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80,258 News Articles

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

Weight Watcher's diary

If you're trying to lose weight, or to maintain your weight after slimming down, you've probably considered either joining Weight Watchers or trying to follow its point system without joining. Either way, Canofsleep's free WWDiary is worth considerably more than you don't have pay for it.

Here you track the foods you've eaten in the course of a day, the exercise you've done, and the effect these have on your daily and weekly allotment of points. (In the Weight Watcher system, every food serving has points, from 1 point for a carrot to 19 points for a banana split. Based on your age, weight, and gender, you should accumulate no more than a specified maximum number points per day and per week - or you'll start accumulating unwanted reserves of cushiony lipids.) When you add a new food or a new exercise to your diary, you have the option of adding it to your Favourites list too, which simplifies adding the same things in future entries.

Specialised calculators help you determine the points associated with a food item or an exercise routine, as well as how many points you're allowed that day. You can also keep a log of your weight changes.

But don't bother with the widget - at least not at first. It simply tells you how much weight you've lost since you started using the app.

WWDiary is not officially affiliated with Weight Watchers, and it carries this disclaimer: 'By using this program you agree that I am not responsible for any of your problems.'

Portable music player

Android phones come with software for playing MP3s and other music files. But the preloaded player is pretty basic, and lots of better alternatives exist. My favourite is Maxim Petrov's PowerAMP. As I write this, PowerAMP is a free beta. But the final version will be out very soon and will cost $5 (£3.15). That's a lot to pay for a program that competes with a bunch of freebies, but consider what you get for the money.

First, PowerAMP provides some awesome audio settings: a ten-band equaliser; preamp control; and separate dials for controlling bass, treble, and volume. All of these adjustments come up on a separate, highly graphical window, but you can turn any of them off or on from the main screen.

As on most other players, the main screen displays album artwork. But PowerAMP is sensitive to what you do with your fingers over that art. Flick left and it takes you to the next song. Flick right and you go to the previous one.

PowerAMP is intelligent about headphones, too. Unplug your headphones and the music stops. Plug them in again, and it restarts.

You also get your choice of three different widgets for viewing and controlling your music from the Home Screen.

NEXT PAGE: Guitar tuner

  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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