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Fresh Android Apps for Jan. 6: WritePad, iAmA Shakepadroid, CircleLauncher

by Ian Black

After four double espressos, my thumbs shudder uncontrollably over the Android’s virtual keyboard like a woodpecker against a giant oak. My messages get so jumbled the people receiving them think I’m texting in from a car wreck. That’s why I’m always searching for alternative input methods. If you too suffer the java jitters, read on for some useful input tools. These apps are as fresh as this morning’s Macchiato.

WritePad ($9.99)

Even if you have the sad scrawl of a third grader, this handwriting tool claims it can understand you. The processed input flows to any Android application, including text messages and email. Its handwriting recognition supports cursive, printing, or a mix of both. The app learns your style over time and uses auto-correct technology to fix spelling errors.

For an Android app, it’s expensive at 10 bucks, but if you hate virtual keyboards it might be worth the money.

iAmA Shakepadroid (Alpha) (Free)

Freak out your friends by controlling your computer’s mouse cursor through your Android’s touchscreen. Tap and hold the directional buttons displayed on the app’s main screen to drive, and press the round button to click the mouse. You can even set the app for left-hand or right-hand mouse users.

In addition to downloading this app from the Market, you’ll need to download software to your PC (see the link on the app’s first informational screen). The app talks to the PC through Bluetooth, the same technology used for Bluetooth ear buds. Your Android will ask if it’s OK to turn Bluetooth on when the app first launchs. Note: The app clearly states it’s an Alpha, that’s pre-Beta, so don’t expect too much, but the idea is so cool you might just want to check it out.

CircleLauncher (~$1.31)

Forget all the menus and tapping to navigate around your phone. With CircleLauncher, group your friends and apps into circles – maybe one is personal and one is business. Then, just use one tap from a circle to launch an app, or a web page, or your contacts. Depending on how you create your circles you could end up saving hundreds of taps over a long period of time.

This app first launched a couple of weeks back. But this 1.2 version, with some bug fixes, was just released. CircleLauncher is ready to roll.