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Android Tips

How To Enable Dialpad Autocomplete On Android 4.3

Since the very beginning when Android first came out, people liked it very much. The credit is to be given to the development team that took complete care of all the aspects. Despite this special care there were some features that were not present initially but gradually they were added. However, one very important feature was still missing from the list but with the release of Android 4.3, Google managed to bring the same to all its devices.

We are talking about the dial pad autocomplete feature where when you begin dialing a number, the device uses your address book to guess who you are going to call and offers resembling numbers so that you do not have to enter the complete number.

This feature may have not been present on stock Android OS up to 4.2.2, but manufacturers like Sony, Samsung and others have been providing this feature since the start. So it was something that Google should have taken care off well before but now that the feature is finally there we find no reasons to complain.

How To Enable Dial Pad Autocomplete On Android 4.3

Step 1: First and foremost you have to launch Phone app. The dial pad settings can only be accessed from here so there is no point in going to the stock Settings app.

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Step 2: Now tap the menu button which is present at the bottom right corner (the one with three vertical dots). From the pop up menu, select Settings.

Step 3: You will see a new window that says Call Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the page until you see an option saying Dial pad autocomplete. You would find the feature under Other Call Settings section. You need to check the corresponding box and that’s it, you are done.

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Now you may go back to the dial pad and try entering a known number and matching contacts will be displayed just above the dial pad.

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This is a very useful feature when you need to dial a number quickly and we are glad it has been added to the stock Android OS finally. If you have not enabled this feature yet, do follow the aforementioned guide and do it right away.

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Android Tips

iOS 7 Beta Control Center On Android

iOS 7 beta was released a while back and it is being debated as both a hit and a miss. The design has been completely overhauled, as Apple promised, and while many developers are liking it, many are criticizing it at the same time.

But one feature that has really come out as a surprise is the iOS 7 Control Center. The control center is basically an official replacement of SBSettings from where one can toggle airplane mode, bluetooth, wi-fi, and other features on or off, without moving away from the very screen you are on. One can invoke the control center by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen which makes it extremely convenient to use.

While we are waiting for Apple to release the iOS 7 for all the users, developers from the Android community have found ways to replicate the control center on the android OS. Now even a regular android user can experience how iOS 7’s control center feels, so if you want to try this out on your android device, follow the guide below:

Step 1: Download Control Center from Google Play Store and install it on your device.

Step 2: Launch the application form the application drawer and on the very first screen toggle the Start Service feature ON. After doing so tap on the Touchable Area.

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Step 3: Under Touchable Area section, select the area style along with the width and height of the area. We would recommend you to keep it close to 5dp or else you would face problems while using other applications.

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Now you are done with the configuration part and you can exit the application to experience the iOS 7 control center on your device. To launch the control center you will have to swipe upwards from the bottom of the but make sure you do not drag open Google Now. As you can see you have toggles for the basic features as well as brightness and volume sliders on the control panel. You will also be able to switch between general and silent ringer profiles.

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The last row of apps at the bottom do not work as per one’s expectations. For example, the camera button does not launch the stock camera app and instead you will have to map it to launch a third party camera app. To change the apps you want to launch using the last row of buttons, you can long press any of the icons and an application list will pop open. You can select the desired app from there.

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Conclusion

A great development coming from the developer community, however, the app still has a couple of bugs which if resolved will make it more appealing.

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Android Tips

Improve The Performance Of Wireless Router Using Android

Recently I bought a new Netgear wireless router for my home and since I have been using Netgear products for a while now, I was able to get it up and running within minutes. It was fairly easy to go ahead with the default settings while setting up and router but the question arises how performance efficient the default settings are?

To be honest the default settings could work wonders for some while prove to dissatisfactory for others. So what is the best possible way to configure your wireless router without getting into the technicalities? Well if you have an android device we have a brilliant solution that would let you enhance the performance of your wireless router within minutes. Wifi Analyzer is an application that scans the nearby wireless networks and the channels they are using. Once spotted, it will display a list of channels that are less crowded to which you can configure your wireless router to. Basically the less crowded a channel is or the less shared it is, the better the reception of your wireless network would be.

