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Hello fellow Androidians,

This will (hopefully) be one of the most useful reviews for any Android users out there. Everyone needs a way to back up their apps, games and data, right? Here’s the solution : Titanium Backup (PRO)

We’ll break it down into three parts :

1) What does it do?

2) How much does it cost?

3) Conclusion?

Part 1  : What does it do?

We have all experienced it before : you are cozy on the couch, everything seems to be working fine, suddenly your Android smartphone or tablet gives out and you need to perform a factory reset. No big deal, it’s easy to do, right? But what about all data and logins on your device? They are lost! Unless….

Unless you make a backup of all your data regularly, like you should be doing on your computers aswell. Most of you keep a backup on an external hard disk, or in the cloud. But what about the applications, (save)games and login information on your Android devices? Well, there is an easy way to back up these things aswell.

The solution to this is called Titanium Backup (PRO). You might have heard the name before, it’s quite a well-known application in the Android Market. Titanium Backup (PRO) gives you the ability to back up your apps, your user data, on the fly. You can also schedule your own backups,e.g. perform a new backup 2 times a week to keep all information up-to-date, etc.

There is a catch to using this program though. You will need to root your Android device. Rooting means you can superuser access to everything about your Android device, which includes the ability to make backups. A detailed how-to on rooting your Android device will be featured in a weekly column soon.

Once your Android device is rooted, Titanium Backup (PRO) installed and running, you can immediately back up all (or selected) data you’d like. As mentioned before, this includes application data, such as save games, logins for websites or apps, preferences and settings in said apps, etc.

In the PRO version of Titanium Backup, you are allowed to make unlimited backups, and also do batch backups. This means you can let the software take care of the backup in the background, instead of manually approving or denying this process for every piece of software you have installed. I’d recommend to buy the PRO version of Titanium Backup, it’s well worth your money to have a lifetime backup plan.

One of the “hidden” features of the backup process is that you can finally share APK files with friends. As soon as a backup of an application or game is made, you can then e-mail said APK to your friend(s). Since App Sharing never really worked for me, I’m a huge fan of this feature.But i’ll let you decide that for yourselves.

Here are some screenshots to illustrate some of Ghost Commander’s functions :


Part 2 : What does it cost?

There are two different versions of Titanium Backup, the free (limited) version and the PRO (unlimited) version

The free version can be downloaded from the Android Market.

The PRO version can be purchased from the Android Market.

Part 3 : Conclusion ?

Is it REQUIRED to use this?

If you value your data on your Android device, then i’d strongly recommend you use it. A backup will come in handy sooner or later, and you have to make sure you won’t regret not making a backup.

Will you benefit from it? 

Devices are meant to become unstable sooner or later, You’ll want to have a backup ready when that happens. Or, if you’re a more experienced use who flashes new custom ROM’s occasionally, you’ll also value this piece of software.

Personal rating : 10/10

Hello fellow Androidians,

First of all, this is not some sort of program to control ghosts near you. Ghost Commander is a file explorer application, which adds quite some nice features to the overall use of your files.

We’ll break it down into three parts :

1) What does it do?

2) How much does it cost?

3) Conclusion?

Part 1  : What does it do?

Most of you people are familiar with file explorers on your Android device. Most of them are based on the standard Windows Explorer, meaning yo only get to view your folders in a window, and if you need to move a file you either have to enter the new directory manually, or copy the file & paste it where you want it to be.

Ghost Commander changes this. It allows you to have TWO file explorer windows next to each other, and copy or move files with the tap of a button. People who ever used Total Commander on their computer will know how much easier this makes things.

Besides the dual explorer window, there are some other important features in this Android application. It also allows you to open a FTP window on one side, and download files from, or upload files to, said FTP server. All combined in one program, is this looking good so far or what?

Windows File Sharing is also supported in Ghost Commander.  This means you can simply share files on your Windows machine, and Ghost Commander can download those files to your internal memory, or your SD card, should you prefer. For me personally, this is of little use, since I usually watch web content on my tablet or smartphone, but some of you will most likely find it handy!
To use the Windows File Sharing option, you will need to download a seperate plugin, which can be found in the Android Mrket, free of charge.

