It’s feels like forever since last I wrote my last tool Kit article. However even though I have not published one in a while I have actually been working on some new ones in the background. One of those that I’ve been working on will be a Windows Phone 8.1 tool Kit due to the fact that I am currently back to using a Windows Phone. That one is still a work in progress but during a conversation with a bro of mine I ended up getting a brilliant idea. You see before the holiday my Nexus 7 stop working completely (It was unresponsive, wouldn’t charge and if I somehow managed to get it on it would lock up) so I chuck it into a corner so that I didn’t have to look at it and feel pissed that I couldn’t read any of my ebooks/manga. Then 2 nights ago I got an idea to just leave the thing charging for a while and see what happens. To my surprise the next day it was at 40% charge. I know that sounds bad after leaving the thing over night, but to me that was good news. It meant that the device was still working and that the problem was just the battery and software (fingers crossed), things I can easily change out and fix for just($15 USD). So I left the device charging and after I got it at 100% charge I tried to put it on. It took some time to load up my apps, and soon I was able to navigate the device and get it running in a way that I could actually use. This however was not the way I wanted to use my device and so I proceeded to manually update it from android 4.4.4 to 5.0 (lollipop). Thanks to the help of Jamie Wagner‘s video I was able to do so:
After a night of troubleshooting I was able to successfully get lollipop running on it. So there was one last thing that I needed to do and that was to get my favorite apps back on the device, some of which have changed since last I wrote Top 5 Must own android tablet apps in 2013.
So what are the top 5 apps that have my fancy now?
- Google Keep
Google Keep is one of those apps that comes packaged in with Google apps. Anyone that knows anything about bundled software knows that most of those bundled in apps that come on phones, laptops and tablets these days are useless pieces of garbage that you can’t get rid of that do nothing but slow down your device. Google Keep is not one of those. It’s an exception. It’s one that you need, it’s one that you want, and to be frank most of the Google apps are that way. Keep is a sticky note type of app similar to Evernote and OneNote, as such it comes with all the bells and whistles that you’d expect from this type of app. It allows for the user to make notes on their device in a sticky note fashion, colour code, add pictures and sync them between all their devices connected to that account. As someone that does a lot of writing this a an app that I use regularly. Sometime I may need to jut down my thoughts at any moment and keep is fast and easy enough to use to facilitate that need. It has a simple easy to use interface that will be familiar to anyone that has use any of the other Google apps I.e. the YouTube app. There is even check list feature so that you can set tasks and check them off as you complete them, or maybe use it for you grocery list. 😉
Google keep is a very versatile app and as far as I’m concerned it’s one that could be useful to every android user no matter how they use their device.
Get Google Keep: Link
This is one app that I’ve written about in my previous list and to be honest not much has changed about it, but that’s not bad thing as the app was pretty much perfect to begin with. It is the best ebook reader on android and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Aldiko has the ability to use formats like pdf, epub and more. It also has a store feature to allow you to buy those new books you don’t already have, but I’d advice buying from a third party. That way you can choose you preferred format, (I recommend epub) and easily put it on any other devices that you wish to read it on. Aldiko may lack a built in sync feature and a few other micro managing features, but what’s so good about it is that it’s simple, simple and sweet. Look just stop here for a sec and just look at my beautiful bookshelf below.
Isn’t is it beautiful
When not being looking at the beautiful virtual bookshelf this app can also serves as a wonderful ebook reader. It allows for the user to change text size, colour, margins and more. This is all neatly hidden behind a well implemented touch system. On my tab I am able to slide my thumb up and down the left side of the screen to control the brightness while reading and with a touch to the upper or lower parts of the screen I can bring up a menu system that even allows me to share what I’m reading with other apps such as Google keep, Facebook, etc. While tapping on the left or right side of the screen changes the page. It is features like these that make this such a great app to use. It makes it easy to do anything that involves reading. The app does however lack a sync feature.
However I feel I should also point out that even though it lacks a built in sync feature there is a third party one in the Google play store that uses you dropbox account to sync chapter progression and such between devices. It’s not ideal but it works and that’s good enough for me.
