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iPhone and Android VoIP Apps

Posted By Marshall Kincaid on January 12th, 2012

VoIP apps are bringing about a revolution in the communication process. The change is visible in the growing trends of using various communication technologies especially as seen in the increasing popularity of smartphone devices such as Android and iPhone. The apps development industry has started showing consistent growth, and in 2011 alone it has seen growth of over 14%. You can find various VoIP apps; some are exclusive to a smartphone platform, while others have versions for all platforms. In this article, you can find a comparison of VoIP apps for Android and iPhone devices.

Android Exclusive:

There are many VoIP apps that are exclusive to the Android OS and are available on Android market. Take for example the free and open-source Sipdroid app. This Android VoIP app was written in Java, but works normally like other apps. Your Android experience can be enriched by free installation of the app from the Android market. The app helps you connect with VoIP services, like Ooma, Vonage, and Axvoice etc. Another famous name is Acrobits, which helps VoIP usage on your Android.  It offers multiple SIP account support, phone contacts integration and many other features.

IPhone Exclusive:

Just like Android, iPhone also has a plethora of VoIP apps that can be used to connect to VoIP services. There are some iPhone exclusive apps with the majority of such apps being developed by Apple itself, owing to the fact that in the beginning Apple did not allow users to install third party apps. However, now you can download and install third party apps onto your iPhone, albeit with some restrictions.

Common VoIP Apps:

Before going into the details of this, you need to know about one fundamentally important thing. Some of the VoIP apps are developed by VoIP service providers, while others are generic third party or open source applications. When you talk about generic VoIP apps, you have plenty of open source, third party and operators’ built apps. These apps are common and can be used on any given Smartphone like Android, BlackBerry and iPhone. Some of famous apps that you can use for your Smartphone devices include; Bria, Mobile VoIP, Tribair VoIP, VoIP Buster, VoIP call Cheaper than Skype and many others. These apps help you remain connected to your VoIP services, which enable you to control your communication budget.

Comparative Analysis:

In order to increase your joys and enrich your experience, you can download and install various types of applications on your Android and iPhone. Both of them have thousands of applications in every category. The case of VoIP apps is also the same, as they have dozens of options for installing the apps. Some of the apps may work on one device and not at the other.

However, you can have hundreds of apps that can work on both devices. Moreover, while selecting the VoIP app for your smart device, you need to be mindful of the fact that your app should be compatible with the VoIP service you are using. Fortunately, many VoIP services like Vonage, 8×8 and Axvoice not only have their own applications but can also work with various open source VoIP applications as well.

How to Get iPhone 4s Siri Like Features on Your Android

Posted By Steve McFarlane on October 18th, 2011

While Androids have always had voice control, how envious many Android fans must have been when the Apple guys previewed awesome Siri voice assistant on the new iPhone 4s. Siri has an incredible ability to understand and respond to questions and queries in natural language

A team from Dextra.com came together to build a Siri-like solution and accomplished the feat in 8-hours. According to them “in no time, we added voice input, text-to-speech, also a lot of hueristic humor into Iris. Not until late evening we decided on the name iris.”

The name is Siri in reverse; it means “Intelligent Rival Imitator of Siri”.

You can find an early version of the app on the Android Market. Use it to question your Android on any topic ranging from philosophy, to culture, to history, to science in a natural conversation style.

The Smozzy Android App Lets You Browse Without a Data Plan

Posted By Steve McFarlane on September 9th, 2011

It turns out that you can still browse the web without mobile data plan. According to this app’s developer, “Smozzy Beta lets you use your T-Mobile unlimited messaging plan to browse the web.” Smozzy uses a clever hack of the SMS and MMS service to let you send requests and receive web content without a mobile data plan

The app opens up to a simple browser-like interface that lets you enter the URL of the site you want to visit. Once you enter the website address the app sends a request to the Smozzy servers that downloads the requested page and puts everything into a zip file (pictures, links and all). The file is then sent as a PNG via MMS to the app. The app then decodes the PNG file and presents the webpage with links and images intact.

