Need a compass, a flashlight, a voice recorder, or a TV remote? Look no further than your Android phone. We've got 12 apps that ensure it can replace any one of a number of other gadgets
Your phone comes with an alarm clock app already loaded.
But I know a much better one. Alarm Clock Plus is, quite simply, the best alarm clock I've ever used - including physical alarm clocks of the digital, analogue and wind-up varieties.
What does Alarm Clock Plus do that the others can't? Plenty. It lets you select not just a song but a playlist, from which it will play songs at random. That means you can select 40 or 400 songs that seem right for starting the day, and be pleasantly surprised every morning. You can have it start the alarm softly and slowly increase the volume. And if you have a really hard time getting up, you can preset it not to shut up until you've solved a math problem. That should get your brain working.
With all these of options, Alarm Clock Plus can be a little daunting to set up. So when you create an alarm, work through it slowly and then use the option for testing it. The full version of Alarm Clock Plus costs $1.79 (£1.15); but if you're willing to put up with some advertising, the free version works just fine.
If you're in a location where you can recharge your phone and get on a 3G network, you probably don't need a compass. But a compass is still a cool thing to have around.
Catch.com's free Compass displays a working compass on your Android phone's screen, complete with an arrow that always points north. And unlike a real compass, this one can point to due north as well as to magnetic north. You get a choice of seven compass designs, from antique to GPS, and you can select from among various backgrounds.
The app has some cool tricks up its sleeve. For instance, you can save your current longitude and latitude as a place, and later you can bring up the place in Google Maps for directions back to it. If you're the sort of person who forgets where you parked your car - or who gets blindfolded and taken to secret hideouts a lot - this feature can come in handy.
Compass's accuracy is only as good as your phone's direction- and location-finding abilities. You may also have to move your phone in odd ways (such as in a figure of eight pattern) before you can get an accurate reading.
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