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Technology

Must-Have Android Apps

After a lot of thinking and racking my brains, I have conjured up this list. One may argue that this list is subjective – yes, it is. So, what – this is the list of apps that I consider must-have. For a person like me, gaming and video are the most important functional areas of a phone, needless to say, browsing too. Here’s a few of them apps that you should at least know about if not download.


Skype

Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPhone, Windows phone, BlackBerry

Launched: 29 August 2003

Acquired: May 2011 by Microsoft

Skype.png

Well known to many already, Skype is an application that provides video chat and voice call services. Users may exchange such digital documents as images, text, video, and any others, and may transmit both text and video messages. Skype allows the creation of video conference calls. Skype is available for Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, or Linux, as well as Android, Blackberry, Apple and Windows smartphones and tablets.

Features:

  • Calling
  • Skype to Skype calls
  • Group calls
  • Skype Number
  • Forward calls
  • Caller ID
  • Skype To Go
  • Video (1-to-1 and Group video calls)
  • Messaging
  • Video messaging
  • Instant messaging
  • Send texts (SMS)
  • Voice messages
  • Skype Wi-Fi
  • Skype Manager
  • Skype Connect
  • Skype for Outlook.com
  • Contact me button
  • Share button
  • Skype Translator
  • Skype extension

Screenshots:


M-indicator

Mumbai version

Pune Version

Support: Android, iPhone, Windows phone, BlackBerry, Java (Older smartphones)

Launched: 15th May 2010

m-indicator-app

This is a Mumbai and Pune-only app – so other readers, please excuse. This is one app I cannot do without. Hence the inclusion. It started off with just a Train timetable (Western, Central, Harbor, Thane-Vashi lines) – and now has grown into a full-blown app that provides Local Train Timetable, Metro Timetable, Mono Rail Timetable, Bus Routes, Express Train Timetable, Auto fares, Taxi fares, Ferry timings, Women Safety Emergency Number etc. The last couple of releases have included platform numbers too – so no need to ask others and get misled (sometimes though).

Note: Pune version includes only Local train and bus timetables.

Owing to its support for older smartphones that run Symbian OS or other proprietary OS, this app can be found invariably on almost all Mumbaikars’ and Punekars’ phones.

Screenshots:


IRCTC Connect

Support: Android, iPhone

itctc-connect

A frequent traveler that I am, there was a time I almost lived out of a suitcase – just that the ‘To’ and ‘From’ stations would remain the same. This app always helped me with train ticket reservations. The earlier versions had only the train ticket booking option. The latest ones have additional options of booking in-train meals and also booking flight tickets.

A caveat though: ‘My bookings’ option shows only those tickets that you booked using the app – it does not sync with the bookings done on the website.

Spoiler alert: Clicking on the latter 2 options do not launch the relevant screens – they take you to the Play Store so you can download the relevant apps.

Features:

  • One step login to existing users
  • Search and Book train tickets
  • View and Cancel tickets
  • Retains recently added passenger details
  • New Users, register from App directly
  • Upcoming Journey Alerts

User Manual:

Screenshots:


IR Unreserved Ticketing (UTS)

Support: Android, Windows phone

Launched: 27 Dec 2014

uts

UTS is an Indian Railways official android mobile ticketing app to book unreserved train tickets.

The paperless ticket has been enabled in entire Chennai suburban section, entire Mumbai suburban section, and New Delhi – Palwal section, in continuation of Paperless ticket now Season and Platform Tickets, are introduced. In addition to that, now ‘Change Handset’ feature is introduced which is used to Change passenger old handset to new one, and active Season Ticket will be transferred from old handset to new one.

Using ‘show ticket’ feature the ticket can be showed to the TTE (Traveling Ticket Examiner) or TC. Offline mode is available to show the paperless ticket if Internet connection not available in the mobile.

  • Paper Ticket: The passenger can book tickets through the mobile app. On booking of ticket, he/she will get Booking ID along with other ticket details and take print out at the Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVM) using the booking ID. This mode of ticketing is enabled in Mumbai suburban area except Churchgate to Dahanu Road section of Mumbai suburban of Western Railway.
  • Paperless Ticket: The passenger can book paperless tickets through the mobile application and ticket will be delivered to the mobile application itself. The passenger can travel without taking a hard copy of the ticket. This mode of ticketing is enabled in Chennai suburban area and Churchgate to Dahanu Road section of Mumbai suburban of Western Railway. In order to have paperless tickets, the Smartphone should be GPS enabled.

