Android

All posts tagged Android

Apart from Meeting Minutes Pro, here are some other Android Apps that I find useful and use frequently. Please note that I am in no way affiliated to any of these apps directly or indirectly.

SwiftKey 3 Tablet Keyboard: A very useful keyboard app that can make typing on the tablet easy.. And I mean really easy.. It learns from you as you type and improves itself as you use it. It is priced at $3.99 and is definitely well worth the price.

KingSoft Office: A very powerful and real office suite for Android that is completely FREE.

Tasker: A very powerful automation app to automate pretty much anything that you can think about. It lets you configure triggers, actions, tasks and looks like it even allows you to create your own apps (I have not tried this yet). Though priced relatively high at $6.49, it is a great app that you will not regret purchasing.

MDScan: If you ever wanted to scan bills, receipts, documents etc with your phone on the go when you don’t have a scanner within reach then MDScan is just made for you. It has some cool features like auto edge detection, perspective correction and multiple options to enhance the scanned image. It is priced slightly higher at $4.99.

Smart Voice Recorder: This is a good voice recorder that can automatically skip relative silence. Best of all, it is FREE.

Nexus Media Importer: Google did everything with the Nexus devices but left the ability of an external storage (micro SD slot) option much desired. That is where Nexus Media Importer comes in. It allows you to connect USB storage devices to your Nexus device without needing a root. Priced at $2.99, it works as a stop gap solution to the lack of micro SD slot on Nexus devices.

File Manager HD: An excellent free (ad supported) file manager app for Android. The UI is great and has rich features that makes it an everyday necessity.

A new release (2.2) for Meeting Minutes Pro has been released today. It should be available on Google Play in the next 2-3 hours and will be available on BlackBerry AppWorld and Amazon AppStore in the next 1-2 days.

This release adds the following features to the app:

  • Functionality to Record Attendance of meeting participants
  • Sort Functionality for Meetings, Contacts and Action Items
  • Option to add Date & Time to the footer of exported Meetinng Agenda/Minutes
  • Functionality to preview exported files before sending the email
  • Option to generate PDF output in portrait mode in addition to landscape

Courtesy AppSurfer, you can now get a sneak peek preview of Meeting Minutes Pro from your browser on ANY device. Sounds interesting? Go here, take a look and let me know what you think about the app…

Note: AppSurfer shows the preview on a phone-like simulator. Meeting Minutes Pro, though now has a fully optimized UI for mobile phones, works and feels a lot better on Tablets.

Google launched the Nexus 4 smartphone, Nexus 7 HSPA+ 7″ tablet and the Nexus 10 10″ tablet earlier this week with the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS. Needless to say all the 3 new products were sold out like hot cakes within a few hours of launch. Subsequently, Google started rolling out the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OTA update to the Nexus family of devices. My Nexus 7 got the update yesterday and my Galaxy Nexus phone got the update today. Here is a quick and simple peek into what has changed with Jelly Bean 4.2 and what I feel about the update…

Multi-User Support: This is something that I haven’t seen till now in mobile devices. Right now, it is available only on tablets and lets you create multiple user accounts with a separate home screen, apps etc. So you and your partner/friend can share a tablet and still keep the data separate.

Photo Sphere Camera: This is the BEST features of this update. Using this you can very easily capture a panoramic shot covering 360 degrees. Now you don’t need an SLR camera or take a shot from a long distance to cover all the 100 people that attended your birthday party in a single picture. I will try to post some pictures taken using the feature soon..

Gesture (swipe) Typing: This feature looks very cool but am not sure about its usability. I was able to type much faster using the traditional method on my tablet than with gesture typing. It is better suited for phones than tablets. Also, it might be useful for those that cannot use their both hands to type.

Performance: The previous version of Jelly Bean itself was pretty slick. This version has just raised the bar. The devices have become even slicker with the update that can be very easily noticed.

Lock Screen Widgets: You can create multiple lock screen widgets to display useful information while the screen is locked. Photos, Email, News etc can be placed here. The email lock screen widget shows you a preview of the message that helps you determine whether or not to unlock to device to read it.

Mini Settings from Notification bar: The most commonly used settings can be simply reached from the notification bar instead of needing to go to the Settings app. This is a useful feature update.

Miscellaneous: There is a new clock app, improved and optimized UI around the OS, clear demarcation of the permissions required while downloading new apps/updates from Google Play etc.

Note: This post is just my experience of playing around with the Jelly Bean 4.2 update for a few hours. There could be a lot more features that I have not tired yet.  For more information on the update, please go here.

A new release (2.0) for Meeting Minutes Pro has been released today. It should be available on Google Play in the next 2-3 hours and will be available on BlackBerry AppWorld and Amazon AppStore in the next 1-2 days.

