27
Sep
gesture search image
Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

Get that boss-key ready, because it’s time to kick off the first installment in Android Police’s productivity series! We’ve scoured the [sometimes murky] depths of the Android Market for those vital productivity boosting applications that can save you time, money, and hopefully, some sanity. We’re always looking for new apps to cover, so if you have any suggestions, drop us a line at [email protected]

I’m always looking for ways to make using my Android device easier and faster. Well, I’ve discovered four apps in the Market that will do just that… and, best of all, they’re free.

In-App WiFi

in-app wifi enabled

This little app does exactly what it says: it allows you to turn WiFi on or off, no matter what you’re doing on your Android device. By long pressing your search button, it brings up the choice to enable or disable WiFi. It’s as simple as that. No more searching through settings or for an icon or widget somewhere on your homescreen. As an alternative, you can assign the app to long press the call button. Personally, I prefer the long press search button option.

QR code for https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sas.inappwifitoggle

In-App Bluetooth

in-app BT enable

Just like its In-App Wifi cousin, In-App Bluetooth allows you to toggle Bluetooth on or off in the same way—by long pressing the search button. This is particularly useful if you’re getting into the car and want to quickly turn on Bluetooth to set up a headset or speaker system: long press, dialog window pops up, select In-App Bluetooth, then BAM! It’s enabled before you can say, “Android rocks.” Repeat to disable so you can save battery life.

There’s also an In-App Toggle Donate version where you get both apps for UK£ 0.99 (or around $1.55 US). If you really like the apps, you could always donate to the developer who, I imagine, would be very appreciative.

QR code for https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.oliverpearmain.inappbluetoothtoggle

Gesture Search

gesture search image 2

This little app is nothing short of amazing. Straight out of Google Labs, Gesture Search lets you quickly find a contact, a bookmark, a music track, or an application by drawing gestures on your device’s touchscreen.

Let’s say I wanted to search for John Smith. I fire up the app, finger write J, o, h, n on the screen. As I’m writing each letter, the app brings up all the choices that have those letters and restricts the search further as you type more letters. So by the time I get to writing “John,” only results with John in them will appear.

The only downside to this app is that you have to fire it up each time from an icon on your homescreen which, in my opinion, makes the app less useful because I have to go out of my way to FIND the icon from wherever I might be on my device. Which brings me to the next app…

QR code for https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.gesturesearch

Gesture Search Bar

gesture search bar image 1

Gesture Search Bar makes Google’s Gesture Search app much more useful and accessible by simply adding an option to open the app by long pressing the search button. No matter where you are on your device, you can fire up Gesture Search via the Gesture Search Bar. No more hunting down the Gesture Search app icon to load the program.

You also have the option of creating a shortcut in the notification bar so you can pull it down to enable it at anytime. Personally, I prefer using the long press search button option to keep my notification bar neat and tidy.

QR code for https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=googoo.android.gesturebar

Ed. Note: We knew we’d get comments if we didn’t mention this: yes, we know that Gesture Search recently implemented the ability to access the app by a shake of your phone, but many of us on the team have had mixed results with this, so we decided to include the ‘Gesture Search Bar’ for those who prefer a method of accessing ‘Gesture Search’ that works 100% of the time. –Chris

In summary, these four apps will help you become more productive by saving you time. What’s more, they all share one thing: use of the long press search button. Enjoy!

  • Ron Hamelin

    Plus, having the "shake to activate" feature enabled appears to seriously drain the battery. In addition, I found that shaking it on my Incredible didn't always activate it the first time.

  • CodeMonkey

    I much prefer using a nifty free utility called BarControl that lets you put shortcuts to any app in the notification bar.
    Together with Toggle Wifi and Bluetooth Mode I can change wifi and bluetooth states without overriding standard functionality.

  • Goodelyfe

    Look up an app called Tasker. Almost full automation if your android device

    • http://users.tpg.com.au/parker09/ parker

      Once you've experienced how powerful Tasker really is I really don't think you can go back to using toggles widgets and what not.

  • Neil

    I prefer QuickDesk. It's like an additional homescreen that pops up over whatever you're doing when you double-tap 'home'.
    Add whatever widgets you like to it to enable/disable wifi, bluetooth etc.
    I've got power control and torch on it.

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