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New and fresh Android apps of the week (August 24 issue)

August 24, 2012

The work week ends today (for some of us, that is), and what better way to cap it off than to check out some of the new and fresh Android apps of the week.

There’s something nice about exposing oneself to fresh stuff at a time when nerves have grown tight and muscles are sore from all the mental and physical exertion at work or in school.  This post is all about that — freshness and newness.

In this August 24 roundup of the best new and fresh Android apps of the week, we’ll talk a bit about an app for

  • staying clear of vehicular accidents,
  • setting custom ringtones befitting a corporate workplace,
  • web browsing without hogging your device’s storage or resources too much,
  • listening to online music,
  • preventing others from snooping into your SMS messages,
  • measuring how fast you’re walking/running or how far you’ve walked/run,
  • one-tap switching of settings or phone profiles,
  • simple but esthetically pleasant music playback,
  • editing photos, making photo collages, and sharing them on Facebook,
  • quickly learning the Latina musical notation system counterparts of the English musical notation system,
  • playing videos on floating windows on the homescreen,
  • recording audio and voice conversations discreetly,
  • reading rage-face comic strips,
  • creating and casting votes in custom social polls, and
  • looking up information through an all-in-one (or so) reference.

Go ahead and check out these new and fresh Android apps of the week.  They’re all yours for the taking.

One of the causes of road accidents is using the phone while driving. It is always advised not to text or answer calls while driving. But, since we live in a very hectic environment, we are usually tempted to answer the phone or reply to our text messages. The DriveOFF app sees these driving hazards and promotes safety by killing all your notifications sounds while you are driving. It will also launch a background, blocking your view of your phone’s screen.

To use this app, all you need to do is launch it, select a background, and it will automatically activate when you start driving. The app utilizes your phone’s GPS. Once you have reached the speed of 10 mph, the app will kill all notification sounds on your phone. You will also get to choose a “boring background” when launching the app. Once you start driving, the app will display the background on your phone’s screen. You can also press the Stop button to disable the app and use your phone when you really need to.

DriveOFF can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store. The app’s interface is clean and I didn’t find any ads running on the background. The app also won’t require you to grant suspicious permissions.

One of the perks of having an Android phone is that it can be easily be customized. You can add your own third-party keyboards, install Android launchers, and customize your phone’s ringtones. If you’re looking for an app that lets you choose a phone ringtone suitable for a corporate environment, you can try the Office Ringtones Professional app on your Android phone. This app is like a ringtone hub that lets you choose a variety of ringtones and set them on your Android phone.

Launching the app will bring you to a list of ringtones and notification sounds. You can find techy beep sounds or the ringing sound of classic telephones. You can also find calming ringtones such as that of running water or the singing wind chimes that will calm your nerves while working in the office. You can listen to the tone by tapping the play button for each sound. Once you have made your choice, you can set the tone as your ringtone, alarm, or notification tone; you can also assign it to a specific contact directly from the app. You can also tap the heart to set a specific tone as a favorite and place it on the Favorites tab.

Office Ringtones Professional can be downloaded for free but displays ads at the bottom at the screen. The app also doesn’t require any suspicious permissions.

Simplicity is beautiful. If you have an eye for a simple, minimalist designed, easy-to-use, and friendly user interface, then you will most likely love the Lite.Browser app for your Android device. It is so light that the app is just only 187 kB. This app won’t surely clog up your Android device. If you don’t need the complicated options, swiping gestures, and all other gimmicks on your other browsers, then you should definitely try this browser.

The app is just like the default web browser, except that it doesn’t have an address bar on top. You might be wondering how you can surf the web without an address bar. Upon launching the app, the Google Search page will appear on the screen. This is the default home page on the browser. You can type the URL or the keywords on the Google Search bar. You can also use your phone’s back key to go back to the previous page or exit the browser. You can also find two virtual buttons below that allows you to zoom in and zoom out on a page.

The Lite.Browser app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store. During my testing, the browser worked well and did not encounter any bugs or force close errors. I also did not find any ads running in the background.

