By: Rahul Gupta, The Mobile Indian, New Delhi
Last updated : Wednesday, January 02, 2013 - 05:30
Of the millions of applications on the Android App store and Google Play here are 10 that really changed the game.
Through the year we saw some great applications, but there were those that just didn't make it as well. As the year draws to its end, we present to you the top 10 applications that made the year 2012 for Android users.
The year 2012 is ending on a very sad note with the demise of the victim of the Delhi Rape case, who pioneered a new struggle for women's rights. The B Safe application is therefore first on our list. It is an advanced SOS/help application that provides timely and accurate information to registered numbers chosen by the user so that help can arrive quickly and surely.
Users can add multiple people as guardians who are to be contacted in times of emergencies. These people receive notifications or SMSes in case of an emergency. The application has two modes of contact-one is an SMS and the other is voice. While the SMS is free for all, in the free version voice is limited to just one person. More people can be added with a yearly or monthly subscription.
All it requires is the user's action to trigger an alert and the app shoots messages as fast as the device can manage. Once the SOS button is hit the guardians get a message that the user is in an emergency, followed by another message, which has the exact or approximate GPS location of the cellphone. The good thing is that it relies on SMS and not on GPRS data, which might delay help in times of need.
Cerberus Anti Theft for Android
While personal security is one thing, the security of your device is important because your Android carries all sorts of information and can be harmful if lost. So we have the Cerberus app for Android, which is a suite of security measures that every Android user must have on his device just for peace of mind. This is an Android app with a web based tracking and control tool that makes it very easy to use the service.
The app has a host of features including remote lock, which lets the user lock the device with a password. Without that password the device does not even shut down, but if the thief manages to restart the device by unplugging the battery, then too the app can be used to setup the lock and even ring a loud alarm just to locate the device if it is in the vicinity. The app also allows users to setup several options that include remote wipe of the device and SD card.
The application comes in a free seven-day trial version during which users can explore many of its options before opting for a paid version that costs approximately Rs 250.
While security has been improved, many developers have tried to simplify device usage, and a very good example of that is SnapPea. Rather than struggling with wires and device permissions users can simplify the task of syncing their computer and Android device using SnapPea.
SnapPea allows Windows PC users to seamlessly control and sync their Android mobile device without any hassle. This neat and free utility makes use of a two-way data sync. Two-way sync means that any changes made to the content of the folder specified on one device will automatically be replicated on the other. All you need is the desktop application (http://www.snappea.com/) of SnapPea set up and the Android application installed on the mobile device to be synced.
Data between the devices is synced using either conventional USB or WiFi networks. Users can select the connectivity medium. The application allows for data transfers and synchronization only within local networks, which means that both the computer and the mobile device have to be connected to the same router for data exchange to be possible.
SnapPea allows users to sync music, videos and images between the device and the computer. It also allows users to sync music between Android and their computer with the help of the iTunes application. iTunes does not allow any device other than Apple to connect and sync data between them. But with SnapPea this too is possible.
The year 2012 saw the launch of a number of keypads with swipe to type functionality, and who is better at it than Swype. Swype keypad is the best solution for people moving to touchscreen devices, and even otherwise it is a must-have on Android. The keypad utilizes swipe finger input to register words and enter in the desired field, as opposed to tapping fingers on the screen. So it's that simple-all you need to do is connect the alphabets in a word and magically the word will appear on the screen even without your lifting a finger.
The Swype keypad for Android comes with next word prediction; support for voice input; a split keypad for bigger screen devices and the all-new dictionary sync as well.
The Swype keypad also comes with integrated support for Hinglish (Hindi+English) for users who love to mix a few words. Swype keypad contains unique adaptive capabilities that enable it to understand the user's preferences and typing patterns over time. This allows the application to become smarter and more personalized every time it is used.
It learns from users every time they type or swipe their fingers to create words, and it offers the words the next time they use the keypad by offering not just word suggestion but sentence suggestions as well. Swype users can switch between different modes of input as per their need and requirement, thereby getting the maximum level of personalization for devices. One can choose to swipe or speak, or even use the old way of input for their devices.
With 3G data came faster internet speeds and as the cost of 3G internet has dropped down substantially users have started opting for mobile television and entertainment rather than sitting in front of the idiot tube. So when talking about one of the popular TV streaming apps for Android, nothing sounds better than the NexGtv application for Android. NexGtv is the perfect mobility entertainment companion as it allows users to watch their favorite TV channels and programs or stay updated with current affairs on popular news channels as well. All popular Indian national and regional channels have already been added to the streaming list and more are in the pipeline as well.
NexGtv offers up to 100 live channels through the Android application, while utilizing the adaptive bit-rate technology that varies video quality as per the available data speed of the device so that more time is spent watching rather than buffering.
The application now also comes with English song streaming, which means all your favorite Bollywood music numbers are available right in your pocket and that too free of cost. Also, the app provides exclusive streaming of popular festivals like the recently concluded cricket world cup and Durga Puja, and we certainly hope that the developers continue this endeavour with coming festivals and events too.