Get Aldiko: Link
As you know buttonsmashersblog.com is a website that hosts numerous wonderful podcast that can be listened to here on the site, but how is one supposed to listen to the good stuff while on the go? There are many podcast apps on Android that I’ve used over the years but none quite as good as this one. Not even itunes is as good as this app. 😮
BeyondPod is a neat simple to use podcast app that looks easy to use, but has all the micromanaging features that a podcast listener could ever want. Episodes can be downloaded to your device manually or via a schedule update feature. The app also allows you to easily organize your podcasts into subfolders so that you can listen to BSP then TLOP and GGP one after the other in a playlist. If you are a person that drives there is also a driving feature that switches the view of the app into one that has much larger button controls to allow for switching, and pausing episode with relative ease.
BeyondPod is one of the few apps that I would ever recommend you buy an unlock key for and that is because it is a quality app before you buy the key and becomes an even better one after you buy the key. The developers put a lot of effort into this app and I appreciate it a lot. 🙂
Get BeyondPod: link
MangaWatcher is another returning app from my previous list. Even though the name of the app may have had a 2 added to it, it still retains all the good features that I liked about it and adds a few new ones that are very much welcomed. MangaWatcher is a manga reader app that is not available in the Google Play store so you will have to download it from (here).
The app has a similar look to Aldiko as it borrows that beautiful virtual bookshelf look. This is a look that I like for all my e-reading apps on my devices. Now don’t assume that this app makes the list only on the merit of its looks alone. The app is very user friendly with lots of ways to customize your shelf, and the way you read your manga. To help you understand how this works I’ll explain how I have mine set up.
Firstly mine is sectioned off into multiple shelves that are labelled (uncategorized, ecchi, and none ecchi). This way when I’m about to read I have an easy way to choose the type of manga I’m gonna read by an ecchiness factor. (yes that is a valid scale)
Then there is the ability to choose how I read. With these options I have set my tab to auto rotate and one finger zoom so that when I’m lying in bed I can easily move my tab around to suite the comfort of my hands. Then I like to have the pages flip from right to left, because that’s how it is when I read physical manga books. I also have the sync feature enabled to allow for me to access my manga no matter what device I use. This feature is very useful if you’re like me and you change mobile devices more frequently than others, or have multiple devices. The sync feature syncs all the manga you’re reading and your progress in them. There is also an achievement system in the app, but that is not yet a perfected feature because it actually stores you achievement data on your device and is unable to sync it between multiple devices. This sucks because this is a feature that I was actually excited about when it was first added. Other than that this app is perfect for manga reading on phone or tablet.
Get MangaWatcher2: link
How do you read our articles? This is a question that I’m always wondering. I’m sure most of you read them from the browser which is cool, but I actually do not usually read from our site or any other site really from my browser. I find that I focus more on what I’m reading when I’m away from my desktop on a mobile device. So when it comes to reading new news articles and keeping up with what my fellow Buttonsmashers editors are writing I tend to use Flipboard. It’s a very neat app that connects to a websites feed and allows one to read their favourite articles on the go. I have this app on my phone, tab and windows 8.1 PC, and on each device I find it beats out the competition. The look and feel of the app is designed to be similar to a book so you have to flip the pages to navigate the app. turning pages in a virtual book/magazine has a really wonderful feel to it. The app comes packaged with quite a few pre-set news feeds like news, sports and technology. Along with those you can add other feeds via URL, social accounts and RSS. These newly added feeds can then be customized to suite your visual preference. The app also comes with the expected ability to sync preferences between devices over multiple platforms. The last thing about flipboard that I think is pretty cool is the ability to create virtual magazines that you can update and have other flipboard users subscribe too. These magazines are beautiful virtual representations of what a physical magazine is. So with that why not get you self a copy of flipboard and get to reading, oh and if you want to sub to my magazine my user name is: Lpgardian. 😉
Get Flipboard: Link
Here are 5 other apps you’re gonna want to get. :p
- Astro file manager: A very user friendly File manager.
- Google hangout: it’s better than Skype, cooler than Facebook chat, and more stylish than Viber.
- Hola: For those of us that want to access websites and apps no matter our region (screw region locking)
- Pocket: The best way to bookmark a webpage, article or blog to read on the go.
- Google Drive: I find Windows OneDrive better, but GD is not far behind.