Friday, 16 September 2011

Screenshot ER adds a toggle widget, but has some shake and data bugs to fix

A toggle widget

The two best apps to take screenshots on a rooted Android phone are ShootMe and Screenshot ER.

On second thought, the best app to take screenshots is ShootMe.

Both apps do more or less the same, but Screenshot ER took a step forward by adding a toggle widget: tap it to activate the app, shoot your screen, tap the widget again to switch the screenshot service off. That's a really cool new feature.



Screenshot ER Lite only takes screenshots of my home screens when in shake mode. When I'm in an app I can shake my phone until the battery drops out, but Screenshot ER won't take any pictures. It takes pics from the notification bar toggle, but there's an 8 second delay for that in the lite version, and you'll end up with the Screenshot ER notification icon on every screenshot.

The previous version shot my apps by shaking just fine. Maybe the bug only bites my phone (Motorola Defy running Froyo), maybe it bites yours too. Give it a shot (and a shake) to see if it works on your phone.

Data leak?

False alarm: for every screenshot I take, Screenshot ER appears to download 1.6 MB (yes, megabytes!) worth of data. Even when I block it with DroidWall. There's no point trying to keep it offline with LBE Privacy Guard either, because then it won't work at all.

Screenshot ER doesn't need all that data to take screenshots. If you switch off your WiFi and mobile data connection it shoots your screen too. Interestingly, even with all your data connections switched off apps like TrafficStats and LBE will still report the 1.6 MB per shot. Obviously the data usage is a false positive, but it's alarming anyway.

The mystery data is probably because Screenshot ER works around the limitations of Android by acting as an internal server: your phone "downloads" the screenshot from itself. An uncompressed image of a 480x852 screen would be about 1.6 MB.

Concerns about erroneous data reporting can be lifted by a better explanation in the market description and in the app itself, but because shake-to-shoot doesn't work in app screens I'll keep using ShootMe a bit longer. ShootMe shoots app windows by shaking, which Screenshot ER won't do for me. Maybe it will after the next update?

ShootMe (android underground)
Screenshot ER Lite (Android Market)

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