This release adds the following features to the app:

  • Portrait Mode enabled
  • Support for multiple font size
  • Rearrange Agenda Items and Discussion Items
  • Export Action Items of a single meeting into a csv file
  • Fully optimized UI for mobile phones/phablets (ready for BB10..)
  • UI optimization and improvements

Great News….Release 1.4 (1.6 on BlackBerry App World) transforms Meeting Minutes (Free) from a limited functionality demo version to a full functionality 3 day trial of Meeting Minutes Pro. You can now try and experience the complete set of functionality offered by Meeting Minutes Pro for 3 days before taking a decision on purchasing it.

This update is already live on Google Play and will be live on Amazon and BlackBerry App World in the next couple of days.

There might be many reasons why you want to run Android apps on your PC/Mac. Let us see some reasons that I can think of.

  • You want to play that game your friend/colleague was playing on a tablet but don’t own smartphone/tablet yet
  • You have ordered a smartphone/tablet and waiting for its delivery. There is an offer on an app that you definitely don’t want to miss
  • You just want to try out the Android ecosystem before investing on a device
  • You want to try an app created by a friend but don’t have a device
  • And so many other reasons….

Whatever the reason might be, I am sure it is good enough for you to want to be able to do something about it from your PC. Here is where BlueStacks can help. BlueStacks is an Android App Player for Windows and Mac. While the Windows version is in beta and considered to be relatively stable, the Mac version is in Alpha and doesn’t have too many apps available yet.

Note: I am in no way associated/affiliated with BlueStacks.

Let me start by quickly explaining the trigger for this post. I have (just) two apps. One of them is essentially a demo/limited functionality version of the other. However, I have currently 5 different packages/versions for these two apps. While a good part of the code/functionality is common between the different versions, there are some differences that force me to maintain the 5 different packages/versions.

1. Meeting Minutes – Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above

2. Meeting Minutes – Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)

3. Meeting Minutes Pro – Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above

4. Meeting Minutes Pro – Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)

5. Meeting Minutes Pro – BlackBerry Android port

Bring in Windows, iOS and BlackBerry Native and this number is bound to grow, at least, to 10 if not more. It is simply unmanageable. Maintaining multiple sources of the same data/application can be extremely difficult and challenging. It is always better and easier to eliminate the duplicates and end up having just one source.

However, the current direction of the industry is the opposite. A few years ago, a bank needed to have just one version of online banking application. Now they still have the traditional online banking application but in addition there is a .mobi site and apps in multiple platforms. Even though all or most of these front-end applications use the same back-end services, managing and maintaining multiple different front-end applications in the longer run can become a huge overhead and very expensive. HTML 5 was one hope to bring in some convergence but hasn’t delivered the expected results.

There is a strong need for some kind of convergence of the platforms or the development of tools that make porting apps from one platform to the other relatively easier.  In-the-box and j2objc are good steps in this direction. j2objc is a smart move by Google. Google is essentially encouraging developers to develop first for Android by providing tools that help in porting Android apps into iOS. Hope to see a lot more progress on this front in the days to come.

Edit: My friend @ajuluri pointed out two more tools (Rhodes Mobile and Phone Gap) available for cross platform development..

I was first introduced to “apps” when I bought my first smartphone (an iPhone 2G) sometime around April 2008. Creating an app myself has been an idea ever since but I never really took the plunge given the requirements of a Mac and a $99 registration fee with Apple. Time moved on and sometime in the early days of 2012, I came across a promotion from RIM that promised to give a BlackBerry PlayBook to developers who port their Android app and submit to RIM. Well, this seemed like a great opportunity. I was not too busy at work that required me to spend more than 8 hours in office those days and I felt motivated enough to take the plunge into app development. Just before this, in December 2011, I was involved in a short term consulting project that required me to organize 5-6 meetings a day. To keep track of all those meetings, we had to document them and it was a very tedious task. I felt the need for something that would make these meetings easier to organize and track. Fresh from that experience, I didn’t have to spend much time on the idea for my first app. That is how “Meeting Minutes” was born. I had only 15-20 days to create, test and submit the app to RIM. Having no experience of Java or Android SDK, it was initially tough but the motivation was strong and I did eventually earn that BlackBerry PlayBook from RIM. The response was good and I continued improving the app and eventually released a paid version at an initial price of $0.99. Again, the response was good and I received several emails from folks that purchased my app appreciating my efforts and how my app is different and useful from other similar apps available. The updates to the apps kept rolling (based on the free time available after my day job) and as of this post the free version has been downloaded more than 3000 times and the paid version has been purchased by more than 300 folks…