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Android is the world’s most popular mobile platform and has millions of users. The open source nature of Google’s OS gives the possibility to find a lot of fantastic applications for Android. And, of course, most people try to find some useful apps which are free of charge. So you can download them, try them out, and uninstall them if they’re not to your fancy – you’ve nothing to lose!

So here are the top 15 best new free Android applications for your tablet or smartphone.

1. Line Whoscall

With Line Whoscall, the user can instantly identify the source of calls and text messages even if the caller’s number is not in his\her contact list. Line Whoscall also helps block specific numbers.

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2. QuizUp

The QuizUp app is a game, based on trivial pursuit, where a player can choose from over 400 topics, ranging from TV shows and books to sports and music, and can compete against other players in a particular topic that consists of seven multiple choice questions.

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3. Link Bubble

Link Bubble is a free app for the Android which lets the user have a faster browsing experience specially when opening links from other apps.

When you open links from apps the Link Bubble will let you stay on your current page while the app is trying to load the link in the background and then displays it when it is ready, this way, you can still do some things on your current page while you wait for the other link to load.

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4. Timehop

Timehop is an application that collects old photos and posts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare, and dropbox photos and replays past.

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5. Coursera

Coursera is an awesome online service that allows users to tune-in to some great courses from more than 80 top universities and organizations free of charge. It provides free knowledge to anyone interested into expanding his/her horizons.

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6. Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff is a free-to-play, city-building game in which a player must rebuild the town of Quahog from the ground up. Along the way, there are plenty of weird and wacky missions featuring the main characters from the popular FOX show.

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7. IFTTT

IFTTT (If This, Then That) lets users mash up different services into “recipes” that can do things like automatically download new Facebook photos you’re tagged in to Dropbox, send starred emails to Evernote, or call you in response to a text message so you can escape a bad date. But connecting it to a device extends the possibilities even further.

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8. Chrome Remote Desktop (Google)

Chrome Remote Desktop app allows for remote access to Mac or PC from Android device, whether smartphone or tablet. The new app is an extension of Google’s previously launched Chrome Remote Desktop screen-sharing service, which allows to share desktop’s screen with other Chrome browser or Chromebook users.

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9. Sunrise Calendar

Sunrise is a free calendar made for Google Calendar and iCloud. Connect with user’s G account and the app will automatically import all the data you’ve entered into its own attractive format. Add and edit events via the app and they’ll sync up with anywhere you use your Google calendar.

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10. Yahoo News Digest

Yahoo News Digest provides a definitive summary of all the important, need-to-know news. Digests are delivered twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. All the top stories are summarized and presented with the key information that you need to stay on top of what’s happening.

It’s available in four editions: the US, UK, Canada and ‘rest of the world’.

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11. Ginger Page & Grammar Keyboard

Ginger Page is a comprehensive English writing application that provides all the tools needed to compose high-quality English text everywhere one might write. This is accomplished by providing live rephrasing and proofreading capabilities and also offering quick access to important complementary writing tools like contextual synonyms, translations and definitions.

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12. Aviate [Yahoo]

Yahoo Aviate is called “the intelligent homescreen that simplifies your phone.” With the app, you’ll be able to get information you need at the exact moment that it’s useful. It shows weather and news apps throughout the morning, productivity apps while you’re at work and music apps while you’re driving. It has a clean, simple layout, with organized apps that cater to the user, displaying information based on what it knows you’re up to.

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13. Path Talk

Path Talk is a new app from Path which replaces SMS and Facebook with Path Talk to message friends, family, and groups for free. Messages you send in Path Talk are automatically erased from servers 24 hours after you send them, so you can now be yourself in conversations.

Path Talk can automatically tell your friends when you’re in transit, in the neighborhood, or even low on battery so your availability is always understood—removing the headache of misunderstandings in conversation.

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14. EverythingMe

EverythingMe‘s contextual launcher aims to customize your Android home screen so that you get exactly what you need every time you switch on your phone. The system is pretty simple — look at the apps you have installed, when and for how long you use them and then tailor a homescreen layout to show what it thinks you want before you do.

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15. MyRoll

MyRoll is an intelligent mobile gallery app that displays all your best photos as ‘moments’, automatically organizing your snaps based on its analysis of each photo’s make-up. In a nutshell, it prioritizes shots that are in-focus, contain smiling faces, bright colors, and so on.