Here are some screenshots to illustrate some of Ghost Commander’s functions :


Part 2 : What does it cost?

Like it’s Windows counterpart, Ghost Commander for Android is free of charge. Download from the Android Market.

Part 3 : Conclusion ?

Is it REQUIRED to use this?

This will mostly depend on how often you use the file explorer to sort files, move things around, copy things over, etc. The FTP feature is a very nice bonus though, which I myself use a few times a week.

Will you benefit from it? 

As stated above, it depends on your overall files behaviour. Some will benefit from it, others might not. But give it a try, it’s a very neat app.

Personal rating : 10/10

Hello fellow Androidians,

The stream of streaming Android applications (See what i did there? You know you love it!) continues, as our featured app of the day is Netflix. Surely you’ve heard about it by now? If so, or if not, read on!

We’ll break it down into three parts :

1) What does it do?

2) How much does it cost?

3) Conclusion?

Part 1  : What does it do?

Where to start… Netflix is an online service, which allows you to stream their entire collection of movies , tv shows and documentaries over the internet, to the device of your choice. Supported devices include computers, laptops, certain TV models, gaming consoles, smartphones and tablets.

Netflix is constantly growing their available content, making deals left and right. Currently, they offer boatloads of  TV shows and movies. As is contractually agreed, newer moves will be added 28 days after the official DVD release in stores.

Sounds good so far, right? Well, it even gets better. Netflix is mostly known to people from the U.S. and Canada, and since a few days, also Latin America. It isn’t available in Europe yet (officially), but there are ways to bypass this small obstacle, by the use of a VPN service.

In brief, I’ll explain what a VPN service does. VPN services allow you to change your IP address to an external IP address, locate din a different country. This service allows you to appear to be from the U.S., U.K. or other countries, while actually being from your country of residence. This also allows you to use services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more.

The VPN service i’d recommend for Netflix, is called HideMyAss. They offer cheap, reliable and professional VPN services, which also ensure you’ll get the highest possible video quality on Netflix. We don’t want to watch a movie filled with blur and pixelation, now do we? Sign up for HideMyAss VPN services using this link.

As a piece of advice, i’d recommend to visit the Netflix website to tweak the video quality settings to your liking. I have it set to best quality, and it works smoothly with my VPN.

One of the most important features on the Android app version is that you can select alternate audio languages,. This is most useful for the anime collection Netflix has, so you can actually listen to the original audio track, and have it subtitled in English.

Subtitle support is available for most TV shows and movies i have encountered so far. Only English subtitles are available at the moment, no word on if this will be expanded with more languages as of this writing.

Here are some screenshots to illustrate the functionality of Netflix:

Part 2 : What does it cost?

The application itself is free of charge. However, the Netflix subscription is not. At this point, you can start a free 30-day trial, which can be cancelled anytime, if you follow this link . You will need a valid credit card to sign up. Recurring subscription costs 7.99 USD / month for unlimited streaming.

Download the Netflix application from the Android Market .

Part 3 : Conclusion ?

Netflix is a great initiative, available to customers worldwide. All you need is a working internet connection, and a VPN service. I am personally using the service for over 2 months now, and I’m still running into shows or movies I have never heard of, but which surely seem interesting to watch.

You get a free trial which can be cancelled any time, so make use of it and decide for yourself.

NOTE : This application, like Veetle Lite, can be a battery drainer if used for extended periods of time. Make sure your battery is always (fully) charged before using this.

Personal rating : 10/10

Hello fellow Androidians,

As i said yesterday, there would be more reviews coming concerning streaming media apps. Well, this app doesn’t necessarely stream in the meaning of streaming your own content, but it streams radio stations to your devices!

I present to you : [drumroll] TuneIn Radio Pro [/drumroll]

We’ll break it down into three parts :

1) What does it do?

2) How much does it cost?

3) Conclusion?

Part 1  : What does it do?

