Apps That Made My Week: SMSFlash, SwiftKey X, and More

Welcome to another edition of  “Apps That Made My Week”. Today I would like to introduce you to a novel way of reading SMS messages, a great way to look at the weather, an app that gives to charity whilst you run, and my favourite keyboard.

SMSFlash (Free)

This is an application I’ve grown really fond of recently. The stock SMS app shows the message in the notification bar and scrolls it, which is okay in theory, but if you’re a fast reader like myself it can seem to take an eternity to show the entire message. Pop-up notifications from applications like GoSMS are normally pretty useful, and they even let you respond or mark the message as a to-do.

The problem with pop-ups is that they seize focus from whatever you are doing. If you are playing a game it gets paused and sent out of focus; if you are watching a YouTube video you have to re-buffer it once you’ve dismissed the notification.

Wave your hand past the proximity sensor twice to open your SMS app.

SMSFlash is a great solution for me. It shows the entire message in a translucent panel at the bottom of my screen without interrupting what I am doing. If I want to send a reply, I just wave my hand over the proximity sensor twice and it sends me into my preferred SMS application – genius!

If you end up using it, don’t forget to turn off the pop-up notification in whichever SMS app you use.

Recast (Free)

Recast is a weather forecast app from the kind developers on the XDA forum. This easy-to-set-up and attractive widget sits well on any home screen and provides a five-day forecast.

Two of the several widgets that Recast has.

I prefer it to all other weather forecast apps, mostly due to it being a lightweight and easily configurable widget set, rather than a bulky application or obnoxious baby-applet attached to a clock. Recast is simple and therefore, I think, perfect.

Samsung Hope Relay (Free)

This one is exclusively for the GB readers I’m afraid. You’ve probably seen the ad on TV; since Samsung is a big Olympic name it’s made an app to fit the occasion. You create a sporty avatar with your face on it, then turn on your GPS and run! For every mile you are recorded running, £1 goes to a good cause. So you get fitter and at the same time help those in need – great stuff, right?

As you can clearly see, the prospect of exercise mortifies me.

If you and your friends are really into running you can form teams and work your way up a national leaderboard; similarly you can run for your home town and get that up the leaderboard too.

By running you can also opt to get your face on the Samsung Coach/Caravan that is passing through all the major UK towns. One section of the app tells you when the coach is coming to your town.

SwiftKey X (Free/$2.99)

Rediscovered this and thank goodness I did, I’ve fallen in love with it again! Not only is SwiftKey X one of the smartest and most accurately-predicting keyboards out there, it supports so many languages and keymaps. I am an advocate of the Dvorak keyboard layout myself, and this is the only keyboard app I’ve found that handles it.

Of course, there is a great QWERTY layout too!

There is a free trial version of Swiftkey X, and then an inexpensive full version. Check out our full review: SwiftKey X: Easily the Most Qualified Android Keyboard.

Final Thoughts

So those are the applications that I’ve enjoyed this week. Hopefully one or more of them will be of interest to you too.

Use SMSFlash if you are tired of SMS pop-ups interrupting your YouTube viewing. Give Recast a try if you want a clean-cut and attractive weather forecast app. If being sporty and charitable is your thing, run with Samsung Hope Relay. Finally, if you are looking for (in my view) the best typing experience, give Swiftkey X a go.

Check back next week for another Android.AppStorm author’s new favourite apps!