How To Use WiFi Analyzer

Step 1: Go to Google Play store and install Wifi Analyzer. Enable wifi and launch the application and immediately it will display your current channel graph which is useful for two purposes:

  • It highlights the channels used by the networks your device has picked up, and
  • It also shows the signal strength of all the nearby networks

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If you swipe across the screen to the left a number of graphs are available for in-depth study. Or you can also tap on the Eye button present on the top and switch to the respective graph. In my case my home router is Netgear which has the highest signal strength as is evident by the height of the curve shown in the graph.

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The time graph, the first one in the images above, tells the signal strength with respect to time. So you will have to keep it running for a couple of seconds before you are able to get the results. Also there is a Channel Rating page wherein you can select your wireless router and get to know which channel has the most stars (most efficient) for your home network.

Moving on you have there is an AP List page that displays all access points, the channels they use, their signal strength and names. The last page is the Signal Meter where you actually test the strength of a wireless network.

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There is also a Settings page where you can enable or disable auto scan and also select the scan interval. You can also change the channel available in your region, set it to auto enable or disable Wifi and even select the color for your wireless network, the color to be used on the graphs.

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Step 2: Once you get familiar with the application and understand what it suggests, you can open your home router’s settings page using a browser on your android device or pc and select the best channel for optimum performance.

Conclusion

I have used this for a couple of days and it really does help in increasing the performance of your home wireless network. Furthermore it is quite easy to understand and does not involve any technicalities. So I would suggest that you go ahead and get this free app right away.

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Android Tips

List Of Best Weather Apps For Android and iOS

Many people do not care about the weather but it is a well known fact that the weather fully determines how we spend a particular day. From the dress we are going to wear, to the outdoor events we are going to be present at, all is dependent on the weather on that day. So it becomes important that we keep ourselves updated with the latest weather information and for that, we bring you the five best weather apps available for your Android device.

WeatherBug Elite

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WeatherBug Elite is in existence since Android version 1.5 and 1.6, and impressively it is still one of the most loved weather apps. The app comes loaded with all the standard features like hourly and weekly forecasts, and radars. What makes it even more powerful is the app’s widget that provides all the latest info under one roof and at the same time lets you customize the background and text so that it matches perfectly with your device’s default theme.

Download: Android | iOS

ilMeteo Weather

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ilMeteo Weather is the next app on the list. This app is quite useful when you are looking for the international weather as it lets you look up and save locations across the globe. The app comes packed with a dedicated weather widget and a clock widget. Besides the interesting bits, the only downside of this app is that it is not as feature rich as its competitors are.

Download: Android | iOS

Yahoo Weather

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This is one of the top three weather apps available for both iOS and Android. Yahoo weather app may not be as complex looking as other apps are, and is rather quite decent in terms of the interface. Recently the app received a comprehensive overhaul and now features a new and slick user interface. Some of the highlights include daily forecasts, maps, wind and pressure, precipitation, and sun and moon phases.

Download: Android | iOS

Go Weather

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The next top app is from a versatile developer team and instead of being an entirely separately, is more of add-on to a popular Android Launcher application. We are talking about GO Weather which comes as a widget for GO Launcher EX android launcher. The app has most of the basic features you would wish for but the area where it really beats others is theming. You get a whole lot of options to theme your widget and make it look as funky as possible. Having said that, the app is not as feature rich as many other competitors are.

Download: Android

1Weather

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1Weather is the app that stands on top of the weather apps list. The app not only packs all the required feature such as radar, forecasts, weather by the hour, weather fun facts, but also is extremely beautiful interface wise. The widgets of this weather app look brilliant and come in variety including a clock widget, a circle widget and more. The app is free to use but features ads which one can get rid of, by paying a reasonable amount.

Download: Android

Similar Applications

For users who have already tried the aforementioned apps may try other weather apps such as WeatherPro, AccuWeather, and RadarNow.

Conclusion

All the apps mentioned above provide the needful information as fast as you would require but the question arises which one has the most user friendly and good looking interface, and offers enough features ? The answer to that is 1Weather and Yahoo Weather as they are the best ones out there.

