, and one that you’ll want to
build and rule your own city, against come back to time and time again.
the constant threat of goblins. From This is a high-quality game that every
the outset you can choose to play as Android gamer should be getting
either the Dwarves or Elves, and their hands on.
even though the storyline isn’t vastly
different for either race, you’ll find a » Price Free
lot of the building and modifications
» Designed for Phone and tablet
» Requires Android Varies
you make to your city will look
different depending on which race
you choose.
There’s a lengthy tutorial at the
start of the game to help you get to
grips with building your city, and the
various elements you need to cater
for. There’s a huge amount of detail
you need to register with, so the
tutorial is definitely worth following.
The main purpose of your city is to
cater for your citizens that live there, GAME OF
so building all the essential THE MONTH
amenities is a necessity.
Once again, the level of detail, and
the sheer range of buildings you can
Completing more quests will unlock more gold for you to use
construct is surprisingly diverse.
After a while you’ll need to work on a whole host of recognisable join and fight players from all over the
your town’s defences, as you repel characters from the movie, and you world to see who has the strongest
the occasional goblin attacks. It’s can forge diplomatic alliances with army. The servers are decent
fairly easy to repel them, and the them to help combat the increasing enough, but can get hit with lag when
game could do with showcasing numbers of goblins you’ll face. there are multiple players in one
some more of the Middle Earth There’s a large multiplayer side to room. The Hobbit: Kingdoms is a Your town can be as big, or as small as you
monsters we all recognise. You’ll find the game as well, in which you can simple enough game to get started choose it to be

what we’ve Slice


been playing Slice, hack and slash your way to glory
Devil’s Attorney Slice is a very simple game obstacles, and you’ve far less time to
£2.33/$2.99 to get to grips with, and complete it. The standard wooden
We’ve only just started this has a definite pick-up-and- board you’ll encounter is simple
intriguing turn-based strategy play feel to it. Players must slash enough, but the latter boards are
game. You play as Max
McMann, a defence attorney who must away the different pieces of a board laced with metal borders, which
try and free all his clients. until the target amount has been can’t be sliced through, adding a
slashed away. Each board has a whole new layer of strategy. The two
variety of circles which you must game modes, Arcade and Challenge,
Need for Speed Most avoid to successfully slice your are pretty similar, so there isn’t a
Wanted £5.18/$6.92 board, or else your allotted time will whole lot of longevity here, but
EA has brought back NFS
from the brink of obscurity to soon be drained. Levels start off definitely worth a quick play-through.
bring one of the most rather simple, with minimal
authentic racing experiences you can obstacles in your way and a vast
» Price Free
buy for your phone or tablet. » Designed for Phone and tablet
amount of time at your disposal. The » Requires Android 1.5
more you delve into the game, you’ll Boards become more complex as you

»twitter
Recommend a game… find the boards are filled with progress through the game

82 @lgrobot
Sleep
Ayakashi: walker’s
Ghost Guild Journey Predators

quickhits
Ayakashi: Ghost Guild
Solid RPG with card battle twist
Ayakashi aims to combat various ghosts in Japan.
re-innovate the card Card battles are generally exciting,
battle genre, by adding and are based on a combination of
all the glitz and glamour that’s the attack and defence points your Rope Escape Free
A charming little game that
missing from many of its rivals. selected cards hold in comparison sees you swing from tree to
Things don’t get off to a good to your opponents. tree collecting various
start with some rather bland The main problem with Ayakashi, power-ups as you go. The
further you progress through the game,
menus, leading you through even however, is the in-play purchases the more you encounter new landscapes.
more bland menus as you get required to really go far in the game.
your first deck of cards. Although not necessarily costly
In total there are one hundred purchases, with a basic gold pack
cards to collect through the you use to purchase items costing
game, with each of them just 40p, it can get costly with level
containing a hand-drawn anime progression almost coming to a
character, and most look the part. stand still unless you make a
Each card has a selection of skills number of purchases.
to offer your deck. There isn’t
much variety which is a pity, » Price Free (In-app purchases extra)
however. You collect new cards by
» Designed for Phone and tablet
» Requires Android 2.2 Wonder Zoo - Animal
progressing through the story There’s over 100 different cards
mode, which sees you trying to to collect rescue ! Free
Rescue wild animals from
poachers and create a zoo to
help them. Your zoo starts off
small, but with more animals, you’ll find it
expanding very quickly. Cute graphics.

Nun Attack Free


Nun Attack is an action-
packed brawl that has a lot of
tongue-in-cheek humour in it.
Equip your army of nuns with
a variety of weapons as they try and
defeat the army of the dead.