Smozzy is quite clever a solution that works surprising well, though it wont break performance records, especially if the service’s servers aren’t scaled properly. On the other hand one can’t help but wonder if T-Mobile will allow the app to live, considering the fact that some users may forgo the paid data plan to use this work-around.

Limitations

You should be aware that the app doesn’t encrypt the data it sends, so you shouldn’t even try using it to access your bank accounts and Facebook profile. In addition, the application may send and receive a large number of messages; so using it without an unlimited messaging plan is not recommended either. Currently the app only works on T-Mobile (U.S only). QR Code

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Top 3 Android Audio Apps for Recording Conversations

Posted By Steve McFarlane on August 19th, 2011

This is a roundup of the best Android audio recorder apps we could find. These are great apps for recording lectures, one-on-one conversations and what’s happening in your immediate surroundings.

ClearRecordLite

Having the ability to record a phone conversation with your Android is one thing, but ensuring that the audio quality is good is another matter. ClearRecord gives your phone the ability to suppress Ambient Noise that is often inadvertently captured while recording audio.

The Ambient Noise Reduction (ANR) feature, allows you to record conversations in noisy environments (i.e. street, train, classroom or stadium) while allowing the voice to remain clear. This Android audio recorder also has the ability to control playback speed without modifying pitch quality and background recording. The Slow play-speed feature allow transcribers and new-language-learners to slow down and listen clearly to a fast speaker, while Fast play-speed cuts short the time required to listen to a long recording. QR Code

AndRecorder – Free

This is not a call recorder app , instead you can use AndRecorder as a Dictaphone, memo, voice, or conversation recorder. The app will record the audio in a WAV file and gives the options to send the recording via email. The sort feature is quite handy for finding your way through lots of recordings as well.  Additional features in the premium version include:

  • Menu option to create a ring tone from a recording
  • Direct skip to any point in the recording using the slider button
  • Increase the playback speed (double or quadruple)
  • Large button to start and stop recordings
  • Can pause and resume a recording – great for excluding unimportant bits of a conversation or presentation
  • Audio recording length is limited by only the phone’s storage capacity
  • Saves audio records in the widely supported WAV file format
  • Supports 11025, 22050 and 44100 Hz frequency rates
  • You can replay, pause-record, stop, delete or loop recordings (repeat One/All/None)
  • Sort by recording date or name (show today’s/week’s/all recordings)
  • Email recording once the file size doesn’t exceed the maximum allowed by your email service provider
  • Can specify various recording date formats
  • Records during screen-off

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TapeMachine Lite Recorder

TapeMachine is a high-quality sound recorder and editor. It features a powerful waveform display that allows you to select, edit, export, loop and scratch audio files. Other features include:

  • Fade in, fade out, normalize
  • Record when locked
  • Input gain and auto-gain
  • Compact home screen widget
  • File and folder manager
  • Send file via mail, to Dropbox, etc
  • Use front or back microphone (if available)
  • Set engine sample rate, latency etc.
  • Rec/play/convert WAV, AIFF, FLAC

There are two versions of the app; the Lite version is limited to 1-minute playback/recording per file, so you need to purchase the full version to remove this limitation. The full version ($5.70) also supports OGG Vorbis natively, as well as external codecs such as MP3. To record and play MP3 files you need to install the MP3 codec, which is not included by default.

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Top 4 Android POP3 Email Clients

Posted By Steve McFarlane on August 19th, 2011

Here is a roundup of apps that allow you to see your work and personal emails in one inbox whether they are on POP3 or IMAP servers. There is even one solution that can be used to send POP3 emails to SMS.

MailDroid

MailDroid is a push email client that was written from the ground up to support Webdav, POP3 and IMAP; it is not based on the stock Android mail client.  This Android POP3 email client can combine all your email accounts into one inbox, including those from POP3 servers and IMAP accounts such as Gmail. MailDroid can also handle attachments and has a spell checker to catch typos.