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Android Tips

List of Twitter Alternatives For Android and iOS

Twitter is one of the most used social networking websites in the world, and for sure there is no doubt on that. There is a dedicated app for Twitter available on all major mobile platforms i.e. iOS, Android and Windows Phone OS, but the same offers less features and functions compared to other Twitter alternatives present out there in the market. Today we will be talking about the top five twitter alternatives for your Android device.

Tweetcaster

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Tweetcaster is one of highest rated Twitter aps with over 10 million downloads. The app packs loads of features including searching within your own timeline or someone else’s timeline, knowing which of your tweets are most mentioned, favorited and retweeted, filter timeline according to content (photo, video or link), hide users and specific keywords without unfollowing them, photo effects, smart lists, and a super useful widget.

Download: Android | iOS

Hootsuite

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Hootsuite is not just about Twitter but Facebook as well and it lets you manage multiple social platform accounts from the same screen. The app has over 6 million users and lets you manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts all from one screen. It allows you to add upto 5 social profiles and if you are willing to shed $10 a month for a Hootsuite Pro account, the app further integrates Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to track the popularity of your tweets.

Download: Android | iOS

Plume

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The next well known Twitter alternative is called Plume. The app presents a beautiful user interface with noteworthy features such as colorizing your timeline/friends from Twitter, Multiple twitter accounts support, Scrollable widgets to display your twitter timeline on your home, Lockscreen widget (Android 4.2+), Mute twitter users, word or applications, Facebook timeline & posting, large view of images with pinch to zoom, Twitter geotagging, and more.

Download: Android

Falcon Pro

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If there is a Twitter alternative which is fast and innovative, it has to be Falcon Pro. Most of the common sections that one wishes to access, such as lists, contacts, profile, etc., are available at a swipe of your finger. If you find it difficult to understand Falcon’s interface, at one touch of a button, the interface changes to that of the dedicated Twitter app. It also features an integrated browser, and offers load of interesting features.

Download: Android

Seesmic

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Seesmic for Twitter is another strong contender for the best Twitter alternative, and which is why millions of users are use it on a daily basis. Highlighting features of the app include Multiple Twitter accounts support, Cross-posting to multiple Twitter accounts and your Facebook account at the same time, Preview photos of messages from Instagram, Twitter, Twitpic and more, Full Twitter search capabilities, Share videos and images, Geotagging, Access and view your Twitter List timeline, and much more.

Download: Android

Similar Applications

Some other Twitter alternatives that we have come across are EchoFon, Tweecha, Scope. Buffer is also a decent Twitter client.

Conclusion

There is no sure shot winner here, but we really liked Tweetcaster and Falcon Pro. Tweetcaster, in spite of being free, offers way too much that one can think of. The same goes for Falcon Pro too, though paid, it offers a good amount of features and a lovely interface that you would like for sure.

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Android Tips

List Of Top Free Hand Sketching/Drawing Apps For Android and iOS

With the size of android gadgets getting bigger and bigger, users have started exploring new ways of how extensively these devices can be used. One of the recent trends that Android users have developed is of drawing and sketching. Users now, in their free time, like to try their artistic skills but for that you need some good sketching apps and in this post we will be talking about the same.

Skitch

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We will start with the free ones first. Skitch is a popular sketching and annotation app, which means you can either sketch from scratch or annotate an existing image. The app is from Evernote’s developers and to use it you need an Evernote account which can be created for free. The app is for basic users and does not feature hardcore drawing tools that is well justified by its price which is free.

Download: Android | iOS

Sketcher Free

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The next free app which is a little more advanced than Skitch is called Sketcher Free. And yes it is available for free. This lovely sketching app features 11 brushes, color picker and eraser, and lets you share them with your friends and family via email and MMS. That is for the free version, but if you want additional features such as adjustable canvas size and the ability to zoom, you can buy Sketcher PRO which is available for $1.99.

Download: Android

Paperless

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If you own a tablet and not a phone then this app is perfect for you. Paperless not only lets you sketch and paint with regular tools, but features water colors, feather, pencil and brushes too. There are a lot of customization options ranging from changing the thickness of the brush, size, opacity, and smoothing to picking your custom colors. Furthermore you can share your creations on Facebook, and the app also lets you save your work in PNG format.

