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twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Print Edition: June 2013

Facebook Home
Android (Free)

Instead of a Facebook phone that raked up so many rumours on the Internet for many weeks, we now have the Facebook Home app for top-end Android smartphones.

Facebook's aim: 'Turn an Android phone into a great, living, social phone'. The app virtually takes over the smartphone's lock screen and homepage and throws out timeline updates. Single updates with the photo or text appear on the screen and slowly floats towards the left giving space for the next feed to appear. We could also swipe the screen towards the right to view timeline updates. But when you tap on an update, it launches the Facebook app. However, not all latest updates, visible on the web version of FaceBook, appear here.

Towards the bottom of the screen appeared a bubble with the profile image. Touching the bubble shows three options - messenger, apps and HTC Sense (as we tested the app on HTC One). With every incoming Facebook message the sender's image appears on the bubble. Dragging your profile bubble towards the apps opens a page with status, photo and check-in at the top, phone, message and camera at the bottom with the latest used apps in between. Swiping it towards the left shows all apps.

Downloadable from the Google Play Store, the application at the moment works only on a few selected devices including the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II and the recently announced HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4. However, we could not run it on the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Overall, we were not really very impressed with the Facebook Home app and it did drain the battery quickly.

OUR MONTHLY PICK OF OTHER APPS FOR PHONE, TABLETS

QOOL (Free)
Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS
This app is for people who need lots of help to get themselves organised. The app created rich canvases on which to add post-its reminding you do something at some time. You can also add video and photos if that is more help. There are different canvases, so you can create one for a business project or even a story you are planning to write.

NoteLedge
By Kdan Mobile Software LTD
iOS ($4.99)
This must be the most comprehensive of all the note-taking apps we have tested so far, as NoteLedge lets you write notes and add charts, photos, audio and video to it. You can also type in different fonts and sizes if you are not very comfortable scribbling on the screen or using a stylus. This app is a bit too cluttered though.

GoComics (Free)
By Andrews McMeel Universal, Inc.
Android, iOS, Windows Phone
This app gives you the world's best comic strips on a platter. No, there are no long format comics here, just crisp strips that you can munch through in seconds. All strips are in a calendar format, which means you are getting the latest from Garfield or Calvin and Hobbes, not old stuff reprinted by local newspapers.

OliveOfficeHD
iOS (Free)
This app lets you open Microsoft Office file formats like Excel, Word and PowerPoint from cloud accounts like DropBox and Google Docs. The app can also be used to create these files with most of the formatting options needed. There is no spell-check if you are using Word, otherwise most of the features work.

CloudOn (Free)
By CloudOn, Inc
Android, iOS
With a Cloudon account you can link your Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive to open and edit all files in your cloud. Our tip is that you use different cloud accounts for different types of files and profiles, so that you know where to look for a certain file.

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