Sleepwalker’s Predators W.E.L.D.E.R £1.86/£2.99


Although it’s a word game,

Journey Sci-fi icon gets Android makeover


Based heavily on the popular movie franchise of
and the same formula we’ve
seen before, W.E.L.D.E.R
succeeds at being an
addictive blast to help keep your brain
More of a dream than a nightmare the same name, Predators sees you test your thinking. It’s also very hard.
wits against several of the world’s most deadly
In this exquisite platformer you need to guide humans. To succeed, you need to take advantage of the
the drowsy Moonboy over 40 stages, collecting Predator’s full armoury and skill set. Each level sees you
moons and stars as you go to obtain more gold. pitted against a mercenary, assassin, sniper or other killer, Stickman Ski Racer Free
Explore a variety of different
Each stage is surprisingly open-ended, with dead ends and then leaves it up to you to decide the best way to kill ski slopes in this fun and
and false leads aplenty, especially in the latter levels. To them. Despite the killings being fairly graphic, and not one engaging arcade ski racer.
avoid dead ends and the fabled game over, you’ll need for the squeamish at heart, the tactics that each level Landscapes are detailed, but
characters lack real detail. There’s is a
ridiculously quick reactions to quickly zip Moonboy through requires you to undertake is impressive. There’s a good good variety of modes to play through.
different areas of the level. What makes Moonboy stand range of alien technology you can use to aid your mission
out from similar games on the Play store is the way you further, a lot of which is taken from the movies. You can
interact with the world around you. Sleepwalker’s Journey use your Stealth Generator to stay out of sight, Smart
can be frustratingly difficult, but is definitely a sleeper hit Discs to decapitate your opponent and the Razor Whip to Wreck-it Ralph
worthy of your time. keep enemies at arm’s length. £0.62/$0.99
A collection of mini games
based from the movie
» Price £0.69/$0.99 » Price £0.62/$0.99 Wreck-it Ralph. Fix-it Felix lets
» Designed for Phone and tablet » Designed for Phone and tablet you put things together and Sweet
» Requires Android 2.2 » Requires Android 2.2 Climber is an endless climbing game.

Check our website for


even more game reviews »www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk 83
Reviews
HTC One X+
HTC moves into 2013 with an update of its 2012 flagship.
Does it fix what was wrong with the original?

H
TC began 2012 telling the world about how
it intended to streamline its range and
focus on a small number of high-quality
micro SIM handsets rather than repeat the strategy that let
This is one of that bunch the company down so disastrously the year
of handsets that supports before, flooding its portfolio with multiple devices
a micro SIM. It lives in a
housing on the top-edge barely discernible from the rest. Alas, while HTC
of the chassis has made great improvements, it still has not been
able to completely resist tinkering. And so we get
the HTC One X+ – a modest update to the
company’s flagship phone released only a few
HTC Sense months ago. For once though, it is not tweaking for
The One X+ launches
with Jelly Bean, but the sake of it. This update attempts to address the
like on all HTC two main complaints about the original One X, and
handsets the OS is
largely obscured by
is worthwhile, even if it could lead to the inevitable
the presence of HTC criticism that this new model is what HTC should
Stunning Sense. This have produced in the first place.
screen overarching skin
HTC’s One X was hailed as one of the hits of the
The 4.7-inch Super LCD reworks many of the
2 display is as good as features of Android, year. With a quad-core processor, high resolution
any we’ve seen on any giving them their own screen, good camera and plentiful built-in storage,
smartphone. It really distinctive style and
shines here, although functionality it was a high flyer only let down by suspect battery
do beware that it saps life – quite a serious issue. The update improves on
the battery quickly many of the core specs and adds a larger battery.
as well
The One X+ has a massive 64GB of internal storage
and a very impressive 1.7GHz quad-core processor.
It positively flies along, though we did notice it
getting hot when we pushed it by asking it to run
more graphic-intensive games.
Memory The handset supports a range of up-to-date
matters technologies including NFC and MHL (providing
The amount of
on-board storage has
HDMI-out through an adaptor used in the micro
doubled to 64GB plus USB connector port). It also adds a further 25GB of
HTC throws in an extra Dropbox storage to the internal memory for two
25GB of Dropbox
space as well for free. years. And the front camera has been upped to 1.6
You cannot extend megapixels, and takes advantage of access to a
add any extra through dedicated imaging chip to produce quite passable
a microSD card,
however

Buttons “The update


HTC has stuck with the
dedicated buttons
below the screen. They
improves on many of
are capacitive rather
than physical buttons,
and the task switching
the core specs and
one can be reassigned
to the Menu function if
you wish
adds a larger battery”
good Video
for... Super-bright and clear screen makes for the
perfect tool for video watching

84
Review
HTC
One X+
Front camera
The front camera is good
for self-portraits and takes
advantage of the dedicated
information
Price £462
imaging chip that makes
the One series a highlight
»More information
www.htc.com/uk
among camera phones

Battery life
Still a
disappointing
battery life
from such a
powerful
handset

Choice widgets technical specs


HTC’s excellent selection of
widgets add real value to
»Operating system...............Android 4.1
the One X+, they are »Processor...................................Quad-core 1.7GHz
polished and highly »Memory.......................................64GB storage
functional, better than
many you can find in the
»Dimensions..............................134.36 x 69.9 x 8.9mm
Play Store »Weight ..........................................135g
Super-fast »Display size...............................4.7-inch
processor »Display resolution...............1,280 x 720 pixels
A 1.7GHz quad-core »Expansion slot.......................none
processor sees the
One X+ rank among
the very fastest of all
Android devices, and
really pushes things
along smoothly and
at speed HTC One X+

