Posted by Rajib Kundu On Friday, April 19, 2013 0 comments
After publishing the two previous posts on android app security with anti-virus apps and app locker apps , this is the third installment of the series which discusses are android phone tracker apps. These type of apps are very useful find your phone when they are lost or stolen. You can even delete your sensitive data from the phone using SMS or intranet when your phone is lost or stolen. These apps can accurately track the exact location on Google maps to help you find your phone quickly. What if you don’t have any of these apps installed when you have lost the phone? You can just install any of these apps remotely from Google play store and start tracking your phone.
Wheres My Droid is a very useful app when it comes to finding your lost or stolen phone. If you cannot find your phone, you have to send a text message, with a particular word from any other phone to your phone. Upon receiving the text your phone will start ringing and vibrate. If your phone is too far away so that you cannot hear the identity this comment in the ring, then you can get the exact GPS location and Google Maps Location by sending another text message. If someone steals your phone and try to change the sim, then this app will notify you by sending a text message with the GPS location of the phone. The stealth mode allows no notification display upon receiving the text with attention word.
The PRO version(Purchased version) has even more interesting features. The PRO version takes pictures of the person handling the phone and send an MMS to you. You can remotely lock the phone, wipe out SD card data or phone data.
This is a very light weight version of “Wheres My Droid” with only two limited features like find your phone by ringing/vibrating via SMS and find GPS location of the phone. This version of the app is very lightweight, less than 1 MB and good for those who don’t need the extra functionalities of the original version.
This app is not yet as popular as “Wheres my Droid”, but it has all the functionalities that you can or cannot imagine from a Phone finder app. Among the virtually limitless list of functionalities some important ones are Ring phone Remotely (using SMS), erase SD card data, lock phone, find GPS location, start Wi-Fi and gps , Take picture of the thief using both rear and front camera, remote install, send email when sim card is changed and lots more. This app is also very lightweight, about 500 kb in size. A lot of positive feedback from users signifies that this app is actually does what it promises. Only drawback of this app is , it is not very user friendly .
Android security apps are very much essential for keeping your sensitive data safe from hackers and other malware apps. Today as the popularity of android phones rises, a lot of users are using the android phone for banking transaction, shopping carts to buy stuff. Malicious apps and hackers can track passwords and other sensitive information from your android phone to recover your banking and financial details. Does it is very essential to install different security apps available in the play market to keep your android phone safe from hackers and malwares. These security apps can be categorized into antivirus, password manager, android phone locator and app protector.
Lookout Security & Antivirus gives you total security against any attempts to steal sensitive data by Mariners and viruses and also fax your phone when it is lost or stolen. The essential features of this antivirus are
it detects viruses hidden in malicious apps, e-mails or contacts.
It blocks malicious URLs from stealing your sensitive data when you click those URLs from your browser.
It blocks malicious contact numbers when you dial those numbers from your mobile browser
Locate the position of your phone and displayed on Google maps.
Sounds an alarm so that you can find the exact location of your mobile phone.
Backup and restore facility for your contacts.
Avast antivirus is another very popular antivirus tool available in the market. It has the following very useful features like
It scans apps and memory cards for viruses and malwares and whenever you install new apps from the market.
It gives you remote control access to your phone using SMS or web to track the phone, wipe out data and alert siren etc.
Scans URLs to check malicious websites when you browse the web.
Filters out SMS and calls that you do not intend to receive.
Works as an app manager, by listing out the apps and the amount of memory usage by each of app.
It acts as firewall in rooted phones.
Monitor network Traffic.
And lot more.
This is a very lightweight antivirus security app, about 2 mb in size and has limited bit essential security functionalities. It is very useful for users with low-end android phones and limited data plan. This anti-virus works quite well in scanning apps and is the card contents for viruses and malwares. It gives updates with smaller data file size to save network traffic for users with limited data plan. It has low battery power requirements that is does not drain out your battery very quickly. This app does not require very high CPU usage, to stop degrading the performance of your phone.
