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.

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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!

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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.

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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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Google’s Chrome OS has been in public circulation for over six months in the form of Chromium, and is now available bundled with hardware as “Chromebooks” from Samsung and Acer have hit the market. The single function computing platform has caused quite a stir concerning its lackluster power and prowess when compared to the likes of machines running Windows, Apple’s OS X or even iOS and Android devices.

So, how is Google splitting their focus between two separate operating systems?

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We’ve reached a time wherein the wonder and amazement of the Internet is no longer a buffer for underlying privacy concerns. In fact, now is as good a time as ever to worry about the safety of your data, especially following such scandals as the Android/iOS tracking story, and, of course, the Sony hacks.

Most of the scandals popularised in the media stem from illegitimate causes such as a series of hacks. However, you could be exposing valuable data yourself just by using apps that you optionally, and intentionally, downloaded and installed. (more…)

Apps for taking notes are a dime a dozen on every app marketplace. The Android Market also has its fare share, from heavyweights like Evernote and Springpad, to the super-light Epistle and Mobisle Notes. As an app developer, then, what do you do to keep yourself and your app relevant against such tough competition?

One way – if you believe the developers of Extensive Notes – is to cram your app with every feature, function, and add-on that one can think of. Let’s take an in-depth look at what makes this mind-numbingly full-featured app unique.
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I’m always looking for a good way to save money; usually it’s on the web, with one of the of many web apps and sites I use to find deals. However, within the last couple of years, location-based mobile apps have become all the rage. Luckily for us, a lot of these apps are geared towards getting us to visit businesses when we are near them, and the best way to do that is to offer discounts or other deals!  Below are nine apps that can help you get the best discounts, in your area and beyond.

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One of the more common complaints about Android is its lack of aesthetic appeal or polish, especially compared to that of iOS and even (or perhaps, especially) Windows Phone 7. While Android isn’t by any means ugly, it almost certainly seems to lack that special something its competitors have. In all likeliness, a quick glance at your phone will reveal a random array of icons, widgets, and folders scattered among your home screens in no particular order.

However, thanks to the flexibility of the Android platform, this doesn’t have to be the case. By employing the right launcher and widgets, you’ll find yourself with a layout that’s not only attractive, but more importantly, functional in all the ways your home screen is now. Sound interesting? Let’s get started.

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