HTC One X Samsung


Galaxy S III
photos. Great if you like self-portraits. The main the back are the clue that a docking kit can be
issue 011 issue 013
camera retains the One X’s ability to shoot a still used with the HTC One X+.
while taking a video, and will produce the latter to Incidentally, the chassis does not incorporate a
1080p resolution. removable backplate. The micro SIM goes into a
better than worse than
It is a pity that HTC has not seen fit to include a caddy that sits on the top-edge of the casing at the
micro SD card slot on the One X+ though. For all back. If you’re worried about battery life then know
that internal memory and access to Dropbox, it that you can’t swap in a spare in desperate times.
Performance
Super-fast and slick, but let down by the
would have been nice to also have access to This is a big handset, and its screen is a
mediocre battery life
hot-swapping storage. But sadly that’s not to be. generous 4.7 inches in size, with 1,280 x 720 pixels
HTC has improved on the battery this time of display resolution. It’s one of the best handset Design
around, providing a 2100mAh battery in place of screens we’ve seen and perfect for reading Tidy and very ‘high-end’, but no
the 1800mAh cell that was used in the original. If webpages, and for looking at video. It’s almost removable backplate is a negative
you’re hoping this has dealt with the poor battery large enough for serious catch-up TV.
life issue you’re only half right. The more powerful It is great to see Android 4.1 being used here, Features
processor must cause a larger drain, because and HTC Sense has been given a slight makeover This feature-packed device is better
while we found life to be a bit better than before, it too. It’s not enough to jar or present you with any
than the original
is far from superb. If we spent time gaming and complex or difficult new learning curves, but if you Value for money
using mobile data during the day an early evening are upgrading from a recent HTC handset you Expensive, but priced in line with other
trip to the mains power was often in order. might notice some subtle changes. flagship devices
Physically HTC has retained the HTC One X For the most part HTC has done well with its
chassis design almost entirely, with only a couple
of stylistic alterations. So, this handset has a
polycarbonate shell with a rubberised finish – and it
upgrade to what was its flagship handset of 2012.
A faster processor and plenty of internal storage
headline the updates. But the weakness in battery
»Almost
Verdict
a five-star performer,
is a bit too easily scratched for our liking. A Beats
Audio logo on the back indicates that the
life has not been completely solved. The trade off
between power and performance looks set to
but the Galaxy range has
partnership continues, and five little notches on continue for some time yet. increased our expectations in
Music Gaming Browsing
regards to battery life
There’s plenty of on-board storage and the The quad-core processor is super-capable in The screen is big enough to read many
iconic Beats Audio technology is present terms of chewing through games webpages without zooming

85
Reviews
Samsung Galaxy
Ace 2 The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is a
budget handset with highs and
lows to reel you in, turn you
away and reel you in again

I
t’s tough if you have around £200 burning a hole
in your pocket and you are looking for the ideal
SIM-free Android handset. There’s a fair bit of
choice hovering around that price and Samsung
recently added another option for you to ponder in
the shape of the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2.
This is an update of an earlier handset that
Samsung proved extremely popular with the pay as you go
through and crowd, and it has to be said that while some of the
through specifications are noteworthy, others most
The handset design,
with its physical home certainly are not. It also has to be said that
button below the Samsung has barely bothered to do anything novel
screen and rounded
corners, is in the design of this phone, but its solid lines are
distinctively perfectly good enough.
Samsung. So, it has In fact, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 looks very,
to be said, is the
plasticky build very familiar. A physical home button beneath the
screen. A black chassis with rounded corners.
Samsung’s trademark name and a silver sliver of
speaker above the screen. All these are very clearly
Samsung design elements.
While it might be a bit dull and samey, what’s
Good good about the design is the well-placed buttons
screen and connectors. Headset on the top-edge, micro
The screen might
not be as large as
USB on the bottom. Volume rocker on the
we’re accustomed left-edge, power switch on the right. What’s not so
to, but it delivers good is the flimsy backplate that you could snap if
good quality
you are over enthusiastic when you remove it.
Samsung has managed a strange feat with the
sound output. It’s poor through the back mounted
speaker, when it is loud enough but rather too tinny
for our tastes. Use the provided headphones,
though, and it is much, much better with pretty
Sound good bass tones.
Through the speaker,
sound is tinny, but The camera benefits from an on-board photo
through headphones
editing app, but shooting itself isn’t a great
it is surprisingly
punchy experience. You can’t expect more than five
megapixels from a handset in this price bracket,
and photos are okay as far as quality goes, but
there is a big issue.
There is serious shutter lag here, and you will
need a steady hand to take a half-decent photo.
Don’t even think about trying to capture a sharp
Micro SD image of anything that’s moving. If your pet cat is
The micro SD photogenic, you’ll need a proper camera to capture
card slot is on its antics instead of this phone.
the edge of the
phone, and
protected by a good Portability
hinged cover
for... This phone is a great size for the hand and
pocket. Screen is ideal for one-handed use