Set foot on the land full of musical notes and rhythm. Listen to your favorite songs online with Music Paradise Lite on your Android device. With this app, you don’t need to download and save music files on your Android device. You can listen to your favorite songs online with the app.

Since this app needs to access its song database, you will need an active Internet connection for you to use this app. The app is just like your default music player. But, instead of getting the songs from your device, it will be getting its songs online. All you have to do is to search for your favorite songs and listen to them on your Android device. You don’t need to download your music files and store them on your device. You can also create your favorite playlist in the app.

Aside from playing your favorite songs, the app also offers a wide variety of song categories under the Station tab. Choosing one will allow the app to automatically find the songs under the selected category.

The Music Paradise Lite can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store.

Your Android phones may contain confidential information that should be kept away from public eyes. You don’t want to let anyone read your personal messages inside your inbox. In order to keep your messages safe, you can replace your default messaging app with the New SMS Locker app.

This app is just like your default SMS app. You can receive, store, read, and compose your messages within the app. What make this app special is that it has a security feature that prohibits anyone from reading your messages. Before you can access your inbox, you will need to enter your pattern code.

The app also allows you to import your SMS messages from your default messaging app. All your messages will be safely stored and kept away from prying eyes. You can also use this app to catch who is messing with your phone. The app will take a picture of any intruder who enters an incorrect pattern code. Along with the intruder’s picture, the location where that incident happened will also be recorded.

The New SMS Locker app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store. The app comes with ads appearing below the screen, but they won’t hinder you from using the app.

Looking to get into shape? Sometimes it’s not just the body we’re dying to have that can motivate us to workout. Some people need numbers and a way to quantify their performance. Pedometers are really handy pushing you forward. runtastic Pedometer didn’t just catch our attention because it had a very neat interface and a rich purple and white theme. It’s also very user-friendly and gives you all the basics you need.

When you’re ready to exercise, tap Start Workout. You can see how many steps you take, how fast you’re going and how far you’re walking. Don’t worry about your screen because runtastic Pedometer isn’t easily disturbed or turned off. When you unlock your phone, you’ll need to touch the lock button to unlock the Pause and Stop button. If you’re done with your workout, you can save details of your walk such as the type of surface you were on, how you felt about it, the weather, and the temperature. You can also add notes before you upload it to runtastic’s website. Get your friends motivated to walk with you by sharing your data with Facebook and other social media sites.

There are ads located at the bottom of the screen, but they don’t get in the way of your navigating the app. The free version has some of the basic functions, but you’ll need to upgrade to pro to access things like how many calories you’ve burned, your step frequency, the removal of ads, today’s weather, unlimited sessions, and additional parameters.

As mobile devices have become more sophisticated, the more settings there are for us to tweak. Way back when screens were just black and white, things were much simpler. Now, we need to keep an eye on our volume levels if we’re in a quiet environment or brightness levels when we’re checking e-mails in a dark room. Quick Setting Manager – Lite makes it easy for us to switch settings without having to fiddle with them. You can easily switch settings via a widget on your desktop.

The first thing you’ll notice about the app is that it’s neat with a blue and white theme.  Everything you’ll ever need is right on the screen. It’s not difficult to figure out the app’s functions at all. You get one Settings profile when you launch the app and you have the option to create two more.

Tweak each profile’s settings to toggle your Wi-Fi and your Mobile Data and adjust your Brightness levels to match the environment you’ll be in. You don’t have to worry about disturbing people because you can set if you want your phone muted, to vibrate, to only make a sound, or to make a sound and vibrate. You can also set individual volume levels and toggle the Bluetooth the GPS receiver.

Unfortunately, if you need even more settings, you’ll have to buy the professional version. The app is ad supported but the ads are located at the bottom of the screen. They shouldn’t get in the way of your browsing the app.

There are literally tons of music players on the Google Play Store and you’ve probably had to sift through them to find the one that you’ve got right now. Some of you may want a music player with a lot of functions while others prefer music players that are basic and does what they say on the tin. XenoAmp BETA not only does what it was made to do but is also aesthetically pleasing.