Download: Android | iOS

Fresco Paint Pro

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The next feature rich sketching app is called Fresco Paint Pro. Described as a ‘mobile art studio for Android’, the application features a variety of brushes, filters and effects to help you come up with some pretty impressive art images. The app also has an autosave feature that saves your canvas in a timely manner while you are working on it and also lets you export them in Photoshop PSD format for further editing jobs. There is also a free version of the app called Fresco Paint Lite, which you an try before going for the pro version.

Download: Android

SketchBook Pro

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SketchBook Pro is the ultimate Android drawing app that comes with a range of professional sketching and painting  tools that includes 60 preset brushes, layer blending, and customizable brush settings. The interface is very intuitive and streamlined too, and thus is quite user friendly. The paid app could sound a little too expensive at $4.99, but there is also a free version available called SketchBook Express and you can try that before buying the ultimate Pro version.

Download: Android | iOS

Similar Applications

Some other noteworthy sketching and drawing apps are SketchBook Express and Infinite Design. iOS users can also look at ArtRage and Paper.

Conclusion

The aforementioned apps are available in both free and paid versions. So what we suggest is that you download the free versions of the respective apps, try them out and then go ahead with the paid ones. As far as our verdict is concerned, SketchBook Pro is definitely the ultimate app, not because of its pricing, but because of its features and ease of use.

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Android Tips

List Of Best Keyboard Apps For Android

As we all know there are endless possibilities when it comes to customizing your Android, and if we can install different launchers and icons, we can improve our typing experience for sure too. The stock keyboard available on Android is good enough for all applications but even that can be replaced with some better or I should faster keyboards available on the Google Play Store. In this post we will talk about some of the best keyboard apps available.

SwiftKey Keyboard

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To start with we have the SwiftKey which sits at the top of the pack. The layout of the keyboard is attractive and easy to use and features stellar next work prediction. If one is not comfortable typing through words he or she can also type by sliding his or her finger from letter to letter without lifting. Even if you are precise with sliding your fingers from one letter to the other, SwiftKey is capable enough to guess the correct time that you are trying to type. The app also features a split keyboard feature that works only in landscape mode.

Download: Android

TouchPal Keyboard

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The next strong contender in the list is TouchPal which offers both tap and slide-to-type functionality. The design is elegant too and comes with some unusual options, such as to switch to a compact T12 keyboard mode where multiple letters are shown on a single key. This is similar to what we used to see on mobile phones made a couple of years ago. The keyboard has the ability to suggest words based on the letters you are typing in. One very interesting feature is Twitter integration, which ones configured, lets you tweet directly from the keyboard by tapping an icon.

Download: Android

Swype Keyboard

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This is keyboard that popularized the swipe to type concept and in spite of new keyboard apps coming to the market, Swype still remains a strong contender. The swipe to type feature works flawlessly on this app and the accuracy is very impressive, with a next word prediction feature. Further Swype has a unique set of gesture based commands and also accepts freehand written text. For tablets this is greatly beneficial as users will be able to choose between the standard keyboard, a split-screen keyboard and even a small floating keyboard.

Download: Android

Thumb Keyboard

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Thumb keyboard is meant for users who are never happy with the default keyboard layout and want something as per their requirements. The keyboard is exceptionally customizable ranging from selecting your themes, to selecting your own backgrounds, changing colors of keyboard elements, setting up custom gestures, and much more. For thumb based typing, one can also switch to a split format that works better on large screen android gadgets.

Download: Android

A.I.type Keyboard Plus

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A.I.type keyboard is offers most of the features that the aforementioned keyboards do, however, the one feature that sets it apart is Float-n-Split mode. You must have guessed it by now, on large screened devices, the keyboard can be split in to two separate halves, each of which can be moved and resized independently. Secondary key functions are also available, and can be activated via long-presses. Furthermore, it boasts plenty of visual options such as themes, background images, etc.

Download: Android

Similar Applications

Some other noteworthy Android keyboard replacement apps are Smart Keyboard,  SlideIT and Shortcut Keyboard.

