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12 apps to turn your Google Android phone into other gadgets

Turn your handset into a torch or compass

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

Notepad, Post-its and refrigerator door

We all scribble things on pieces of paper - reminders, ideas, shopping lists. Then we leave them places where we'll find them or, more likely, never see them again.

You'll find plenty of note-taking apps in the Android Market, but the free AK Notepad won my heart. In the first place, it looks great on a phone's screen - mimicking yellow, lined paper. The sans serif font looks slightly handwritten while remaining highly legible. You can edit the title of each note separately from the note itself.
After creating a note, you can do much more with it than just leave it in AK Notepad. You can set a reminder to go off in five minutes, in a day, or on the day and time of your choice. You can pin an icon for the note (but not, unfortunately, a widget) to your Home Screen. You can save the note as a text file, or send it to someone via email, Gmail, or text messaging.

Barcode scanner

Almost every commercially packaged product has a barcode, which can tell you more than just the price of the product in that particular store - especially if you've installed Barcode Scanner on your Android device.
With the app running, point your phone's camera at a bar code, and it will decode it and offer you information about the product. You may find reviews, and you'll certainly learn where else you can buy it and whether you can get a better deal.

Barcode Scanner gives you three ways to look up each product that it identifies. Its own Product Search tends to find local and online stores that offer the same item. The web search looks up the code in Google, thereby finding a wider variety of information. And if you have the Google Shopper app installed, Barcode Scanner can use that - though in my experience, the results are identical to those from the product search.

The app saves all of your scans in a history, which is good, but it doesn't do much with that history. For one thing, it merely lists numbers, without descriptions, which is not very useful. Also, as near as I can tell, you can't delete anything from the history.

NEXT PAGE: Weight Watcher's diary

  1. Turn your handset into a torch
  2. TV remote control
  3. Alarm clock
  4. Notepad, Post-its and refrigerator door
  5. Weight Watcher's diary
  6. Guitar tuner

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