The Pro version of MailDroid ($17.99) doesn’t have ads and contains some extra features that are not available in the ad-supported free version. Additional features of the Pro version include:

  • Better inbox navigation
  • The option to set where to go after deleting an email (next/previous or back to inbox)
  • A Widget

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K-9 Mail

This app is an open-source email client for Android tablets and phones. The app supports IMAP push mail, multi-folder sync, filing, signatures, flagging, BCC-self (blind copy) and PGP.  K-9 Mail also supports IMAP, Exchange 2003/2007 (with WebDAV) and POP3. The interface needs to be polished, but overall K-9 Mail does work well as an Android POP3 client.  QR code

SMS Gateway

This application can turn your Android into a SMS gateway. The app works by periodically checking for POP3 emails and sending them via SMS to another device. A limitation that you must be aware of is the fact that SMS messages are limited to just 155 characters, so you can’t send long messages or those with attachments via SMS. A work around that we think the developer could have used is to allow multi part messages to be sent to get around the SMS character limitation. In essence, sending an email in 155 character pieces until the entire message is sent.
Other features:

  • Sends SMS by HTTP GET request on its internal webserver
  • Forward received SMS to desired e-mail via SMTP
  • Forward received SMS by calling remote webserver via HTTP GET

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Kaiten Mail

This Android email client is based on the award-winning K-9 email client but Kaiten Mail was completely redesigned to look gorgeous on your tablet, and it works just as well on phones too. The app was built by the lead developer of the k-9 open-source project, who reworked the K-9 source code to provide a simpler, easier to use and a whole lot prettier Android email app.

For example, frequently used commands are now available in the application’s action bar. If you have large screen, Kaiten’s split-screen view lets you see the mailbox and individual messages side-by-side.

Kaiten supports IMAP Push, POP3 and Exchange 2003/2007 (with WebDAV). Also supported are multi-folder sync, flagging, filing, signatures, bcc-self, mail on SD, multiple identities, search and configurable notifications. In essence it has all the native features of K-9 but with a much nicer interface. QR code

Android VPN Apps Resources and Configuration Guide

Posted By Steve McFarlane on August 19th, 2011

Here are some of the best Android VPN apps, configuration guides and resources we could find.

1 VPN – Connect in 1 Tap

This app seeks to make it possible for users to have multiple VPN accounts and to easily connect to each without having to enter a password each time. ‘1 VPN’ allow you to establish a VPN connection with a single tap. In addition, the Tasker/Locale plug-in feature lets you establish automatic VPN connections. The app also supports some protocols that you don’t find in many VPN apps, including PPTP, L2TP and L2TP/IPSec.

Features:

  • Supports multiple VPN accounts.
  • Save username/passwords for easy sign on
  • VPN widget that allows one tap connect and disconnect
  • Automatic reconnection, when connection is lost
  • “Keep alive pings”
  • Add shortcut to start/restart a specific VPN
  • Connect automatically, using Tasker/Locale plug-in
  • Import/export VPN profile allows for easy backup and large-scale deployment
  • Supports: PPTP, L2TP, L2TP/IPSec CRT (L2TP secrets and IPSec PSK are not supported). You can still use this 1 VPN to save the password, but you have to connect via the Android VPN app.

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PandaPow VPN Android VPN app

If you are looking for a way to browse the web without being restricted by firewalls and content filters, you may be interested in the PandaPow VPN client.  Because the software hides the IP address of your smart phone and computer behind the PandaPow servers, you will appear to websites as surfing from the US. Therefore, content filters and firewalls won’t be able to detect what kind of web related content you are accessing.

The choice of name for this app (Panda…) gives a clear indication as to the censored market that this app is aimed at, but it will serve anyone who wants to surf anonymously.

The app is not cheap though, if you want to cover your tracks with this app you will need to spend from $9 per month to $84 per year for the service. QR Code

Android VPN Limitations

There are some limitations that Android natively places on VPN solutions. If you need help getting your VPN to work or need to inform yourself of some of the limitations of VPN on Android, have a look at this resource: How to set up a VPN server for Android Clients.