More info

Also

Screenshots:


jetAudio

Support: Android, Windows

Launched: 1997

JetAudio.png

JetAudio (written as “jetAudio”) is a media player for Microsoft Windows and Android which offers advanced playback options for a wide range of multimedia file formats. JetAudio is one of the oldest extant media players for the Windows platform. In addition to music and video playback, JetAudio has features like metadata editing, CD ripping and burning, data conversion, sound recording, and Internet radio broadcasting. It also includes numerous sound effects. The commercial “Plus VX” version of the application includes unlocked BBE sound enhancement algorithms and a wider file format support, as well as the ability to trans-code more than 30 seconds of video files. JetAudio Basic is the most downloaded application in the “music management software” category on CNET Download.com.

Though not my choice on PC (it’s WINAMP there), however, it’s a ‘cannot-do-without’ on my Android phones. Never used one Android phone/tab without installing jetAudio. Though I do admit dabbling in jetAudio in my Windows 98 and 2000 days – but that was then.

Screenshots:


MX Player

Support: Android

mx-player

This is another app that for me is ‘cannot-do-without’. Once again, an app that I’ve been using since I bought my first Android phone in 2011. A powerful video player with advanced hardware acceleration and subtitle support. Some salient features include:

  • HARDWARE ACCELERATION – Hardware acceleration can be applied to more videos with the help of new HW+ decoder.
  • MULTI-CORE DECODING – MX Player is the first Android video player which supports multi-core decoding. Test result proved that dual-core device’s performance is up to 70% better than single-core devices.
  • PINCH TO ZOOM, ZOOM, AND PAN – Easily zoom in and out by pinching and swiping across the screen. Zoom and Pan are also available under options.
  • SUBTITLE GESTURES – Scroll forward/backward to move to next/previous text, Up/down to move text up and down, zoom in/out to change text size.
  • KIDS LOCK – Keep your kids entertained without having to worry that they can make calls or touch other apps. (plugin required)

Screenshots:


Camera MX

Support: Android

camera-mx

I’ve always had problems with stock camera apps on budget Android phones – this app comes to my rescue, always. It lets me click pics at full resolution in traditional 4:3 and my favorite widescreen 16:9 ratio. The result – crystal clear images (camera shake is compensated for to a good extent in the auto-focus mode). Not a great fan of ‘effects’ – however this app offers a wide variety of effects, filters, and optimizations before, during and after the shot. It also lets me turn the clicked pics into GIFs and Kaleidoscope (effect). Something new I learned about this app is taking ‘Live Shots’ so you don’t just capture a moment – rather moments in a single pic/file.

Turn your favorite pictures into moving Live Photos. Live Shots are recorded in the background already before you take the actual photo. You can view photos as animated images or send them to friends as cool animated GIFs and videos.

Screenshots:


CamScanner

Support: Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone

camscannerSomething that helps me turn my documents into PDF/Image files. An intelligent solution for document management on all devices, starting from capturing information precisely to storing, sharing, annotating and managing documents for different purposes. It makes the contents easily-accessed, organized and the collaboration efficient.

Features:

  • Mobile Scanner: Use your phone camera to scan receipts, notes, invoices, whiteboard discussions, business cards, certificates, etc.
  • Optimize Scan Quality: Smart cropping and auto enhancing make the texts and graphics look clear and sharp
  • Quick Search: By entering any keyword, you’ll see a list of docs with the word in their titles, notes or images (Registrants only)
  • Extract Texts from Image: OCR (optical character recognition) extracts texts inside single page for further editing or .txt sharing. (Licensed only)
  • Share PDF/JPEG Files: Easily share docs in PDF or JPEG format with others via social media, email attachment or sending the doc link
  • Print & Fax: Instantly print out docs in CamScanner with nearby printer; directly fax docs to over 30 countries right from the app
  • Collaboration: Invite friends or colleagues to view and comment on your scans in a group. (Registrants only)
  • Advanced Editing: Making annotations or adding customized watermark on docs are made available for you
  • Secure Important Docs: Set passcode for viewing important docs; meanwhile, when sending doc link, you can set password to protect it
  • Sync across Platforms: Sign up to sync documents on the go. Just sign in to any smartphone, tablet or computer (visit www.camscanner.com) you own and you can view, edit and share any document. (Registered users only)

