Thursday, August 29, 2013

Assorted collection of top utility / productivity apps for Android - Part 2

First things first, I would like to thank the readers of Top mobile apps for Android for visiting and reading this blog, I hope it is serving its purpose, which is to introduce Android fans to some of the bests apps and games available on Android.

This post is the second installment in the series "Assorted collection of top utility / productivity apps for Android", and just to tell you, the first post in this series is the most viewed post of this blog. In this post also I am listing some of the already well-known utility / productivity apps for both Smartphone and tablet.

1. Astro File Manager

Ever wondered how the files are managed by Android on your SD card, how to explore the file system just like we do on Windows or other OS? Well unfortunately, there is no native way in Android to access the files / directories organized on the SD card. Accepted, usually you do not need such access to the file system but it is always better to have more control of your device. To cater this requirement, Google play store has plenty of file explorer apps and Astro file manager from Metago is definitely one of the best in the lot.

Astro File Manager - Showing contents of the SD card
Astro File Manager - Showing contents of the SD card
Astro file manager allows you to access the files / folders and also organize the contents on the internal memory and SD card of your Smartphone or tablet. You can choose how the contents are shown in Astro file manager app, for example: how the contents should be sorted (name, date etc.) or if the file extension should be shown, by accessing the setting menu.

If you long press on any file or folder, you will be presented with the options / actions associated with that item like: copy, move, delete, properties etc.

Astro File Manager - file's options / actions
Astro File Manager - file's options / actions
Not only this, it also comes with some handy tools as: 
  • SD Card Usage - to show the details about the folder, as # of files in it and the total size of the folder
  • Task Killer - to show the memory and CPU usage of running apps and option to kill the app
  • Application manager - to show the installed apps and option to back up the apps

Astro File Manager: SD Card Usage
Astro File Manager: SD Card Usage

2. Compass

By now we all know that almost all the current generation Android smartphones and tablets have an inbuilt electronic compass which is used by Google maps to show us the right orientation for navigation. Now, suppose if you want to use this inbuilt compass just the way a compass is used traditionally, it is not possible directly through Android. But as I always say Google play store has everything you ask for, so there are apps available just for this purpose. Compass by is my favorite compass app, and it does its work perfectly. 

Once you launch the app you see a large compass filling majority of the screen for better readability and the default theme resembles with the classic old compass. Along with showing the directions it also shows your current location with the help of GPS. Also, it provides options to add your current location on the map, add a note for the current location etc.

Compass: showing the true north
Compass: showing the true north :)
The Compass app comes with some free themes to change the look and feel. And then there are few paid themes too if you are keen to use one of them and ready to pay :).

Compass: Check out the free themes
Compass: Check out the free themes

Compass: paid themes are also available
Compass: paid themes are also available

3. MoboPlayer

This is also one pain point when using Android, the default video player comes bundled with Android is not that great when it comes to supporting the wide range of video formats currently available in the world. So what option you have, convert your favorite video first to the supported format and then put it on your device or, yes you guessed it right head to the Google play store and install a capable video player app. If you choose the second option then MoboPlayer is the app you should be choosing as I think it is the best because it supports virtually all the video formats you throw at it.

As you launch the MoboPlayer, you will see few simple options to search for the media files like, 'scan the SDcard', 'quick scan' or 'Directory browsing' to search it manually by browsing the directory.

MoboPlayer: launch screen
MoboPlayer: launch screen
Once MoboPlayer has scanned and located the media files available on your device, you can see the listing of the videos on the screen and simply clicking the video will start playing it. It has the usual options to sort the listing, search for specific video, create playlist etc. 

MoboPlayer: Showing available videos in card style
MoboPlayer: Showing available videos in card style
That's it, sit back with your popcorn, its movie time. Just to tell you, so far I have not seen MoboPlayer complaining about any video format which it cannot play.

MoboPlayer: onscreen options while watching videos
MoboPlayer: onscreen options while watching videos

If you like this post or know any other app / game in the same category, let me know via comments.
Do not forget to subscribe through email subscription option.

