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Rita El Khoury

Rita El Khoury is the Editor of Android.Appstorm and enjoys everything about the ecosystem. From customizing her LG G2 and Galaxy S3, to installing new ROMs, trying new apps, obsessively checking news and releases, she's a self-identified geek with a knack for living on the bleeding edge of technology. Her mobile and app addiction started in 2006, when she launched her Dotsisx blog to focus on the Symbian ecosystem. She has since enjoyed Symbian, iOS, Windows Phone and Android. When she's not keeping Android.Appstorm rolling, she's found behind a counter at Panacea Pharmacy which she owns and manages full-time. You can check her professional LinkedIn profile as well as follow her on Twitter @khouryrt.

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Christmas morning is here and we all feel the same excitement while rushing to check the gifts under the tree. As geeks and technology addicts, we’re hoping for gadgets and more gadgets, especially the Android kind. We’re not picky either, we’ll take anything from a phone to a tablet, an NVIDIA Shield, or an Android TV Stick.

If you’re lucky enough to be a recipient of such gear, you’re certainly excited to set it up and load it with excellent apps and games. Or maybe, this is your first foray into the Android ecosystem and you have no idea how and where to get started. That’s why we’ve combed through the hundreds of posts we published this year to roundup the best content for you.

From apps to games, how-tos, and opinions, you’ll find enough articles here to last you weeks. So get your browser tabs ready for an onslaught of articles, press that power button on your shiny new gadget and follow us down this wonderfully geeky journey. But keep in mind that we are not responsible for the amount of time you spend glued to your screen and away from your family today!

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As part of my new fitness routine that involves starting a C25K program, I have also taken up sit-ups and squats. The reason I picked these two exercises is that I have improved the strength of my arms and legs a lot with running and swimming, but my core, back and quads are still in deplorable shape. I could easily try to do short series of sit-ups and squats, but I was in no way able to go beyond 30 or 40 without feeling like my muscles were being ripped apart.

So similarly to my running training, I turned to my phone and the Play Store to find apps that would help me gradually increase my strength and improve my endurance. I was instantly drawn to Runtastic Sit-Ups Pro and Runtastic Squats Pro, not only because of the big brand name behind them, but also because of the apps’ design and features. It was an excellent choice and I’ll explain below why Runtastic’s suite should be on your phone too if you are interested in fitness.

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There was a time, in a previous life, when I was able to run an hour daily without breaking a sweat. Then I injured my foot, couldn’t exercise for a year, got lazy and gained weight, until I was eventually unable to walk for more than 10 minutes without complaining of fatigue. I’ve been trying however, for the past 10 months, to find the glory of old. I started with swimming regularly, then added walking, hiking and eventually decided to ease back into running.

I had heard of the Couch to 5K program — commonly referred to as C25K — and figured it would be the perfect way to go back to my runner routine. I looked on the Play Store for C25K apps, found many that seemed way too complicated or expensive for the purpose, then I landed on C25K Trainer. It is the most simplistic app you can find but it is essentially all you really need if you want to start running.

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If I were to pick my top app to receive Chromecast support as soon as possible, it would have been MX Player. Despite a seemingly simple UI that lacks a lot of bells and whistles, MX Player can handle multiple file formats and sizes thanks to hardware or software decoding and supports gesture controls during playback and pinch-to-zoom.

However, Google seems to have a different opinion, and the first media player that got welcomed on the Chromecast was the relatively obscure Avia. I decided to take it for a spin, as it’s the only option that is available worldwide — Real Player Cloud doesn’t work in my region — and sends local files directly from my devices to the Chromecast without having to host them on another device like Plex‘ requirement. Read on for my assessment of the app.

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I’m usually a sloppy Christmas shopper. I wait until the last few days to get any presents, mostly because I never know what to gift anyone. This year however marked a huge improvement as I had my Christmas shopping done by the 5th of December.

If you’re not as lucky and you still have some gift shopping left for your friends, family members, partners, and you know them to be Android fans, I have compiled this list of great last-minute gift ideas. As a big Android fan, I guarantee I’d be happy with any item mentioned below.

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It’s the last month of the year and the time when companies refrain from pushing new products or ideas to avoid being neglected in the midst of the holiday rush. But over on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, entrepreneurs are fearless and confident, launching new projects and hoping to get your attention with their innovative products.

In the following post, I will take a look at the most original projects that you can pledge for this month, then list others that are also worth looking at. Read on to discover them all, and keep in mind that, as with any crowd-funded project, you have to exercise your better judgement and no outcome is really guaranteed.

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I am an Android customization addict and, to be honest, even the word “addict” is an understatement. Two months ago, I would have told you that there should be AA meetings for the kind of compulsion that I had. I kept hundreds of folders of iconsets ready in my Dropbox account, I mastered the dark corners of UCCW and Minimalistic Text, I spent hours every week on MyColorScreen, and even maintained a Google+ photo album as a visual history of the different homescreen designs I have made since 2010.

But most importantly, I installed Nova Launcher on any Android device I had in my hands for more than an hour, and enjoyed tinkering with every single setting the app allowed from gestures to grid layouts and more. Then I got an invite code to join the Aviate Launcher Beta, installed it on my LG G2 and … well, life wasn’t the same anymore. I haven’t had the impulse to switch back from Aviate to Nova in more than six weeks, I haven’t felt the need to change my icons either, and given my history with Android customization, this is the geeky version of a personal miracle.

In the following post, I’ll explain how Aviate won me over from Nova — and Apex, ADW and all their brethren — and why it squashed my urge to tinker with my homescreens every couple of days.

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This week rings the start of the holiday season and the shopping ordeal that comes with it. From Black Friday to Cyber Monday to the Christmas presents, everyone will be running around against the clock trying to find the best deals and gift items.

Last year, we covered some great apps for last-minute holiday shopping, but as Android grew and garnered more apps over the past twelve months, many new and cool contenders rose up, so it’s time we added more apps to that list.

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It’s almost Christmas time and as you prepare for the holiday shopping spree and start feeling the giving spirit of the holidays, it might be a good idea to help crowd-fund some cool projects and offer a contribution for gadget enthusiasts like yourself who have original ideas and want to turn them into real products.

In the following post, I will take a look at the most original projects that you can pledge for, then list others that are also worth looking at. Read on to discover them all, and keep in mind that, as with any crowd-funded project, you have to exercise your better judgement and no outcome is really guaranteed.

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While the first few years of the tablet’s life as a new consumer product category were rife with various screen sizes as the market was still being established and our demands and habits weren’t as well understood and stable as they are now, manufacturers have currently gravitated toward two different sizes or segments of tablets: the 7″-7.9″ small and compact one, and the 9″-10″ bigger and more couch-oriented one.

That left the whole 8″ bracket of the spectrum almost untapped, which is exactly where LG decided to focus their first tangible effort at the tablet market. At 8.3″, the G Pad sits comfortably in the middle between the two segments, but does that make it an ideal one-size-fits-all tablet or a neither-this-nor-that tablet? I’ve had the G Pad for review for a few days, and I tried to answer that question.

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