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With voice-recognition apps on the rise, it’s only a matter of time before our Android smartphones truly are our artificial assistants. Working towards this goal, Vlingo launched a beta app called Labs to gain more feedback directly from willing users. CoinKeeper’s also made waves this week with a very visual app for tracking expenses, while Everyme’s the latest social networking app to hit the scene, touting privacy above all else.
Vlingo Labs (Beta) (free)
Before releasing the full version of their updated Android app, Vlingo launched a beta app called Vlingo Labs specifically for testing purposes. The virtual voice-recognition-based assistant app lets you speak directly to your handset to manage tasks, such as sending texts, dialing numbers or searching the web. It has a wake-up greeting for activation, so irrelevant babble won’t result in an accidental text. Vlingo’s looking specifically for beta testers using Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich devices, and includes a feedback button directly in the app for your convenience.
CoinKeeper: expense tracking (free)
Need help managing your budget and keeping track of savings? CoinKeeper to the rescue. Landing on Android this week, CoinKeeper lets you manage multiple accounts with support for several currencies. Mark your transactions, organize them according to accounts and tally your expenses. You’ll get upcoming bill reminders, and alerts when you’re on the verge of overspending. Set your financial goals to help stash some cash, and view detailed charts of your spending patterns. What sets CoinKeeper apart is its game-like features to make things a little more colorful for you. It’s a fun and easy way to track your spending and stay on top of your expenses.
Social networking is evolving into a well-categorized mechanism for sharing specific content with select groups. Everyme is the latest to provide private social networking, launching their Android app this week. Create circles for close friends and family, sharing content with the right groups. Everyme will start to form groups on your behalf if you don’t manually set them up, suggesting others to include when you begin sharing content. There’s an activity feed to keep you abreast of changes in your network, so you can still keep track of happenings. Recipients don’t need to have the Everyme app to view your shared content – you can send items via email or SMS, and recipients can reply in turn.
Samsung Cares (free)
As Samsung becomes a powerful mobile platform, manufacturing connected devices and rolling out mobile operating systems that support apps, the Apple rival is always looking for more ways to get closer to the consumer. A new customer service app called Samsung Cares is the latest development, offering product support to help you troubleshoot device issues, repair your Samsung gadget and get in touch with a customer service rep. The app features FAQs, how-to guides and videos to navigate your issues and track your service status. The Samsung Cares app also acts as a hub for the manufacturer’s various outlets including Facebook, Twitter and live chat.
With all the cloud services out there, it’s becoming troublesome to keep track of your media across Google Docs, Dropbox and the rest. Hojoki is a centralizing app that creates a newsfeed for your cloud activity, helping you manage multiple services under one app. Also supporting Evernote, Google Calendar, Highrise, Basecamp, Twitter and more, Hojoki is a master cloud app that lets you see what files are being shared with you, when document versions have been updated, an event has been added, and more.
As we saw with Vlingo Labs, there’s a race to become the best voice-recognition assistant on Android. One problem with most of the Siri-like apps on the market is that they only support English. Assistant from Speaktoit is taking things to the next level with support for Spanish as well, reaching out to a very broad user base and setting its sights on international markets. The recently updated virtual buddy uses natural language technology to answer your questions, find information, launch Android apps and connect you with services like Facebook, foursquare and Evernote. You can send emails, find a location in Google Maps and get weather reports.