For more hands-on approach to configuring IPSec on your Android have a look at the following video:

How to setup VPN on Android – L2TP

An App for Email Marketers – iContact App Review

Posted By Steve McFarlane on August 10th, 2011

iContact is one of the most highly rated bulk mailing software that Internet marketers, businesses and organizations use to reach their subscribers. iContact and Aweber are regarded as the top two email marketing software for getting messages pass the spam robots and into subscriber inboxes. What many Internet marketers don’t know is that iContact has mobile apps for the iPhone and Android platforms that can be used to manage some autoresponder features.

Overview

The iContact app gives Internet marketers some of the tools they need to be productive while they are away from their computers. With this contact manager installed, savvy marketers can update, add or delete contacts, send a message to one or multiple email lists, track sent messages, and even email the tracking results to others.

The reports will show the numbers, percentages and graphs relating to: unique opens, unique clicks, bounces, unsubscribes and forwards; These stats can be share with colleagues, your boss or anyone you want to share the numbers with.

Limitations

You will not get all the iContact features you normally get with the desktop version. For example, you won’t be able to create and install email capture forms or perform advance autoresponder management tasks. What this email manager is good for is sending a single message to a group or an individual and entering a new contact into mailing lists.

iContact for Android is free, however you will need to have an account so you can evaluate the service. If you don’t already have an account you will need to get one, or signup for a free trial account.

Here is a video showing the app in action:

Best Contact Managers for Android

Posted By Steve McFarlane on August 10th, 2011

A good contact manager will allow you to manage a group of contacts whether they are host on Gmail, an Exchange server or a bulk mailing service such as iContact. In addition, you should be able to add or delete contacts, or easily message an entire group of contacts. Here are some Android contact managers that will allow you to do these and more.

DW Contacts & Phone

Once you have the app installed you will be able to manage (create, edit, copy, change and delete) a single or multiple contacts at once. With its support for local, Gmail and Exchange accounts, it is possible to copy contacts from Gmail to an Exchange account, and visa versa.

DW Contact not only allows for the management of groups but how you interact with contacts as well. For instance, you can use the batch mode to send SMS, MMS and emails to one or multiple contacts, groups, organizations and titles.

Searches can also be done on contact attributes such as name, phone number, organization, notes, address, email, relationships, websites, and birthday. With these powerful features it’s easy to send a happy birthday note to a friend, or a status update to a group of co-workers. QR Code

GO Contacts

GO Contacts is a powerful contact manager that is an ideal replacement for the stock Android Contact and Dialer apps. Some of its best features include the ability to do fast searches, group management, merge duplicate contacts and perform secure backups and recoveries. Most notable features of this Android contact manager are as follows:

  • Search for contacts by letter, name or keyword
  • Send batch SMS or email to a Group
  • Merge duplicated contacts
  • Backup/restore contacts to SD card

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iContact App for Android

This app comes from the well-respected autoresponder software provider called iContact. You can use the app to manage mailing list and message entire lists as well. You won’t be able to use the app to created and install email capture forms and more advanced autoresponder management tasks, but it is a great way to send out a quick email, enter a new contact into a mailing list and review stats and graphs on how your email marketing campaign is performing. QR Code

iGroups

Manage your contacts and even share emails and SMS with them based on multiple criteria you can set. iGroups has the following features:

  • Send Email/text messages to contacts within groups.
  • Share pictures/camera through Email with groups
  • Create groups based on search results
  • Easily add or remove group contacts
  • Share any field of a contact through Facebook, Twitter, SMS, mail and Bluetooth
  • Supports using on-screen gestures for searching through contacts
  • It has a slew of options to sort events (month, day, year) and contacts (title, company and IM type)

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Other Android Contact Managers

Of course there are other contact managers, but the above-mentioned are among the very best. Nonetheless, you will be able to use apps such as ‘Contact Remover’ to easily remove contacts that you don’t need, and those you don’t know. It is especially useful for deleting the many email contacts that Gmail usually imports to you Android device.

Speaking of Gmail, it is also a sort of contact manager, in that it will automatically sync your contacts with the Google mail service, thus creating a backup for you.