This is an antivirus app developed by the desktop and laptop antivirus company Symantec. It can scan apps and is the card contents for viruses and finds out the apps that are responsible for is slowing down your phones performance. It implies a unique feature that, it uses the opinion submitted by millions of Symantec community users to quickly find out malicious apps. Apart from virus scanning features, it has anti-theft feature like buzzing siren to quickly find the missing phone, easing out data remotely in case of theft, filter out unwanted calls and SMS, sync contacts between different phones and devices and lot more.
Along with the anti-virus apps you'll also need to install security apps that protect other apps. These types of apps are called App-Locker, which password protects other apps, installed in your phone so that any user or Virus cannot open the apps for malicious intent. App-Locker forces and is an user to type passwords in order to open other installed apps, thus even if anyone handles your phone who does not know the password cannot open the sensitive apps.
Smart App Protector is one of the most popular app-locker available in the play market. With this app is up to enter a password or swipe your finger according to a pattern in order to open in an installed app. Thus any user or friend who wants to open your apps without your permission will be able to open them. It can also backup and restore other apps. Apart from app locking, it can lock USB Connection, Outgoing calls, 3g Data and Wi-Fi. Along with App Password protection it also locks the screen so that the screen does not go off. It also stops the screen from auto rotating. There are four types of locks: password (number, character), pattern, gesture. It supports other features like locking apps remotely using SMS, unlocking apps using Wi-Fi. It limits the unlocking attempts to a certain number of times, so that any harmful user cannot go on attempting different passwords to unlock apps.
This is another app locker which is really loved by the android users. It can password protect any application along with the SMS, Messenger , Pictures, Camera, Email, USB Connect, Calendar...any apps you choose. It is a very good feature that it lets you unlock your app by reading your thumbnail impression. It has widget support. It can lock auto rotation and the auto brightness for the apps you have selected. It can filter certain home screens which is to be shown only after unlocking with password. Drawback of this app is it does not support small screen phones like HTC wildfire.
APP Lock is another very popular app-locker. Apart from regular services like locking apps with password are patterns, it can lock incoming calls, display quick lock switch in widgets and home screen, allow apps to remain unlock for short amount of time once they're unlocked. It is a very high average rating of 4.6 which signifies most users are very happy with this app.
Ever wanted to protect your personal gallery images from praying eyes? Then this app is for you. Gallery Lock can hide individual pictures and videos within your gallery. This app is compatible to any gallery apps installed in your phone, so that none of the gallery application can open the hidden pictures and videos. It provides a stealth mode which even hides the Gallery Lock app shortcut. Gallery Lock provides both pattern lock and password lock.
This is another gallery protection app that safeguards the privacy of your images and videos from the gallery. This app can perform all essential features like hiding images, videos and it has three types of screen lock facility: PINs, Password, and Pattern. It is very lightweight, only about 2 mb in size thus perfectly suitable for phones with no internal memory.
Google Now is a newly introduced predictive search feature for JellyBean (4.1) users. It gives you a lot of information base on your daily activity.
It gives you information like weather, how much traffic can you expect based on your next appointment, arrival time of your next train, Your favorite football teams score in card format. All these information will be very easily accessible with just few swipes of your finger.
Few of the most interesting Google Now cards that are currently available
Next Appointment – This card tells you information about the traffic you can expect towards your next destination
Weather – Shows the weather of your locality and also weather of your destination.
Traffic – traffic condition and alternate routes for your next destination.
Restaurant Reservation – Shows the time remaining to reach the restaurant reserved for you.
Events – How much time remaining for the start events tickets that you purchased and direction to reach the event.
Friend’s Birthday – It reminds you about your friend’s birthday and let you wish him on G+ and display their contact information.
Hotels – the navigation direction to the hotel that you have reserved.
Flights – Displays Real-Time flight status.
Sports – Getting updates on sports and live scores of your favorite team is very easy with Google Now.
Movies - getting information about movie Showtime in which he is playing in the theatre near you can be done by using the movies card.
Stocks – Stock information can be received through the stocks card.
Breaking News – Breaking News card keeps you updated about the latest happening around you.
Research topic – this card gives information about the exciting and resourceful websites on a particular topic that you want to Research.
Public transit – this card gives information about the buses or a nearby subway station around you.
Places – this card gives information about bars, restaurants, and places of interest around your current location.
Nearby events – This card shows the information about current events.
Currency – quickly check the local currency conversion rates.
