Every week we bring you news about big apps, flashy apps, important apps. This week's most notable addition to the Android Market is certainly Google Currents, and it's definitely worth checking out (and adding Android Community via the Search function). But smaller apps that work great deserve at least as much attention, so we're featuring Brightness Rocker Pro as our App of the Week. It's a great little utility that grants you quick and unobtrusive access to your Android phone or tablet's screen brightness.
Brightness Rocker Pro does just one thing: when you press the volume button on your phone up or down, a slider for screen brightness appears just below the volume indicator. That's about it as far as functionality goes, though in the best traditions of Android, there's a lot of different ways you can set it up. The most important setting you can adjust is the fade delay, changing how fast the rocker dialogue disappears. You can also change which volume settings trigger the rocker - for example, if you don't want it to accidentally appear while you're in a call, disable in-call volume trigger. Standard features like quick access to the automatic brightness and application settings round it out, and if you want Brightness Rocker Pro to display a visual indication it can hang out in your status bar.
But the fact that it doesn't have to is part of why I love this app. Once it's set up, you don't need an extra widget on your homescreen or an icon in your notification tray to have access to the brightness settings. If you're heading into a movie theater (before the previews, please!) or going out of one into a bright afternoon, just tap the volume and you can instantly set brightness to your liking. I find it particularly useful in a car dock, so I can quickly reduce the brightness for safer night driving without taking my eyes off the road. The app works with Honeycomb tablets, but since these usually have access to the brightness function built into the ever-present status bar menu, it's less useful on the larger UI.
I use Brightness Rocker Pro on every phone I review. It's quick, it's easy, and it's well worth the $1.99 price in the Android Market. If even that's too much for you and you're OK with advertising, you can use the free version, Brightness Rocker Lite, though I'd encourage you to support the developer for a solid app.