86
Review
Samsung Galaxy
Ace 2
information
Price £229.99
»More information
Front camera www.samsung.com/uk
The five-megapixel main
camera is supplemented
by a front-facing
VGA option
Battery life
Average users
should be able
to get a full day
of use between
charges

Thickset technical specs


One thing is guaranteed »Operating system...............Android 2.3
to give away the value of
a phone, and its position
»Processor...................................Dual-core 800MHz
in the pecking order: it’s »Memory.......................................4GB storage
girth. The Ace 2 is a »Dimensions..............................118.3 x 62.3 x 10.5mm
thickset device, taking
away much of the
»Weight ..........................................118.5g
benefit that is gained »Display size...............................3.8-inch
from the smaller »Display resolution...............800 x 480 pixels
all-round profile
»Expansion slot.......................micro SD

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2

Orange Sony

“At 3.8 inches it [the screen] hits the


San Diego Xperia U

issue 015 issue 014

sweet spot between size and usability” better than worse than
The highlight of the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 has such as the Chrome browser for instance. More
to be its screen. At 3.8 inches it hits the sweet significant is that the 4GB of storage installed
spot between size and usability. Larger than this equates to just over 1GB that’s user accessible,
Performance
Nippy and sprightly for all but the most
and phones tend to get a bit too big for many and that probably won’t be enough for you. Micro
demanding tasks
people to use one-handed. Smaller and it can be SD cards are cheap enough these days, but we’d
difficult to do media-rich activities like browsing rather not have to buy one right from the off, or Design
webpages or watching video. At this size both would at least prefer to pay a very small amount Nothing special to look at, but at least
those activities are nice, and eBook/email reading extra to have one included in the box. all the buttons are in the right places
are easy on the eye. The keyboard is perhaps a bit There’s good news on the performance front.
cramped for some hands, but that particular size/ The dual-core 800MHz processor is nippy, Features
usability compromise will be a personal matter. supported ably by 768MB of RAM, and the battery Dual-core is nice at the price, but
The screen itself is clear and sharp. Its 800 x ought to get many users who place average level
Gingerbread is not
480 pixels aren’t top-notch, but they do deliver demands on their phone through a day between Value for money
pretty crisp results, and we had no real problems. charges. This is not a phone for those who want to Well priced for a budget-minded pay as
It’s perfectly acceptable for the price point. play the latest high-end games, but for the Angry you go handset
We do have a couple of major gripes though. Birds crowd it is more than up to the job.
Android 2.3 is used here, and that just feels quite
old hat now. It’s not that you’d have a big problem
with it, and it is well hidden for the most part
Overall, when you add up the pros and cons the
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 comes out as a pretty good
phone, its screen and capable processor standing
»A solid
Verdict
update to the original
beneath Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, but it’s a couple
of paces behind the leading edge and you will find
out in particular. However, if it is on your new phone
shortlist, make sure the negatives aren’t things you
Ace. The phone represents a
that some apps are not available for the device, really care about. great choice if you can find a
Music Creativity Browsing
good pay as you go deal
Sound quality through headphones is A full version of Polaris Office is pre-installed The screen is clear and crisp. The pixel density
impressive. The speaker is loud, if not great so you can access and edit office files is last generation but sharp enough

87
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Reviews Review
Vodafone

Vodafone Smart Tab II


information
Smart Tab II
Price £149 PAYG
»More information
www.vodafone.co.uk

Battery life
The battery is
disappointing,
and will only get
you a couple of
days between
charges

technical specs
»Operating system...............Android 4.0
»Processor...................................1GHz
»Memory.......................................4GB storage
»Dimensions..............................192 x 122 x 11.5mm
»Weight ..........................................400g
»Display size...............................Seven-inch
»Display resolution...............1,024 x 600 pixels
»Expansion slot.......................micro SD

Vodafone Smart Tab II

N/A Nexus 7

issue 017

Average screen HSDPA Android 4.0


The screen has a slightly lower resolution than
many and is thus not as crisp as it could be
With support for mobile data and Wi-Fi you
can use this tablet fully while on the move
Android 4.0 is on hand to
cater to your needs
better than worse than

The Vodafone Smart Tab II combines Android tablet Performance


features and HSDPA in a single budget device The single-core processor shows its age
under heavier tasks