First of all, i would like to highlight the catchy name of the program. It’s about RADIO content (web radio in this particular case), which you can TUNE IN to,in a PROfessional way.Funny how that works, isn’t it? Oh well, love it or hate it.

On to the goodies! TuneIn Radio Pro for Android allows you to select any internet radio on the web you can possibly think about, and it will stream it to your device. You can enter the url of the webradio manually, you can search for it, or you just select a genre and flick through the available stations.

Personally, i found this very unique. Why, you may ask? Well, i listen to hardcore music (no, not the metal kind). Any other audio streaming Android app i have tried in the past, doesn’t seem to recognize this genre at all. I can enter any DJ/Artist/Producer from the scene and it would come up with 0 results.

TuneIn Radio Pro is different in that regard. There are two hardcore radio stations i tune in to on a daily basis, being Masters of Hardcore Radio & Coretime FM. Guess what? TuneIn Radio Pro recognizes both, and lets me add them to my favourites! So i have them available with 1 swipe and 1 click respectively.

The application also supports widgets, so you can put a nice widget on your homescreen(s) with information about the station you’re listening to, artist and track information, and so forth. Overall it’s the easiest (and for me personally, the only app with my taste’s recognition) music app i have seen so far.

If you have a better alternative available, leave it in the comment section below and i’ll give it a review!

Here are some screenshots to illustrate the functionality of TuneIn Radio Pro :


Part 2 : What does it cost?

Normally, this is a paid application. But the amazing crew at GetJar has provided everyone with a link to download this great application for free.

Or , if you like, you can directly purchase it from the Android Market

Part 3 : Conclusion ?

Is it REQUIRED to use this?

There are many audio.radio streaming apps out there. I Personally found this the best i have encountered so far, solely based on my somewhat out of the ordinary music taste. I’m sure there are other viable alternatives, but i’ld definitely give this beauty a try and see what it can do for your musical experience.

Will you benefit from it? 

Depending on your musical taste, you might or might not benefit from it in comparison to other alternatives.

NOTE : This application, like Veetle Lite, can be a battery drainer if used for extended periods of time. Make sure your battery is always (fully) charged before using this.

Personal rating : 10/10

Hello fellow Androidians,

It’s time to shift into a different mode. This’ll be the first streaming internet channel app for Android that i’ll review, but there will be more reviews coming in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

The lucky Android app today is Veetle Lite.

We’ll break it down into three parts :

1) What does it do?

2) How much does it cost?

3) Conclusion?

Part 1  : What does it do?

Veetle is a flash stream on the internet. People broadcast content of their choice on the Veetle platform. It works like Ustream,Justin.tv, and others. Veetle streams usually do not require a super fast connection to work, and they support HD video broadcasting. In the screenshots you’ll see some of the available channels to watch on your smartphone or tablet.

The application Veetle Lite basically lets you watch internet streams. For people commuting every day, people who are waiting somewhere, or just if you’re at work but there isn’t much going on, this app is for you. Watch The Simpsons, Friends, Two and a Half Men, Movies, etc on your device when you want! (And when the channel(s) is/are broadcasting)

Veetle Lite for the Android platform does not require a fast connection. I’ve tested it on my HTC Desire on 3G, HSDPA & Edge, and all three network speeds work quite well.Wifi is also a possiblity of course, depending on your location. The app also allows to change the aspect ratio of the channel so you can watch full screen, in 4:3 format, 16:9 format, etc. Most broadcasts will be in English, sometimes even with subtitles.

As promised, here are some screenshots :

Part 2 : What does it cost?

This is the best part about this Android application, it’s completely free of charge.

Give it a try and see if it works for you. It saved me quite a few boring hours during commutes, while waiting for someone, or when i was just slightly bored.

Veetle Lite for Android can be found here : Download from the Android Market
Part 3 : Conclusion ?

Is it REQUIRED to use this?

There is no real required situation to use this, but it can often save you time you’ld spend bored otherwise. I find it amusing & relaxing to watch The Simpsons while on the bus, or whenever i have the chance to..

Will you benefit from it? 

Possibly, depending on the situation. People do tend to spend quite some time doing nothing , or partially nothing. This application could fill up those voids with entertainment.

