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Great Android Apps for the Samsung Infuse / Samsung Captivate and Motorola DEFY XT
(AKA things you didn't know your Samsung Infuse Android could do)

Android AppsIf you're looking for great apps to make your Android phone do more, here are a few essential apps that I recommend. Keep in mind that although I am using these on the Infuse and Captivate mobile phone platforms, other phones that run android will also be able to run these. I just don't know for sure that they will work as well on your phone as they do on mine. These recommendations aren't in any particular order, but I think all of these are really great apps. Here are my top 11 favorite android applications:

1) Waze (Free): Waze is a navigation app and much more. Yes, it works like the navigator that probably came installed on your phone from Google, but it does quite a bit more. That's because it has a social aspect to it. Everyone who is driving around and running the app is sharing information about road conditions, traffic, police presence and more. It knows how fast everyone who's going the way you're going is traveling and makes adjustments to directions it gives you based on that. Furthermore, as you drive, it will put up warnings about up coming problems

2) Evernote (Free/Paid): Evernote is something everyone should use. The android app is just one piece of what can be done with it--namely to help you keep track of anything and everything in your life in the form of notes, checklists, snippits, images, whatever. There is an application that you download for your PC/Mac and there is also a web-based version of it too. If you've never used it, but have used One-Note from Microsoft, you'll have a pretty good idea of what it does. Consider it to be a central, electronic notebook for organizing your life. Its very fun to use. The android app will let you review your notebooks when you're on the go, but I mainly find that I use it for capturing things that are sent to my notebooks. A good example would be business cards. I have a notebook of business cards already established. When I get a new one, I take a photo of it with my phone via the Evernote app and it gets uploaded into my business card collection where it will stay, well, forever...or at least until I delete it. If you've never experienced Evernote, you should check it out today.

3) Vlingo (Free): This is a great voice powered virtual assistant--it lets you issue voice commands to your phone. Its along the lines of the much more famouse Siri on the iPhone. Interestingly, the Vlingo app has been available for free on the Android platform for much longer than Siri. Vlingo does many of the same things that Siri does, although I feel that Siri is a bit more advanced in many areas.

If you have a bluetooth speakerphone or streaming bluetooth radio in your car, you can really get the most out of it. When its turned on you can just say "hey vlingo" and then issue a command like "call phyllis, mobile" and the app will respond and dial the number for you. You can also verbally request text messages be sent: "Hey Vlingo, Text John ... I am running late for dinner, start without me" and it will send the message. When a response comes back from John, it will read the message to you and offer to let you respond to that. You can also issue verbal requests for searches and a few other things. I like being able to say "Hey Vlingo, please call staples, Annapolis Maryland" and it will look it up for you and call--even if the number isn't in your address book.

4) Vignette (paid)- This is a camera app that lets you be creative with 76 customizable photo effects and 57 frames that you can put into any combination . Its great because its very flexible and adds some much needed/fun functionality to your android phone or tablet. The part I like best is the fact that it doesn't save the photo until you're done tweaking it with effects. In fact, if you just don't like the photo you just took, you could just tell it to discard it. I also like that you can push on the screen to take the photo. Depending on where you push, that's where you focus. This is a good app and although not free, its worth the very low price. There is a free demo version so you can try it out.

5) Pano (paid)- This is another great app that really is great fun. Its purpose is to take panorama photos. The thing that makes it the coolest is that there is no limit to the number of peices you can stitch together. You take photos one at a time and the camera matches them up and stitches them together so that instead of multiple pictures you wind up with one gigantic panoramic photograph.

6) Google Latitude (free): This app is a great way to keep track of the locations of friends and family. Whenever you open it, it will check the location of all of the designated people. Both parties have to agree to be tracked and there is a frequent reminder that is sent to your email to warn you that your location is tracked and shared in Latitude. Latitude has a bonus feature whereby it tries to keep track of all of the different places you go and gives you statistics like: how many hours you spend at home per week, at work and frequently visited places. It also tells you how many miles you'll have to travel before you have made a trip to the moon.

7) Smart Audiobook Reader (free or upgraded paid): If you will be listening to audio books, this is an essential app. It keeps track of where you left off in books, lets you make book marks and other great features. Since its seperate from your regular audio player, you can listen to books on this and music on the regular player and not disrupt your place--something that can be a real pain. You can also do things like speed up the reading of a book, skip ahead and more. For me it solves a problem because my Pioneer car stereo has streaming bluetooth, so sometimes I listen to music on my phone or in the car, and sometimes I listen to books. It was really a pain to switch back and forth before I found this app. By the way, if you live in Maryland, there is a way to download free audio books via Maryland Overdrive -- you just need a library card from your county library. I would bet that most of the other US states have a similar arrangement.

8) Google Translate (Free): You can speak into your phone in one language, and it will say the translation in the other language. Not perfect yet, and depending on the languages it is varying degrees of reliability.

9) Line2 (For a second phone number on your android phone). Follow the link to read a full review.

10) Google Sky Maps (Free): You hold up your phone to the sky and it will show you a map of the stars you're actually looking at. Its really cool. Since your phone knows where you are on earth, it gives a pretty accurate map of the heavens.

11) Flipboard - Great way to read news and facebook updates. Very cool.

Other great bonus apps include: Vonage, Screen Capture, WhatsApp (a great messenger replacement), Facebook and Google+ . BTW, the Amazon.com app store gives away a free app every day. You should definitely check to see what they have now and then.

Also, if it is time to upgrade your phone, consider going with Republic Wireless and the Moto X phone. There is no better option for unlimited data plans ($25/month for 3g access).


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