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8 price buster Android apps for business

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Once the holiday season is over, you may feel the need to cut back financially in order to make up for the money spent on your loved ones, employees or coworkers, and maybe even on yourself. With that in mind, cutting back on business costs just got a little easier. Here are eight Android business apps that are now free to download:

1. QwikList Voice – used to be $1.99

QwikList Voice – QwikList Voice allows you to create lists, reminders, tasks, and notes just by using the voice-recognition software on your Android. It also has a widget for your home screen, so it’s easily accessible, and you can add to your lists by scanning barcodes or looking up UPCs.

2. Voice Alerts – used to be $4.92

Voice Alerts – If you’re looking for a voice app that will help remind you if your battery is low or when you receive a text or email message, Voice Alerts is an app to seriously consider. It will actually speak to you whenever something important or noteworthy happens with your phone. However, you’ll need to download the free text-to-speech library from the Android Market before you can use Voice Alerts.

3. Newsr – used to be $2.99

Newsr – If you use Google Reader, Newsr may be the right app for you. It will sync with your account to make sure that you “never read the same news twice.” It’s just an easier and more convenient way to read your RSS feeds on your Android.

4. QwikSMS – used to be $1.99

QwikSMS Auto Responder Deluxe – Have you ever been so busy that you can’t respond to incoming calls or text messages, or you can’t respond because you’re in an important business meeting? Well, QwikSMS Auto Responder Deluxe will automatically respond to your text messages or phone calls for you. And it will only respond to the same person once, no matter how many times they text or call you in a row.

5. I Expense – used to be $1.00

I Expense – The purpose of the I Expense app is pretty straight forward. It enables you to keep track of your travel expenses, including mileage, food, and hotel stays. It even allows you to take pictures of your receipts so you can be reimbursed later. When you’re done with your trip, I Expense will generate a report that you can send to your boss or keep for your own records.

6. BluePoint Antivirus – used to be $4.99

BluePoint Antivirus – This app is exactly what it sounds like, an antivirus for your Android. BluePoint Antivirus believes that while there are other antivirus apps that are free, most are light on features. However, BluePoint Antivirus prides itself on providing you with “breakthrough technologies” to keep your Android safe, protected, and secure.

7. Magical TimeTable – used to be $1.00

Magical TimeTable – While this app is geared toward students, Magical TimeTable has some great benefits that any business professional could use. Basically, Magical TimeTable allows you to set up when your phone should be on vibrate or silent mode and when the ringer should be audible, all by using a simple timetable. This is perfect if you have regularly scheduled business meetings or appointments that can’t be interrupted by your phone.

8. Smart Inventory App – used to be $5.39

Smart Inventory App – This easy-to-use app allows you to manage your store’s or company’s inventory through barcodes directly on your Android phone. You can use the built-in barcode scanner or use an add-on device. Once you’ve scanned your barcodes, you can then manage your inventory effectively and conveniently.

One or several of the above apps may fit your professional and business needs. But, you won’t know until you try them out. And what do you have to lose; After all, they’re free, and they may not be free for long. Take advantage of the price cuts for the many Android apps and have a fantastically productive start to 2012.

The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.

Smartphones

LG G Flex will have a curved display: why it even matters

The LG G Flex is exciting as it is curved, but there are much deeper implications of this announcement that your company should take note of before your competitors do.

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LG G Flex to feature curved display

You may have heard that Samsung will launch a smartphone with a curved display (although they’ve so far fallen short on their plans to produce their smartphone prototype that is completely flexible), but did you know that LG is hot on their heels, with rumors of the LG G Flex launching this November?

As depicted above, what is believed to be called the LG G Flex is similar to a standard smartphone in shape, with just a slight curve, using plastic OLED screen technology

CNET reports that sources close to the project say the G Flex will have a six-inch display and November is the projected unveiling, but that could always be pushed back (although to be in time for the holiday shopping season, we suspect it will be a November launch).

Samsung will likely unveil their curved display phone this month, and there are rumors that the Galaxy Note 3 could feature a curved display as well.

Curved does not equal flexible

So why develop a curved display? Analysts point to the device actually fitting around your face naturally for making calls, and others note that it fits in a rear pocket more comfortably with a curve.

Curved does not equal flexibility, though, as the devices are still stationary, but the reason the LG G Flex being curved matters to you is that mass production of this type of technology is the precursor to what’s coming next – flexible devices.

Looking into a crystal ball

LG already introduced a curved 55-inch OLED tv panel, and was first to the finish line with the ability to mass produce fully flexible plastic screens, announced last year with their electronic paper display (EPD) product, sold overseas.