See also:

Other posts in this series:

1. Assorted collection of top utility / productivity apps for Android
Read more →

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kids Doodle - Color & Draw: A creative app for kids

I am sure that almost all the kids love to draw, paint or simply splash colors from their crayons or sketch pens. But I have seen, every time they start drawing they need a new drawing page and this could soon become an unmanageable task for their parents.

Now, I must say Google play store has something or the other to cater all your needs and for all age groups, even these little artists were not ignored. Kids Doodle is the drawing app which I believe is one of the best for kids, using it they can draw or paint or do whatever they want in a super easy way.

The main menu of Kids Doodle is very easy to understand, there are just three options to choose from, ‘New’ to start a new painting, ‘Photo’ to choose an existing photo from gallery, or ‘Gallery’ to choose from the existing paintings created through Kids Doodle.

Kids Doodle - Launch screen
Kids Doodle - Launch screen
Once you have chosen any among the three options, you will land up on the painting screen, where at the bottom there is a toolbar menu showing a minimum set of options. Options like, ‘New’ to make a fresh start, ‘brush style’ options, ‘eraser’ if something went wrong, ‘undo’-‘redo’ options, ‘save’ to save your masterpiece and finally a unique ‘movie’ option. We will see what this ‘movie’ option is, later in the post.

Kids Doodle - On-screen tool bar
Kids Doodle - On-screen tool bar
Kids Doodle provides 18 different styles of brushes to choose according to your mood and requirement. You can chose from the range of a neon glow brush, spray, multi-color, circles etc. You can undo or redo the last few strokes or if needed, can erase unwanted lines / strokes using eraser.

Kids Doodle - Various brush styles
Kids Doodle - Various brush styles
As you save the just drawn painting using ‘Save’ option, the picture will be neatly organized under Kids Doodle folder and can be accessed from photo gallery.

Kids Doodle - fun to play with
Kids Doodle - fun to play with
Ok, the highlight of Kids Doodle app is the ‘Movie’ option, where using this option you can play back the steps taken while creating the drawing, like a movie. It is very cool to see the painting being created from the scratch automatically, you can even increase or decrease the movie playing speed.

Kids Doodle - watching the painting in movie mode
Kids Doodle - watching the painting in movie mode
So, what are you waiting for, go ahead get the app from Google Play store and start painting.

If you liked this post or know any other app / game in the same category, let me know via comments.
Do not forget to subscribe through email subscription option.

See also:
For more professional grade drawing:

1. Sketchbook Mobile: Fantastic drawing / painting app with professional touch
Read more →

Monday, August 12, 2013

Manuganu: fantastic running game with difference

There used to be a very popular and successful animation series named as Jungle book, in which the central character was a little jungle boy named Mowgli. This series was based on the stories of English Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling. Why I am telling this, because the central character of the game Manuganu reminds me of Mowgli.

Manuganu, a game developed by Alper Sarikaya is a 3D running game where you play the role of a little boy named Manuganu. The little boy Manuganu has embarked on a journey, which is not at all easy, he has to face lots of difficulties on his way. I have no doubt that kids love this game.

The game’s 3D graphics are stunning and eye-catching and it is more enjoyable if played on tablets and big high resolution screen (720p or more) phones.

Manuganu: game start screen
Manuganu start screen
The game is divided into three main themes, ‘Start to run’, ‘Cold Winter’ and ‘Night time’, and its difficulty level increases in that sequence. Each theme has 10 levels each. The mission is obviously to clear the current level which also unlocks the next level.

Manuganu: Three different themes
Three different themes
As you clear the level you also get stars. Each level has three objectives and depending on the number of objectives you achieve, you earn that many stars.

Manuganu: Scorecard and objectives
Scorecard and objectives
it’s a running game so Manuganu keeps on running in each level and there are just two on-screen buttons to control his movements, one to stop and other button to jump. On your way there are difficulties in the form of swinging hammers which should be avoided by using stop and go strategy, avoiding the gaps by jumping over it.