Conclusion

All the keyboards mentioned in the post are great and offer more than what you would expect. Being our job, we have mentioned the strong points of each of the keyboards and now it is you to decide which keyboard will suit your needs.

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Android Tips

List Of Top Floating Apps For Hardcore Multitasking On Android

The best part about Android OS, apart from its enormous file ecosystem, is the ability to multitask with apps. But at the same time multitasking can only be performed in the background and true desktop style multitasking is not what we have been seeing on Android. Having said that, there are a couple of good apps that can let you perform true multitasking with on your Android phone or tablet as they float on top of everything else on your screen.

Floating Browser

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Lets start with the first app which we think is quite useful. Browsing that something we all do all the time, whether we are using our desktop or our Android device. Floating Browser is a fully featured browser but its floating ability makes it extremely handy. It can float over any other currently running apps without affecting the these apps running in the background. It is resizable and fully supports tabbed browsing and bookmarking.

Download: Floating Browser For Android

GPlayer

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GPlayer as the name suggests, is a player but what sort? GPlayer is capable of playing videos in a floating window over other opened application. It is easily resizable and offers a handful of customizations for all types of users. It comes in handy especially when you are watching a movie and at the same talking about the same with your friends or family on an instant messenger or any of the social networking websites. The app comes with a built in file explorer so that you can browse to the videos you added and play them.

Download: GPlayer Video Player For Android

Tiny Apps

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Unlike the aforementioned apps that are serve just one purpose, Tiny Apps is a group of floating apps that can be used on top of other apps. It comes in two versions: Lite and Paid. The Lite version offers five apps: Notes, Sound Recorder, Paint, a Music Player, and a Calculator, while the paid one offers a floating browser and the ability to make any widget you have installed a floating app. This is very interesting as you can convert any regular widget into a floating one which makes it super convenient to multitask.

Download: Tiny Apps For Android (Lite)

Floating Notifications

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Facebook has added a new feature to their app, called Chat Heads which offer you the ability to text and message people via a floating ‘head’ on your screen. This is an extremely cool feature as you do not have to leave what you are doing and reply or read messages right then and there. If you are looking for a more powerful version of Facebook’s Chat Heads, you can install Floating Notifications that offers notifications for almost everything and also can be customized with tons of options. It comes with several themes too.

Download: Floating Notifications For Android (Trial)

LilyPad

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LilyPad is a great app for Android tablets. It sets up a floating interface for using several instant messaging services to chat with friends and family and saves you from the pain of switching back and forth. The app is extremely intuitive and and features gestures to minimize and hide specific chat windows. Free version of the app only supports Google Hangouts, but the paid version supports Facebook Messenger, AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and Jabber.

Download: LilyPad For Android

Conclusion

These are only five floating apps that we think would enhance your Android experience and would let you exploit this powerful OS. Beside these there are many other apps too, so we would suggest that you do try out the ones we mentioned above and let us know how helpful or painful they have been.

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Android Tips

List Of Essential Apps For Writers For Android and iOS

There was a a time when writing was done with the help of paper and pen but in the recent times the scenario has greatly changed. The modern writers are more keen on trying their hands not only scribbling through paper but also on technology. Yes, smartphones, tablets and PC have completely changed the way writers used to write and in the coming times it is only going to evolve. In this post we will talk about some apps that will help modern writers achieve greater productivity levels.

Evernote

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No, this is not just a note taking app. Evernote is probably the most useful tool for writers as it offers a comprehensive note-taking experience and can be synced between almost any device. There is a variety of data that can be created through Evernote, including text, images, voice recordings, documents and much more.  Further you can also organize notes by notebooks and tags, email notes and even share them with your friends and colleagues via Facebook and Twitter.

Download: Android | iOS

Springpad

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Springpad is another extremely useful app for writers. Other than the regular tasks like creating to-do lists, taking notes, recording voice reminders etc., the app also allows users to save content from the internet using the integrated web clipper, get useful tips, share your ideas, bookmark webpages and much more. As with Evernote, the data is synced with the servers and can be accessed from almost any device, making it convenient for writers to proceed with their ideas when they have time.

