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The best apps for my Android phone

Posted on Saturday, April 10th, 2010 at 3:20 pm. #

Listening to the radio

A few of my friends have got their own Android phone, and they’ve asked me what I’d recommend. So, here’s a short list.

Best Android Twitter app: Twicca. It’s made by a Japanese team, who’ve diligently incorporated everything possible into the app, and added a nice widget for the home screen. It’s pretty and works well, and in my opinion beats the pants off Twitdroid or Seesmic.

Best Android Podcasting app: Google Listen. It uses Google Reader to manage your subscriptions, and periodically downloads new episodes. It’s good for a long drive. Tip: while you soon get used to the extra stuff appearing in your Reader feed, ‘m’ marks an item as unread, ‘j’ then skips past it.

Best Android Music app: Last.fm. This scrobbles what you listen to on the included music player, and also lets you access your personal radio stations. It’s rather fine.

Best Android Google Reader app: NewsRob. Nicely, you appear to be able to configure it to go and get the webpage, rather than just show the RSS feed: which might be handy for things like BBC News, for example. There’s a free version and a paid-for: the free version doesn’t have sharing functionality on it.

Best “What else should I install” Android app: AppAware. AppAware monitors what you install, and shows you what everyone else is installing too. Useful to discover new and interesting apps.

Best “pointless but fun” Android app: Google Skymap. I actually used this in Ghana, when we wondered what the bright star was up there. Turned out to be Mars.

Best completely illegal Android app: iMusic. If you can still find it, this is an app that downloads any old song you want to your phone, completely illegally, from websites somewhere. Steve Jobs wouldn’t like it.

Best useful Android app: JuiceDefender. It does some nifty switch-on/switch-off of your 3G connection when your phone’s asleep to save battery life: lots of it. For me, doubles the battery life; and you can buy an add-on that makes it even more agressive.

Finally, I also have TipCalc (to work out how much tip to leave); CallTrack (which adds all calls you make/receive/miss into your calendar for a permanent record); Kayak (for quick flight searches); LBC (for live radio); London Tube (for ‘has it broken down again?’ type info); Opera Mini (very fast browser); Sipdroid (for Media UK’s office number); and SMS Popup (which pops up incoming SMS’s like the iPhone). Oh, and a few more.

What are your favourite Android apps? Let me know in the comments.


David Lewis
commenting at April 10th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Handcent SMS beats the stock SMS application.

Google Map My Tracks is interesting if you go for a walk or hike.

Places Directory is brilliant if you are somewhere new. Fire it up and it will tell you where the nearest restaurants, petrol stations, cash machines etc are.

SMSToMailbox is good as well. Sends me an email, which I use gmail to filter and label correctly, every time I get a call, text or MMS. Handy to see if you have any text messages while at your computer without finding your phone. The Premium version of this app allows you to reply from your computer.

Paul Smith
commenting at April 10th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

You haven’t downloaded Ask The Hoff yet? What’s wrong with you?

Dave Johnston
commenting at April 10th, 2010 at 3:32 pm

SMS Backup: backsup all my sent/recieved SMS messages into my GMail, very neatly and tidily. Very useful being able to search e-mail and SMS messages for that old date, time, obscure message or number…

Mini Plane and Flight Frenzy are pretty good games too; the quality of Android games has improved massively over the past 12 months.

Graeme Hilton
commenting at April 10th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I don’t get the extra feeds appearing in my Google Reader. Which version of Listen have you got?

James Cridland
commenting at April 10th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Graeme: I use the latest, v1.1, which says (in its release notes):
Subscriptions are stored by Google Reader in the “Listen Subscriptions” folder.

It’s not a problem, though slightly irritating in Google Reader’s ‘all view’.

Laura James
commenting at April 10th, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I blogged an epic list of my Android apps a while back: http://blog.lbj.org.uk/2010/01/all-android-apps-i-have.html

Thanks for the recommendations! I’m installing some more, now.

Graeme Hilton
commenting at April 10th, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Just upgraded to the latest Google Listen and all my subscriptions appeared in Reader. Should be easier to organize from now on!

Thanks for compiling the list. Useful for finding quality applications!

Mat Stace
commenting at April 11th, 2010 at 12:47 am

A second vote for SMSToMailbox – I discovered it when my HTC Hero (now replaced with a Milestone) went mental after a ROM update, and the new SMS database and Handcent were having fights, and I was losing all of my incoming SMS. The developer fixed a reported bug in under 48 hours too, which is always good.

Home++ is a rather nifty home screen replacement, that gives more screens that my Milestone originally had, and they loop round as well, so from far right screen to far left, is just one swipe to the right.

Appbrain market sync – for web based app management.

Connectbot for kicking misbehaving servers.

HulloMail – visual voicemail, with the added benefit that I no longer have to pay T-Mobile to retrieve my voicemails. I’ve also got it set up to use my gmail as storage, so can get my voicemails at the computer.

Wifi Analyzer, for doing site wifi surveys.

Talk to me – for showing off, pure and simple – speak English to it, and it translates to your chosen one of five? other languages.

I’m also a Twicca user (probably after seeing James tweet about it), and am a big fan of juice defender (mainly for the home screen access point on/off widget.

Once it’s released, I’ll definitely be using the swype keyboard – I managed to find a leaked beta version, and it rocked my world. In a nutshell, you just drag your finger over the letters on the keyboard without lifting. Super quick, and in my testing, it must have been around 99% accurate.

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