Archive for March, 2014

15 of the best Android apps from March

Posted: March 31, 2014 by Khobaib Monawwar in Android, Technology

It has been a good month for Android apps. So let’s take a look back at the pick of the new tools to hit Google Play over the past 31 days.


Following its launch for iOS last July, Dollarbird finally brought its awesome personal expenses tracker to Android this month.

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Dollarbird is what you get when you cross a smart calendar app with a budgeting app, and helps you track and forecast all your spending.

➤ Dollarbird


Tribesports for Android is a GPS fitness-tracking app that pretty much replicatesits iOS counterpart, and if you’ve used any other similar app, it won’t take you long to get to grips with. You can log runs, cycles, workouts, and specific sports/classes, with real-time stats and progress graphs illustrating your endeavors.

tr 15 of the best Android apps from March    tra 15 of the best Android apps from March

Do some dumbbell work before your run? Tribesports lets you log such data manually and in detail. You can choose from a ton of very specific activities (Box Jumps, anyone?), and save them to your favorites for easy access. You can also include the number of reps, add notes/photos and save it alongside all your runs, swims and cycles.

Moreover, there are thousands of workouts generated by the Tribesports community, so you can get actual instruction on numerous exercises and stretches.

➤ Tribesports Training


Four months after it arrived for iOS, Icelandic startup Plain Vanilla Gamesofficially launched QuizUp for Android users too, following a short invite-only beta period.

QuizUp follows the likes of Words With Friends by letting you pit your wits against buddies and strangers from around the world in a test of your knowledge.

q 15 of the best Android apps from March    qu 15 of the best Android apps from March

The Android incarnation pretty much replicates the iOS experience to the core, then there are no real surprises in here. QuizUp for Android notched up one million downloads in its first week alone.

➤ QuizUp


While the prospect of a new calculator app might not set your saliva glands into overdrive, it’s worth your while giving CALCU a shot, purely for its attention to design detail.

Launching initially with a default dark skin, CALCU lets you select from twelve themes, all underpinned by the same slick navigability and UX.

ca 15 of the best Android apps from March    cal 15 of the best Android apps from March

The main part of the calculator is pretty standard, with the result of your sum appearing at the top, and keypad at the bottom. By swiping down, you can view the calculation history tape, while swiping up on the keyboard reveals additional keys, including scientific functions.

If you’re looking for a simple but good-looking, nice-to-use calculator app for Android, CALCU is worth your time.



Timehop, a popular service that ‘goes back in time’ to show you past posts on various social media sites, finally landed on Android this month.

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The Android app brings together your old photos and posts from your iPhone (if you have one), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare, and replays them in the future to remind you of key events from your past.

➤ Timehop

Link Bubble

Link Bubble is a new entrant to the mobile browser space having only launched a couple of weeks back, but we expect this to rack up a fair few fans moving forward.

The browser sits in the background waiting to ‘intercept’ as you click on links from any app on your phone. So, if you’re browsing your feed in the native Twitter Android app (for example) and you see a link to a photo on Instagram, Link Bubble will automatically start loading that in the background (when you click it), meaning you don’t have to sit starting at ‘redirect’ screens on your phone, be it a redirect to the Instagram app (if you have it installed) or Instagram on the Web.

The same goes for any links from Facebook, Airbnb, Evernote, Dropbox…basically any app.

➤ Link Bubble [Free] | Link Bubble [Pro]


It was a long time coming, but iSupr8, the app for creating vintage-looking videos from your smartphone, finally arrived for Android this month.

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We say it’s been a long time coming because the iOS version launched way back in 2011, before Vine existed and before Instagram supported videos. iSupr8 lets you create retro classics and so so in 1080p HD, while you can choose from a range of film stocks that add a projector frame, flicker, grain, scratches, vignette, noise and film-burn to your video.

➤ iSupr8


Recordense is a really nicely-designed audio-recording app that lets you mark and tag any part of a recording in real-time, and allocate a category to it.

During the recording process, you simply hit the ‘tag’ button and give it a name – for example, if you want to remember the location of a quote from a keynote speaker. Once the recording is complete, you can save it to a dedicated folder which you name, and also give its own unique color.

Now, in the Lite version of the app, you can only create two categories – for more, you’ll have to cough up two of your Earth (US) dollars to procure the full version. Also, you’ll only be able to use three tags per-recording in the Lite version.

➤ Recordense Lite | Recordense [Full Version]


Online learning company Coursera finally came to Android this month, shortly after it debuted its iOS app.

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Coursera for Android keeps students engaged with more than 600 courses, provided by more than 100 educational institutions, including Stanford and Yale.

➤ Coursera

Photowall for Chromecast

Less than a week after Google launched its Chromecast streaming dongle outside the US, landing in 11 more countries, the Internet giant unveiled a brand new standalone app that lets you create a collaborative photo montage on your TV.

