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Best Android Apps – 5 Useful Apps for Android-Based Smartphones

As an Operating System for smartphones, Android is a tough competitor for Blackberry and i-phone based mobile devices. This Google-owned mobile platform is used by renowned phone manufacturers such Samsung, Dell, Sony Ericsson, and Motorola for their smartphones. The Android had 25% share of US smartphone market in mid 2010. The percentage increases since then and it is reported in May 2010 that about 400,000 new Android-based smartphones are activated each day.

To support the ever-growing Android market, Google and other mobile software manufacturers have developed a vast collection of paid and free Android apps. To install these apps, you can directly download them via your phone. Once the download finishes, the apps will be automatically installed in your phone. Alternatively, if you want to minimize data charges, you can download them from your PC or laptop and later install them to your Android phone with the help of software like Astro Download Manager. Below are some of the best android apps you can get for your smartphones:

1. Google Docs

This is one of several excellent apps for Android mobile phones because it enables you to manage and store your documents easily. Google Docs allows you to synchronize your phone with documents you have in your Google account. Therefore you can freely access and edit your documents from your smartphone.

2. ezPDF Reader

Although this is not the official PDF Reader (the official one would be from Adobe), this app is worth downloading and using. While the feature from this app is basically the same as the Adobe PDF Reader app, ezPDF Reader is probably better for beginner user since it is more user-friendly.

3. Astro File Manager

Besides helping you to install apps easily on your Android phones, Astro File Manager has more useful features. This file manager also functions as task manager and file customizer. The Astro File Manager can also extract or create Zip and Rar files and attach them to your e-mails. If you are afraid of losing the precious data in your device, you can use this application as file backup creator which backs up the apps and data from your phone to its memory card. With the Astro File Manager, you can also check the performance of your Android OS.

4. Gmote 2.0

This is by far the coolest Android application. The Gmote 2.0 comes without the bugs from the 1.0 version. With this software, you can change your smartphone into a remote control and use it for your computer. Gmote 2.0 enables you to control your computer when playing medias such as music and movies. Besides functioning as a remote control, this app can also help you in presenting PowerPoint presentations and slide shows. Another plus side of this improved version of Gmote is that this app can turn your phone into a WiFi touch pad.

5. Google Voice

This app is ideal for business purposes. Google Voice will notify you when a message appears. It also transcripts messages from the voicemails you have received. This Android app is highly recommended for busy entrepreneurs and business people.

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LG G3 Smartphone – Design, Connectivity and Camera Review

The G3 is an Android based smartphone from South Korean electronics company LG. It is the follow-up to one of the best received handsets of last year, the LG G2.

Design

The G3 is just 8.9mm thick (the G2 was 9.1mm), although due to its 146mm x 75mm plan size it is still one of the largest phones around, with the majority of this bulk accounted for by its massive 5.5 inch screen. Where the manufacturer has done an excellent job is in keeping the surround to the screen as small as possible. The smartphone isn’t a great deal bigger than its rivals. It is slightly wider than the Sony Xperia Z2 (5.2 inch screen) and HTC One M8 (5 inch screen) but surprisingly isn’t as tall as either of them, all thanks to those tiny bezels (and the lack of front mounted speakers, which we deal with in a later review).

Although the 5.5in screen provides a fantastically large area to interact with, it is reaching the size limit at which users can comfortably reach the entire screen during one-handed use, with the top third of the display being particularly difficult to reach, even with a reasonably large sized hand. Despite this issue LG has thought about the problem and installed software features to help out. We take a detailed look at the software in a later review.

The handset weights a competitive 149g, gaining just 6g over its predecessor.

A welcome design change is the introduction of a brushed metal frame around the perimeter which separates the front and back of the handset. The rear cover is again removable and is now a metallic skinned plastic with a scratch-resistant brushed finish. It doesn’t feel as premium as the HTC M8 or Xperia Z2 but is a step up from the Galaxy S5 whilst still managing to retain access to the battery. All in the G3 strikes a good middle ground amongst its three smartphone deal rivals.

As first seen on the G2, LG has stuck with placing the physical buttons on the back of the handset, next to the camera lens. While this seems an odd location at first, it’s actually comfortable to use and soon makes a lot of sense as well as giving the benefit of no awkward side or top buttons that can be accidentally pressed.

It should be noted the unlike the Xperia Z2 and Samsung G5, the G3 is not water or dust proof. LG says it didn’t want to add size or weight in order to gain this feature. Whether the absence of an IP (Ingress Protection) rating on this smartphone is a deal breaker, only the end user can decide.

Connectivity

Connectivity on the G3 is strong with 4G LTE-Advanced, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC and Infrared. The phone is bundled with a nice IR app that allows control of home entertainment systems.