Manuganu: Avoid the swinging hammers
Avoid the swinging hammers
Moving forward you cross mountains, rivers, snow covered tracks, avoid boulders etc. While with moving forward you have to collects coins, avoid wasting time in the game and reach the finish line as early as possible.

Manuganu: Collect all the coins
Collect all the coins

Manuganu: It's cold and snowing
It's cold and snowing
In each level you get three lives. If in an unfortunate event you lose a life, there is cool animation effect which shows the spirit leaving the body. If you have any life left, the game will start from the same point where you died.

Manuganu: bad you are dead
Bad you are dead
As you move forward in the game you learn some new skills, like 'double jump' by pressing the jump button twice, 'sliding' by sliding one finger down on the screen. The one skill I like most is, the skill to fly for a short distance which can be performed by pressing jump button and then the stop button. When any new skill is unlocked, appropriate on-screen instructions are shown on 'how to use' it.

Manuganu: Avoiding fireball and monster
Avoiding fireball and monster
The ‘Night time’ theme is the most difficult one, where you have to avoid lots of flying monsters, fire balls, need to climbing up / down rope while avoiding getting hit etc. The key to succeed is to make use of the right skill at the right time.

Manuganu: Is that a dinosaur's skeleton
Is that a dinosaur's skeleton?
I really wish they add some more levels / themes to this fantastic game. Frankly speaking, I won’t mind paying for it if they ever turn Manuganu in a paid game and add more levels, but that does not mean I will complain if it remains free :).

How much it costs you: Not a single penny.

See also:
Other similar running games:

1. Major Mayhem: running action game, great action, unlimited fun

2. Granny Smith
Read more →

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Assorted collection of top utility / productivity apps for Android

With this post I am starting a series, in which I will be listing some of the well-known utility / productivity apps for both smartphone and tablet which I have personally used and realized its value.


Evernote is essentially a note keeping app. It is simply the best app for this purpose and does its work brilliantly. Using this app one can take text notes, record voice memo or take pictures which can then be stored as a note. To better organize and categorize the notes it provides option to create multiple notebooks.

Evernote: Showing notes from notebook
Showing notes from notebook

Evernote: main menu
Evernote menu
The saved notes get synced to all the devices you use, so no need to worry about backing up and restoring or losing the notes if you change the device.

How much it costs you: Not a single penny.

Google Keep

Starting from Android 4.0.3, Google has a new note keeping app named as 'Google Keep'. Google Keep is quite similar to Evernote, though currently it is not as mature and feature rich product as the latter. Google keep essentially allows you to create text notes, voice memos or snap a picture. There is a cool option to create notes in different colors.

Google Keep: Multicolored notes view
Multicolored notes view

Google keep: Individual note
Individual note
While using Google Keep I found that it is quite a light weight app and it does not take much time to understand its settings and options. The saved notes get synced to all of your connected devices through the Google account.

Google Keep: settings menu
Google Keep settings
How much it costs you: Not a single penny.

For HTC Desire S

Profile Scheduler

I used to face this issue with my phone as, usually when I am in office I keep my phone on silent mode (ringer off, vibe on) and then forget to switch it back to normal again. It results in me missing many phone calls and frustration to the caller. Profile Scheduler comes handy in such situations.

As the name suggests this little but useful app schedules your phone’s profiles based on the time. For example, if you are usually in office between Monday and Friday at 9AM to 6PM you can instruct this app to schedule the silent mode profile and anytime other than that schedule the normal profile. 

To facilitate this, Profile Scheduler allows configuring ‘Rules’. In the rule definition you can add the conditions as at what time to activate which profile etc. This is just not limited to the ringer volume setting but you can basically add conditions for many more functionality as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, screen timeout etc.

Profile Scheduler: Available profiles
Available profiles
Profile Scheduler: rules listing
Scheduler rules list

Profile Scheduler: creating rules
Rule creation screen

Profile Scheduler: Editing profile settings
Editing profile settings
If needed, you can anytime override the active rule just by selecting any desired profile. This will deactivate the rule until you again select the rule to activate it back. Profile scheduler app also provides two widgets to show quick information about the active profile.