Photowall for Chromecast is officially an ‘experiment’, one that lets anybody take a picture and send it to a Photowall on their big screen – photos can be added via the Web and iOS too. It then creates a YouTube video of this collaboration, which can be shared with everyone.

With this launch, Google is trying to encourage third-party developers to use itsrecently-opened Cast SDK.

➤ Photowall for Chromecast

Auto Finder

Auto Finder automatically marks your location when it detects that your car has parked using your device’s built-in hardware – zero configuration is required.

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You can operate in satellite or map mode, and you are also able to manually mark a location if you wish. It also serves up directions back to your parking spot.

➤ Auto Finder

Milk Music [US only]

Samsung took a big step into the music-streaming fray this month with a new service called Milk Music, available exclusively for Galaxy devices.

asfa 15 of the best Android apps from March    fdsa 15 of the best Android apps from March

Available in the US only for now, Samsung is shaking its leg in a very busy space that currently boasts the likes of Spotify, Rdio, Beats, and Pandora. Indeed, Milk Music is most similar to the latter of these examples, with its Slacker-powered, DMCA-compliant app letting you skip tracks up to six times in an hour for each station.

➤ Milk Music


Fiverr took its Task Rabbit-rivaling app to Android this month.

To recap, Fiverr lets registered users monetize their skills and resources, which can be anything from Web design to gardening. The Android app, however, is all about browsing, ordering and messaging, rather than listing. If you’re looking to sell a service, you’ll still need to visit the website.

➤ Fiverr

Wonder Timer

When it comes to timer apps on Android, there’s no shortage, but Wonder Timer is a simple and attractive alternative that packs a punch.

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Wonder Timer lets you set, save and control multiple timers, with single taps letting you initiate your ‘laundry’, ‘egg’, or ‘yoga’ clocks. These can all be reconfigured with names to suit your own endeavors, and there’s more than 200 icons to choose from.

➤ Wonder Timer


American media behemoth The Tribune Company launched an interesting new service this month, one that lets you audio-stream text-based stories from online newspapers.

nbeat 15 of the best Android apps from March    newsbeat 15 of the best Android apps from March

The core raison d’être of Newsbeat is to “reimagine news for mobile”, using human voiceovers and text-to-speech technology. Newsbeat streams up to seven thousand stories each day from across the Web.

While it does have a US-centric content offering, it also serves up global news tidbits too, though you can’t indicate a specific country other than the US. You can also narrow things down to specific publications, topics, sports teams, and more. It works just like a standard media player – you can skip forward or back if you miss an audio snippet.

➤ Newsbeat

If you’re on the hunt for more Android apps, check out some of the best ones from February, or put your feet up and peruse through the pick of the bunch from the whole of 2013. Alternatively, you can check out some of the best iOS apps from March too.


These days, it seems, everyone’s a videographer. We can attribute (or blame) that phenomenon at least partly on the ubiquity of video on smartphones and consumer cameras.

But now there’s a way for mobile filmmakers of all levels to push even harder beyond creative limits. VFXWarrior today launched Ultrakam, the first and only iOS app that can record 2K video—a higher resolution than Full HD.

With Ultrakam, you can shoot in either H.264 (iFrame) or M-JPEG codecs to yield up to 2240 x 1672 pixels, or 70 percent more than 1920 x 1080 Full HD. The app’s ability to capture 4:2:0 full range color shows denser blacks and whites.

“My vision is to create the most powerful tools for the next generation of content creators and to integrate mobile devices as a professional tool in content production,” said Hassan Uriostegui, the developer behind Ultrakam. The emphasis is both on high resolution and minimal compression.

photo12 e1396243230302 520x292 Ultrakam lets iOS cinematographers shoot at film quality resolution

Different specs for each device

Ultrakam works on late-generation iOS devices, including the iPhone 5s, 5c, and 5, as well as the iPad Mini and iPad 3. Each has its own hardware specs and thus the app has operational variations that conform to those limits.

Shooting a movie with Ultrakam on the iPhone 5s using the H.264 codec, for example, yields the highest resolution possible from the software—some 70 percent more pixels (2240 x 1672) than Full HD with footage captured at 20, 24, and 30fps. When alternately using the M-JPEG codec, 2K resolution on the iPhone 5s has 35 percent more pixels than Full HD (1936 x 1446), at the same frame rates.

On the iPhone 5 in contrast, Ultrakam’s recorded 2K video yields 1936 x 1446, however that footage is only available at 20fps using the M-JPEG codec. iPhone 5 users can also record regular HD video at 24 and 30fps in both M-JPEG and H.264 codecs.

In addition, Ultrakam lets you create 640 x 640 proxies in the player, so you can view and interact with smoothly running 2K material on your handset.