Translation – quickly translate the words that you want to say to foreign languages.
These are the current features that are currently available in Google now. Google is constantly releasing updates on the current cards and also releasing more and more new cards. This app makes your life easier by providing the right information at the right time whenever you need. You can control this app using your voice. The only downside of this app is it is currently available to only Jellybean (4.1)users.
Today's android camera apps are great for taking professional quality images using the smartphone. These apps greatly enhance the photos while capturing the images and enhance the capability of the camera by adding exposure, contrast, focus controls. This apps are also capable of adding multishots, burst mode, Toy camera effect and lots of other effects like Holga, Lomo, Tilt Shift effects etc.
User rating - 48,000
Avg. rating - 4.4
This app is one of the most popular apps available for android. Features like 6x optical/dizital zoom, 10 shots per second, Hardware button customization makes it very useful for serious and amateur photographers both. This is one of the very few apps which can handle Front Facing Camera. Being able to change autofocus, white balance, night shots, ISO, exposure and lot more useful features makes it quite popular among photographers.
It also support multiple options for post processing. Lots of readymade effects like Retro, Toy Camera, Diana, lomo, vintage, cinematic, funky, pencil, Holga 35mm etc effects makes your dull images pop up instantly. There are various another complex post processing options like Mirror effects, Tilt shift to rather basic but very essential options like cropping , resizeing, collage, Rotate.
You can tap on any part of the screen to click the shutter. Select a particular folder to save images directly.
User rating - 55,000
Avg. rating - 4.1
This is another great Camera app to take pictures with nice effects to produce Great quality photos using your smartphone. With Pudding camera you can choose effects to simulate 9 different quality camera and various film like fisheye and toy camera effects. Film effects are ranging from Retro , Vintage Brown Sensibility Basic to Vintage Blue, Dazzle, Vignetting, Mono, Noir, Vivid. It also offers Cameras Effects - Tilt-Shift, Fish-eye (hemispherical), Multi-frame Shots & Fish-eye , Fantasy (Tilt-Shift), Triplex (3 shots). Other regular features are face recognition, exposure control, different resolution up to 1280 PX, grid view. You can instantly upload the images to Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, Flickr and other social sites. It also support front camera functionality.
Pudding Camera is really loved by a lot of users but still it lacks some useful features like zoom in/out option & burst mode. Also the time it takes to save the images in place the card is quite very long.
User rating - 50,000
Avg. rating - 4.4
Smart phone cameras are mostly used for taking pictures of friends and relatives. For this reason Cymera Android Camera App is mostly concentrate in portrait capturing functionality. According to the developer this is the best protect portrait capturing android app. It has different face retouching effects like Big Eyes, Smile, Slim Face, Liquify, Clear Spots, Brighten which brings out the mood of the subject and make you and your friends look really great. With great built in face detection capability this knows exactly where to add the effect to make beautiful portraits. The other common photo enhabement effects like auto level, rotation, cropping, contrast, , brightness, saturation, sharpening and more to enhance the quality and versatility or your photos are also available . It’s simple and easy to use interface helps to add the effects very quickly. You can share you’re your images to Facebook, twitter, Mixi and Weibo directly from this app.
Drawback of this app is it lacks front camera. Thus using the effects for self-portraits are not possible. It also lacks panorama effect.
User rating - 22,000
Avg. rating - 4.5
This app is for those who has a creative mind and love to see the world in an artistic vision. This app converts the scene into a beautiful sketch while taking the photographs. There are lots of other softwares like photoshop which can convert a normal photo into a sketch, but this app displays the scene as a sketch while you are clicking the photo. So if you have a creative mind and want to view the world as a sketchy and fantasy way then this app is for you.
User rating - 15,000
Avg. rating - 4.7
Snapseed camera app is developed by NIC software, Inc who are very famous for their photo manipulation apps. This app has the ability to make single tap auto- corrections to your images and does pretty decent job . Other manual editing options like selective adjust enhancement, you can select a part of your image and adjust brightness, contrast etc. of that part only. Other regular features like Drama, Vintage, Grunge, and Tilt-Shift are available. And did I mention, this app is completely FREE?