W
ith the Smart Tab II, Vodafone is tackling But the specs cannot match the Nexus. The
the Nexus 7 head on. This seven-inch screen offers 1,024 x 600 pixels of viewing area Design
tablet can be yours for £29 if you take a and inevitably that means it loses out a little in Solid and functional, albeit on the heavy
two-year £20-a-month contract with a 2GB data terms of sharpness compared to its rival. It isn’t side for use on the move
limit (breach this and you pay £15 per GB). Or you dire, but it’s not one of those that has you smiling.
can opt for a pay as you go alternative of £149 for The processor won’t have you writing home, Features
the tablet and then £5 for every 250MB of data. either. The 1GHz single-core affair is okay, but no 3G is nice at this price, but the screen
It is made by Lenovo, a company with plenty of more. Apps are a bit sluggish to load and we did
and CPU are budget at best
experience, and the build is certainly impressive. It find ourselves waiting for screen taps to be Value for money
feels solid, and the textured back lends an air of actioned at times. And battery life isn’t great The price is low but we’ve seen better for
style to proceedings which is rather missing on the either. A tablet needs to function very well on this your money elsewhere
flat, featureless front. It is perhaps a little thick and front if it is to be a constant companion, and we
a little heavy though. At 400g, it’s going to weigh
heavy in the hand if you’re thinking of using it as an
eReader, and compared with the 340g of the
aren’t sure the Smart Tab II could be that.
The good news is that there’s a micro SD card
slot that you can use to augment the 4GB of built-in
»A very
Verdict
average budget tablet
Nexus 7, it is a bit weighty.
The presence of Android 4.0 is also a bit of a
storage. There’s also a token camera, albeit of very
mediocre quality.
whose 3G capability gives
disappointment if you want to be bang up to date, Taken as a whole, then, the Vodafone Smart Tab makes it more interesting
but there’s a plus in that Vodafone has left Android II feels budget, but it does have the advantage of than it would otherwise be
pretty much skin free. There’s a folder containing built-in HSDPA and that will be a lure for some
various Vodafone apps on the home screen, and people, especially as it come in around £75 less
you can remove this if you don’t like it. than the 3G Nexus does.

89
Reviews
Sony Xperia J The Sony Xperia J looks
good but has some
serious failings

S
ony’s Xperia J is another budget offering from
the company, this one sitting above the more
entry level Miro and Tipo but still
representing a relatively affordable sub-£200
purchase. At this price it has a fair bit of company,
and the competition is stiff.
With this in mind Sony has done some headline-
grabbing stuff in equipping the Xperia J with a 1GHz
processor and Android 4.0, so initial impressions
are quite positive. There’s also the promise of an
upgrade to Android 4.1 in the near future which will
be a clear draw if you are keen on being bang up to
date with your OS version.
Nor is the handset badly designed. It adopts the
characteristic curved back that’s a remnant of the
old Xperia Arc. Some say the way the inner section
Curved back is thinner than the top and bottom make the
The back of this
handset is curved so handset easier to hold. We’re not totally convinced
that it is narrower in of that, but it is certainly a mark of distinction.
the centre than at the
edges. Some say this There’s a neat silver trim all the way round the
helps with grip edges, and the plastic build feels quite sturdy.
although we can’t say Button and connector placement has its low points
we noticed any
difference and its highs. The headset connector is on the top
edge which is great, but the micro USB port is on
the left-edge which we find an annoying location.
The bottom edge is a far more ergonomic location
and every time you try to pick the phone up to take
a call when it’s charging you may find yourself
irritated. The volume and power buttons are
unproblematic, thin sliver affairs on the right-edge.
The screen is generously proportioned at four
inches diagonally, and its 854 x 480 pixels, while
Nice screen not at the top-end of the screen scale, are sharp
The four-inch screen enough. We found it worked particularly well for
is sharp and clear,
making it a good
video viewing and web browsing.
handset for video Sound output is loud too. Sony has used its
viewing xLoud system here, and that really does give
volume a boost. The same can’t be said for quality,
but if all you want is to listen to the radio then
you’re going to be fine with it.
We like Sony’s LiveWare concept which lets you
set the phone to run a specific app when headset,
headphones or the charger are plugged in.
And we’re fans of one of Sony’s widgets. Top
Contacts puts your most frequently contacted
people automatically into a grid that sits on a home
screen making it easy for you to get to them again
and again and again. Sony likes a bit of bling in its

Status
light
There’s a status
“The handset is
light on the
bottom of the incredibly laggy”
good Video
chassis which
glows a different

for...
colour depending
on the theme The four-inch screen is clear and bright,
you’ve selected making watching YouTube clips a pleasure

90
Review
Sony
Xperia J
information
Price £190.80
»More information
www.sonymobile.com

Battery life
The battery
delivers
comparatively
long life thanks
to the lower spec

technical specs
»Operating system...............Android 4.0
»Processor...................................1GHz
»Memory.......................................4GB storage
»Dimensions..............................124.3 x 61.2 x 9.2mm
»Weight ..........................................124g
»Display size...............................Four-inch
»Display resolution...............854 x 480 pixels
»Expansion slot.......................micro SD
Camera
The five-megapixel
camera is not as fast as
we’ve become used to
seeing, and sadly the top Sony Xperia J
video res is 640 x 480. A
rare disappointment
from Sony in the camera LG Optimus Sony
L3 Xperia U
department