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What new Android applications do you like? Have you already tried to use those mentioned above? Welcome to share your thoughts and experience.

Katerina Kviatkovskaya  Katerina Kviatkovskaya
Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype ID: kate.kviatkovskaya
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

The Web as we know it have been born and matured on computers, but as it turns out now, computers no longer have dominance in it. According to a recent report by analyst Mary Meeker, mobile devices running iOS and Android now account for 45 percent of browsing, compared to just 35 percent for Windows machines. Moreover, Android and iOS have essentially achieved their share in just five years and their share is getting tremendously larger.

According to some forecasts their worldwide number of mobile devices users should overtake the worldwide number of PC users next year. If forecasts come true, this shift will not only continue, but accelerate. Based on data from Morgan Stanley, Meeker estimates roughly 2.9 billion people around the world will be using smartphones and tablets by 2015.

What does it mean now that more people are accessing the Web through tablets and smartphones rather than laptops and desktops? And is it really a big deal? Anyway, Internet is intended to be accessed from anywhere and thus from any device. Well, it is quite a change at least in terms most people consider the Web and how it gradually adapts to be used on mobile devices.

Apps-like sites
As mobile devices take over, the use of today’s desktop browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari will decline. Mobile browsers are already very capable and will increasingly adopt HTML5 and leading-edge Web technologies. As mobile devices naturally have less screen area, the sites need to function more like mobile apps and less like collections of links. So the sites are likely to look like apps.

Apps may rule
Native apps for smartphones and tablets almost always surpass websites designed for mobile devices because they can tap into devices’ native capabilities for a more responsive and seamless experience. This is most likely to change in the nearest future – most experts agree HTML5 is eventually the way of the future. This is already the status quo in social gaming: for example Angry Birds and Words with Friends. Some services won’t be available at all to traditional PCs — they won’t be worth developers’ time.

Less information at once
Web sites and publishers will no longer be able to display everything new for users and hoping something will catch the user’s eye. Smaller screens and lower information density means sites will need to adjust to user preferences and profiles to customize the information they present. Increasingly, the Internet will become unusable unless sites believe they know who you are. Some services will handle these tasks themselves, but the most likely contenders for supplying digital identity credentials are Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Twitter, and mobile carriers.

Sharing by default
In a mobile-focused Internet, anonymity becomes rare. Virtually every mobile device can be definitively associated with a single person (or small group of people). Defaults to share information and experiences with social circles and followers will be increasingly common, along with increasing reliance on disclosure of personal information (like location, status, and activities, and social connections) to drive key functionality. As the Internet re-orients around mobile, opting out of sharing will increasingly mean opting out of the Internet.

Emphasis on destination
Internet-based sites and services will increasingly function as a combination of content and functionality reluctant to link out to other sites or drive traffic (and potential advertising revenue) elsewhere. These have long been factors in many sites’ designs but mobile devices amplify these considerations by making traditional Web navigation awkward and difficult. Still URLs are not going to die – people will still send links to their friends and Web search will remain most users primary means of finding information online.

Going light weight
As people rely on mobile, cloud, and broadband services, the necessity to do things like commute, store large volumes of records or media, or patronize physical businesses will decline. Businesses won’t need to save years of invoices, statements, and paperwork in file boxes and storage facilities – cloud storage comes as their rescue. Banks will become purely virtual institutions consumers deal with online via their phones. Distance learning and collaborative tools will let students take their coursework with them anywhere — and eliminate the need to worry about reselling enormous textbooks.

Going mobile is an obvious trend today. Experts envisage that nearly every service, business, and person who wants to use the Internet will be thinking mobile first and PC second, if they think about PCs at all. Do you agree? And what other related changes can you imagine?

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

Aliona Kavalevich

Aliona Kavalevich
Aliona.Kavalevich@altabel.com
Skype ID: aliona_kavalevich
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Cloud technologies seem to be a modern trend-they are talked over at all the conferences, that are by some means connected with the Internet, are discussed in business press and on TV. It looks like another modern technological gimmick for Twitter, Facebook, various CRM and ERP systems, eAccountancy etc. Meanwhile, does cloud usage bring any benefit to business sites that do not provide hi-tech services?