How to Send Emails & SMS to a Group Using your Android

Posted By Steve McFarlane on August 8th, 2011

Being able to send emails or SMS out to a group is an effective way to communicate with a number of persons without having to type and send separate messages to each contact. While it is true that using an auto-responder, such as AWeber or iContact is the most reliable way of ensuring that you message reaches recipient’s inboxes, if you don’t send bulk messages from your Android they shouldn’t get block by spam filters.

In any case, here are some of the best email apps for Android phones and tablets; they will also do a pretty job of delivering SMS as well.

DW Contacts & Phone – Use this app to manage (create, edit, copy, change and delete) one or multiple contacts at once.  DW Contact not only allows for the management of groups but also how you interact with the contacts within groups as well. For instance, you can use the batch mode to send SMS, MMS and emails to multiple contacts, groups, organizations.

GO Contacts – This is yet another powerful tool that is an ideal replacement for the stock Android Contacts and Dialer apps. Some of GO Contacts’ best features include the ability to do fast searches, group management, merge duplicate contacts and perform secure backups and recoveries. But most importantly, you can use it to send batch SMS or email to a Group.

iGroups – Use this app to manage Android based contacts and send them emails and SMS based on multiple criteria. You can message contacts based on their name, phone number, organization, address, email, relationship, website, and birthday.

Sync Android Contacts with Gmail

Posted By Steve McFarlane on August 7th, 2011

Android phones aren’t only capable of syncing with Gmail contacts but in fact all of your Google services (i.e. calendar, bookmarks); this helps you better integrate your digital life into your Android phone or Tablet. One of the things that you are asked to do when you first turn-on your Android is to enter your Gmail email address.

Once you enter a valid Gmail address you will receive all emails that come to that account on your Android; you will be able to reply, send, edit and attach files to emails just as you would from the desktop version of Gmail.

Its Easy

In essence, you don’t need to synchronize your Android with Gmail. Once you enter your Gmail address your Android contact manager should be synchronized with the Gmail server automatically. So there is no need for USB connection kits, driver installs, PC syncing and backup programs.

How to Manually Sync or Import Email Contacts

If you wish to manually confirm this process, you can use the following steps:

  • From your computer, login to your Gmail account
  • Click the ‘Contact’ icon, it is usually located in the top right hand corner of the Gmail homepage
  • Press ‘New Group’; you will be directed to creating a new contacts page. Just make entries of all the contact you have on your Android device and press ‘save’ to save all the recently updated contacts
  • From your Android, Sign-in to your Gmail account
  • Proceed to the main menu and press the ‘contacts’ icon.
  • From the drop-down menu, select your Gmail account, and then click turn on the “Sync Contacts” option.

This will confirm that you have successfully synchronized your Android contacts with those on your Gmail account; all the available contacts on your phone or tablet will be transferred to your Gmail contacts list.

Here is an official video from Google explaining the process.

Citrix Receiver for Android

Posted By Steve McFarlane on June 14th, 2011

Citrix develops some awesome remote connection clients that allow its users to turn virtually any laptop, Windows machine, MAC, thin client, smart phone or Tablet into a powerful business tool. But what of Citrix Receivers for Android Devices, how do they fair in comparison to other Citrix receivers?

The Citrix Android Client is tooted as a solution that can be used to “check your email, review documents, tune into project dashboards, and approve expenses from your Android smartphone, tablet, or other device using Android OS.” And like other Citrix receivers this app was designed to:

  • Access your applications and Windows desktop that are at your office or home while you are elsewhere
  • Keep your information stored on your provider’s secure servers, not on your device
  • Move from desktop to tablet to smartphone without loosing access to data and applications that are essential to the performance of your duties.

While the app does deliver, when it works, update related issues have been known to frustrate even the most loyal Citrix fans. All things considered the connection problems you may have when trying to use “Citrix for Android” are understandable considering that the Android platform is relatively new and ever evolving, but this app appears to need some refining.

Citrix Receiver is available for iOS, Mac, Windows, Android and BlackBerry devices.