Both runtastic Pedometer and Quick Setting Manager had gorgeous user interfaces but what about XenoAmp BETA? The moment you first launch the app, you’ll immediately see that it’s the minimalist’s dream. Touch the screen where it says “here” and you’ll see a blue ring light up around it. Snazzy, isn’t it? If you don’t hold down on the screen, the blue ring will gradually fade to black. You’ll need to swipe around the screen to navigate the app. To adjust the volume, drag your fingertip clockwise or counterclockwise and see the red gauge increase.

Pick a song and you’ll see the artist’s name and the song title marqueeing across the screen. If you want to tweak XenoAmp BETA’s settings, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. Instead of all the boring settings names, you’ll have hilarious titles like “Shhh…when it comes out” which you can tick for the song to pause when your headphones are removed, “Take this power!’ to prevent it from going asleep on WPS and “Judging is..” to rate your music. There’s still a whole lot more to play with, such as “Your default cover sucks” and “I feel lost and lonely.” To figure what those are about, download this music player yourself.

If you’ve been on Facebook for a while, Muzy should not be a new name to you. It’s a way to edit your photos and put them together in a gorgeous photo collage. There’s no need for you to bust out your glue and your scissors when you can do everything with Muzy. Its official app was recently launched on the Google Play Store, giving people more access to its array of editing options.

To start using Muzy, you can make an account or you can log in using your Facebook account. Once you’ve logged in, you can access the Photo Editor and the Camera. To be able to access PicCollage, PhotoGid, Pixlr, and a number of other photo editing apps, you’ll need to download them separately to your device.

The Photo Editor gives you access to the run-of-the-mill filters and editing options so you can adjust the colors, the brightness, the warmth, and a whole lot more. If you want to stretch your creative wings, you can also draw on your photos. What makes editing with Muzy rather cool is the fact that when you’re adjusting for, say, Warmth on a photo, a dial will appear on the bottom for fine adjustment. As you turn the dial, you receive haptic feedback as if you’re turning a physical one.

When your masterpiece is ready, you can upload it to Muzy’s website and to Facebook. You can also use Muzy to browse pictures you and other users have uploaded.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we gave you a list of the best Android apps for learning music but if you’re still learning notes, we’ve got another app that’ll help you out. If you’ve taken some time to build your background on music theory and note reading then you’re quite familiar with the English musical notation system. You know your C’s from your D’s and your E’s, but the world of music isn’t limited to just that notation system. The Latina musical notation might be foreign to you, but if you need to learn it quickly, CDo is the best app for that.

CDo is absolutely a no-frills app. The moment you launch it, you’ll be presented with a clean cream and blue interface. On top you’ll see your performance percentage, how many items you’ve answered, and how fast you can respond to the note being shown on the screen.

You’ll need to match the note with its English or Latina counterpart. CDo will let you know if you got it right or not. Rather than letting you know the correct answer, CDo will move on to the next one. There’s no end to the number of note items you need to answer because CDo is focused on your figuring out the right answer yourself. CDo lets you choose if you want to match the English notation to the Latina one and vice-versa.

CDo is ad-supported but thankfully, the ads are located only at the bottom of the screen and are unobtrusive. Even picking an answer near the ads did not result in my accidentally tapping them.

Here’s an unconventional way of watching your videos on your Android device. Instead of launching your stock video player or any other player for that matter, why don’t you try using Popcorn Player (float pop-up)?

This video player app, when launched, plays a video in the form of a floating pop-up window. You can choose to have the app on your home screen so when you want to watch a video, the app can play it without even leaving the home screen. Once you launch the app, it will let you choose whether you want to play a video from the Internet through providing the video’s URL or play a video locally from your internal or external SD card.

What’s great about this video player app is that you can easily resize the screen to fit your viewing preference. Just pinch and spread the screen to have it as big or as small as you want. While you are resizing the screen, the video still plays in real-time; no lagging or skipping.

Popcorn Player (float pop-up) is a faster way to view video files in your Android device. The app also allows you to launch two pop-up video players that can play two different videos simultaneously. This app can be downloaded for free so get it today and start watching your videos in a rather different way.