Download: Android | iOS

Draft

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Moving on from the free apps to one of the best paid apps for writers, we have Drafts. While Evernote and Springpad are used for noting down your ideas, Drafts is complete text editor and creator app. The basic features that a writer would require are easy to use interface, text formatting, word count, ability to change font and theme and instant synchronization. Gladly, Drafts offers the mentioned features and you would definitely like working on it.

Download: Android

Google Drive

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Evernote can be used to absolutely everything, but what about the non-text items such as photos or scanned documents? This is where Google Drive comes in handy. This cloud storage service offers enough space for writes to store all the non-text documents which could include images from the web, scanned documents, illustrations and more. Another very useful feature of Google Drive app is its scanner that generates excellent images.

Download: Android | iOS

JotterPad X

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We are covering JotterPad X in the last place but that does not affect its importance. Its is a five star rated app on the Google Play store and features a minimalist interface for both casual and creative writers. It’s perfect for writing essay, lyrics, news article, magazine and poems. Some other highlights of JotterPad X include undo, redo, night mode, finding phrase, pop up research (dictionary/thesaurus), auto-save, text styling and Markdown.

Download: Android

Similar Applications

Although the aforementioned apps are will offer enough features to writers for kickstarting with their new ideas, it is always helpful to add a few more applications that could prove useful for select users. Some similar apps worth considering are WunderList, MindJet, Writer and FreeNote.

Conclusion

This post is not about a particular type of apps and rather covered all the apps that are essential for writers. JotterPad X is definitely a great writing app and so is EverNote and Springpad but the latter ones differ in the sense that they offer rich media to be added along with text. My advice is to use EverNote, Springpad and Google Drive for noting down ideas while JotterPad for creating proper text files.

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Android Tips

List Of Home Improvement Apps For Android and iOS

When one buys an unfurnished house for your family or yourself, the only and only thing he or she is concerned about is the interior. No matter what advise an interior designer gives to you, in the end it is about you to be satisfied with the look. Now there are people who do not get enough time to sit and design their house themselves, and instead hire a designer straightaway. But there are also a kind which relies more on their own ideas than going with what others say. For such people we are listing five home improvement and design apps that will help you come up with the best designs possible.

Houzz Interior Design Ideas

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Houzz is our first pick of the lot as it sports close to a million high resolution photos of interior design for some of the best ideas. You are also allowed to filter through this enormous photos database with categories like style, type of room, and location. After going through all the photos one can create his or her virtual diary of ideas and save them for offline viewing. Further you can share your saved ideas with your contractor.

Download: Android

My Dream Home Interior Design

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My Dream Home Interior Design features an inspirational design gallery of everyday spaces. The complete gallery consists of only high definition pictures and also supports live wallpapers. New HD interior images are added to the app on a regular basis and they can be shared to your friends and family via Facebook or Twitter.

Download: Android

Interior Design

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Interior Design claims to offer some of the best decorating inspirations for a lot many things. The app is filled with photos that not only provide inspiration for formal designs, but casual designs too. Whether the need is simple, small space or house interior, modern design, room, house interior or decoration, the app has got  enough photos that will help you find the inspiration you need.

Download: Android

Interior Design by FreeAndroApp

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Interior Design application is a simple,good and elegant collection of interior design images which come in handy when decorating your home with one of these designs. It includes designs for bathroom,bedroom, kitchen, and living room. There is also an option to mark selected images as favorites and then use them later on.

Download: Android

Interior Design Gallery

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The next interior design app is called Interior Design Gallery. This application is a good collection of interior designs for your bedroom, kitchen, and living room. The collection may not be as huge as what Houzz offers but they are definitely worth taking a look.

Download: Android

Similar Applications

If you feel the applications listed above are not enough, there are plenty of other alternatives too such as Interior Design, and Interior Design Ideas & Photos. For painting the walls inside of your home you can download BEHR ColorSmart, and if you are putting in a new carpet then the cost of that can be calculated using this calculator.

Conclusion

Though all the aforementioned apps are great in their own way, we pick Houzz as the best interior design app. There is a humongous amount of pictures that one can go through to draw inspiration and we liked the design too.