NOTE : This is a battery drainer. Basically you lose about 1% of battery per minute and a half watched on Veetle (for non HD streams). If you use this, make sure your battery is at least 50% charged , or it will be depleted rapidly..

Personal rating : 8/10

Hello fellow Androidians,

Podcasts. Everybody loves podcasts. If you don’t , then you’re not from this world. But you need a way to organize, download or stream your podcasts every day on my Android tablet. I found a great tool to do it. It’s called Doggcatcher. .

We’ll break it down into three parts :

1) What does it do?

2) How much does it cost?

3) Conclusion?

Part 1 : What does it do?

As I said before, it organises podcasts. You can select to import them from various sources of the web, such as Google Reader, select the top downloaded podcasts from Twit.tv directly, etc. It has a very slick design, it’s very easy to use and it just does what I want it to : download & play podcasts!

The easiest way for me to keep a copy of the list of podcasts i listen to (direct video subscription feeds in my case) , is by using Google Reader. Now, Google Reader points you to the download or streaming link, but I’m not a big fan of that. I needed an app that would load these feeds, update them daily, do the downloading in the background, all that stuff.

So i downloaded the Doggcatcher Podcast trial, and it does wonders for me. I imported my Google Reader Feeds, it synced up immediately, it’s a one-click-download (running in the background) … It’s amazing! Previously, I tried Podkicker for Android, but it wasn’t really what I wanted. And it couldn’t handle all media files properly.

Doggcatcher Podcast Trial does this without any issues. Even the HD MP4 files from e.g. Tekzilla or Hak5 all play smoothly (depending on your hardware of course, it’s not a miracle worker converted into an Android app!).

As stated, I’m still using the Trial version. But I’m definitely going to upgrade to the full version in a few days. I love this Android podcast manager, and I can’t live without it.

To illustrate, view the screenshots below :

Part 2 : What does it cost?

There are 2 versions of this Android app : the free trial version, and the paid version.

The trial version lasts for 7 days, and afterwards it will give you the option to purchase. Currently the paid version costs 5 USD. That really is a bargain for something you will use every day, sometimes even multiple times a day!

Give it a try and see if it works for you. If it does, great! If it doesn’t, you only used the trial version and paid nothing so far.

Doggcatcher Podcast Trial can be found here : Download from the Android Market

Doggcatcher Podcast Play (Paid Version) can be purchased here : Download from the Android Market

Part 3 : Conclusion ?

Is it REQUIRED to use this?

For me personally, it is mandatory. If you are into podcasts on a daily or weekly basis, you’ll get much love from this great app.

Will you benefit from it? 

It’s like having your personal assistant in regards to podcasts. It updates, it downloads, it plays. What more do you want?

Personal rating : 9;5/10

Hello fellow Androidians,

As far as my first Android application review goes, we'll talk about Avanced Task Killer .

We'll break it down into three parts :

1) What does it do?

2) How much does it cost?

3) Conclusion?

 

Part 1  : What does it do?

Basically, what this Android application does is, it kills any application that might be running in the background without you knowing it, or even noticing it. These applications put , albeit a smaller, drain on your battery, but more importantly, they slow down the device you are currently using. How so, you may ask?

Just like a computer, an Android device has a certain amount of memory (RAM). The more programs running in the fore- or background, the more memory is being used. Higher memory usage means less available RAM to cover all other tasks you want to perform at that given time. Consider it like a Windows Task Manager.

To illustrate, view the screenshots below :

 

 

Part 2 : What does it cost?

This is the best part about this Android application, it’s completely free of charge.

Give it a try and see if it works for you. If it does, great! If it doesn’t, nothing spent, nothing gained.

Advanced Task Killer can be found here : Download from the Android Market
 

Part 3 : Conclusion ?

Is it REQUIRED to use this?

Absolutely not.

Will you benefit from it? 

Possibly, depending on the situation

Will it interfere with other apps, e.g. a battery widget?

If you opt to kill the battery widget, information shown in the concerning widget might be incorrect or it might crash the widget.

Personal rating : 8.5/10

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