If you are currently trying to expose somebody or trying to find out the truth about an issue, this app may be able to help you gather valuable information that you can’t just obtain through normal questioning.

Secret Audio Recording Free, from the name itself, records voices and audio discreetly. The app doesn’t even have a user interface or settings to configure, adding up to its secrecy. Launching this app is also almost so hidden that you don’t have to worry about being found out that you were recording something.

You can place the app on your homescreen so you can readily launch it when needed. A small, not too noticeable notification that the recording is starting will be shown below the screen, as well as when you tap the app again to stop the recording. You can lock your device’s homescreen and the recorder will still continue to record.

Secret Audio Recorder’s recorded audio quality is actually pretty good. The audio is clear, not much noise or hissing. The app takes up a rather small space on your device; the recorded audio files don’t take up much storage, too. You would know where your recording is saved after you tap on the app to stop the recording and a small notification box will inform you of the file directory.

Rage faces are just everywhere. They are very entertaining and fun to look at especially when you have so much stress building up. If you are a fan of these rage faces and you’ve downloaded apps that have them, add Rage Comic Reader to your collection.

Rage Comic Reader is an app that lets you read amusing comics starring no other than the various faces you see on 9GAG. Fans will surely love this app because they can read comics right then and there, with the use of their Android devices, of course.

This app requires an Internet connection so that it can provide you the top, new, and hot rage comics the rest of the world is reading. The app is fairly easy to navigate around. You have the option to zoom in to the comic you are reading if you are having a hard time seeing the text and photos.

Rage Comic Reader is the perfect app for you to at least have a bit of fun and entertainment after a long day at work or school. You can even start reading instantaneously, just as long as you have an Internet connection. The app is ad-supported but the ads do not obstruct you from reading the comics.

Want to know what people think about a certain issue? Votter: The Social Voting App does that job well. From the app’s name, you can more or less get what this app does. Yes, it allows you to vote on polls made by other people. But, that doesn’t stop there.

Votter: The Social Voting App also allows you to create your own poll and have other people participate. Know what they think about the coming elections or what they think is the best movie of the year by making your own poll together with the choices they can vote on. This app may actually be of great use if you are conducting a school project that entails the use of surveying, provided that your respondents can be chosen randomly.

The app presents the existing polls made by other users according to categories. You’ll also be able to see the trending and most recent polls that other users are participating in.

This app has an option where you can send a complaint about a certain poll. If you think that a particular poll is offensive or the choices are too biased, you can send a “blotter” so that the author of the poll will be notified of his poll’s content.

Votter: The Social Voting App is for free. Have this app installed in your Android device and share your opinions on various topics with other people.

If you are the type who dislikes lugging around clunky and bulky reference books, or if you have not yet checked out any of the best general reference apps for Android, it’s high time that you use your Android device and this awesome app.

Reference Resource FREE is an app that has all the necessary resources you’ll ever need for your projects, write-ups, school assignments, and a lot more. If you need to find the definition of a certain term, just launch this app and use its dictionary. If you need to find a word’s synonym, use the app’s thesaurus. And, if you need to know a certain thing’s history, you can use the app’s encyclopedia.

You can do away with launching several apps just to get information about a certain topic. With this app, you can cut off the time you spend in accomplishing tasks that use the dictionary or encyclopedia.

Another plus this app has is its Daily Dose feature where a featured word, quote, and article of the day are available. You get to learn a new word, read an interesting article, and get inspiration from quotes each and every day. You can also share these little pieces of knowledge to your friends via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social means.

Reference Resource FREE is, of course, a free app you can download from the Google Play Store. This can potentially be an app to help you bid goodbye to the other reference apps you have in your Android device. Why install a lot when you will just need this one app? Reference Resource FREE has it all.

Did you enjoy the new and fresh Android apps of the week?  Did you discover a new app this week that we missed including on the list?  Let us know in the comments section, or take part in our poll below.

(with contributions from Alvin Ybañez, Dan Evans, and Elmer Montejo; banner photo uses Flickr image “Morning Dew” by F_A_F)

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