Over the past few months, I’ve covered a few new apps that hit the Android Market, but most the time I stick to the FREE apps since there always seems to be a good alternative that can be picked up without having to make a credit card payment. Today, things change! Album Art Grabber from MyLittleBigApps hit the Android Market shelves earlier today with the intent of helping Android users find the album art for their music. When you open up the app, you immediately are shown all the various music albums you have on your phone. For most people, the first time they use the app, most the album art will show up blank unless you’re meticulous about getting the album art synced up when your rip all your music from your CD’s. Simply press the menu button on your phone and then select "Grab missing album art" and the app will start searching the web. I only have a few hundred songs on my G1, but the app was able to locate all the images that I was missing and sync them to the correct albums in less than a minute. As most people know, many times albums have different variations of the album covers. If Album Art Grabber does not pick the one you are looking for, simply tap the image you want to view the full image and them tap it again. From here you will be able to browse through a collection of alternative album covers.
As I mentioned before, I typically don’t push priced apps that often, but Album Art Grabber is a very essential application for Android users who want to make sure they have all the album art for their music collection. You can find the app by searching "Album art Grabber" in the Android Market or you can find it under the "Multimedia" category for £0.99. And don’t forget to check out MyLittleBigApps website.
We’ve talked a little about T-Mobile’s AppPack these past few weeks. The AppPack is meant to highlight various T-Mobile and other applications that they think new Android users would be interested in. This morning, the link to the AppPack somehow made its way to several forums across the net with a note from a T-Mobile Rep. The T-Mobile AppPack for the myTouch 3G was supposed to include nine apps, but it appears Sherpa, Visual Voicemail, Hotspot Locator, and Facebook didn’t make the cut. The T-Mobile Rep sent out a second message to give a few details on why most people were only seeing the five apps in the image above.
We are evaluating issues with the AppPack and will circle back with updates. We understand many of the applications are missing and thank you for your patience.
Make sure you hit the read link to view the full original note from the T-Mobile Rep with details on how to download and install the T-Mobile AppPack
I woke up this morning to find an email in my inbox from DVD Jon. Yes, the same DVD Jon who broke the copyright protection on DVD’s about a decade ago. So what does this have to do with cell phones? Well, earlier this year, DVD Jon launched a new Mac and PC application called DoubleTwist. The idea behind the application is to allow any portable device (even your Android phones) to seamlessly sync up your music, playlists, pictures, and videos to your computer just like iTunes does with your iPod. DoubleTwist also allows you to share all your media with friends, but also allows you to upload content to sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Flickr in only a few clicks. Ok, so your Android phone can already do all that sharing nonsense on its own, but what it can’t do is convert video. I’m sure we all have a few video files on our computer that we want to put on our new HTC Magic, but it’s a bit of a hassle since you need to download and install a video converter, convert the files, make sure they are the right size, and then drag the file onto the phone. DoubleTwist does all the hard work for you by automatically converting your video files to the right format and size for your specific handset. Just drag the file onto your phone in DoubleTwist and you’re done!
I have not had a chance to use DoubleTwist with my G1 quite yet, but I’ll be sure to post a full review once I get it install on my PC this weekend. If you want to try it out for yourself, head on over to DoubleTwist’s website. After the break, there’s a few screen shots and a short clip that shows just how you can use DoubleTwist with your Android phone.
After years of using HTC devices, I was accustomed to being able to install applications on my Windows Mobile devices from my PC through ActiveSync and also from my handset with a .cab file. When Android launched, Google was kind enough to allow users to install applications as they pleased, as long as you did it from your Android phone. The first problem was that Google didn’t include a file manager in Android, so it was impossible to locate the .apk file even if you had one on your sd card. Eventually, developers came to the rescue with multiple file managers and app installers. But there was still a something missing. You still had to download the .apk file to your desktop, transfer the file to your phone, disconnect your phone from your PC, locate the file, and then install.
Fortunately, all those steps are a thing of the past. Paul, one of the admins over at MoDaCo has releases a small desktop application that allows you to install .apk files directly from your PC, simply by double clicking the file. “installAPK is currently for Windows only. After installation on your machine, you can double click APK files to install them on your USB attached android device. Simple as that!”
I’m sure most Android users get the majority of the apps from the Market, but there’s always the exception. Just last night, Scott from AndroidGuys emailed me an app to test out. If I would have known about installAPK 24 hours ago, I could have saved myself a minute or two.
It’s always a pleasant surprise when I get an e-mail from an app developer, letting me know that they have updated their app or are pushing something new out to the Android market and want me to give it a quick run through. Yesterday, Electric Pocket let us know that their PhoneFace app is now available on the Android Market. I’m actually already a bit familiar with the app since a friend of mine uses it on his Blackberry. PhoneFace is a simple contact manager that allows you to scroll through your contacts by their picture. A quick tap on one of your contact’s pictures give you options to call, text, email, or map their address (depending on what information you already have filled in for their profile). There are a few apps on the market that already do this, but PhoneFace has a few extra features that make it stand out. If you don’t have a picture for one of your contacts, PhoneFace can connect with your FaceBook or Twitter account and grab them for your. You have the option of adding your entire contact list to PhoneFace or simply selecting the contacts you want. The app works great, but the UI could be a little more fluid. I’m still waiting for a developer to create a contacts app that look like the one HTC built inside TouchFLO 3D. Search the Android Market for PhoneFace or Electric Pocket and don’t forget to check out http://phoneface.com/
In less than two weeks, Vodafone will be launching the HTC Magic. It will be the second phone to be powered by the Android OS, but the first powered by Android 1.5 (aka the cupcake build). There are quite a few enhancements included in this new build, many of which I wrote about when I reviewed a Google build and an HTC build of Android 15 for the HTC Magic. But the one new addition that stands out the most with the introduction of Android 1.5 is the support for home screen widgets.
Android widgets aren’t anything new. Google included three of them (analog clock, search, and picture frame) in the original Android 1.0 that shipped on the T-Mobile G1. But to the developer’s disappointment, the Android team didn’t release any documentation on how additional widgets could be developed.
A few days ago, we broke the news that Google had yanked all the 3G tethering apps from the Android Market. Google pulled the apps since they did not comply with T-mobiles TOS. I guess it took Google a few days to realize that the HTC Dream (currently the only Android phone on the market) is also available in other countries and also from other service providers. Google has sent out a message to the app developers, stating:
"We inadvertently unpublished your application for all mobile providers; if you like, we can restore your app so that all Android Market users outside the T-Mobile US network will have access to your application."
Let’s just hope, Google learns from their mistake and takes a more systematic approach next time they decide to remove app from the Android Market.