Get flash to fully experience Pearltrees
Android: If you really don't want people to get into your phone, you can hide the lock screen entirely, leaving the unlock button hidden somewhere on the screen only you know. While a pattern lock is safe in theory, it always leaves behind smudges that a snooper could find and use to unlock your phone. Hidden Lock takes a different approach, showing your phone's home screen as the lock screen but blocking any input until you click on a special, invisible lock button—which you can hide anywhere on the screen you want. Check out the video above to see how its done.
We've shown you how Android app Tasker can make your phone a fully-automated wonder . Now we're digging in deeper and providing some clever step-by-step profiles, along with an explainer on how to export and import profiles others have patched together. A quick refresh: Tasker gives you the tools to automate nearly any task on your Android phone based on certain triggers, resulting in some really powerful options. As noted in our previous feature on Tasker , it's not a free app, costing £3.99 in UK money, or just over $6 U.S. Tasker does, however, offers both a 14-day trial, and a non-Market install for international customers, at the developer's site .
A couple of months back, we covered WiFi Joiner – an Android app that allows you to create QR codes for WiFi access points and share them with your friends, colleagues or customers so that they may simply scan these codes to connect to the affiliated networks – eliminating the need to share long access keys. However, to scan said codes, they would need to have the same app installed on their devices. Not to undermine the functionality that WiFi Joiner provides (they were there first, after all), but it’s highly unlikely for all your Android-wielding friends to have the app on their devices. Relatively new to the Android Market, WiFi QR Code Generator works roughly the same way but, however, the QR codes it generates can be scanned with Barcode Scanner – a free app that, owing to its simplicity and effectiveness, has grown to become the default QR code scanner for a vast majority of Android users.
Android: If you receive many text messages or calls at inopportune times, like when you're driving, Auto SMS might be very useful for you. Not only does it send auto replies, the free app also schedules and reads messages to you. You can set a number of profiles for this Android "out of office reply" app to set the message and duration of the profile. For example, the profile for when you're driving could send a text with "Sorry, I'm in traffic" to all your callers or texters.
Inspired by the Information Node Desktop , reader Bizdady created this home screen, replacing information nodes with shortcuts to his favorite apps. This home screen is quite easy to set up. Just download the wallpaper and icons from here and extract them to your phone. Bizdady used LauncherPro, but many other third party launchers should work too. Just set your home screen to a 5x5 icon grid in the settings and assign the custom icons to your apps. Bizdady did this with Desktop Visualizer , but many launchers allow for custom icon usage, including LauncherPro—just add them by long-pressing the home screen instead of dragging them from the app drawer, and it'll let you change the icons.
While the Market has a number of very good web browsers, we'd have to pick Dolphin HD as our favorite for its tabbed interface, unique gesture features, and powerful add-on library. Tabbed browsing Multitouch and double-tap zoom Import bookmarks from your current browser Organize bookmarks into folders Customizable gestures that let you access bookmarks, jump to the top of a page, and tons more A library of over 50 add-ons like LastPass , Read It Later , and ad blockers "Webzine" mode, that puts bookmarks into a magazine-like layout, stripping the pages of extra formatting and making them readable Switch user agents to force the desktop or iPhone version of a web site Smart address bar that autocompletes bookmarked results and browsing history as you type Dolphin is about as powerful as they come, what with its add-on capabilities.
If you're running a custom ROM on your Android phone, many have a very useful shortcut that lets you skip tracks in the music player without ever taking it out of your pocket. This shortcut is available in most custom AOSP ROMs (that is, ROMs based on stock Android) like CyanogenMod. When you're listening to music in the default player, just turn off your screen. When you tap the volume buttons, they'll change volume as normal, but if you hold them down for a second, they'll change tracks. This only works when the screen is off in most of these ROMs, but it's pretty handy if you've got your phone in your pocket and don't want to take it out just to change tracks. If your phone has a dedicated camera button, you can usually use that to play and pause the track, too.
Android doesn't have a ton of apps that can turn images into text documents, but of the ones available, Google Goggles is free and does everything it promises to do: copy text from an image and let you paste it anywhere. What's text recognition? It's technically known as optical character recognition (OCR) and can be really useful when you've got a paper document you want in digital, editable form. You need a scanner to create an image of the document first, but then once you have that image you can run it through an OCR application that will read each character and attempt to recreate the original document as text. In most cases it will never be perfect, but with a high-quality scan you can come pretty close.
iOS/Android/WP7/Playbook/Web: Personalized news app News360 uses your Facebook likes, Twitter profile, Evernote notebooks, and Google Reader subscriptions to deliver highly personalized news to your desktop or mobile device, regardless for the one you carry. News360 just updated its web and tablet apps for Honeycomb tablets and the iPad yesterday to dig deeper into your social networks to deliver news that you might actually like to read. That doesn't mean the app doesn't let you control what you read: you can always browse news categories and read anything you like, connect or disconnect networks you don't want associated with the app, or just look through the top stories without logging in at all. If you do log in, you can also add your own interests to help it sort the news for you, or your location so the app will pick up local news and weather as well. The app is one of the most highly customizable and personalized news services we've seen.
Reader Ryan Mottau built this awesome DIY smartphone car mount using our favorite DIY wonder-tool, the binder clip . Here's how he did it. What You'll Need Large (2" wide) binder clips String for wrapping (I found black macramé thread at local craft store) Rubber bands (black bands found in office supply store) Duct tape (of course!
Android/Web: BrowserTexting is a combination Android app and webapp that allows you to send and receive SMS messages through your phone in your Web browser. This way if you're busy working, you don't have to stop and pick up your phone to see or respond to texts, you can do it in browser tab. In order to use BrowserTexting, you'll need the app installed on your Android phone. Then scan the QR code that the service provides you to pair your phone with that browser, and text away, at least until you close the browser. If you install the service's Chrome extension, you won't have to keep pairing your phone, and you'll get pop-up alerts on your desktop when someone messages you. You can click the alerts to instantly respond, and manage your messages through a toolbar icon.
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Android gamers of the world, rejoice! Most of you probably have many games and an emulator or two in your device, but playing with those on-screen buttons can be quite annoying. The only ones able to avoid these on-screen controllers are Xperia Play owners, but what about the rest of us? Well, if you have your PS3 Sixaxis or Dualshock 3 controllers laying around your bedroom, you can now use those with your Android devices.
If you're just getting started with your new Android or iPhone and downloading lots of great apps, you want to make sure you take the time to check for updates at least once a week. These updates will provide new features and important bug fixes, and it's really easy to do. Here's how it works, step by step. The process is very easy on both devices.