Video: https://youtu.be/0E9X_x4AJHc?list=PLHjS5zGlQt6OKAglQIN4U1AVGwxfmhJ3W

Screenshots:


Portal

Support: Android, iPhone

portal

Getting pictures, videos, and other files from your computer onto your phone should be quick and painless. Portal helps by making it as easy as drag and drop.

Portal is very easy to use. Just open the app and pull up portal.pushbullet.com on your computer and you’re ready to go.

Files are transferred over your Wi-Fi connection which mean they don’t count toward your mobile data limit. This also means files are transferred very quickly (even if they’re over 1 GB in size).

Features:

  • Transfer individual files, multiple files, or entire folders at once
  • Easily browse, open, or share the files you’ve put on your phone
  • Pictures transferred with Portal are automatically put into your phone’s Gallery
  • Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or later: have Portal save files to your removable SD card!

Screenshots:


f.lux

Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, Android

Launched: Feb 2009

flux-icon

I’m glad this is finally available for my android phone (too bad – I have to wait till Dec 25 to root my phone and then use this app). I’ve been using it on my desktop PC since it was launched in 2009. f.lux is a computer program that adjusts a display’s color temperature according to location and time of day. The program was designed to reduce eye strain during night-time use and reduce disruption of sleep patterns.

  • Upon installation, the user can choose a location based on geographic coordinates, a ZIP code or the name of a location.
  • The program then automatically calibrates the device display’s color temperature to the time of the day, based on sunrise and sunset at the chosen location.
  • At sunset, it will gradually change the color temperature to a warmer color and restore the original color at sunrise.
  • The user can choose from a variety of color profiles and predefined temperature values.
  • They can also modify the behavior of the program for specific programs or activities, including a mode for watching films which decreases the red tinge for 2.5 hours, and a darkroom mode that does not affect night-adapted vision.
  • The times can be inverted on f.lux for PC to provide warm lighting during the daytime (for people who work at night).
  • The program can control Philips Hue LED lighting, so that the color temperature of house lights follows f.lux’s settings.

f.lux started its life on Linux and Windows, a few years ago. It has been available on jailbroken iPhone for a few years, too, and now it’s finally making its way to Android. Currently in beta and only available on rooted devices, f.lux is a superb choice if you want to avoid straining your eyes at night.

f.lux removes the bright blue colors from your phone to help you wind down at night and returns your screen to normal the next day. This preview version is not a final release. It requires a rooted phone, and otherwise it will not do much. We appreciate your help with bug reports and feature questions.

Note:

  • Most rooted Lollipop and Marshmallow devices (5.x and 6.x) will work.
  • Some rooted KitKat (4.x) devices will work, but many do not.
  • Does not work on many Samsung Galaxy devices
  • Your screen will flash anytime an app is updated through Google Play

Also, if you want to uninstall, do one of these things:

  • Disable f.lux before uninstalling
  • Reboot after uninstalling

Screenshots:


NTES (National Train Enquiry System)

Support: Windows, Android

ntes

This is an app I started using quite recently – I knew about it for a long time though. Indian Railways Official app for travelers using trains for taking holiday vacation trips, official trips, tours, and daily commute. The Site/App provides train-running related and real-time status queries for all trains of India.

Features:
• Spot Your Train with diversion information
• Live Station
• Train Schedule with save feature
• Trains between Stations
• Cancelled Trains
• Rescheduled Trains
• Diverted Trains
• Manage favorite trains, stations and train schedules

Web version: http://enquiry.indianrail.gov.in/ntes/

Screenshots:

So in case you need any guidance with any of these apps, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. So long for now.

Bye!!!

By Kottayi Amith

A teacher, a father, an agreeable (do I have a choice?) husband - I love to play with words. I spin the yarn - and she maintains the (cob)webs. As different as chalk and cheese - we get along very well on this one topic - My Website. Welcome to our world of words and ways of word-smithy. I hope you do not regret your visit here, to say the least.

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