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Essential Android Software

134 posts in this topic

Posted (edited) · Report post

After the useful lists like this in the WinMo space, I thought I'd start one off. Could make this a sticky, Paul?

Feel free to suggest more. :D

Essential (in my opinion)

NewsRob - Google Reader application with Offline browser and scheduled updates for feeds. Works really well. In my opinion, the best app on Android, and worth the €5 price (although there is a free ad-supported version too)

Tasker - Basically a complete scripting and automation engine for Android. Transforms Android and what you can do with your device.

Setting Profiles - Profiles app which controls ringtone, power settings, wifi/bluetooth, etc, in profiles which can be activated based on time, calendar or location. Far better than Locale, and a third of the price. Now integrates with NewsRob, so you can kick of article syncs based on location, network, charging, etc.

Copy to ClipboardAdds a 'Clipboard' destination to the share menu. Really useful for sharing stuff between apps.

Y5 Wireless Manager - Remembers the location of wifi hotspots you've connected to, and enables/disables wifi as soon as you're in the area.

Bump - Share contact details, files and applications with other Bump users, even on the iPhone, by bumping your handsets together. Clever.

FoxyRing - Manages your phone's volume based on ambient noise levels. Can also manage volume based on location and times.

Palringo - Best IM client on the Market so far

CallTrack - Records incoming/outgoing/missed calls as entries in the calendar of your choice. Really useful!

K9 - essential replacement for the appalling default pop3/imap email client

Power Manager - 99p, and worth every penny IMO. Allows you to do stuff which should be in Android by default, such as extend screen timeout and increase brightness when connected to A/C.

Handcent SMS - Blows the default SMS client away completely.

URL Shortener - allows you to create TinyUrls and other shortened URLs direct from your device. Includes integration with the 'url share' intent in the browser, so you can share the URL directly as a tinyurl. Neat.

Palringo - Best IM client on the Market so far

Google Listen - Great Podcast app from Google

Remote RDP - Log in and manage your PC from your Android device.

Useful Free Apps

Smooth Calendar - great calendar summary widget

ShakeAwake - essential to unlock the screen if you need to access the keyboard/dialler mid-call. Not needed for newer devices with proximity detectors.

APKatcher - allows you to install APKs that have been emailed to you, via the GMail native client.

MortPlayer - good music player for people who (like me) prefer their music organised by folder rather than tag.

SMS Backup - Backup up your texts to GMail

FaceBook - Official Facebook Android Client

AnyCut - Put shortcuts on your home screen for all sorts of things.

eStrongs File Explorer - fab file explorer, with the capability to access shared network resources via UNC paths, and FTP sites. Very slick.

Colorful Life - quickly upload your pics to Picasa. I find it quicker/simpler than the default uploader, and it works for multiple accounts.

StatusNote - I often want reminders so I don't forget to do stuff, and this is a far more elegant solution than the stickynotes thing or others I've seen.

BarCode Scanner - Quick way to get URLs etc onto the phone using the camera.

BeebPlayer - BBC iPlayer client (unofficial). Like FBook, seems to have been removed from the Markplace.

AndWeather - Great weather widget

Touiteur - My favourite Twitter client

ShopSavvy - scan a bar code, it'll tell you local shops that sell it cheaper

Bookmark Manager - Sort your bookmarks into the order you want.

Non-essential but cool / fun

Aquarium Live Wallpaper - Pretty fish!

Metal Detector - just cool for impressing your friends. :lol:

Edited by Webreaper
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Posted · Report post

Pinned!

My current list:

Free

AndFTP - excellent FTP / SFTP client

beebPlayer - iPlayer for Android, works fantastically well over WiFi or 3G

Bonsai Blast - Great game from Glu, shouldn't be free!

Brain Genius Deluxe - Another great game from Glu, shouldn't be free!

Chomp SMS - The standard SMS client is weak, this one is awesome!

