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Ashish Bogawat

I'm a graphic designer, technology enthusiast and gamer. Other than drooling over gadgety goodness on the web and elsewhere, I work as a design consultant and entrepreneur with a focus on web, communication design and learning design. Oh, and I'm also on twitter as abogawat.

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A couple of months ago, I put the top four note-taking apps on Android to test in an attempt to figure out what each one was good at. If there’s one other thing I use my phone most for – barring the usual calling & texting, of course – it is to manage my todo lists. So this time around, I take the top task management apps on Android and put them through the paces to try and identify a winner.

Now I’m not new to this game, really. For years, I’ve pounced upon every app that had anything to do with task management, GTD and the likes. Having gone from using Remember The milk to Astrid to Wunderlist, back to Remember the Milk & Todoist, I keep going through the phases every time the landscape seems to change a bit. Consider this that phase, and join me as I go through each app and review it on three parameters – core features, user interface and other bells and whistles.

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I’ve been an Android user for a few years now – and a devout one at that. You know those people who are the anti-apple-fanboys, the ones who proudly refuse to buy Apple products, who gloat at every opportunity to criticize the iconic company and its fanboys? Yeah, that was me. Actually, I’m still not a big fan of Apple, but things have been different since I had to get my first iDevice – an iPod Touch – simply to be able to preview and test the apps we design for iOS at work.

Having lived extensively in a two-devices-in-my-pocket-at-all-times world, I’ve come to see reason in my arguments – both for and against Android & iOS. There are multi-platform apps that I happily use on both, my Android phone and the iPod touch. And there are those that I’ve come to love on Android, but just haven’t found replacements on iOS as yet. What follow is just that – apps I can’t live without on Android, and miss sorely on iOS.

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Productivity is relative. There are a ton of definitions and as many opinions about what productivity is and how you measure it. Irrespective of what your version is though, one of the best ways to measure how well you are utilizing your time is to track it in the first place.

In spite of the ubiquity of the task of tracking and analyzing time, there aren’t too many tools to do so effectively, more so on the mobile platforms. Jiffy tries to solve that problem on Android with a beautiful and minimalistic interface that caught my eye the moment I saw the screenshots. Whether it did enough to adequately solve the problem for me, I had to find out for myself. (more…)

Ask designers what their choice desktop operating system is, and almost everyone will point you to Apple’s OSX. The ratio has been pretty one-sided when it comes to their mobile platform of choice as well, but things have been changing rapidly of late. Android, which started as the second choice for creatives around the world, has been gaining tremendous popularity over the last few years and that has reflected in the number of quality apps for designers available on the platform.

Whether you are a graphic designer, an architect or interior designer, the choice of apps on the Play Store is big enough to be confusing at times. What follows is my hand-picked list of some of the best Android apps for designers. It includes tools to help you create, manage your work and participate in design communities across the web.

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When Google launched Keep a couple of months ago, everyone started comparing it with similar apps that have been around much longer. Although Evernote was the most talked about, there is no dearth of note-taking apps on the web or any of the popular mobile platforms. From plain text solutions to feature-packed mammoths, there is a ton of competition out there.

Having tried and endlessly switched between a whole bunch of apps over the years, I decided to give Keep a shot to check how it fared against some of the others that have come close to being a staple on my Galaxy Nexus.

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Text messaging – or SMS – is one of the most fundamental functions on any mobile device. Over the last few years, it has arguably taken over voice calling as the single most used feature on a phone. Sure, there have been numerous threats from internet-based multimedia messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, Line and more, but the sheer ubiquity of good ol’ SMS text messages has been hard to beat and has kept the technology alive and kicking.

Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of good dedicated options when it comes to SMS apps on Android. A few stalwarts like Handcent SMS and Go SMS Pro aside, competition has been pretty scarce in this arena. That’s why it’s exciting to see a new contender in Sliding Messaging. I took the app for a spin to check how it fared against Go SMS Pro – which is what I’ve been using for years now. Here’s what I found.

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It’s Customization Month on Android.Appstorm! Throughout March, we plan to share with you all our tips, tricks, apps and resources to help you improve your phone or tablet experience and make them suit your style.

What better way to celebrate the end of Customization Month than with some of the most insane examples of Android homescreens out there? The Android customization community is one of the most passionate bunch of smartphone geeks out there and they’re working dilligently every day to outdo themselves and their colleagues to explore possibilities of what you can do with a phone, a bunch of ingenious apps and some insane bursts of creativity.

And one of the best places to see this creativity at work is MyColorScreen, a site that encourages users to share their homescreen setups and discuss them with fellow modders. Without further ado then, here’s a list of some of the most awe-inspiring homescreen setups on Android, hand-picked from MyColorScreen.

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It’s Customization Month on Android.Appstorm! Throughout March, we plan to share with you all our tips, tricks, apps and resources to help you improve your phone or tablet experience and make them suit your style.

Android as a mobile operating system has grown tremendously over the last few years and with the last couple of increments has arguably taken over the mantle of the most mature mobile platform over from iOS. One of the things that has made Android as popular as it is today is the extreme customizability. And what better demonstrates this capability than the huge array of launchers and home screen replacements that are available for the platform?

We have already covered launchers on a number of occasions in the past, but the playing field has changed incredibly fast in the last year or so, and so it is time we take another in-depth look at the currently available options for customizing the most intrinsic aspect of your Android experience. This time, we are splitting the list of apps into two sections – the traditional home screen replacements and a newer breed of apps that work on top of your launcher as helpers to give you quick access to your apps from wherever you are.

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It’s Customization Month on Android.Appstorm! Throughout March, we plan to share with you all our tips, tricks, apps and resources to help you improve your phone or tablet experience and make them suit your style.

When it comes to customizing your Android home screen, choice is more than abundant. All you need to do is think of what you want, and there’s a good chance it already exists somewhere in the bylanes of the official Play store or in a developer forum somewhere. And for things that are too specific for a readymade solution, there are DIY apps that will let you build your home screen widget from scratch.

Ultimate Custom Clock Widget– or UCCW as it is popularly known — is one such app. With more options than you can shake a stick at, UCCW lets you build your own custom homescreen widgets pretty much the way you like. And although there is a whole community of enthusiastic modders who spend hours fine-tuning their UCCW creations and making them available to anyone to download, there is something to be said for the satisfaction of creating one of your own.

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Task management is one of the most saturated app categories on most mobile devices. But in this era of seamless sync and multi-device access, just being a good mobile app doesn’t cut it anymore. Fortunately, the choice in that category is not too slim either.

For more than a few years now, I’ve been a fan of Remember The Milk as my go-to app for managing tasks. After waiting patiently for some meaningful updates, a half-decent web interface and a Windows client, I decided to look for options and came across Todoist, a very old favorite. It was a fledgling app when I had looked at it a few years ago, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it all grown up into a solid contender for the best multi-platform todo app solution.

What followed was a couple months of consistent use on the web, desktop and mobile, a growing respect for how seamless the app works across platforms and a perfectly justified yearly subscription to their premium plan. With a super-snappy web interface that works seamlessly when online or offline, a fully functional Windows app and an actively in-development Android version, the app takes care of all my accessibility needs. But how does the Android app stack up against the seriously tough competition? Let’s find out.

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