In this article I will try to determine the benefits from using the cloud for the most popular business in the Internet – eCommerce. We will try to understand, if there is sense for a webstore owner to consider the possibility of transfer into the cloud.

In a classical data center there is possible such a situation, when there are no sufficient resources, which means the project loses the users who were not able to get access to it. It entails losing profit as well. On the other hand, when the load decreases, vacant resources stand idle, thus expenses for infrastructure support turn out to be wasted.

Let’s calculate lost profit for a hypothetic web-store. On the condition of having 10 customers per hour and average basket cost 100 dollars, one hour of down time will cost 1000 dollars. I’m not even talking about reputational risks – a consumer, who went to the rival during the down time, may never be back again. He also may lure his friends and acquaintances to another site.

Windows Azure allows developers to realize automatic addition and cutting off the resources, if necessary, through the special mechanism of resources management. It goes without saying that the owner of the site can add and cut off the resources manually using special portal of Windows Azure management.

Fatal failure, leading to the loss of all data or even a part of them, can entail eBusiness burst-up. Thus, reliability turns out to be even more important than lost profit from possible down times. In the cloud data duplicate automatically and store on different physical resources to secure the site owner from possible losses. Moreover, clouds allow storing the data even on geographically spaced sites. For example, Windows Azure automatically stores up to three data copies, at the same time it allows distributing data in Europe, America or Asia. It secures the data from serious failures.

When is it worth using the cloud?
1. Periodical load
In case the load happens at some definite time (working/off-hours), or definite days of the week (work days/ weekends), a site always faces the situation of resources idleness, when there are no load peaks. Consequently, it leads to extra expenses on unusable infrastructure.
2. Peaking load
Seasonal sales, holidays, promo actions lead to peaking site loads. Such loads are difficult to be predicted, while losses from possible down times or site irresponsiveness may be really huge.
3. Constant load growth
In case of constant load growth it is necessary to add resources. At the same time if load growth can not be precisely predicted, a site often lacks resources (site down time, failures), or there emerge lots of unusable resources (wasted expenses)

Cloud cost
For the most part of simple sites the cloud turns out to be more expensive than a usual hosting. At the same time cloud cost is explained by reliability of storing data, failures security, possibilityof elastic expansion and decrease of usable resources. Actual expenses depend on the site itself, its load characteristics, and can be calculated with the help of TCO Calculator.

Despite being more expensive, cloud hosting turns out to be more reasonable for most web shops, where constant availability and high quality service are really important.

Has anyone already transferred his/her site to the cloud? Please, share your experience and impressions, it would be really interesting to learn!

Thank you,

Nadya Klim

Nadya Klim
Nadya.Klim@altabel.com
Business Development Manager
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

We all use cloud services in one way or another. When you access your Gmail, use Facebook and store photos online, you are actually leveraging cloud services. For small businesses, saving money, increasing productivity and enhancing uptime are some of the major reasons why a move toward the cloud computing platforms available today should be given priority. Regardless of what industry you are in, there are enough cloud computing tools to help you run your company in the cloud.

1. Harvest
Harvest is a time-tracking and online invoicing cloud service. It offers users the ability to see a distributed visual report of a company’s resources. With Harvest, you can create online invoices, bill clients, get paid online and view employee and contractor timesheets. Harvest also offers detailed data reports that can be filtered by project, staff and in other ways. You can then determine how time is being spent, which easily helps to manage projects. The time-tracking feature is especially handy when working on time-sensitive projects or projects that are paid on an hourly basis. Time tracking using Harvest can be done anytime and anywhere. You can even track time via your mobile device, widgets, Twitter or Gmail.

2. Carbonite
If you deal with large amounts of data that need to be backed up frequently, then Carbonite is a handy cloud platform to easily manage your backups. It works for multiple computers within a small organization and keeps track of each computer that is running the application. Once installed, Carbonite does all the backing up in the background for each computer every time it detects an Internet connection. Restoring backed up files is as easy as backing them up. With a few mouse clicks, files are restored to their original computers or to another designated drive. A browser-based dashboard lets you monitor the backup status of each computer in your organization.