Compass - It's a, er, compass

ConnectBot - Excellent SSH client

Contact Owner - Show contact details on home screen

ES File Explorer - My favourite file explorer

Facebook Sync - Facebook contacts to your Android contacts

FBook - Facebook client

Locale - location based actions (with SMS and Twitter plugins)

MapWeasel - shows you traffic hold ups (UK) on a Google Map (shame the icon is so ugly!)0.23

My Tracks - Upload your GPS tracks to Google Maps then use...

My Maps Editor - To edit the above

PacMan - A classic

Palringo - The amazing multi IM app (join 'modaco')!

* PayPal - Official app doesn't seem to be in UK market, but i'm looking for the APK!

Pkt Auctions eBay - eBay client

Shake Awake - Shake the phone to wake when in a call

Shazam - Brill music tagging app

Sky Map - Excellent star map, I believe Google now have one of their own too?

SMS Popup - Popup when you get a SMS. Simple and effective!

Snap Photo Lite / Trial / Pro - Better camera app

Spare Parts - nice UI to get to settings you can't normally see. Speed up / add transition animations, enable haptics, show compass in Google Maps etc.

Statusnote - put notes in your status bar

The Weather Channel - Weather

ToggleWiFi - Excellent WiFi toggler, shows when on and disconnected

Twidroid - Stunning Twitter client

Where's my Android - Make your phone respond to a secret SMS by coming out of silent and making lots of noise. Great for when you lose the phone down the back of the sofa!

Paid

MyBackup Pro - Awesome backup utility!

Record It - Sky Remote Record for Android

ROM

I'm running Haykuro's Sapphire port atm, for the EXCELLENT HTC dialler.

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Couple of questions:

1. Chomp SMS - can this be used for native carrier SMS? Or is it only using their service? I have 1,000 texts/month with my contract, so paying for extras seems pointless.

2. Anyone have any contact with Palringo as to when they'll fix it so it works properly? At the moment it's unusable unless it's frontmost. What's the best alternative that works until they fix it? :D

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Chomp SMS, yes it can, it functions completely as the standard SMS client but it's SO much more pretty! :D

Let me check it out and liaise with them, I didn't think that was the case?

P

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Let me check it out and liaise with them, I didn't think that was the case?

I take it you haven't actually used it then. :D

Yeah, you run it up, log in, it's all good. Then your phone goes to standby or you switch to another app... and you're no longer online. If you switch to Palringo it prompts to log in again. It gives the impression of running in the background, but I got a mate to check and I was only online when it's in the foreground.

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Yeah I have, but not a massive amount, hence i'm not sure! :D

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Okay, a couple more essential apps I found over the weekend.

1. Greed. Google seem to be unable to run any Android software or websites through a QA department*, to the point where the Android version of Google Reader doesn't actually work at all - articles aren't marked as read, and clicking on a feed to see all articles within it results in an "Oops" error. Shoddy, really. But Greed fixes that and goes a whole mile further, with offline browsing, new article notifications and a whole host of other goodies. There's a lite version for free, and the full version costs $2.99 and has the offline features. I bought it.

2. Android Ring control, by the same author, switches your phone into silent when you place it face-down on the table. Really handy for meetings, etc. I have my phone in silent all the time, but I'm sure people will find this useful.

3. AnyCut. Really handy little app for creating all sorts of custom shortcuts on the home page. I have one so I can text my wife super-quick.

Oh, and Paul, you were right about ChompSMS - it's just a million times better than the native SMS app.

Regarding Palringo, there's a post on their forum dated 12th May saying they're going to so a release 'in the next couple of weeks', which will fix the connection problem (and presumably mean the app can run in the background properly, logged in. Looking forward to that. It seems it's a common issue though - eBuddy launched their Android multi-IM client last week, and it has exactly the same problem (i.e., as soon as the app loses focus or the app drops into standby, it logs out). I can't quite understand how they can release a product with such an obvious flaw, but there you go.

