The Swiss Army Knife of Android Apps

Android has a LOT of great apps, many of them free.  There are also apps that replace multiple other apps – kind of the swiss army knife of apps.  Now there is one that is actually called Swiss Army Knife, and it replaces 6 stand-alone apps and does it pretty well.

These aren’t apps you may use every day, but when you need them they are quite handy to have around.  It’s also a free download so that makes it even better.  It can serve as a replacement for apps you already have or add some apps you didn’t even know you needed.

Once you have downloaded and installed the app it is pretty straight-forward.  Browse your apps and open “Swiss Army Knife”.  It will take you straight to a screen that displays the six apps that you now have available.

1. Flashlight – There are countless flashlight apps available for Android.  This particular flashlight app works just fine, but I have to say that it’s not my favorite.  Unlike Tiny Flashlight which uses the LED flash of the phone this one puts up a blank, bright white screen, which isn’t quite as bright.

2. Ruler – The Ruler app allows you to take a quick measurement of an object…providing that it’s smaller than your screen size.  That’s a big limitation, but it can be handy in a lot of instances.

3. Timer – The Timer is exactly what is claims to be.  It has simple Start, Stop, and Clear buttons and count time in hours, minutes, and seconds.  It’s handy for all sorts of uses from cooking to timing a workout.

4. Stopwatch – The Stopwatch app is similar to the Timer, but takes up less screen real estate and has one less button – Start becomes Stop when the stopwatch is running, plus there is a Reset button.

5. Compass – The compass app uses your phones built-in compass and accelerometer to move as you rotate the phone.  It is useful if you are into and activity such as hiking, r just have a reason know which direction is which to head or look.

6. Bubble Level – This is perhaps the most useful of the six apps.  A level is one of those tools that every homeowner needs on a regular basis for such simple things as hanging pictures, blinds, shelves, and a hundred other things.  It consists of three separate levels – a vertical, horizontal, and circular ones.

All  six of the included apps can be accessed from the home screen with the click of an icon.  The app is free from the Android Market and is lightweight, quick, and easy to use.  Plus, it replaces a bumch of other apps that you would otherwise download and install separately.


Victorinox USB Swiss Army Knife

CES 2011 has been taking place this week in LAS Vegas, NV. This is the show where anybody who is anybody in consumer electronics is. That includes everyone from those who sell giant plasma TVs like Sony down to those who sell usb drives like Victorinox. At one time everyone carried a Swiss Army knife with them at all times. Now a days though because of airport security, you can’t carry one. This was hurting Victorinox the maker of Swiss Army knife business , so now they offer a USB Swiss Army knife.

The airport safe version has USB keys only, there is also one that comes with a blade, nail file, LED light, pen and scissor. Like any Victorinox product it is highly durable and waterproof. You can remove the drives from the knife and swap them out for a higher capacity drive. The USB drives can carry up to 64 GB and there is a Duo which carries up to 128GB. Victorinox is also introducing a SSD model, which has a dual USB/eSATA interface and an e-ink display with drive detail. It is expected there will be a 128GB and 256GB version at launch in March and a 512GB later in the year. It has 3x the speed of a standard USB drive. This means that later this year a device which is the size of a Swiss Army knife will have the same storage capability that my mac mini has. It offer secure data encryption and high read and write speed. It has dynamic power management and 32 bit high-speed processor. The USB version is available now, the SSD model should be available later this spring. I love the idea of this product, especially the SSD drive. It is amazing how something so small has so much storage capacity. I look forward to getting my hand on one.