How much it costs you: Not a single penny.

For Nexus 7

Camera Starter

By now, I guess we all know that Nexus 7 has just the 1.2 MP front-facing camera for video conferencing and strangely there is no built-in app comes with Android to activate this camera for clicking self-portraits. But no need to worry, there are camera apps available on Play Store for activating the Nexus 7 front camera, and ‘Camera Starter’ is one of the best app. 

Camera Starter: On screen options
Onscreen options for Camera

Camera Starter: various camera modes
Showing various camera modes 
Not a full-fledged camera app with extensive options, the interface of Camera Starter is very simple and intuitive. As you launch the app, the camera gets activated and there are options visible on screen to select the various camera modes. There are few more options as; you can set the exposure, light, location, picture size settings for still and video camera.

Camera Starter: exposure setting
Exposure setting

Camera Starter: More options
More options
How much it costs you: Not a single penny.

If you are aware of and using apps which are similar to or better than the apps I mentioned here, please make use of the comments section and spread the word :).

See also:
Read more →

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Major Mayhem: running action game, great action, unlimited fun

Let me start by telling you that Major Mayhem is a bit old game, I installed it some time back on my HTC Desire S. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game completely, but as I was not completely done with it so, I decided to install it on my at that time new and shining Nexus 7 (well it is still shining :)). I must tell you it is even more fun to play this game on Nexus 7 as it is easier to target on the enemies and then because of Nexus 7’s big and gorgeous screen (1280 * 800 resolution) the scenes shown in this game look more interesting and beautiful.

Major Mayhem: The main screen
The main screen
Developed by Rocket jump games, it’s a running and shooting game, you play this game as a major who is on a 'one man army' mission to save his kidnapped girlfriend. The game starts with the president briefing major about his mission. There are three main tracks which are called worlds in the game as: Tropics, Metropolis and Desert, each world have 15 levels. As you play the levels and move forward, you start collecting coins by killing enemies. There are around 150 objectives and each has some reward (in terms of coins) associated with it, you achieve the objective you get the reward.

Major Mayhem: Three worlds for different experience
Three worlds for different experiences

Major Mayhem: Plenty of objectives and rewards
Plenty of objectives and rewards
The best thing about Major Mayhem is this game can be played completely till its end without spending any real money. All additional items in this game can be unlocked using the coins you earn while playing the levels.

It starts with the tropics world, where you ‘the player’ are dropped from a helicopter. You pass through huts, rivers, jungle etc. where ninjas are hiding and throwing weapons at you. Beware of the red ones, if you get hit by red ones thrice you die and that end the mission. To open fire at the enemies you just need to touch them.

Major Mayhem: The action begins in the tropics
The action begins in the tropics

Major Mayhem: Be alert, enemies are everywhere
Be alert, enemies are everywhere
As you complete the tropics world, you move to the Metropolis, where the enemies are sophisticated and are in suitsJ. You pass through building, swimming pools, and offices which have enemies everywhere, firing at you. The plan is to keep moving and completing the levels.

Major Mayhem: Shooting in the building
Shooting in the building
Done with Metropolis, welcome to the Desert, the last but the most difficult world.
Here you will face the usual enemies along with some deadly mummies. It takes lot many rounds of fire to eliminate a mummy. You will also face the mighty tanks and jets and it could be challenging to bring them down. If you have a better gun (my personal favourite is the minigun) it should be less difficult. Once you are at the last level you will face the main villain and it’s quite a surprise to see who it is. Let me know about it in the comments section once you reach thereJ.

Major Mayhem: Jet in action
Well, it's possible to bring down the jet
Once you have accumulated enough coins, you can visit the armory section where you can buy powerful guns, and then there are power-ups to choose and also a clothing section to dress up the major.

Major Mayhem: Major knows some cool tricks
Major knows some cool tricks

Major Mayhem: Waiting for the right time to attack
Waiting for the right time to attack

major Mayhem: The dangerous mummies
The dangerous mummies 

How much it costs you: Not a single penny.

Read more →