April 06, 2010

What’s on My Android Phone

Yesterday I asked Joel Ross if he would write a blog post listing the apps that he liked and used on his Android phone. Android owners in our crowd are few and far between. Most developers that I know are iPhone junkies, the next largest group is probably Windows Mobile. But Android devices are starting to sneak their way in. Joel has had his phone quite a bit longer than I have so I was curios as to what apps he’s found invaluable (and that I might be missing). I promised I would follow up his post with one of my own.

Joel responded with a great post: What’s on My Phone. So now it’s my turn.

I’ve only had my Android phone for a little under a month now so I’m still on the lookout for the apps that I just cannot live without but haven’t even crossed my radar. I have a Samsung Moment, which I absolutely adore, and I’ve been very happy with Sprint so far especially with the value they provide for the money. My last phone was a Blackberry and I liked it, but I love the Android platform and devices and am really glad I made the switch.

Like Joel, the app I absolutely use the most is Mail, probably 20+ times a day – I absolutely LOVE the notification bar. Unlike Joel I really don’t use the calendar or browser all that much. I have 4 email accounts setup on the phone: my personal Gmail account (which is a consolidation of several email accounts), my personal Yahoo account, my danhounshell.com email, and my work email. I rarely check my work email from my phone since I sit in front of my desktop with Outlook running all day. But I must say that since I got this phone I rarely ever check Gmail, Yahoo email or my personal email account on anything but the phone.

I do have my Google calendar (and my wife’s and my son’s) synced with my phone. And I have my work calendar synced to my Google calendar. But I just rarely ever even look at it on the phone. The reason could be because the default calendar widget sucks and only shows the next appointment. I’ll have to try the CalWidget that Joel uses to see if I like it better.

Again like Joel, I have not purchased any applications from the Android Market yet. I’m not averse to doing so, I’m just cheap and haven’t found anything yet that I just had to have enough to pay for it. All of the apps that I currently use either came installed on my phone, are free or are the light version of a paid application.

Like the Droid the Samsung Moment has 3 home screens. On my center home screen I have shortcuts for voicemail, my contacts, the browser, the Android Market, calendar, etc. – nothing out of the ordinary.

On the left home screen I have:

  • the Weather Channel widget,
  • the Sprint Navigation widget
  • shortcuts to ESPN, CNN, CBS Sports
  • *WiFi OnOff widget by CurveFish
  • SilentMode OnOff widget by CurveFish

* Even though I have the ability to use WiFi with my phone and I probably should since I’m home all the time and sitting 6 feet from the wireless router, I don’t. I’ve tried it a couple times and my WiFi feels slower than Sprint 3G does. My data usage with Sprint is unlimited so there is no economic incentive to use my WiFi rather than Sprint’s data network.

On the right home screen I have:

  • NewsRob – I haven’t tried using Google Reader in the browser on the phone, maybe I should give it a try. I’ve been looking for an app that syncs with Google Reader and I like NewsRob so far. I’ve been using the “lite” version for about a week. The full version might end up being the first app that I decide to pay for.
  • Last.fm – I’ve only used the Last.fm app twice, both when going for a walk before copying over any MP3s to my phone. It was nice to have a “radio” pre-programmed with the songs I like. Seems to be a very solid app.
  • Twitdroid – Twitdroid was the first Twitter app I installed. I haven’t found a reason to try another – very good app.
  • Foursquare – I think I use Foursquare just like Joel does. I don’t have any friends, I just check in pretty much everywhere I go.
  • YouTube
  • Facebook – I’m not that much of a Facebook junkie, I’ll check it a couple of times a week to see what is going on but that’s it. I really don’t use Facebook much from my phone at all. Every once in a while I’ll open it up while I’m watching TV or sitting outside watching the kids play and have nothing better to do.
  • Telligent Mobile Dashboard (something I’ve been working on)

So that’s the list of things that I feel that are worthy of having widgets or shortcuts on my home screens. Now on to the rest:

  • Aldiko – I only installed this e-book reader a few days ago after reading a review. This is my first e-book reader on any platform (other than PDF on a PC, of course) and I like it well enough so far.
  • Carr Matey – a very cool “find your car” application that is pirate themed.
  • Engadget – just came out a little over a week ago. Good for filling a few minutes while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s offic.
  • FartDroid – Everyone needs a fart app on their mobile device. No? Well the kids enjoy it :)
  • Google Maps
  • Google Sky Map
  • Keepy Uppy – a very cool little keepy uppy soccer, I mean football, game with some great graphics. Lots of fun and pretty challenging to boot (pun intended). My best score is 43.
  • Nesoid Lite – the free version of an NES emulator. I’ve only tried it with one ROM, but it works fine. Tough to play most games without a d-pad, though. But I think I read that the developer was working on an on-screen d-pad – that should really improve gameplay.
  • Opera Mini 5 – tried it. Works fine. I don’t see any reason to switch from using the default browser most of the time though.
  • Real Blackjack
  • Google Secrets – a new password security app from Google. This is the first “KeePass” type of application that I’ve ever used so I have no idea how it stacks up to the others.
  • ShopSavvy – this is one of the first applications I installed after bringing my Android home. I love saving money (so I can spend it on other things) so it offers a ton of promise. Unfortunately I haven’t been presented an opportunity to use it yet.
  • Slot Machine
  • Solitaire
  • SNesoid Lite – an SNES emulator by the same developer as Nesoid. I’ve only used it with one ROM yet, Mario Kart. It is fun and a good time waster. Same thing here about the d-pad as mentioned above with Nesoid.
  • SystemPanel by NextApp – this is a great app. It is basically a task killer for shutting down tasks that don’t thoughtfully provide their own “exit” option. But it also provides some nice meters that show realtime CPU and Memory usage and more.
  • Trapster – I just read about this and installed it last week so I haven’t had a chance to use it. Basically it’s the mobile version of Trapster a community speed trap sharing site. Along with speed traps people also post live police locations, known enforcement zones, red light cams, accidents, road work, etc. Seems like it would be very useful on trips.

That’s it for my apps. As I said I’m still a newbie and discovering what I like and what I need so my list changes rather frequently.

If you are a new Android user (or even not so new), what apps have you found that you simply cannot live without or at least find useful enough to recommend?

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