The LG EPD is not just flexible, allowing the screen to bend up to 40 degrees from its center, it is a 6 inch, 1024 x 768 e-ink plastic screen. The technology used mimics the way traditional ink appears on paper, which many prefer over the backlit flat panel displays of tablets and computers. The EPD is only 0.7mm thick, weighs 14 grams (that’s 1/33 of a pound) and is said to be scratch resistant when dropped.

Flexibility is next, and it is relevant for your brand not just for the novelty of having a flexible device, but because the way people interact with your website or app could be changing sooner than you might suspect.

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Smartphones

iPhone 6 concepts beginning to emerge

With all the hub-bub about iOS 7 and iPhone 5, several iPhone 6 concepts have emerged. The most prominent feature is the wrap around screen.

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Looking into the future

Whether you are an Android lover or an Apple fanatic, people love to fantasize about what the newest phone release will bring, from hologram keyboards, an added projector, and so forth. As for the iPhone 6, the most common feature designers and fans think it will have is the wrap around screen. AGBeat has featured this concept several times, and while it has yet to become reality, there seems to be high hope for the iPhone 6 release.

Dribble users have designed and shared several concept models, all of which have the wrap around screen, also known as the infinity screen. This design allows a more engaged user experience, by removing the side casing. The sides have a flat, touch-responsive volume control and a much thinner design overall. And some additional revisions (based upon Cladio Guglieri’s original) have included wifi, Bluetooth, do not disturb, airplane mode, and rotation lock icons, right on the side.

These additions give you instant access to your most used controls, without the need to tap through to gain access to the settings screen. Also, with the extra features, the opposite side of the phone shows your message status, emails, and music controls. DeviantArt also has multiple postings of the infinity screen design. This is absolutely amazing to me because there is so much information in such a limited amount of space. The thickness of the phone in the concept states 0.30 inches; it is really hard to believe an email icon can fit and be legible, but it does.

Other futuristic possibilities

There are also several versions that include aluminum plus carbon fiber casing, in many different variations. Although most still remove the edges from the iPhone 5 design. Behance users have also created several examples of this design concept. With touch sensors wrapping the display edge, concept designers believe no borders means nothing between your hands and the display. And they hope accidental gestures can be prevented with the sensors, although this is just a concept. You certainly would not want to pick the phone up to answer a call from your boss and accidentally start your iTunes playlist.

The only problem I see with this beautiful design is protecting the edges, despite designers touting the durability of the new technologies. As someone who frequently drops their phone, and attempts to keep it safe by using a protective case, I wonder how you can utilize the edges, but still keep the phone safe. Also, I would be interested to see, how often holding the phone triggers the side sensors. Otherwise, I think the wrap around design is both beautifully functional and a long overdue, welcome feature.

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Smartphones

Contacts+ app adds productivity to any Android

Android users: Contacts+ is a great new way to manage your contacts, making a potentially frustrating process simple and streamlined, adding productivity to your phone.

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Contacts+ is more than a contact manager

Contacts+ is more than just a contact manager though, it is also a dialer app and combines photos with information from all your connected services: WhatsApp, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Contacts+ is a welcome alternative to the Andriod favorite Smartr. Since Smartr was recently acquired by Yahoo!, Contacts+ could not have come at a better time.

You can send free and regular messages without switching apps, sync pictures to your contacts, including cover photos, from Facebook and get birthday reminders.

How the app works

With optimization for both Android phone and tablets, you have the ability to sort your contacts in a variety of ways without worrying if you will be able to see all the data. You can sort by groups, favorites, smart contact (prioritization by frequency or A-Z), and search message history of your contact from one place. If you happen to have the same contact in your phone more than once, Contacts+ will sync them together to save you any confusion.

One tap opens a contact card, and then you can tap again to make calls or email them. Once the contact card is open, you can also catch up on their social media life. Leo from Contacts+ writes, “they have a sync process with Facebook and Google+, essentially users connect their accounts (authentication is performed securely through the respective service) and once an account is connected, Contacts+ links and syncs contacts based on unique identifiable information, enabling them to automatically connect your contacts and their identities.”.

New features have been added

The newest features include high res picture sync, a new black theme, T9 search in the call log, Dialer+ shortcut that can be opened over your call log/contacts screen, the ability to call back directly from the incoming message pop up and ignore accents improvements.

The only drawback is that some of the “sorting” features are a bit harder to find. You will need to tap through a couple of different options to find the ability to sort by last name, for example. But, once you get used to it, it really is a nice way to manage your contacts. Contacts+ is free in the Google Play store.

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