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Calling indie filmmakers

Though Ultrakam’s target audience spans a range from casual shooters to professional cinematographers, its developer designed the feature set with indie moviemakers in mind. In addition to high resolution capture, Ultrakam also provides special effects capabilities.

Slow motion recording converts the 120fps video shot on the iPhone 5s to 12, 24,or 30fps on hardware that supports it. However, resolution is limited to 1280 x 720, with shooters able to choose M-JPEG or H.264 codecs to generate up to 10x slow motion effect. Timelapse resolution is 2592 x 1936 with either codec, with playback speeds of 6,12,24,and 30fps. The app also records CD quality audio in uncompressed Stereo Linear PCM format.

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“Ultrakam was designed working closely with indie filmmakers and we added what they asked for: timelapse and slow motion,” Uriostegui said. ”This way, directors can easily switch between live action, timelapse, and slow motion recording with maximum quality and control.” All videos recorded with Ultrakam are accessible in the camera roll, where users can preview and delete recordings. Filmmakers can export movies recorded in the H.264 codec to share with other applications.

Ultrakam also features a remote control panel for wirelessly transferring files from your phone or laptop, and is accessible via any Web browser connected to the same Wi-Fi network. If you need to quickly transfer files, you can also access them via USB or iTunes file sharing.

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Users can play the files on the phone and preview the Audio/Video Sync via the app’s gallery.  During playback, users can freeze and extract a video frame and send it to Ultrakam’s color grading companion app, Cinekolor. This allows filmmakers to start designing color looks that can be exported into programs like After Effects, Scratch, Lustre, or Nuke.

Cinema handling

For all its high level specs, I found that Ultrakam handled quickly and easily on my iPhone 5, with a simple, intuitive interface. Just point the phone in landscape orientation, and hit the red button. Controls for white balance, focus, and exposure are available, and just like in many sophisticated photo and video apps, you can independently lock both focus and exposure.

A readout at the bottom of the window reminds you which specs you chose. To change those, tap the Gear icon to see a compact, elegant control grid that is easy to understand and swift to operate. Presets automatically give you a range of video qualities from the highest to the lowest and Web, with a single tap. Tap the play button to preview or halt playback. You can manually go forward and backward by dragging your finger across the screen.

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Companion Remote Control

The new Ultrakam Remote Control app, released alongside Ultrakam, is a companion app for both the iPhone and iPad versions. This Bluetooth remote app lets you control shooting remotely with controls for focus, exposure, white balance, and recording. It operates only with Ultrakam installed on the shooting device.

Pricing and availability

Ultrakam is a universal app for both the iPhone and the iPad and is now available on the App Store for a discounted price of $7.99 (the regular price will be $12.99). The Bluetooth-based Ultrakam Remote Control, is now available for a discounted price of $2.99 (with a regular price of $5.99). Both apps require iOS 7.

Update: Google has now officially announced Photowall for Chromecast, and has confirmed that the associated app will be available for Android too.

Less than a week after Google finally launched its Chromecast streaming dongle outside the US, landing in 11 more countries, the Internet giant has unveiled a brand new standalone app that lets you create a collaborative photo montage on your TV.

According to its description in the App Store, Photowall for Chromecast does exactly as it says in its name, though oddly the so-called ‘Chrome Experiment’ seems to be an iOS-only affair for now. That said, we expect an Android version will be arriving shortly too, as the existing iOS app doesn’t seem to be fully operational yet.

When connecting your Chromecast to the app, you’re asked to sign-in using your Google+ credentials so it can “make sure you’re not a robot”. But then, after giving you the option of which browser to use to sign in, it just takes you to a blank page with a password field in it (see screenshot on the right below). Thus, it’s likely the iOS app has just been pushed live early – though we have reached out to Google for clarification on this front.

Photo 24 03 2014 14 03 53 220x330 Google launches Photowall for Chromecast, an app that lets you beam collaborative photo albums to your TVPhoto 24 03 2014 14 04 04 220x330 Google launches Photowall for Chromecast, an app that lets you beam collaborative photo albums to your TVPhoto 24 03 2014 14 05 10 220x330 Google launches Photowall for Chromecast, an app that lets you beam collaborative photo albums to your TV

Photowall for Chromecast lets anybody “take a picture and send it to a Photowall to instantly see it on the big screen” – photos can be added via the Web too. It then creates a YouTube video of this collaboration, which can be shared with everyone.

Thus far, Google’s Chromecast has pretty much been about streaming video from your mobile phone to your TV, with a handful of third-party apps integrating with the service. And Chrome users on desktop can mirror more content from their screen too. Now, with a new standalone app in tow, Google’s looking to appeal to the photo-taking fraternity too – though perhaps it’s more about encouraging third-party developers to use its recently-opened Cast SDK for developers.

Meanwhile, check out the official promo video below.

➤ Photowall for Chromecast  Google Play | App Store [via 9to5 Mac]