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Communication

I recently spent a long weekend in France. Now, I haven’t taken a French lesson in ten years, and my exam results were hardly a tour de force, so I thought it best to grab an app that would give me a hand vis-à-vis communicating abroad.

Jacob Schweitzer’s recent roundup of translation apps was very helpful, but the problem with most of these (as with most such apps on the Android Market) is that they’re powered by Google Translate, and so require an Internet connection in order to function. Data roaming is pretty expensive in Europe, so I wanted something I could use offline.

Travel Interpreter, which has a database of phrases that can be downloaded to the SD card over WiFi, seems to be the crème de la crème of foreign language phrasebooks — but how does it measure up when trying to use it in the real world?
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UStream: Broadcast and view live video

There’s a certain obscure enjoyment to be had from watching live video feeds – particularly amateur ones. Maybe it’s just me (I’m hoping it’s not, but it probably is), but spending ten minutes watching an eagle hop around in its nest or checking out the view from someone’s Manhattan apartment is, for some weird reason, fun.

I think it’s because you shouldn’t be able to see what’s going on in a random street thousands of miles away, but can. Of course you can also check out live vlogs, chat shows and amateur sporting events.

UStream are by far the largest provider of streaming services on the Internet. They also offer an Android application that I think would be of use to anyone who either loves live feeds or wants to broadcast a show of their own.

I had high expectations when downloading this application, I won’t lie. There’s a lot of places it could go wrong if you think about it. Poor quality video and having to spend ages for live feeds to buffer were my biggest fears. Slow response times and lack of incorporation with the main website were also potential fall-downs. Plus, given the fact that streaming live video from a mobile phone is a relatively cumbersome task, power and glitches could be a problem.

Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised upon installing and opening UStream.
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Sipdroid (so-called because it uses the Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP) is an open-source VoIP client for Android, which supports a range of codecs and is capable of video calling.

If you’re familiar with VoIP and SIP (and a bit of a techie) then this may just be the free VoIP client that you’ve been looking for.

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Arugably the best part about owning a Blackberry is Blackberry Messagner (or BBM), the instant messaging client available to all Blackberry users. While Android users have Google Talk, this hasn’t really caught on as the de facto way for Android (or smartphone) users to communicate on their phones. LiveProfile hopes to become for Android (and iOS) what BBM is for Blackberry.
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Kryptos is a peer-to-peer telephony program from Kryptos Communications. It features military-grade 256bit encryption on all the traffic it sends and 2056 bit RSA key exchange, thereby keeping your conversations private and exceptionally secure.

Its target audience is businessmen with a bit of cash to shell out on security management, though there is no reason why anybody else couldn’t use it. It operates on 3G mobile internet and WiFi and I am reviewing it based on my experience on the HTC Wildfire.
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