3. ZenDesk
ZenDesk is a customer help cloud platform that lets you centralize your customer conversations making it easy to offer support services. It offers ticket management, reporting and analytics tools, self service, branding & integration services and tools to make the customer experience quick, efficient and more manageable. Ticket management is especially critical to a business since it helps to quickly identify high-priority issues and respond to them, automate certain responses and collaborate with others. ZenDesk allows a user to monitor support trends, ticket volume metrics and analyze customer satisfaction ratings to better provide support to clients. ZenDesk also integrates with other products to provide a seamless experience across your organization.

In addition to the above platforms, Google and Microsoft have created their own cloud tools and services, and integrated them with their already existing services. When selecting a cloud computing platform, determine your industry, customers and employees and choose a platform that will result into a smooth seamless transition and that will most effectively serve the needs of all three.

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Social Media is a tool on the Internet. It is not a business. Like any tool, it can be used to enhance and promote an enterprise if you have a niche, a target market, a business plan and ambition. Let’s have a look at the preferences of LinkedIn community.

«I wanted to be flippant and say “all of them” but that’s not true and it wouldn’t be helpful. Pick the right tool (social media platform) for the job (communicating with people who might want to know) and you’ll have a better chance of reaching them. At this moment, my primary toolkit includes LinkedIn, Quora, Twitter, my blogs, my mailing list, Facebook.»
Erica Friedman,
Social Media Optimizer

«I pass the following experience on to others in the belief they may benefit from a similar approach:
In order to manage high volume of inquiries in federal government contracting, I set up a Google blog as an extension of my volunteer work that blossomed into a web site ($10 a year to buy and convert it from a blog to a domain in my name) containing the basics of entering and succeeding in the venue as well my books and articles on the subject for download via Box Net (also a free application). The idea was to refer clients to article links at the site to avoid repeating myself over and over to new business clients and still keep myself available for specific inquiries and problems. I linked everything together on “Linked In” and began answering questions at the “Answers” feature there as well as registering at many of the free applications for networking web sites on the Internet to see how that could benefit my work. Twitter, BlogCatalog, Facebook, Widgetbox, Friendfeed, Ning and similar free applications served my site well.
The Adsense Feature added cash flow. Roughly 30% of my clients began coming via Linked In or Linked In related networking.
The result has been heavy traffic, good efficiency in supporting in excess of 4000 counseling cases over the last 5 years and virtually no expense to me as a volunteer working for a non-profit organization.»
Kenneth Larson,
MicroMentor Volunteer and Founder “Smalltofeds”

«I normally use Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Sometimes I also use Pinterest and Google+.
You shouldn’t just share your content on these social media, but also others content. If you want to build relationships and generate leads with social media, you need share others content more than you share your own content. Other social media you could use to share content are Stumble Upon and Tumblr. These two social media are getting really popular. »
Mitt Ray,
CEO Social Marketing Writing

«It depends on your audience and the goals of the services/products that you intend to support.
I used Facebook as kind of a catch-all account because it has the most laid back aspects and it is where most people are. I use LinkedIn for the professional side and make sure that I have a business page. The personal page has done much more for me than my business page.
I have a blog to keep my name up front. And finally Twitter to support it all. Basically, anything I tweet posts on LinkedIn and Facebook.»
Tom Brown,
Social Media Specialist

«I use a networked approach to share content. Each network has a different readership and I cater the phrasing of the posting and the type of content to what that group wants to hear. For example, sharing a quick link and a catchy title on Twitter reaches a wide array of businesses and if it gets re-shared I can reach a lot of people I don’t know yet. On Linkedin I tend to share only business information that would be of use to my clients or potential clients and I phrase it in a business friendly way. On Google+ there is an advantage in creating circles for very narrow niches and posting information specifically targeted to the people. On this network it’s even more important to share unique information, not re-sharing what everybody has already seen. On Facebook I share more fun stuff because it gets shared more and so it keeps my Edgerank up on my Facebook page. Most of my followers are in the same industry as I am (Social Media consulting) so it’s easy to add information there that is fun, yet relevant and we all share each other’s links.»
Janet Fouts,
Social Media Coach

All in all primarily you shouldn’t think about which tools to use, but where your audience is. If they are on a mailing list, or a forum, you’d better go there. If they are on Twitter, or LinkedIn, you must be there. The point is to be where the people who might care about a topic are, just as the point of picking a tool in the hardware store is not which hammer is the best, but what task you need to do.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

According to Statcounter numbers and charts, Google Chrome should be the number 1 browser in the world as soon as this year. Let’s see what LI members think about this prediction.