Norton Snap QR Reader
The year gone by saw heavy usage of QR codes, or 2D bar codes to transmit data in style. Data such as web links and promo codes, which can easily be scanned by smartphones rather than having to be typed every time you need to visit one. But amongst so many codes it is very difficult to find the ones that are right, fake or even malicious, until you open them.
Norton already has a solution to the problem in the form of Norton Snap. The application is simply a QR code reader but with the added advantage of the Norton virus and malicious website database that allows the smartphone to be aware of the information the code is about to access so that necessary action can be taken.
When it comes to the regular QR code scanner Norton Snap is a pretty quick and accurate one. The application snaps the QR code for processing, rather than keeping the camera active to scan the QR code as most of the applications on Google Play store do. Along with that the Norton Snap application prompts users before they visit any of the links embedded in the QR codes so that users can take necessary action without accidentally visiting the links.
You can download this app from Google play store.
Waze Social GPS
The power of social media was one of the major highlights of the year 2012. With social media powering everything from sales to protests, popular App Waze has put social media to a very noble cause. Like any other navigation software, Waze offers travel directions, but unlike most GPS based navigation systems, it offers real-time alerts to users, which makes it perfect for city users too.
Waze utilizes inputs from local users and provides alerts and information to other users in order to make driving pleasurable. For instance, a Waze user can upload information about a traffic jam or an accident that has caused a jam on a particular route and the application will make the information available to other users opting for that route.
Waze has alerts in both audio and on screen for added comfort, for which many applications charge additional money. The application offers street level navigation and offers the simplest and most uncomplicated interface ever. The buttons on the app screen come in big sizes, which helps easy navigation through the app.
Users can earn points by simply driving around town with Waze as their companion and earn points to show their prowess over others. Users can save destinations as favorites for one-click navigation too.
My Car locator free
The one thing that has only worsened in the past year is the parking situation everywhere. This condition is especially bad in metropolitan cities where parking lots are very few compared to the number of cars and other vehicles. We often have to park our vehicle at similar looking parking lots, and that makes it easy to forget where we had parked.
For such situations you need the free My Car locator application. It finds your vehicle and helps you get back to it. The application relies on an active GPS (Global Positioning System) location tracking system to pin point the area where you parked your vehicle and later on helps in locating it.
The application requires access to GPS location data and a GPRS connection to fetch maps from the Google Maps servers, which are pretty quick and accurate. Once you decide to park your vehicle at a place, all you need to do is let the application get a GPS fix on the location and then you hit the park key, which makes the application save the GPS coordinates of the location, which is accurate to five meters of the exact spot.
Following that, to locate your vehicle again, all you need to do is select the Find Me key that will make the device search its present location, and after that press the directions key and the application will produce the shortest possible path to your vehicle.
Deep Sleep battery saver
While devices have gone bigger and better, their battery life has actually gone from bad to worse. And in the past year bigger phones with 5 inch screens have been quite popular, so what you need to do is to either use the phone sensibly, or get the Deep Sleep battery saver application. The application puts the device in deep sleep, thereby enabling the hardware to be at peace for a stipulated or selected time frame, thus allowing the device to save considerable battery power.
The application has a preset time for which the hardware will be put to sleep, disconnecting WiFi and cellular data, which tend to eat up a lot of battery via radios, which constantly modulate frequencies to track signals and connect to the network.
The application has a combination of settings preset as custom profiles that can be used to set the level of battery saving that they want from the application.
The options or profiles decide how aggressively and for how long the application will leave the hardware active so that battery wastage can be minimized.
The application helps save considerable power. On gentle and strong profile, the app enhances battery life by about 10-15 per cent, while it increases up to 25 per cent on an aggressive setting.
The app has a paid version as well, which comes with more options for better control and performance. If you like the free version, then you can buy the paid version for Rs 87.
Sensor Music player
With devices getting smarter manufacturers have started utilizing all the sensors on the devices, including proximity sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, and much more, so why not additionally put the sensors to better use in order to make our music experience simpler and better?
The application makes use of the proximity and accelerometer sensors of smartphones to control music playback, and that is what makes this music player unique. With this, users are not required to take the device out of their pocket and then turn on the display to open the music application and change tracks or pause and play.
The application basically has four main controls including Swipe, which enables users to skip songs just by swiping their fingers across the device's screen. Also, you can pause or play a song just by placing your palm over the screen for about a second.
The slap action is especially useful while traveling where you can slap your device hard to change the song as the device sits perfectly hidden inside your pocket. The third and last preset option is the hammer action where users are required to slam the table or the surface where the device is kept to shuffle songs.
The last is the custom option where users can select which mode should work for them and which sensor (accelerometer or proximity) should be used to control songs.
The only down side of the player is that it plays music in shuffle mode only and not in sequential playback, but that too can be controlled by saving songs in playlists.