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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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I remember when I first started using IM applications, a long decade ago, how excited I was by the presence of emoticons. Instead of typing long sentences, you could convey a lot of feelings in one character, and given that I’m the kind of person who uses facial expressions extensively in real life, emoticons felt like the most authentic written-form translation of my speech.

Prior to Jelly Bean, Android users were left in the cold when it came to emojis. Only a few third-party applications like Whatsapp or Google Talk supported them within their own confines. But if you received emojis from a friend’s iPhone through SMS or on Twitter for example, you were faced with a square placeholder. Thankfully, the situation has changed with Jelly Bean, and now Android can not only read emojis, but it can also write them. Here’s the complete guide.

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We’re continuing with our tradition of showcasing crowd-funded projects that could be interesting to your as an Android enthusiast. Featuring new and exciting ideas at the beginning of each month, we help you sift through the hundreds of projects filling Kickstarter and Indiegogo to find the rare gems that are worth contributing to.

This month, however, is quite special since there are so many already funded and quite original projects. That’s why I will pick 5 projects to discuss, then link to several others that are worth considering as well. Read on to discover them all.

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When the Chromecast was announced last week, I got very excited about it and received many questions on Twitter from people who knew I already owned an Android TV Stick — an iMito MX1 to be precise. They were either wondering about the difference between the devices, either questioning my enthusiasm towards it given that I already have something similar.

After all, it’s easy to be confused. Both serve as an HDMI extension to your TV that makes it a lot smarter than it is, and both seem to play well with Android devices. So what exactly is the difference, and which one should you buy? Read on for the explanation.

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The New Nexus 7 is upon us. With significantly updated specs compared to last year’s model and an appealing price point, along with Android 4.3, it’s going to be difficult to say no to this new gadget. Since many of you have already received their New Nexus 7 — or Nexus 7 FHD as Amazon is calling it — or have ordered it and are waiting patiently for the delivery truck, here are our best articles that should help you prepare before the arrival of your shiny new toy and fill it up with interesting content after it’s in your hands.

There are thousands of apps and ideas to try so you have your work cut out for you. We’ll also keep this list updated with any new content we publish later, so bookmark this page, come back to it later, and share it with friends.

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Over the past couple of years, I somehow went from not using almost any accessory with my devices to owning and using a lot of them daily. I had always been fascinated by accessories, from cases to cradles to extended batteries, but I always owned a less popular mobile phone that made it almost impossible to find dedicated gadgetry. However, the rise in many universally-compatible accessories changed all of that.

Whether you’re an accessory veteran, or you’re looking for suggestions to improve your experience on Android, check out my list below for the tried-and-true gadgets that I use regularly and love.

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Despite how much I am involved with Android now, and my ever-growing addiction to the platform over the past couple of years, I was surprised to reckon a few weeks ago that I have never experienced Android like it was created and meant to be — ie. on a Nexus device. I have owned and used an HTC Desire Z, an Iconia A100 tablet, a Samsung Galaxy S3 and an LG Optimus 4X HD, but never a Nexus device.  That’s because I live in Lebanon, where Nexus devices are a black market rarity and Samsung is everywhere.

However, I eventually managed to convince the local LG team to lend me a Nexus 4 for review. And *insert expletives* I’m blown away.

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We can spend hours debating Twitter, including the different ways you can use the social network, how to leverage it for business or personal benefit, and the best Twitter clients available for Android. However, one thing remains constant no matter who you talk to: Twitter is expanding and it is getting harder and harder to manage.

However, thankfully, there is a resurgence in tools and services that help you stay on top of Twitter, whether by managing your followers and friends, finding interesting tweets you might have missed in your timeline, archiving and searching tweets, scheduling your output to avoid overwhelming your followers, and more. Below, I have picked 10 of my favorite Android apps that sit beside my Twitter client and help me stay in control of my social networking.

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Crowd-funding is all the rage nowadays, as evidenced by our new monthly series of Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects. However, staying on top of all the cool projects can get a bit tedious, especially with the hundreds of new ideas being launched every day. Miss a cool project’s start and all the discounted early backer packs could be gone in a few days, miss a late-blooming project’s end date and you might forget pledging for a successful campaign that you had your eye on.

And since not everyone can sit in front of their computer and hit Refresh on their browser frantically, we all resort to mobile apps. Given that Indiegogo is normally easier to navigate, with less projects and more chance of finding popular or new ongoing campaigns, the absence of a mobile app isn’t very taxing. However, Kickstarter’s lack of an official Android client is a missed opportunity if you ask me, and we have to resort to using third-party clients to discover and follow projects on our beloved platform. Here are 3 apps that help me stay on top of Kickstarter.

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Last month, I started a new tradition on Android.Appstorm by featuring 6 crowd-funded projects that might be of interest to Android users (many of which are still available now, so do check them out). This tradition will involve featuring new and exciting projects at the beginning of each month to help you sift through the hundreds of ideas filling Kickstarter and Indiegogo and find the rare gems that are worth contributing to.

Although I was at first very reticent to invest any money in crowd-funded projects, because nothing is guaranteed and the products weren’t already available and proven, my recent experience with them has been quite positive. I’ve received my 13000mAh Limeade battery and my Minuum keyboard invite on time, and I am enjoying both without any letdowns. That’s to say that crowd-funding does work when you exercise your better judgement to pick projects that are well thought-out and made by gadget enthusiasts like us, who just need a little help to push mobile and technology further.

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