«No. Good old IE has plenty of mileage left yet, and because it is a “known platform” will continue to be a standard in much of the business world for at least a few years yet.»
Bernard Gore,
Project & Change expert

«According to statistics available, it is unlikely that IE will be knocked off the top spot in 2012, even though Chrome has seen a meteoric rise in usage in 2011.
In Jan 2011, IE accounted for 46% of all Internet browsing, by Dec this had dropped to 38.65%.
Meanwhile, Chrome rose from 15.68% in Jan to 27.27% by Dec, trouncing Firefox into third place with its market share changing from 30.68% in Jan to 25.27% in Dec.
Other browsers, including Safari and Opera remain minnows in comparison. Mobile browsers (which are not included in the figures above) doubled from 4.3% in January to 8.03% in December.
However, it should be acknowledged that these statistics are far from an accurate representation of the true market share of the various browsers, as the statistics are usually taken from a small range of web site visitors and often visitors’ browsers cannot be sniffed by the methods in use. Remember that there are a huge number of corporate users of IE around the world that will continue to use IE for the foreseeable future.»
Glenn Reffin,
Experienced Graphic and Web Design Professional

«Yes. Although I prefer Firefox, I do believe that Chrome will make it to the top by mid-2012. IE is terrible and makes web design tougher because it does not conform to new and updated HTML or CSS.»
Nina Churchill,
Owner of Fresh View Concepts

«While Chrome is an outstanding browser, it will not be #1 in 2012 due to the simple fact that the vast majority of Internet users, contrary to conventional wisdom, are not particularly savvy with regards to the Internet and technology. Most users are people who don’t care about browser wars. They simply want to be able to check their Facebook accounts and e-mail and Twitter and… Well, you get the point. Until Chrome gets must-have features that even your mother or grandmother are asking about, Chrome will remain #2 at best.»
Christian Zimmerman,
Desktop Engineer Team Lead at Nelnet, Inc.

«Not sure what it will look like in 2012. I will say I haven’t used IE in over a year or more. Chrome get’s on my nerves sometimes; but I have tried them all and found Chrome to be the lightest without sacrificing great options. »
Tony Rappa,
Nugget Training Advisor

Google Chrome only launched at the end of 2008, but with close integration and added features for people using Google’s ubiquitous suite of web tools such as Gmail, Google Docs and the like, the exciting benefits that will surely come as a result of Google+, and Google throwing oodles of cash at promoting the product, Microsoft and Mozilla must be seriously concerned. Agree?

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Market research firm IDC predicts a large number of transactions and purchases in 2012. This is due to the fact that companies want to increase their presence in cloud computing, social networking and online content. Among other IDC predicted past Thursday that Microsoft would buy Netflix to give it a stronghold in online video entertainment and LinkedIn to get into social networking.

The same prediction for a Microsoft-Netflix deal was made last year, but chief analyst Frank Gens said it makes even more sense now, given Netflix’s diminished market value and expected losses next year from growing content licensing bills.
“In 2012, part of Microsoft’s challenge is to counter what Apple and Amazon have done and what Google is building up – a really strong media and content marketplace,” Gens said. By offering movies, music and other content, Apple, Amazon and Google are aiding their mobile device ecosystems, including tablets and smartphones.
“Without a media and content cloud, the competitiveness of Microsoft’s mobile platforms could be greatly diminished,” Gens predicted.

The research firm also predicts that major information technology providers will make big “statement-type acquisitions” in social technologies. They’ll do these deals to show customers that they understand that social tech will be a big part of IT’s next growth platform.
Microsoft is likely buying LinkedIn and then acquiring a company like Taleo to enhance the social recruiting capabilities of the service.

A LinkedIn acquisition makes a good deal of sense. As Facebook shows, social networking has begun to replace search as the Internet’s dominant technology, and puts its tentacles into every part of people’s lives. People increasingly use it not just to find friends, but to find information, reviews, entertainment and more – everything that search used to do. It would be a way for Microsoft to do an end-around Google search.

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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