Edited by Webreaper
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Ah yeah, AnyCut should have been in my list... it's nice!

Ring Control sounds cool... Wish Google made a proper native Reader client themselves!

With regards to the PayPal app above that's only in the US market, I found a way to download it (for root users only however) - http://android.modaco.com/content/android-...-app-in-the-uk/

P

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Looking for a free way to take screenshots...

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Looking for a free way to take screenshots...

Download the SDK and you can use the DDMS tool for taking screenshots. Easiest way is to run the ddms executable from the command line, then ctrl+s will take a screen grab. If you're a little more adventurous the Eclipse plugin provides a nice graphical interface for taking screen shots on either a device or an emulator <_<

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Yeah, just discovered that! Have the SDK installed already, so isn't too much trouble... <_<

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Google seem to be unable to run any Android software or websites through a QA department*, to the point where the Android version of Google Reader doesn't actually work at all - articles aren't marked as read, and clicking on a feed to see all articles within it results in an "Oops" error.

Just to update, there's a new release of the mobile Reader app today which fixes this problem. Details here.

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Hurrah! <_<

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Another recommendation: StatusNote.

I often want reminders so I don't forget to do stuff, and this is a far more elegant solution than the stickynotes thing or others I've seen.

My only gripe is that CAPS LOCK is forced on for the message text of the notification, so if you don't want to shout you have to turn off Caps each keypress. No biggie though, and will hopefully get fixed.

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And another one: TinyUrl - allows you to create TinyUrls from your device. Includes integration with the 'url share' intent in the browser, so you can share the URL directly as a tinyurl. Neat.

BTW, I'm updating the original post in this topic to try and build the definitive list.

I wonder whether we can get hold of the APK files for FBook and BeebPlayer, which seem to have been removed from the market. Where do they get stored on the device?

Edited by Webreaper
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Update on ChompSMS. Just tried the 2.1 beta release (which they're pushing out soonish, apparently) and it's very good. Much faster than the old one, and has background sending, and loads of other neat improvements. <_<

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Added to my list (a couple of which recommended by webreaper):

AndFTP - excellent FTP / SFTP client

MapWeasel - shows you traffic hold ups (UK) on a Google Map (shame the icon is so ugly!)0.23

Shake Awake - Shake the phone to wake when in a call

Spare Parts - nice UI to get to settings you can't normally see. Speed up / add transition animations, enable haptics, show compass in Google Maps etc.

Statusnote - put notes in your status bar

P

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BTW, still no update from Palringo.

I've been testing Meebo, and it seems to work much better. Stays online while the app is in the background, and I even received a message while the phone was in standby. It's not flawless, but it's much better (and from a privacy point of view it's better than Palringo too, because IM messages go direct to MSN/Gtalk/etc rather than via their server).

First post updated to reflect this.

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Warning: I've seen a lot of evidence that Locale is responsible for the slow-down and battery/performance problems on my Magic. At least one other person has reported that removing Locale solved these, and my device has been 100% better since I uninstalled. There's a new version out (27 May 09) which claims to improve performance, will update here once I've tested.

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That's interesting, I have noticed improved performance since my last rebuild and i've NOT reinstalled Locale.

Will be interesting to hear about the new version...

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Great Post B)

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New version of Palringo added today which claims to fix the connection problems. Will give it a shot and report back...

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Woohoo, awesome, will try too!

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Woohoo, awesome, will try too!

Did you? If you haven't yet, don't bother. It's the most epic fail of releases - the app force-closes multiple times on startup, fails to connect consistently and - despite all that - if you can get it to run at all the biggest issue they had (disconnect when the app is in the background) isn't fixed.

I think the last 30-40 people to rate the latest update in the Market have given it a 1-star rating. Somebody at Palringo needs to try testing the app before pushing it out to the public! <_<

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Installed it but not run it yet, had a busy weekend.

Sucks it's not up to scratch by the sound of it!!!

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