Sunday, 15 September 2013

Make the most of that huge tool you have in your hands

For those of us with a screen larger than 4 inches and multicore processors in our phones (most android users), apps like the two I'm about to mention are another reason you will be glad you didn't get an iPhone.
The first one is called Floating Stickies. I found this app a few months back, and it works brilliantly. The name says it all, but you may not realise just how useful it is until you try it out. It puts a little sticky note on your screen on top of whatever app you're running in the background. A good example of use is when you're looking up details on a website:

As you can see, its great for taking notes without the need to switch between apps - but equally as useful is the fact that it is dockable!

I've got three stickies 'docked' on the upper left side of my screen in the above pic, they're represented by a small 'pencil' icon and can individually be dragged onto the screen, resized, added to or copied from at any time, on top of any app! It isn't a huge leap in technology; desktop operating systems have used windowed applications for a long time, but we are so used to full-screen apps on smart phones that its refreshing to see some developers creating floating apps such as this - it brings multitasking on your phone to a new level. Have a 10 inch tablet? It makes a lot more sense to have floating stickies than a full-screen 'notes' app for jotting things down.

Floating Stickies is available for free on Google Play:
The second app I'd like to touch on is called Showtime. It does what the name says, plus a little more that you mightn't expect! (The developer has called it Showtime - this is the title when in the full-screen mode of the app, but search for Youtube Floating HD Player on the Play store or use the link provided below)

Here I've got a chat window open with one of my mates AND while I'm waiting on his replies, watching videos on YouTube! The window can be minimised (to your notifications bar) and still play audio, ready to be recalled at any time in a floating, windowed format or in full-screen glory. You can optionally pause first (so that you don't miss out on those videos you're actually watching as opposed to those you're just listening to.) AND it allows you to select the quality of the video, seek through the video, mute - all from the floating window!

It would be GREAT if the app could also play videos from your gallery - well guess what? IT CAN!
(Disclaimer, on my HTC One X running a custom ROM, it doesn't work correctly, but most people report it working for them!)

At this stage you have to browse to the desired video within your gallery, then "share" the video and choose "Showtime" as the target. This might be a tad clunky, but it's not hard, and I really think it was great that the app developer included this feature - a bit more polish and it will be nothing short of perfection! Infact, this app is worth getting even for smaller screens / older devices as it allows you to stream in whatever quality you desire (most older devices have a limit on maximum quality, this app overrides that limit.)

Showtime is available for free on Google Play:

I found these two apps a little while back, but I've since purchased a new Ainol 'Spark' 9.7" tablet (with retina display) and was looking for apps that would be useful on a larger display - These two apps will be great for a tablet or android-powered TV!

Leave us a comment if you've used one of these or similar apps before, or if you know any others which make the most of our large screens!