Unfortunately the LG sticks with USB 2 because, according to the manufacturer, the standard USB 3 port is bigger and makes the production of a slim smartphone a great deal more difficult. In should be noted that the Galaxy S5 has a USB 3 port.

LG G3 Camera

The camera technology in smartphones has increased a great deal in the last three years or so and this handset is no exception. The resolution of the main camera is 13 mega-pixels (as per the G2) albeit with a number of improvements such as a dual-LED flash, 4K resolution video recording and a new feature for smartphones, laser auto focus. This feature shoots a cone shaped beam to focus in just 276ms. In tests it works really well and certainly feels at least as fast as the Galaxy S5’s claimed 0.3s Autofocus speed.

The G3 also includes optical image-stabilisation to help keep pictures blur-free whilst a feature called ‘touch and shoot’ removes unnecessary buttons so as to free up the screen so show the actual shot being taken. The camera can be quick launched by holding the volume down button, a useful shortcut.

Having the ability to re-focus pictures post shot is something that is becoming a popular feature on a top tier smartphone. Whilst HTC has the most technically advanced solution in its Duo Camera technology, the LG G3 uses something called ‘magic focus’. Here you need to get close up to an object and then take a series of shots. Following this you can then tap anywhere or use a slider to select where you want the focus to be before saving the photo. It works reasonably well but it does require a bit more effort than rival systems. We feel that its something of a novelty due to the number of shots required and is probably one of those features, on the LG at least, that will seldom be used in practice.

The front camera (now called a ‘selfie camera’ by LG) is a 2 mega-pixel unit that can shoot video in Full HD. Some enhancements have been made to the specification of the camera to enable better low-light shots. The size of the image sensor has been increased and the lens’s f-stop has been lowered to f2.0 which allows more light to get into the sensor and therefore achieve better photos in low light conditions. It also comes with gesture control so you can lift your hand in front of the phone and make it into a fist to start a three second countdown prior to the photo being taken. Voice commands can also be used to activate the cameras.

Does a Smartphone Beat a Laptop?

Smartphones are the latest must-haves for many people. Stationary work environments are a thing of the past as people are on the move and need to be able to take their work, family and friends with them. A smartphone is a new wave in cell phone technology that includes personal digital assistant capabilities too. They allow instant Internet access and have advanced features that are like a laptop.

Common Smartphone Features

* Cell phone

* E-mail access

* Organizer

* Touch-screen with high-resolution

* Camera

* Global positioning system

* Calendar

* Contact database

* Ability to read PDF files

* Music player

* Image viewer

* Video player

* Internet access

Computer Access from Cell Phones

The days of lugging around a large, weighted cell phone are gone. Today’s cell phones are slim, sleek and functional. Smartphones take that a step further and incorporate data management and computer use with cell phone technology. The idea has been well received and people are using smartphones for business and personal use.

The iphone is Apple’s latest and highly popular version of the smartphone. Other brands include Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian, HTC Excalibur and Palm. These smartphones run on operating system (OS) software that allows them to share information from a computer or other interfaces. Such operating systems make it possible for users to access their computer files, graphics, history, memory, stage and more from their cell phones.

Common Operating Systems for Smartphones

1. Linux is one of the oldest operating systems in use and it is completely free. This system was created by a hobbyist and wasn’t taken seriously for many years, but it is still around and considered one of the best shareware programs.

2. Mac OSX is Apple’s version of a graphic operating system. It is a high-functioning program that turns a regular cell phone into a high-tech smartphone.

3. Solaris is Microsystem’s platform supported by Dell, HP and IBM. It is a trusted name in computers and smartphones. It works on a variety of interfaces to meet the growing demand for mobile PC usage.

4. Palm OS is based on the PDAs that hit the market in 1996. It is exceptional at keeping information organized and makes file management and storage a breeze. It is easy to use, has high graphic resolution, and uses a touch- screen model.

5. Microsoft Windows is probably the most recognized of the OS software programs. It makes Internet use on-the-go a reality.

Will Smartphones Replace Laptops or Home Computers?

Smartphones are high-end technical gadgets that are convenient because they combine cell phone features with organization and Internet access. New versions with improved features and greater capacity continue to emerge. Smartphones probably won’t replace laptops or home computers, though. As intelligent and sophisticated as smartphones are, they are not practical for long-term use. Smartphones are great supplemental tools for business, home office and entertainment purposes. But try spending eight hours in front of a tiny screen, reading, texting, copying or any other tasks you would normally do on your computer. It would not be a pleasant experience.

The Future of Smartphones

The future of smartphones is promising. We can look forward to increased battery power, larger memory capacity, the ability to watch TV and movies on the phone and the ability to be connected anytime, anywhere. Aside from better functionality, smartphones will be available in a variety of versions to appeal to a wider audience. As the competition for smartphones increases, the prices are dropping and they are becoming more accessible to everyone.