Google Wallet was released for Android this week. The vision is to aggregate all your payment methods – making up the third generation of payments, according to Google, after coins and paper – into a single app that can be applied to real life commerce. As they put it: “Make your phone your wallet.”

This is achieved through near-field communications, a Bluetooth-like technology that can perform an unpaired data transfer with something in the general vicinity (generally around 4cm away). The term is generally used to refer to a method of commerce between untethered devices. Let’s find out more about it.

Tumblr hardly needs an introduction. It isn’t WordPress, but that’s exactly the point. Because of it, a lot of youngsters from Gen X and Y are attracted to at least some sort of long-form writing. Long before Twitter, Tumblr was the pioneer in getting microposts and media (particularly images) in front of those who didn’t have the time or inclination to read hundreds of words per post.

The success of Tumblr is due to the sheer ease with which even a technical novice can start publishing online. That – alongside the awesome community that fosters conversations and reblogs content for quicker discovery – is the reason they have grown from one billion to ten billion posts in just a year. Recently, Tumblr completely revamped their Android, and it’s now time for us take the app for a spin and see how cool it is compared to the web app.

Astrid Task is an open source, simple todo list app on the Market, and is by far the most popular with over two million users. It focuses mainly on ‘social productivity’, making your tasks available to other people – for example, it allows you to assign tasks to colleagues for a specific project.

Let’s have a look at what this intelligent and user friendly todo list app has to offer.

If you are a frequent traveler, FlightAware might sound familiar to you. Why? It’s the biggest live flight tracking website on the web! However, for those of you who are staring blankly at your screen, I’ll go into more detail. FlightAware, founded back in 2005, was the first company to offer free flight tracking services for both private and commercial air traffic in the United States. It quickly became the most popular flight tracking service in the world and on the web.

Airlines and other aviation businesses rely on FlightAware to provide live flight data, airport information, weather maps, flight planning, and navigation charts, as well as aviation news and photos. They also power operational management and dispatch software, airport flight information displays (FIDS), and provides reporting data to aircraft and airport operators.

After success via the world and the web, the company moved into the mobile industry by creating Flight Tracker for iOS, Blackberry and Windows. Now, at last, it’s Android’s turn!

Google Goggles has always been a great testament to how useful smartphones are. Advertised features include the ability take a photo of a French menu and have it instantly translate to English, or search something simply by taking a photo of it.

Recently, Google pushed out an update to Google Goggles on Android, adding some interesting new features in the process. Should you opt in, Google Goggles can automatically analyse all photos taken in your phone’s camera app in the background, without you needing to specifically tell the app to do so. It looks very interesting, to say the least. (more…)

There is such a mind-boggling range of Android Twitter apps out there that it is extremely difficult to decide between them, even if you download every single one and try them out. Each Twitter client offers a range of different features and interfaces, and choosing just one is hard.

Picking the best Twitter client for you is going to depend on what you want to use it for. If you are a passive Twitter user and simply want to read other people’s tweets, then you’ll want a nice, simple to use client with no fancy features – however if you, like me, are an active Twitter user, then you’ll certainly want a client with a few nice features stashed away under the bonnet.

To save you trawling through the Market for hours on end, here’s a roundup of seven of the best Twitter clients for Android devices, with a bit of information about each one. Let’s explore! (more…)

As a keen user of Android I’ve been thinking about how I can help out other Android users. I’m not a developer, so I can’t build a brilliant app or game, but there are other problems that Android users face, and helping people solve these problems might be just the thing I’ll be able to help out with!

What problems? Well, just think back about what you struggled with, or wished you knew, when you first bought your Android phone. Depending on your skill level and available time there are various different ways to help out (some easier than others). No matter which route you pick, you’ll be helping someone!

Kickstarter is a powerful resource for raising funds for a project, and recently some mobile developers have started using this platform to get the cash they need to make their games. Interested users donate some money and receive different rewards – almost always related to the project in question – depending on how much they fork over. The twist is this: if the project doesn’t raise the required dollars by the deadline, their money never leaves your pocket.

Let’s take a look at how Kickstarter is being used in the Android world. (more…)

This week, we highlighted the new release of the popular to-do list manager Wunderlist.

Of course, this isn’t the only to-do app on the Market – far from it. We’ve seen Todo.txt Touch and Extensive Notes (and its sister app Classic Notes), and looked at a lot of similar apps in this productivity roundup. Heck, just search the Market for “todo” and you’ll see there’s no shortage.

But do you actually use them?

In the first roundup on this site, I mentioned Astrid as “my favorite task organizer”. Back then, I used it a lot; now, I’m not sure I even have it installed. But that’s not because it’s a bad app – it’s actually really well designed, with an easy way to enter new tasks and see your current priorities at a glance – it’s because I find paper so much more effective.

I still use my phone to keep track of some tasks; Google Calendar is great for entering appointments and due dates that are any further away than the next 24 hours, and Extensive Notes is useful for tapping out a quick reminder to myself. But I get so much more done with my current, analog to-do list: a narrow notebook, on which I enter all of the following day’s tasks at the end of every evening. (From the top down, I write the things I have to do today; from the bottom up, I write the things I have to do in the near future.) Maybe it’s because I have to restrict each task to a few words; maybe it’s because the list is always visible on my desk (rather than hidden away behind a lock screen and a shortcut); maybe it’s just because crossing a task out with a pen feels better than tapping a checkbox.

Other people swear by their digital methods, though – so what about you? Vote in the poll, and share your task management methods in the comments below!

It’s been around 10 months since I got an LG Optimus One, my first Android phone. It’s isn’t terrible, but it’s not a beast of a phone either. There used to be at least a couple occasions every day when I would wish it did just a tad more – especially in the last couple of months when my installed app base had started to reach monstrous proportions, threatening to use up all my internal memory every couple of hours.

Over a comparatively quiet weekend in August, I decided to finally take the plunge and install a custom port of the insanely popular CyanogenMod for my phone. The research started at trying to find the best ROM for my phone and going through page after page of discussions, tutorials and walkthroughs of how to do it. I ended up spending around six hours trying to absorb as much information as there was about the process before hitting the dreaded ‘Wipe’ button that you need to press before installing a new ROM. The actual process took no more than 20 minutes, and I’m so happy with the end result, I spend an unhealthy amount of time every day hitting myself for not doing it before.

In this article, I will try and compress all my research from various sites into a single FAQ, hoping to reduce the time you’ll spend trying to figure things out, so you can spend more time playing around with the new coat of paint on your device’s walls. Let’s jump in right away.

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