Bi Weekly App Review #1

Hey Onyx Truth!

I’m David Seven, I’m new to the Onyx Truth. Among other things I’m going to be your Onyx Truth (Android) App guy! (Apple as well…)

Smartphone’s are taking over the World.  I tip my hat to Apple for being the 1st company to capitalize on the touch screen smart market with the iPhone.  However let’s be clear, Windows offered this product 1st in 1999.  The world just wasn’t ready.  You gotta hand it to Google and Android for running a STRONG close 2nd place, soon to be #1 in the worldwide new activations.

So let’s get started.  Here are a few great apps we all should know about and or use.  I always tell people that no two people should have the same Android experience.  Android is designed to be used how you like it.  With that said, there are a few apps I consider pretty standard that could work for anyone.

On my list 1st, is the AWESOME Google Drive.  If you have a Google Gmail account, you need the Google Drive app.  It is 15 gigabytes of FREE cloud storage.  What would you do with 15 gigs of cloud? Anything you want.  Keep files and folders with you at all times.  Documents, files, movies, pictures, programs, songs, or anything you want.  While using Google Drive on an Android device 4.1 or higher, you can send your files to your friends via Android beam.

You can also share files with people anywhere in the world by just adding their email address to the file.  No more, “Did you get that email?”  Or, “You want to share a file that’s too big to email.?”  If it’s less than 15 gigabytes it can be easily shared via your Google Drive.  You can upload files from your mobile device or desktop or laptop.

It’s your stuff on the go!

I like to share videos of my kids with my parents without the hassle of trying to get them on Facebook!

Google Drive is free with your Google Gmail account & free to download and install from the Google Play store or the Apple App store.

Download the Google Drive app here.

Next up is one of the best note taking apps I’ve ever used.  Google Keep!  It’s the perfect combination of notes and reminders.  Need to jot down a number?  Keep it!  No paper to write an Address?  Keep it!  Don’t have fingers to type in keep?  Speak it into Keep.  You can take pictures and add notes.  You can take voice notes.  Speak a voice memo on the go and have it automatically transcribed.  You can even record lectures.  Color code notes to quickly organize and get on with your life.  If you need to find something you saved, a simple search will turn it up.

I’ve used Google Keep for everything from school to work to personal whatever!  Have an idea put in Keep.  Need to remember to call someone – do it in KeepGoogle Keep is one of the best paper and pen replacement apps I’ve ever used. In fact, I’m typing this Article in Google Keep!

Download the Google Keep app here.

Being on time is a must.  Alarm clocks on phones are pretty standard.  However , one app times out:  Timely.  It’s a clock, alarm clock, timer, and stop watch all in one.  What’s new about that?  Not much really.  Any time keeping app worth a download does all that.  Timely allows you to customize each setting with brilliant colors that can really make your device pop!  Timely offers a revolutionary cloud integration to backup and synchronize your alarms with multiple devices.  Setting an alarm has never been easier:  just swipe from the edge of the screen and set the desired time by dragging a bar.  Tap to make adjustments of 5 minutes.  You don’t have limits on how many alarms you can add and you can set your alarms for week days, weekends, single days, and every other day – whatever you need!  Timely is simple fun and useful.

Download the Timely app here.

Google Now, which is stock Android, is more of a widget than app.  For iOS users who don’t know what widgets are; in Android, the word widget is a generic term for a bit of self-contained code that displays a program, or a piece of a program, that is also (usually) a shortcut to a larger application.  We see them every day on web pages, on our computer desktop, and now on our smartphones (but we never give too much thought into how great they are).

“Widgets first appeared in Android in version 1.5, and really gained traction thanks to HTC.  Prior to the release of the HTC Hero, widgets were functional, but pretty bland in appearance.  Since then, OEMs and independent developers alike have done some marvelous things with widgets, and it’s hard to imagine using Android without them.”  ~ Android Central

Android widgets come in all shapes and sizes and range from the utilitarian 1-by-1 shortcut style to full-page widgets that blow us away.  Both types are very useful, and it’s pretty common to see a widget or two on the home screen of any Android phone.  A full-page widget, like ACCU Weather widget, tells you everything you need to know about the current conditions, and is also a quick gateway to the ACCU Weather application where you can see things like forecasts and weather data for other cities.  At the other end of the spectrum, the Google My Library widget that keeps your most recently read books on top of your screen.  Both are very handy and add a lot to the Android experience.

Most Android phones come with a handful of built-in widgets.  Some manufacturer versions of Android offer more than others but the basics like a clock, calendar, or bookmarks, Google Keep widget are usually well represented.  This is just the tip of the iceberg though.  With Kit Kat supporting things like higher resolution screens and re-sizable widgets, a quick trip into the Google Play Store will dazzle you with the huge catalog of third-party widgets available with something that suits almost every taste.

One of the best widgets is Google NowGoogle Now allows you to add information that’s important to you right on your front screen.  Stocks, sports, your searches when they are making new news, weather, location, & local events around you based on your system’s GPS.  Plus you can always access it for new searches by simply saying “Ok Google“, if you have the Android Kit Kat or higher.  Like I said this widget is pretty stock android, but if you’re updating a device from an off brand of Android, here is a link.

Last on my list for this week is the Maxthon browser.  Maxthon is a cloud browser.  You’re saying my phone comes with an internet browser.  Yes that’s true. Maxthon adds a little extra.  Maxthon works off your email address.  Which email address?  Anyone you want.  You create a profile with Maxthon and you login.  You log in from your desktop or laptop and when it’s time to be on the go, you login from your phone and ALL your tabs are there without skipping a beat.  Maxthon also allows you to create an awesome landing page.  It’s the page that loads 1st with tiles to other websites.

If you’re like me you may have your hands in a lot of pots and have multiple profiles for different things.  On the side I do graphic designs, computer repairs, write comic books, and now the write for the Onyx Truth.  To help keep all these things in order I have profiles and email addresses for each.  With Maxthon whatever hat I’m wearing at the time I just log into that account and BAM…my work is there on my phone, my table, or my desktop.

Download the Maxthon app here.

Now it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t talk about security.  No internet based device is 100% secure no matter what you may think.  ALL devices have their flaws in security.  Smart devices are no exception.  However, they do handle your information better than your computer.  CM Security is one of the best apps for cleaning your devices and keeping it free of spying eyes and running at its best.  When was the last time you actually cleaned the junk files from your device?  No matter if its an Android or iPhone, you have junk files that will slow the performance of your devices down and may leave you exposed to spyware and or hack ware.  Even if you don’t use a lot of apps and you just use your phone to web surf or social networking, you have to take the time to clean your device before you’re looking to replace it.

Download the CM Security app here.

That’s it for my App review.  I hope I was able to introduce you to a few new apps you may have never used.  Until next time… keep it Android… or Apple.

Onyx Contributor:  David Seven

Articles submitted by freelance writers. If you would like to submit an article to the Onyx Truth, please click on the SUBMISSIONS link at the very top of the site for more info.
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