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Communication

Social networks are becoming extremely prevalent in our daily lives and people check them from their bed as soon as they wake up. Many need to be constantly connected to their friends and share what’s happening with them. With this need to keep in touch with friends, it only makes sense to access this kind of information more easily.

Facebook Home offers to replace your Android launcher with a new social experience that ensures you’re always aware of your friends’ activities. With this home screen, a quick glance lets you see their photos and posts and your Facebook notifications. It definitely becomes easier to know what your friends are up to and interact with them, but is it worth ditching your current launcher?

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With the recent mushrooming of Twitter apps like Falcon, Carbon and Tweetings, it is becoming hard for developers to differentiate their apps and offer unique features. Many focus on power users and implement advanced functions, such as multi-account support and Tweet Marker compatibility.

TweetLine, however, takes a very different approach and emphasizes simplicity and customization: no more complicated screens, overcrowded timelines and hard-to read tweets. It’s all numbed down to an easy-to-use interface that requires very few taps to get something done. The interface is also designed to fit your personal needs, as columns and colors are fully customizable.

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I just moved into my own apartment for the first time, and it’s been hectic dealing with all the additional responsibility of holding down the fort by myself. I find myself spending a lot of time in the kitchen — cooking, doing the dishes and putting things away — and I’m glad I have a tablet to keep me company. I follow recipes on YouTube and BBC’s incredible recipe guide and of course, keep tabs on friends on Twitter. Now I can chat with them all too, thanks to the recently updated imo.

Imo  - which we have reviewed earlier – lets you link your IM accounts and chat with your contacts on 11 networks, including MSN, Skype, Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, AIM/ICQ, Jabber, VKontakte, Hyves and Steam. The app has been updated to take advantage of the extra screen real estate offered by larger devices, and now not only looks great, but also throws in two new features that are worth a look.

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Twitter clients for Android have tried to sell their tricks over time — some more successful than others. When Falcon came out as a widget, it earned a positive review from our own Abhimanyu Ghoshal. Now, it’s a fully functional Twitter app and it looks to be picking up from where it left off. There’s nothing new to Falcon Pro’s tricks, but it’s how it does it that makes all the difference.

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How many different ways do you have to get in touch with the people you know? Just from your phone you could call them, send a text message, email, instant message through the likes of Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, chat via Skype, send a tweet and much, much more.

Obviously, not everyone you know will be using all of these services and if you want to contact a particular friend, you may find that you end up hunting through various apps to pick the best method of communication. All of this comes to a stop the moment you install CallApp.

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Whether I’m on the move or retiring for the night, I appreciate being able to check in with friends and family on my Android devices. I constantly carry these conversations over from my desktop to my phone to my tablet depending on where I am and what I’m up to. That’s why I was glad to come across Talk.to, a simple app that brings all your Facebook and Google Talk contacts together so you can chat with ease.

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From a micro blogging space to a breaking news medium, a product publicity portal to just a good old space for like minded people to engage in discussions and critiques, there are many facets to Twitter. With over half a million subscribers, it’s one of the fastest growing social networking medium and definitely the most relevant. Another number growing pretty fast is the number of 3rd party Twitter clients on Google’s Android ecosystem.

While the popular heavyweights like Plume, Uber Social, Twicca, Tweetcaster still remain relevant, there is a newer breed of feature rich, lightweight Twitter clients which are making their mark on the landscape. One such app is Twidere, a beautiful Holo-themed application which, while being lightweight in size, is a breeze when it comes to speed and functionality.

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There are many Twitter applications on the Play Store, from the official Twitter application, to Plume, Tweetdeck or Seesmic. All of these have their own style and functionality. In Tweetdeck, you can customize the font and the number of columns in the application as well as connect to other services like Facebook and Foursquare. Seesmic has a similar feature set but uses a different UI style. Plume follows a Holo-like look and offers an impressive — and slightly daunting — amount of features.

The only major downside in most of these applications is that they lack UI color customization. Tweedle is a Twitter application that tries to close this gap with full UI theming freedom. However, it’s still in development and major updates are slightly sparse as the developer considers this his side-project.

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The popular crowd-sourced online multilingual dictionary dict.cc boasts a whopping 946,000 translations between English and German, together with many thousands between other language pairs. It’s an incredible resource, with vocabulary training and a huge community, and now it has an Android app.

Dict.cc for Android comes in two flavors: the free ad-supported version provides offline translations for 51 language combinations, with data downloaded in language packs, while the paid dict.cc+ app adds recent searches and a quiz game.

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Pop-up notifications have been part of third party messaging apps like GoSMS Pro and Handcent and although they might serve their purpose, they’re not exactly ground-breaking, nor are they applicable to other applications.

Enter Pops, which takes notifications to a whole new level with artsy, animated pop-ups unlike any other. It falls well in the fun side of Android, by combining basic functionality and advanced customization with the simple event of receiving and sending messages — SMS but also email, Twitter or Facebook messages.

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