IM: instant messaging. Almost everyone on the globe is using it. Since the invention of the Internet and e-mail, people have stopped exchanging letters and started to exchange e-mails. As instant that was, we wanted something more instant. Enter instant messaging. And now, with every device connected to the Internet, people want to take their IM clients everywhere.

What do you use to stay constantly connected to your IM accounts? I’ve been using imo instant messenger for a while now and I’d like to share my thoughts about it. It’s one of the best IM clients for Android I’ve tested so far, with a clean user interface and multiprotocol support and — what I like the most — it’s free and ad-free!


Who’d have thought, ten years ago, that today we would be navigating our way round cities, listening to music, and catching up on last night’s TV and the latest news — all through our phones? Unfortunately all these jazzy new features have their price: your phone’s battery life. My old Nokia 3310 would keep merrily chugging along for a whole week on a single night’s charge, but my Desire HD needs charging at least once a day, and if I’m out of reach of a plug for a long time, my phone dies and I sever my link with the outside world.

Luckily, there is a (partial) solution for this: JuiceDefender. This program helps preserve and extend your Android phone’s battery life by selectively turning off certain functions, such as mobile Internet (which hogs power more than anything) and WiFi, meaning you can use your phone for much longer periods between charges.

This is certainly a welcome application for all smartphone users. Let’s take a closer look at the application and its features and see what it can do for your phone’s battery life.


Do you often see your phone declare that you are under the sacred 15% of battery life? I see it too often for my liking and it annoys me no end. I use my phone for everything, but mostly for the Internet. I am constantly hammering the network with Twitter, GMail, G+, Google Calendar and so on. As you would expect, the battery doesn’t last long. But why not? My phone was advertised as a social-networking and web-based phone, so why doesn’t it live past a day?


I was pretty excited, as I am for most products from our favorite Mountain View company, about Google+. While they were less than successful with Orkut, Wave, and Buzz, they promised Google+ would be better, different — and they weren’t lying. After using Google+ for a few days, I can honestly say it’s becoming my favorite social network. One of the reasons for this is a rock-solid Android app, which makes using Google+ on the go an incredibly enjoyable experience.

If you want to get a comprehensive walk-through of the Google+ service itself, read The AppStorm Guide to Google+ over at Web.AppStorm.


A few days ago Google introduced a slew of products that fall under its social umbrella, the Google+ project: a social networking hub, group video chat, group messaging and news discovery platform. The has since been a lot of Buzz (sorry, it was inevitable) concerning Google’s entrance into the social networking scene, what they mean for prime competitors such as Facebook, Twitter, and Skype, and how these efforts will evolve in the coming months… but how about what Google+ means for Android?


Google has made almost every attempt possible to become the company that you use every day to check your emails, spend time on your phone, read ebooks and even edit your documents. Google Docs, the online document editor, has been available in mobile form for some time now as a web app, and many users had their hopes dashed when the Google Docs app turned out to be little more that a ‘cover’ that redirects you to the mobile web app.

I must admit that it was not until recently that I really starting using Google Docs, having always preferred Microsoft Office for its functionality and design; however, when your documents need to be viewed by multiple people or you want to continue editing them from separate places, Google Docs can be your best friend with the new mobile app. While this free application is nothing revolutionary it shows that Google is trying to allow the user to have the best experience when using their applications.


We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in June. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, iPad, Web, or Android apps, there’s bound to be something you didn’t spot over the course of the month. Now would be a good time to explore a part of the AppStorm Network you’ve never seen before!

Thanks for reading AppStorm, and I hope you enjoy looking over some of our favourite posts from last month!


I’ve been using touch-screen phones for about four years now, since I got a Sony Ericsson W950i. That was a hybrid: touch screen (with stylus), and keypag (numbers, not QWERTY). After I switched to an HTC Desire, I didn’t miss the physical keyboard at all — in fact, I greatly prefer the larger screen. I do miss the stylus, but that’s a topic for another day.

Connor Turnbull gave his opinion on the issue earlier this week, in his article, Why Are We Still Using Hardware Keyboards?. Readers made great points in the comments: hardware keyboards either take up screen space or make the phone thicker; software keyboards don’t have potential hardware issues; hardware keyboards can be faster to type on.

Personally, I don’t feel that I type as fast with a software keyboard as I could with a hardware keyboard, but I do feel the typing is more natural. Gingerbread’s keyboard has great auto-correction, so I barely have to worry about typos, and Swype is fun to use (and impressive to anyone who watches over my shoulder as I text). There’s not enough value in a built-in hardware keyboard to be worth the trade-off.

Gabriel, who commented on Connor’s post, suggests that phones could be built to allow a Bluetooth keyboard to be attached, thus letting you have a slim phone with a big screen that can optionally transform to a thicker phone with a big screen and a hardware keyboard. I love this idea!

But that’s just a fantasy for now. I’d like to know what you’re using today, and whether you’re happy with it. Vote in the poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

There is a huge range of custom launchers on the Android Market, many of which we’ve covered here. SPB Shell 3D is different. It certainly looks the part and boasts some pretty impressive graphics and features, however most people will wince when they see the price: it’s $14.95.

Is it really worth it? Can it beat popular launchers such as ADW Launcher? Let’s have a look to see what $15 buys you.


Are you bored of the lock screen which comes built in to your Android phone yet? The most common is the slide down screen. You have the option to change the lock screen background, but if you want to change the unlock pattern then you will need an app to do that for you. There are various such apps available in the Android Market; these are my favourites.

If customisation is your thing, check out 40+ Tips and Tricks to Get the Most Out of Android, 60 More Gorgeous Wallpapers for Your Android, and 10 Tasker Alternatives to Automate Your Android!


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