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DroidLight: An Essential App for Android

The power went out this morning in the Loveland, Colorado, offices ofWindows IT Pro. It's times like that when you realize how dependant you are on electricity. No computers? Well, you can undock your laptop and work offline—at least until the battery runs down. No phones? There are enough people around with their own phones or company mobile phones that that's not really a problem. And email? The smartphones handle that as well, for those who have them. In fact, the first new message I received on my  Motorola Droid was an alert from the company IT department to let me know the power was out in the Loveland office. (Way to stay on top of things, guys!)

But when people find out that the coffee maker won't work while the power is out, that's about enough to start a riot. Of course there were the lucky few who had already made their pilgrimage to the café to fill their mugs; the rest, unfortunately, had to blunder around in darkness with no artificial stimulant.

My point in bringing this up is about being prepared and having the right tools ready at hand. Today at the office, the right tool for me was DroidLight by Motorola. This free app available in the  Android Market turns your Android phone's camera LED flash into a flashlight—which I was able to use when I decided to leave the building because the power showed no sign of coming back on.

Screenshot of DroidLight by MotorolaThe stairwell was completely dark. First of all, shame on the landlord and management company for not having working emergency lights. But just as I was about to plunge into this darkness, I remembered that I'd downloaded DroidLight onto my Droid just for kicks; now I'd have the chance to see how well it really worked.

The answer is: It worked great! The light isn't all that bright, but it's plenty bright enough in total darkness to let you see everything you need—which in this case meant letting me safely get down the flight of stairs. Just as I was heading down, a colleague from another department entered the stairwell from the bottom, heading up. I was able to stand at the midpoint of the stairs and shine the light back up to allow her to see her way to the door at the top before finishing my way down to the bottom.

The latest update, DroidLight 3.0, adds a status bar notification to remind you that the light is on, which helps you avoid running down the battery by leaving it on after you return to well-lit areas. This app, produced by Motorola, naturally works well on the Droid. However, from some of the user comments in the Android Market, it might not work at all on the Nexus One—but there are no doubt other flashlight apps available that would. And I suspect the iPhone and other smartphones likewise have similar apps available. At the price of free, you can't go wrong in getting something like this to help you be prepared.

So, again, make sure you have the right tools when you need them, such as DroidLight by Motorola. And try to remember to get your coffee before the power goes out.

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