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Screebl Lite - Save Power!: A must have Android application.

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  1. greenSkin

    greenSkin Guest This Topic's Starter

    When I first heard the app name Screebl, I was instantly curious. The name tells nothing of what the app does and perhaps that is a good thing as it entices the curious to it. When ever I start looking into what exactly an app does, I first check the ratings for the app. If the app's ratings are lower than 3 stars I forget about it and move on, otherwise I'll investigate more and see if indeed it interests me. As it stands at the time of this writing, the app has 4.5/5 stars. There are two versions of Screebl, a Lite version that is free and a Pro version for $1.99.

    Upon reading the description of the app the first sentence really sums up what it does, "Get (and keep) your Screen on!". The description briefly states that the app will keep your screen on based on orientation and help to save battery.

    Once the app installs and opens, you are graced with a simple screen with the app name/logo, a slogan, a single checkbox to enable/disable Screebl, and a link to the developers Web site. The Lite version also provides a link to purchase the Pro version of the app.

    Before jumping into what exactly the app does, I'll first briefly mention the menu options. From the menu you can access the preferences where you can configure the app from things like enabling it automatically when the phone is powered on to sample frequency and orientation ranges, an about screen, a link to a video that helps understand what Screebl does and why the developer created it, a view listing all the changelogs for the application, and links to comment on the app and share the app.

    So the best way to jump in and get our feet wet for this app is to enable it via the single checkbox on the main screen for the app. Once enabled you immediately see an icon in the notifications bar that resembles a phone. If you place the phone down on a table the icon is filled with black color. When you pick up the phone and hold it at an angle the icon turns green in the middle. This is a visual aid to tell you the app is working to keep the screen on. When the Screebl icon turns all black the phone returns to its normal screen shutoff routine.

    At first you might wonder if the app keeps your screen on, how can it actually save battery. How Screebl saves you battery is by allowing you to have the screen timeout set to the fastest setting. Instead of setting your screen to timeout after a minute or more, you can set it to something like 15 seconds and rely more on the power Screebl provides of keeping the screen on during the time you are actually using it.

    With the notifications tray open you can see that Screebl is listed under the "Ongoing" section. The item includes simple text stating what mode Screebl is in such as the phone is idle or phone is being used. You can select the Screebl item in the notifications tray and the main app screen will open where you can disable/enable Screebl and change its preferences.

    Now that we've seen what the app does, let's go a little deeper into its preferences. The preferences are broken up into four different categories: general configuration, orientation ranges, stillness configuration, and debug.

    Under the general configuration category there are three checkboxes to enable at power-on, generate notifications (show the icon in the notifications bar), and disable when docked. To note the option to disable when docked works only on Android 2.0 or later. In-call behavior allows configuring how Screebl works during calls, the options being screen locked on, Screebl disabled at ear, or Screebl disabled. Next there is the ability to change the sample frequency the Screebl evaluates orientation; can be slow, normal, or fast. The brightness level can be set to full brightness & keyboard, full brightness, or low brightness. Lastly under the general configuration is a checkbox to update the video library of Screebl video tutorials.

    The orientation ranges section allows adjusting the portrait orientation and landscape orientation, where you basically set orientation degrees where the device should be to activate Screebl. There is a checkbox to allow range inversion which allows the orientations to take affect when the phone is inverted. Finally you can adjust the axis variance (how strict the app should be when reading the phone orientation).

    The stillness configuration settings provide options to configure how Screebl should react to being still. A stillness timeout can be enabled so when the phone is within the allowed orientations to activate Screebl but the phone registers as being still the screen can be allowed to timeout. The stillness timeout length of time is configurable to 30 seconds, 1 minute, or 2 minutes. There is also the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the stillness detection.

    Finally under the debug section there is a single checkbox in which anonymous debugging can be enabled. This allows anonymous debug information to be submitted back to the developer.

    Now you might wonder whether to use the free version or go ahead and purchase the paid version, after all it is only $1.99! To start with let me briefly describe the differences between the two. The Free version is a fully functioning version of Screebl, it simply lacks some more advanced features that are available in the Pro version. These advanced features are Locale 1.x Plug-ins, ability to change the icon shown in the notifications tray, and improved algorithms. If these features you would find help or useful then definitely go for the Pro version, otherwise the Free version should be more than sufficient.

    This app I recommend to everyone I know who has an Android phone. Once you start using it you won't be able to live without it. With the ability to customize the orientation states to sensitivity levels, this app provides everything you could want it to. If you purchase the Pro version you not only support the great developers of an awesome app, you get better algorithms and additional functionality via the Locale application. All-in-all a must have application.


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