Good battery life issue 013 issue 014

One of the positives of this


handset is relatively long
battery life
better than worse than

handsets and there’s a notification light built into


the bottom-edge of the Xperia J whose colour
Performance
Very laggy at times, with some keyboard
depends on which of the colour-based themes you
issues especially bad
opt for. At least that’s what Sony claims. It didn’t RAM in support. But we found ourselves waiting
want to work for us however. while the handset caught up with our screen Design
And actually, we encountered a number of presses a lot of the time. Neat and stylish design in line with the
issues we’d say were more significant than a Even with nothing else going on, sweeping Xperia range
non-working notification light. We’re pretty through the five home screens was a jerky, rather
unimpressed with the fact that the five-megapixel than smooth experience. Features
camera only shoots video to VGA resolution, and Typing in website addresses was painful as the Some good features but the device has
there’s considerable shutter lag in the stills camera keyboard seemed to take a while to send the result
modest specs
too. Coming from a manufacturer that usually of key presses to the search bar. Zooming into Value for money
excels in the image-capture department, this is a webpages was jerky too, and apps in general There are much better specced devices
real disappointment. The presence of just 2GB of seemed to take longer than usual to load. at this price point
user accessible internal storage is a bit of a Now, if you’re not someone who has seen lots of
let-down too.
But the most serious problem is that the
handset is incredibly laggy. Although we were not
smartphones you might be able to live with all this
and barely notice it, but in our view it’s far from the
performance we’d expect for the price. Given the
»If itVerdict
were much cheaper it
expecting superfast performance from the
single-core processor, the 1GHz CPU ought to be
massive range of devices available in the £200
price bracket it’s hard not to conclude that you can
might get a pass as a true
able to cope, even though it has only 512MB of find an awful lot better elsewhere. budget phone. As it is, it is a
Radio Friends Weekends away
real disappointment
Sony’s xLoud system helps to deliver plenty via The Top Contacts widget automatically fills The long battery life gives good survival time
its speakers or headphones with your most frequently contacted friends away from the mains

91
Accessories
Use the grip Clip in to place
Each side of the gaming wheel includes a
black strip to help keep grip of the handles. With so many different tablets available in a variety of
They line only one side of each handle, so if sizes, the fact that the gaming wheel caters for every
you have large hands, you might not fully tablet from seven inches upwards is a great addition. The
benefit from the additional grip adjustable clips are easy to move around, and they help
keep your tablet in place while using the gaming wheel

Simple
controls
The front end of the
unit includes a series of
buttons and icons you
can use to control
various aspects of the
gaming wheel. You’ll
find the basic volume
control buttons here,
as well as a power
button and a Bluetooth
indicator to show you if
the wheel is connected
to your tablet

Arcade Connect via

Universal Bluetooth
Although using the wheel
in conjunction with the
tablet doesn’t require a
Bluetooth connection, to

Gaming Wheel
get the game audio to
stream through the
speakers at the back of
the wheel it does require
the connection. Once
established, the
Bluetooth works superbly

Put yourself in the driving seat of your favourite racing games

T
he Arcade Universal Gaming On initial setup, the ball joint can be near the ball joint, it can be fiddly
Wheel is a full gaming wheel a bit fiddly to get correctly in to place, trying to perfect the looseness. To » specification
and stand combination to put and the instructions aren’t much help. enable the Bluetooth capabilities of Price £69.99/$112.99
you in complete control of your racing To keep the whole unit in balance, the the device, you’ll need to use the More information
games. The wheel itself includes an stand is split in to a tripod-styled supplied micro USB cable to charge it, www.mobilefun.co.uk
adjustable clip in the centre, allowing effect. On the front are three buttons or input four AA batteries at the
you to put any seven or ten-inch tablet
in it. The tablet feels secure while in
which control the Bluetooth, power
and volume buttons, and the back
bottom of the stand. Using the latter
option isn’t ideal, as the game wheel
» verdict
the clip; there’s little chance of it two contain a speaker either side. breezes through them quickly. Performance
becoming loose. Controlling the game Sound is a mixed bag, and although it You can’t argue that this is a great
Design
you’re playing is remarkably easy tends to sound slightly tinny, it tool for racing game enthusiasts,
thanks to the plastic handles either ultimately depends on the game however. It works well, and having a Value
side. Not only are they really stylish, you’re playing. more hands-on approach to your
The ultimate way to enjoy
they also include black bars which act After assembling the unit for the gaming is a massive plus. It isn’t
gaming on your tablet
as solid grips. The wheel is attached first time, the wheel tends to be quite without its faults design-wise, but the
to the bottom plate of the stand via a stiff, and requires adjusting. Although Arcade Universal Gaming Wheel is a
ball joint. this is easily done by the lever found brilliant accessory to own.

92
Accessories
»www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk
More accessory reviews online

EDITOR’S
CHOICE

Plantronics Voyager Kensington


Legend Folio case
Easy-to-use Bluetooth headset for any occasion Protective case and stand combo for 7” tablets
Plantronics’ newest Bluetooth issue. Sound quality is fantastic Despite the Folio case being On the inside of the case is a tablet
headset, the Voyager Legend, while using the headset, and the marketed for the Kindle Fire, it fits holder in which you can easily slip
combines both form and function in clarity of your recipient’s voice is similar sized seven-inch tablets well. your tablet in and out of and also
one great package. The headset can surprisingly good. There’s also a The case is predominantly covered in rotates into portrait mode. It’s fairly
be adjusted to fit on your ear, and range of voice commands you can a leather-effect material that looks sturdy for the most part, and does a
the attached microphone can also use with the headset to activate great, and makes it comfortable to good job of protecting the sides and
be adjusted to make it easier to use. quick functions on your device. hold. It’s remarkably thin, even with a corners of your favourite device.
Along the back of the unit is a power » Price £58.99/$116.99 tablet inside of it, and comes with a
» Price £17.99/$39.99
button, a Bluetooth indicator and a » More information handy stand function allowing you to » More information
volume control button. The small size www.plantronics.com set the tablet at different angles www.kensington.com
of the controls can make them a bit without worry that the stand will
fiddly to use, but it’s only a small constantly fall over.

