New and fresh Android apps of the week (September 14 issue)

September 14, 2012
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    Fabrik (cloud ebook reader)

    There’s one reason why a lot of people still prefer reading physical books rather than electronic copies. It’s because book pages are textured, not the stark white background on a lot of e-readers. Sometimes the higher contrast of dark text on a sharp white screen isn’t the most conducive way to read hundreds of pages of a book.

    There are already dozens, if not hundreds, of e-book readers on the Google Play Store but Fabrik (cloud ebook reader) is a little different from the competition. The first thing you’ll notice when you launch the app is that its pages aren’t stark white but a textured off white, just like the look and feel of the app’s namesake. It also asks for permission to access your Dropbox account so you can access those e-books you’ve been meaning to read in your Dropbox using Fabrik.

    Under the book titles in your library, you can see your reading progress in percentages. When you’re reading a book, tap the middle of the screen and you can bring up the options to increase and decrease the font size. You can also toggle the screen layout by tapping the sun icon. If you’re reading at night, this switches over to an inverse layout with a dark grey background and off white text.

    If you don’t want to swipe across the screen to move to the next page or to go back a page, you can use your phone’s Volume buttons. This means you don’t need to be interrupted by your finger entering your line of sight.


    Notepad Simple

    There’s nothing quite like a simple notepad to get ideas flowing. Though there are more powerful word processors available for computers and there are gorgeous notebooks available in stores, I still prefer the simplicity of the notepad. It’s simple, there’s nothing much about it, and you can do whatever you want with it.

    The same goes for a simple notebook but since I can’t always bring my computer or my notebook with me, my next best option is taking notes on my Android device. I still want to enjoy the simplicity of noting things down and Notepad Simple answers my need.

    Notepad Simple is an app for those of you who want a no-frills note-taking experience. You can do anything with the notes. You can list your grocery list, things you want to do on the weekend, movies you want to marathon the next time your friends come over. It’s really up to you. All that Notepad Simple does when you launch the app is tell you how you can edit notes.

    The app’s home screen shows you all the titles of your notes and the first two lines of each note. If you want to view the full note, tap on it. You can also scroll left and right to see the other notes. Assign a different color to each note header. Maybe assign blue to your leisure items and yellow for your urgent tasks. Notepad Simple lets you use it however you want.

    Just like it says, Notepad Simple is indeed simple and doesn’t have a lot of fancy formatting options. It does, however, make note-taking easy especially when you’re on the go. Don’t worry about constantly saving because after every item you enter into your list, Notepad Simple will save it for you.


    Socially YOU

    Let’s face it. Some of us aren’t fond of the official Facebook app for mobile devices. I don’t find it particularly neat and some of the text is just a bit too tiny for my tastes. Thankfully, there are alternatives on the Google Play Store. One of the newest ones is called Socially YOU, an app that promises to give you a unique way of interacting with your family, friends, and co-workers on Facebook.

    When you launch it, instead of being thrown right into your Newsfeed, you’re shown the app’s different buttons. Profile, Newsfeed, Friends, Albums, Messages and more are arranged for you on the screen so you can just tap on the part of Facebook you want to access. No more floundering around menus because everything is just a tap away. If you just want to check your Profile, tap the button and you’ll have the choice of viewing your Wall Posts, Friends, Checkins or Albums.

    My testing revealed that everything except Events was in working order. Whenever I tried to access it, the app force closed. The developer Dzines Unlimited has stated that the app is still in its beta phase so here’s to hoping that future updates will be more stable. Users can look forward to Twitter integration in the future, as well.

    Socially YOU is ad-supported and the ads are located at the bottom of the screen. During my testing, the ads were more or less the same color as the grey background and easily blended in. It’s out of the way so you don’t have to worry about accidentally pressing it.


    Shop! Shoppinglist

    When you have a growing family, the number of things you need to pick up at the grocery also increases. Your short shopping list is suddenly a lot longer and if you’re not careful, you might end up forgetting something vital. We’ve already presented Notepad Simple as a possible way for you to keep track of what you buy, but here’s an alternative.

    With Shop! Shoppinglist, you can build your shopping list without having to type anything. Instead of manually typing in the items you need to buy, Shoppinglist has a whole selection of items for you to choose from. Go through its extensive list and select anything and everything you need to get during your next visit to the grocery. Shoppinglist’s items are categorized, such as Beverages, Bread and siege, Fruits, and more, so you can easily find and add things to your shopping list.

    You can see all your selected items on your shopping list with a green checkmark next to each of them. When you’ve picked up the item you need or when you’ve purchased it, simply tap on the green checkmark to remove the item from your list. If you’re not a fan of white text on black, you can invert the colors via the Settings menu.

    The app is ad-supported and the ads appear at the bottom of the screen. If you want to do away with those pesky apps, you can purchase Shop! Pro Shoppinglist for a small fee.


    Shopping Queen: Discount Calc

    Say the word “sale” at the mall and people will come swarming. Such is the power of the discount. Who can blame them? Sales mean discounts and discounts mean that you can save more money. Unfortunately, when we’re in the spirit of shopping, we might take the enticing percentage sign for granted and find an unpleasant surprise waiting for us when the cashier has punched in all our purchases.

    Don’t hurt your wallet but don’t hold yourself back either. Instead, pace yourself with Shopping Queen: Discount Calc. This app has a very attractive app with a warm interface of browns and oranges.

    Start by typing in the item’s initial price in the Before box and then choose if the Discount is either an amount of money or a percentage. Voila! The discounted amount will show up in the After box.

    Once you’ve come up with your calculation, you can add the discount breakdown to your list of discounts and specify what item that is. That way, you can better monitor your spending.

    It’s free to download and it’s ad-free so nothing will distract you from your shopping. Next time the mall announces a sale, don’t let yourself overspend. Keep yourself in check and enjoy discounts with the Shopping Queen: Discount Calc.


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    Comments

    • Luke D

      These apps are rather useful – the Socially YOU app is excellent even for a Beta/Early version. So much quicker not to mention better UI than the official Facebook app.

      Notepad Simple pretty much says it all rather handy & my other favourite Fabrik an alternative to Aldiko for top E-Book reader.

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