If you use Google Apps, you already know that your email, contacts, and calendar are automatically synced between your computer and your phone without needing to connect the two via cables. But did you know that you can do a lot more with this two-way connection?

In this roundup, we’ll take a look at apps that let you type long text messages on your computer keyboard, use your phone as a mouse for your computer, manage your PC downloads remotely, call friends using your computer’s sound system and microphone, and pretty much anything else (except for charging the device) — all without wires. It’s wireless nirvana!


After reading this article, you’ll be able to use your Android phone as a webcam for Skype, Google Talk, Facebook, or any other program on your computer that can use a webcam. I was frustrated that Skype didn’t allow video chat for my phone when they recently updated their app to allow this, and decided to figure out a way to do this using the existing video camera on my phone. Why buy a separate webcam if you can use the one in your pocket?

Note: only some Android phones work using this method, and some newer phones have a dedicated webcam built in.


Music has been a major part of my life. With every little walk I take, (which incidentally I track with RunKeeper), I listen to music on my phone.

However, I find it cumbersome to unlock the phone, long press the home button, select the player from the Recent Apps screen, and press the Skip button, just to move to the next track. There’s another way, though: today we’ll look at music players and widgets with lockscreens that make skipping tracks that little bit easier.


The Beano and the The Dandy are treasured memories of my childhood. I loved those comic books. To the best of my knowledge they were only widely available in the UK and Ireland and still are. Ask any British male, between the ages of ten and eighty years old what the first comic they ever read was, and I can guarantee it was either a Beano or a Dandy.

When I was thirteen or so, a friend introduced me to a comic book store named Forbidden Planet. I must have spend every spare cent I had in that shop over the next few years. We’d sift through hundreds of back issues, crammed into long boxes all carefully preserved in their protective plastic sleeves. Hours upon hours were spent flipping through graphic novels, buying back issues and admiring the various artwork on display.

I still occasionally drop into Forbidden Planet. But, if my memory serves me right, I was around sixteen when life, school, work and the opposite sex put comic books at the back of the shelf. I never lost my love of comics though. Web comics are a particular indulgence of mine due to their plentiful supply and high procrastination value. Having them on your phone can only be a good thing, right? With that in mind, here’s a few of my favorite Android comic book applications.

For years, people have been using their phone’s timers and MP3 players to assist them while they exercise: to time a lap round a circuit or to give something to listen to to stave off the boredom.

But modern technology advanced to the point where exercise has become downright geeky!

Darren shows what I mean with a roundup of apps designed to measure every aspect of your fitness: these will track the exercises you do and the calories you intake, and advise you on what you should be doing next.

Rahsheen did an in-depth review of one of these: JEFIT. This app is designed to be a portable personal trainer, helping you to build a full routine and track your progress in it, with instructions for performing each of the exercises. It’s incredible.

And Rita has shown that there’s more available than apps: check out her review of a Heart Rate Monitor accessory for Android phones, which can be used in conjunction with exercise apps to ensure you stay in the fat burning zone or cardio zone, as you desire.

This is all amazing, but is it overwhelming? Some people just want to run, or box, or cycle, without keeping a log of their every movement or having a computer judge their progress.

Others say that the technology goes against the nature of exercise; a fascinating photography project, revealed this week, described joggers as showing their “natural and brute sides” — I’m not sure a mobile phone ties in to that.

Vote in the poll to let us know how you feel!

JEFIT is a professional bodybuilding, weight training, and workout app for Android. The most downloaded weight training and workout app, it allows you to track your workouts and sync your progress to the cloud.

If you’re one of those who choose to pick things up and put them down as your chosen method of exercise, JEFIT is for you.  It does an excellent job of helping bodybuilders, strength trainers, powerlifters, and anyone else who needs to track reps and sets. JEFIT lets you focus on your workout and takes care of all the counting and tracking that can sometimes take all the fun out of a good workout. It also tracks your progress, pushes you to beat your personal best, and provides basic instruction on performing hundreds of exercises safely.


Mobile phones have always had a way to keep track of your phone calls and text messages to some extent. In fact that was one of the key advantages of these phones when they started: the ability to display who was calling you and to keep a history of recent calls. As awesome as this sounded in the beginning, what a smartphone can do today far exceeds these capabilities, letting you use the phone to do things you could not have imagined just a few years ago.

Among the hundreds of thousands of things Android apps let you do today, a good few let you keep track of virtually any aspect of your life. From keeping track of virtually limitless incoming and outgoing calls and text messages, to maintaining a gym workout diary and managing your finances and health. The possibilities are endless. In this roundup, let’s look at a whole bunch of apps to do just that — and more.


Last night I drifted off to sleep next to an open window. The head of my bed, just below the window sill, afforded me the sight of a clear night’s sky under which to drift off. A gentle breeze kept the air moving in my room; I’d left the window wide open, because otherwise the hot temperatures would’ve made sleep impossible.

This morning (Saturday) I woke up to the sound of lawnmowers mowing, birds chirping and a window filled with the deep blue from a clear sky. The sun was already high in the sky and the world had been awake a few hours. I’d slept in; ah the joys of freelancing. I checked the morning news on phone and it promised a heatwave for the next few days. Brilliant.

I had just quit my job in favour of the pen. A decent night’s kip and good weather was exactly what I needed to get the creative juices flowing.

What I didn’t need was to find myself, only moments after this blissful awakening, on my knees cradling the remnants of my Android phone. I also didn’t need my dog Jessie and most likely (although I didn’t care to notice at the time) a few neighbours starring at me puzzled.

One unique advantage of Android is the openness of the platform. While there is the regulated Android Market for downloading quality apps, this isn’t the only source (unlike the App Store on the iOS ecosystem). Though, true, the Android Market is also regulated and curated by Google and there is very little risk of users being ripped off by spurious apps.

We can download apps from third party sources or homebrew apps by way of sideloading. Sideloading lets you copy apps to the memory card and install them directly, bypassing the Android Market. Easy Installer is an app that helps you install apps from the SD card without any hassles. Follow me after the fold to take a look at the functionalities of the app. (more…)

Time-lapse cinematography has been available for a while for people that own a DSLR Camera, either as a feature on the camera or through an “interval timer”. This technique has been used to show some action that is imperceptible to the human eye: a flower blossoming, clouds moving in the sky, or fruit decaying.

I’ve really wanted to make a time-lapse video for a long time, but I didn’t have a DSLR. Fortunately, the Android Market contains various application for making a time-lapse: some create a *.mov video straight from the application itself, while others take a sequence of photos and store them on your SD Card so you can edit them together using third party software such as Windows Live Movie Maker or Adobe After Effects.

Today you’ll learn how to make a time-lapse video using your Android powered device, and I’ll give you some tips along the way.

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