The North Face


Etip Gloves for
Men
Get full phone usability while keeping your
fingers toasty during the cold weather
These form-fitting gloves offer a great amount of dexterity and
movement, making them an ideal solution for the cold weather. At
the end of each index finger on the gloves is a soft patch which can be
used to control your phone while wearing them. It works really well,
and controlling a capacitive phone screen is easy throughout. The
thumb of each glove also includes the same silver patch, allowing you
to use your thumb, if you so wish. When not in use, the gloves are held
together by a small clip, meaning you’ll hopefully never be left with a
single glove knocking about.
» Price £36.97/$59.99
» More information
www.mobilefun.co.uk

93
Accessories

Awesome add-ons
The very best gear to partner with your phone

Angry Birds Star Wars


Plush - Han Solo
» Price www.character-online.com
» More information £9.99/$14.99
Angry Birds merchandise is everywhere, and
the latest Star Wars instalment has brought
with it a whole host of more colourful products
to get your hands on. These brilliant plush toys
are perfectly recreated in the form of the bird it
represents, but also includes a few of the more
recognisable features for each character. Han
Solo, for example, comes with a full set of hair,
and holstered gun. They’re a great bit of fun,
and a nice piece of memorabilia to collect.

MyBunjee Classic
» Price £6.95/$9.95
» More information http://mybunjee.com
MyBunjee is an extendable
bungee cord that attaches
to your phone and person
to keep it safe. The top of
the MyBunjee cord wraps
around your
phone, and if
your phone
accidentally Trendz Mobile
drops out of
your pocket, the
Phone Socks
» Price £3.99/$4.99
bungee will extend » More information www.play.com
and stop your phone
from hitting the Despite
ground. It isn’t the their
most attractive size,
accessory, and these
with so many socks can
quality cases be stretched
readily available, it to fit a four-inch
isn’t really a highly device. The overall
needed product. stitching quality is great,
but as a suitable case to
help protect your device,
they’re distinctly lacking.

94
Accessories
Scribbly Audio Beanie
» Price £21.97/$35.99

Stylus » More information www.kitsound.co.uk


This knitted beanie is lined with a lengthy audio cable that connects
» Price £12/$19.49 to your phone and a pair of built-in earbuds. The cable is a bit fiddly,
» More information
www.mobilefun.co.uk
and tangles easily, which can be a real problem. The hat itself is
comfy, however, and sound quality is surprisingly good. Wearing it
Replicating the look of a for prolonged periods of time tends to heat up the cable a bit, so be
marker pen, this stylus is careful if you’re going on long walks with this hat on!
definitely one for
nostalgia fans. It’s light in
the hand, but its bulky
nature means it’s a bit
difficult to use. The rubber
nib does work well though.
Aponyo Stylus 163
» Price £24.99/$34.99
» More information www.aponyo.com
The fibre tip of this stylus is one of the best we’ve seen, and it
works brilliantly all the time. It’s slightly on the chunky side, and
feels fairly heavy when compared to similar styluses. By
removing the black shaft, you’ll uncover a ball point pen which
also works well, even if there’s only a small amount of ink
provided. A great feature is that the fibre nib is washable –
especially useful if your screen is dirty.

Griffin Stylus + Pen


» Price £19.99/$29.99
» More information www.griffintechnology.com
Simplicity is key with Griffin’s basic stylus and pen
combo, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The
thin black base of the stylus is very light in the
hand, and the rubber nib works well with capacitive
screens. The other end of the stylus reveals a
standard ballpoint pen, but feels very loose to use
when compared to the stylus. The integrated clip
attaches well to your person, but soon snapped off
after a few uses.

Tracer Deluxe Stylus


» Price £24.99/$34.95 » More information www.stmbags.com
The Tracer Deluxe’s design is heavily influenced by a ballpoint
pen, and feels light in the hand. It works well with capacitive
touchscreens and the small tip means you’ll be in full control.
Dig a little deeper to find a detachable screwdriver nib and
SIM card ejector PIN. It’s a handy, stylish and very useful tool.