Send Secure SMS with Your Android

Posted By Steve McFarlane on June 14th, 2011

Most persons who send a text SMS are more interested in the convenience of getting the message to the other party quickly instead of how secure sending that message will is.  But where the content of the SMS message is of a sensitive, private or even top-secret nature ensuring that only those who are authorized to see it will see it is of utmost importance. Short of installing a corporate grade messaging service such as a Lotus Notes Android solution, there are options for the security conscious consumer.

Secure SMS

This is a client-side encrypt/decrypt Secure SMS application that allow users to securely send SMS communication by encrypting message content prior to sending to another party. The sender has peace-of-mind in know that only the recipient, who has the correct decryption key, will be able to decrypt the encrypted SMS and read it.
Some of the more notable features of the Secure SMS include:

  • Enables peer-to-peer secure message communication with AES-128 encryption and decryption
  • The app removes messages from Android’s default inbox to enhance privacy control
  • The Secure SMS can be set to use a separate key for an each contact or use a default key for all contacts
  • There is also an option to set a password (PIN) to access or view messages, as well as set a PIN to access the option menu and keys management page.
  • Notification when a secure message is received via a status bar notification and one click to view and access the same.

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Emoji for Android

Posted By Steve McFarlane on June 13th, 2011

Emoji is a fun alternative to bland text only messaging; it allows users to say so much more with cute, funny and interesting little graphics. Unfortunately, there aren’t many well-executed emoji for Android solutions that work on all carriers and among all Android devices. Nonetheless, we have identified some emoji Android apps that are great to have when chatting with emoji crazy iphone users and other Android owners who have found a way to make it work on their phones and tablets.

You will know that your Android doesn’t have emoji icon support if you see small squares in your messages when someone tries to send you an emoji SMS or email. Instead of rooting your phone to get emoji support, you can use one of these solutions to ensure that your Android can send and receive emoji icons to iPhones and other Android devices. Some of the best Android emoji apps include: (more…)

Best SMS Apps for Android Phones and Tablets

Posted By Steve McFarlane on May 16th, 2011

What follows is a roundup of three of the very best SMS apps or Androids. These apps provide a more customizable alternative to the stock Android SMS app, not only in the way the apps manage messages, but also in the way the messaging interface looks and how much the user pays for messaging as well.

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The Ultimate Android WiFi VOIP App

Posted By Steve McFarlane on March 10th, 2011

VOIP calling has been around for many years but has been restricted to enterprise level use. In part because traditional VOIP solutions required significant technological know how and a matching pool of resources to finance and support the purchase of equipment and data service to facilitate such solutions.

Some well known voice over IP (VOIP) service providers (Vonage, Skype and now Google) have brought simplified VOIP solutions to the consumer market and in the process enabled them to access cheaper rates while making long distance calls and at times even free calling. Once of the rising stars in the Android WiFi VOIP arena is Google Voice. We will take a closer look at what this service offers. (more…)

Android WiFi VOIP App Review – Sipdroid VOIP

Posted By Steve McFarlane on March 10th, 2011

Who wouldn’t want a free or at least cheaper alternative to the relative expensive cellular voice plans? VOIP cell phone applications provide such an option by enabling devices to route voice calls onto data network using 3G, 4G and even WiFi data connections where available. While the Android WiFi VOIP app, known as Google Voice, is becoming an ever increasingly popular VOIP solution among many Android users, there are alternatives – a good one is Sipdroid VOIP. (more…)

Blackberry Is Working on a BBM App for Android Devices

Posted By Steve McFarlane on March 3rd, 2011

What! RIM is working on a BBM app for Androids. This is a classic case of “if you can’t beat them then join them” that is being played. According to sources at BGR, Blackberry will provide a stripped-down version of the BBM experience for Android Tablets and phones — at a later date it will do the same for iOS users.

The BBM for Androids solution will allow Android users to communicate with anyone using Blackberry’s messaging service, but will not allow them to share photos, location info or videos. To get the full Blackberry messaging experience, users will still need a Blackberry device. (more…)