Android apps of the day [June 15, 2012]

Today’s Apps

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Android has over 450,000 apps. With so many apps out there, app discovery (aka finding new and useful apps) is extremely difficult. With our Android Apps of the Day initiative, dotTech aims to change that. Everyday we post three apps, allowing our readers to discover new apps, daily. Enjoy! [Subscribe to our Android section to never miss an article: RSS Feed | E-mail]

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Apps for June 15, 2012

Open Garden

There are tethering apps which allow you to share Internet connectivity between your devices. However, to use tethering apps you need to have access to at least one device that has Internet connectivity. What happens if you don’t have that one device, such as if you are abroad on vacation or in another city or whatever? That is where Open Garden comes in.

Open Garden is a unique tethering app that creates a peer-to-peer mesh network among its users, providing Internet access to everyone in the network. Essentially what this means is through Open Garden, users can access the Internet without ever owning a device that has Internet connectivity itself. Think of it like tethering — but tethering off strangers (with their permission, of course — when they install Open Garden they allow for this to happen).

How Open Garden operates is it connects devices via Bluetooth; Open Garden users are automatically added to the mesh network as they appear nearby. Internet connectivity is shared through this Bluetooth connection. This, of course, means you need to turn on Bluetooth whenever you want to use Open Garden; or you need to keep Bluetooth continually on if you are one of those good souls that want to share your Internet connection. (The longer Bluetooth is on, the more battery is drained.) Another downside of this Bluetooth method is Open Garden doesn’t work unless other Open Garden users are in Bluetooth range.

Still, even with the downsides Open Garden is a novel idea. There isn’t much information regarding data security (I wouldn’t recommend surfing sensitive websites, such as bank accounts, while using Open Garden) but nonetheless Open Garden can the potential to be a must-have app; it all depends on how quickly it is adopted. The interesting part is Open Garden is available on Windows and Mac OS X, so you can even run your laptop (or desktop) on this mesh network, if desired.

Note: Because of the lack of Open Garden users in my close proximity, I have not fully tested Open Garden. But based on prior experience with Open Garden and based on the comments on this new app’s Play Store page, Open Garden works for most devices. Forgive me for my inability to properly test this app, friends.

Price: Free

Version discovered: v1.1 Beta

Requires: Android 2.0.1 and up

Download size: 600 KB

Open Garden on Play Store

Easy Voice Recorder

Easy Voice Recorder is, as the name suggests, an easy-to-use voice/sound recorder. To record something with Easy Voice Recorder (note: it isn’t intended as a call recorder), simply run the app and hit the record button; Easy Voice Recorder then minimizes itself to the notification bar and records whatever it hears. Easy Voice Recorder continues to record until you tell it to stop (it even records after your device’s screen has been turned off) by either tapping on it in the pull-down menu or opening the app via its icon and hitting the stop button. If you want to pause recording, as opposed to stopping, you can do that, too.

Easy Voice Recorder has a built-in audio player that has the ability to playback recordings; but it gives users the ability to playback recordings using their own third-party audio player, if desired. Other features of Easy Voice Recorder include a list that shows all recordings; the ability to automatically name saved recordings; the ability to share recordings via email, Bluetooth, or Dropbox; and the ability to rename/delete recordings.

Easy Voice Recorder has the ability to store recordings in AMR, AAC, or PCM audio formats. Take note if recording to AMR or AAC format, then you can’t pause recordings; PCM allows for pausing.

Take note the features of Easy Voice Recorder describe it as having widget support which allows you to easily record audio from your homescreen. However, there doesn’t appear to be any Easy Voice Recorder widgets on my Nexus S. I’m not sure if this is a bug or what.

Easy Voice Recorder comes in free and paid versions. The free version has all the features I described above. The paid version has more features such as the ability a VU meter, support for a proximity sensor, etc.

Price: Free, $3.41

Version discovered: v1.3.0

Requires: Android 2.1 and up

Download size: 726 KB

Easy Voice Recorder Free on Play Store | Easy Voice Recorder Pro on Play Store

Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter

Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter is a game in which you… hunt dinosaurs. The game includes 3D, well-designed graphics, the ability to use six different weapons, six stages, ten different types of dinosaurs, and two game modes (‘Hunter’ mode in which you hunt roaming dinosaurs and ‘Survive’ mode in which dinosaurs run at you with the intention to kill and you must shoot them down).

The free version of Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter has two unlocked stages, three unlocked dinosaurs, and two unlocked weapons. To unlock the other content you can make optional in-app purchases.

Overall Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter is a fun and semi-unique game, if I do say so myself. However, I’d suggest the developer to add some sort of better aiming, at least something like crosshairs so players can see where they are shooting.

Note: Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter is for phones while Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter HD is for tablets.

Price: Free with optional in-app purchases

Version discovered: v1.3

Requires: Android 2.1 and up

Download size: 35 MB

Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter on Play Store | Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter HD on Play Store

dotTechies: We have tested all the apps listed above. However, Android Apps of the Day articles are not intended as “reviews” but rather as “heads-up” to help you discover new apps. Always use your best judgement when downloading apps, such as trying trial/free versions before purchasing paid apps, if applicable.

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