95
Feature Feature

50
»50 expert tips 50 expert tips«

System performance
1 Kill
apps
background 2 Use the
internal memory
One of the quickest ways to give your If your device includes expansion
Android device an immediate card capability, it is very tempting
performance boost is to kill some of to just move every app to the card
the apps that are currently running in to save on internal memory. This
the background. You can either do will offer some performance
this manually or enlist the help of a benefits thanks to the extra
third-party app such as Task Manager memory, but if you use an app
which is available from the Google stored on the external card a lot,
Play store. It can kill tasks you could be forgoing these
automatically and also enables you to improvements with reduced
select applications in bulk for quick performance when opening the app
manual adjustments. Every Android each time. The general rule of

RT
device will at some point suffer thumb, if you have enough internal

EXPEK
performance problems if you have memory, is to try to keep your
too many apps open. This is the best most often used apps stored away
way to avoid such issues. from an expansion card.

TRIC PS
3 Background
syncing 4 Optimise
your RAM
By default, many of the Google apps Just like desktop PCs, Android
and indeed many third-party services smartphones and tablets will benefit
will attempt to synchronise in the from defragmentation from time to
background as often as they can. time. One quick way to clean things
This is useful for some apps like up is to simply turn your device off

&TI S
email and calendar, but not for and back on, but for more serious
everything. Go to Settings> Accounts tweaks an app like Memory Booster
and select one of your accounts (available for free on the Google Play
which will show how it is currently store), will do the trick. It will not
set up. You can then, for example, offer significant improvements for
go to the Calendar app, hit the menu the more powerful high-end devices,
button and choose Settings. Here but for slower models the benefits
you will be able to define exactly will quickly become clear. This is
which calendars will sync and when, something you should try to run

e to
and this process can be repeated for every few days if you have regular

oid devic
email and other syncing services. performance problems.

ur Androf
Take yoxt rmance
vel perfo
to
misations

the ne le
extra custo

ion out of
the
make the
with third
devic
ions and
-party addit aspect of your life
build on this e truly work for every
Hopefully
h every day. greater awarenes
and the tasks
by the end
of this
s of what
your
5 Understanding developer options
Developer options let you access parts of Android you would otherwise be unaware of. In the latest version of Android they are hidden very well.
bones solut exible. That to accomplis a far changes
ly a bare dibly fl you need will have to make many You have to go to Settings>About phone and tap the Build number section seven times for them to appear. It will be worth the effort, however.
devic e is mere and incre re you be able
our Android tly you featu will 50 of our

Y
ional eight-page ble of and
fully funct e what exac rundown
ite being you realis e is capa e. We’ve
box, desp
adictory,
but when to see that
t, you start how powerful
Android devic mobile experienc
going.
1. USB debugging 3. Stay awake 5. Allow mock locations
sounds contr smartphone or table mise it, or improve your tricks to get you
Andr oid can custo ding what to tips and This feature lets you connect an Android device Stay awake performs an obvious task and that is This clever feature allows you to fake your
can do to
an to how you and unde
rstan favourite to a desktop computer to transfer data between to keep the screen awake when charging. This is location and to not be stuck with your current
lly no limit Simply finding start and then you
can
there is virtua to make it. each device and to install apps directly without useful if you need an onscreen clock or photo GPS co-ordinates. You can then search for
the ability ngs do will
be a good
you have any standard notifications. slideshow running. other areas quickly when planning trips.
hidden setti
many of the
2. Show CPU usage 4. Background process limit 6. Show touches
Even though this feature is designed for If you own a device that is lacking in processing A simple option that will visually highlight each
developers, you can also use it to show the power, you can use this feature to limit the point on the screen as you touch it. It is
current CPU usage at any time. Useful for finding number of background process that can run designed for development, but is actually useful
apps that are using all of your processing power. between nought and four processes. for normal day-to-day tasks.

18 19

018-026_AND_021 19 08/01/2013 14:19


1 Visit the website
GreatDigitalMags.com

2 Filter titles by your


favourite store

3 Choose a digital
magazine or book

4 download & enjoy!


Purchase in-store,
NEXT
MONTH
SONY
XPERIA Z
We go hands-on with the
best new phone of the year

From George Oswald


Used Samsung Galaxy S II

Hot Shots
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Taken a great shot with your Android
phone or camera? Send it to us at:

»qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk
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From Stephen Murphy


Used Samsung Galaxy S III
20 AMAZING
INNOVATIONS
IN ANDROID
TECH
From Sugiyono Purnamasidi New products that are
Used HTC Sensation XE
changing the way we see
From Łukasz Bochinski
Android forever
Used Samsung Galaxy Nexus

GALAXY 2.0
Get more from your Galaxy
with the fantastic new
Premium Suite update

Issue 22
goes on sale:
21 Feb
The Film Buff
The TouchTab 10.1 is perfect for watching films and playing games

TOUCHTAB DUAL CORE


Jelly Bean 4.1, Dual Core Processor, a micro SD
card expansion slot, HDMI out to watch films or play
the latest games on your TV. There’s something for
everyone in the TouchTab Collection.

From £119.99 at:

The TouchTab Collection also features The Socialite (7” Screen), The Apprentice (8” Screen) and
The Entrepreneur (9.7” Retina Screen). Below are examples of some of their amazing features:

Flash Player Dual Core IPS Display Jelly Bean 4.1 Bluetooth HDMI SD Card Slot Built-in App Store

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