The big disadvantage is it only support ICS or later version OS. This is why a lot of users can not even install this software in their phone. But the people who have tried this app are very happy with its performance.
User rating - 11,000
Avg. rating - 4.4
Vignette is another Android camera App that has all the regular camera app features like Retro/vintage, LOMO/Diana/Holga toy camera, Polaroid/instant camera, Cross-process, duotone, charcoal, tilt-shift and much more. With Vignette camera app you can control the exposure, zoom, flash on-screen while taking the picture. Rule-of-thirds and golden ratio composition guides are fantastic for composition aid. In ICS or later you can launch this app from lock screen to take instant snaps.
The stock Android phone keyboard app that comes preinstalled in the android phone by the phone manufacturers is often not very sensitive to finger touch. It is inconvenient for typing and often introduces a lot of typing errors. To solve this problem many app developers came forward to develop keyboard apps that are sensitive and accurate to finger touch, can autocorrect and predict words as you type first few letters of the word. These 3rd party apps make your typing a lot faster even in smaller screen sized android phones.
Ratings received 207,705
Avg. Rating - 4.4
This app features keyboard size customization, font size, key tones, support emojii, supports multiple languages, theme support, multiple keyboard layout. Have accurate dictionaries, Smart engine for predictions, Import contacts so that you can insert your friends name quickly and swipe input where you just glide your finger over the keys of the letters that form the word. This method makes the typing very fast as you can type without lifting your finger from the keyboard.
Cons - frequent layout switch to default keyboard, autocorrecting often ends up adding wrong words.
Ratings Received - 145,000
Avg. Rating - 4.6
Its unique selling point is that, it scans your previous emails, texts, Facebook updates and recognize the patter of your writing. This method improves the ability to predict what you're about to type and it works remarkably well. Switch seamlessly between tapping and swipe typing with our new SwiftKey Flow feature.
It has a very accurate word prediction. Nice clean interface.
Cons - Text prediction expires in free version expires after 14 days
Ratings received 39,705
Avg. Rating - 4.5
This keyboard has a very unique feature that if talks the word that you have typed while you are typing. The keys are very large to make you type in effortlessly. It supports many themes and has a lot of customization options. It learns the most used words as you type and makes it more perfect in prediction. It supports many languages and has customizable colors, themes, background images, fonts. It has different themes to make the keyboard look like iPhone or Windows phone.
Cons - Trial version - text prediction will be available for 14 days only
Ratings received 37,766
Avg. Rating - 4.2
It has a very nice contextual text prediction feature and you can swipe your finger on the keyboard to type words without lifting a finger. It supports multiple themes and languages. It updates its dictionary regularly to give you more accurate text correction. You can also import your contacts to type your friend’s names effortlessly. It is 100% free software, which means it will never expire but display ads.
Cons : text prediction is less accurate. Sometimes it disappears while typing.
Ratings received - 30,353
Avg. Rating - 4.0
This keyboard is mostly famous for swipe typing feature. If you slide your finger on the keyboard instead of typing and it will guess the word. It supports multiple themes and languages.
It also has a very nice text to speech engine where you can just speak the words you want to type and the keyboard will type the words for you. It can also import your contacts.
Cons - Sometimes it freezes and disappears while typing.
Ratings received 17,004
Avg. Rating - 4.2
This keyboard has multitouch, Multilanguage, multiple skin and vice input support. After the trial version expires the free version continues to function but it can occasional nag screen asking you to buy the full version.
Cons - Does not support emojii plugin feature.
Ratings received 6,411
Avg. Rating - 4.4
This keyboard has a unique "split" layout which is supposed to make your typing more accurate. It supports multiple keyboard layouts for bigger and smaller screen devices and separate layouts for portrait and landscape. It has other usual features like multiple languages, themes, voice recognition, different colors and size of keys, font.
Cons - Supports less number of languages. Lacks input accuracy.
Ratings received 3,794
Avg. Rating - 4.3
This keyboard offers a lot of customization options. It has a unique feature that, it supports different industry specific dictionaries like Business, IT & Telecom, Finance, Legal and Medical, Telecom , It also has themes based on festivals like St. Patrick’s day, Holi etc. Clipboard with navigation keys and select, cut, copy, and paste functions.