Android Apps

February 08, 2012

In the twenty months I’ve owned my Android phone I’ve collected quite a few apps, some of which I use all the time and others that are mere curiosities. As I prepare to move to an iPhone I’ve been reviewing my app list to see which I will try to find equivalents for in the App Store.

##Dock While some Android ROMS allow more than 4 apps in the dock the one I am currently using, MUIU only supports 4. By the way, MUIU also doesn’t have an “app drawer” to hide away your apps. It operates the same way as iOS in that all your apps are visible on a screen somewhere.

Phone - I don’t use the phone a lot, but I do use it.
Email - I have three accounts set up on my HTC, two personal and one work. I’ll likely keep this setup going forward.
Browser - Not my favorite Android app, but it does see occasional use.
SMS-shortcut - This is a link to my wife’s contact information which makes sending her an SMS message quick and easy.

##Daily or near daily use These apps live on my primary home screen. They, along with the dock apps mentioned above, constitute the core of my smartphone experience.

Path - A relative newcomer to my app list. I like that I can post to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously.
Google+ - Not as useful as I had hoped. Browsing here is a last resort when I’ve exhausted all my other content options.
Facebook - I’m not happy with the recent feed sorting changes. Give me most recent first always please.
Twitter - Since the Android Twitter app doesn’t sync with Twitterrific I only use this to see mentions. I’m looking forward to having Twitterrific on all my Apple devices so that I can consume Tweets regardless of device and not lose my place.
Runkeeper - There was no Daily Mile app for the Android when I got my phone so I fell into the Runkeeper camp. Not sure if I’ll switch or not.
Clock - My phone is my alarm clock. I have four repeating weekly alarms set plus a fifth one for one-off alarms. No countdown timer for some reason though (a failing of MUIU). I’m looking forward to a timer.
Calendar - None of the Android calendar apps is really nice to look at. The HTC Sense calendar widget was the nicest. I’ll have to explore the iOS offerings to find (hopefull) a good calendar.
Contacts - This is only here to allow for occasional texts to people.
Evernote - I am becoming a bigger and bigger Evernote user. Grocery lists, reading lists, meeting notes, URLs, you name it, it goes into Evernote.
Gallery - I take a lot of pictures with my phone and Gallery is where I can select them to be pushed to my computer via Bluetooth.
Cleartune - One of the few apps I paid money for, Cleartune is a highly featured chromatic tuner. They had an iOS app first and I will be purchasing that on day one.
Camera - My primary camera. It’ll be one of the most used apps on my iPhone too.
WeatherBug - Not an app on the home screen, but one that gets used daily. The default HTC weather app only had some cities available in addition to your current location. My hometown isn’t available from the pick list, so when I’m not home I can’t see the weather here. The third-party WeatherBug lets me see a lot of weather information for any place I want.

##Screen T\two apps Google Voice - One of the best features of Android is the near seamless integration possible with Google Voice. I understand that I will lose this with the iPhone. Like alternative keyboards this is an area where iOS is behind a bit I fear.
Google Talk - Jabber client for Google’s instant messaging tool. I’ll be looking for a good multi-protocol chat client on iOS.
1Password - This reader allows me to see items I’ve added to my 1Password repository. Once I have the iPhone I’ll buy the iOS version which should give me full functionality for this excellent tool.
Dropbox - Best way yet for moving files and documents between devices. This will be one of the first things installed on the new phone.
Settings - I’m a nerd, diddling with settings and preferences is what I do.
Music - I have been surprised at how little I listen to music using my phone. I don’t know if the iPhone will change that or not.
ConnectBot - A secure shell client. I haven’t used it much, but it is nice to be able to remotely access a computer or service from your pocket-sized computer. I’ll be researching a good alternative for iOS.
Wolfram Alpha - I understand the Siri + Wolfram Alpha combination is wonderful. I’m looking forward to exploring it.
SMS Messaging - Typically I only text my wife, and since she also has an iPhone, we’ll be able to use iMessaging to text each other for free.
OfficeSuite - Something I got for free from the Amazon Appstore. I’ve never really used it.
YouTube - I tend to use this only in conjunction with links I’ve been sent.
Firefox Beta - A better web browser than the default, but still rather clunky in my estimation.
Books (folder) - I have several ebook readers installed: Kindle, Nook, eReader. This is where they live.
Google (folder) - Where all the nifty Google apps hang out. Docs, Gmail, Latitude, Maps, Messenger, Places, Search.
Games (folder) - I have only a few games, Angry Birds, Air Control, Words with Friends, and a Labyrinth puzzle. Words is by far and away the only one I play.
apps (folder) - Where all the application getting apps live. Android Market, the Amazon Appstore, and AppBrain.

Screens three and four

Redbox - A mobile app for Redbox rentals
Convertr - A conversion calculator
Listen - a podcast aggregator. I used this some at first, but don’t really devote time to podcasts anymore.
Sound Recorder - Never been used.
Fly Delta - Delta Airlines mobile app which gets used once or twice a year.
Voice Search - A voice interface to search which I’ve never used.
Fast Web Installer - The client for AppBrain’s web site, allows for synchronizing apps
utils (folder) - File Explorer, Themes, Bluetooth File Transfer, Lookout, Battery widget, SwiftKey configuration, Timeriffic, AndExplorer, Speed, Samba File Server, Chrome to Phone, Barcode scanner, ROM Manager.
Tools (folder) - Voice Dialer, Calculator, MUIU Updater, Backup, Data Usage Monitor, Superuser
music utils (folder) - SoundHound, Shazam, Mobile Metronome, and ImslpDroid.
reading (folder) - Read it later type apps as opposed to ebook apps. BenPaper, ReadItLater, and Adobe Reader.
widgets (folder) - Several widgets, all weather related.
navigation (folder) - A compass, star chart, and navigation app.
unused (folder) - A collection of apps I just don’t use. Includes: Notes, FM Radio, a MUIU shortcut link, DND Mode (don’t even know what this is), a News and Weather widget, MUIU Stats, “Anti”, and a Minimalistic text widget.
Torch - A flashlight app that uses the LED flash for the camera to light your way
FlightView Free - Tracks airline flight progress
Moon Phase - Shows more information about the current moon phase than you really wanted to know.
Interval Recognition - A music quiz around intervals.
TrafficStats Lite - I got this just in the last week as my 3G usage was through the roof (3.2 GB in 25 days). It seems that my phone isn’t always connecting to the WPA controlled wireless at work. Which in turn gobbles 3G. Fortunately I’m on an unlimited data plan with Verizon.

##Worth a mention Lookout - This is my anti-malware app. It scans every new app or app update on my phone. So far it hasn’t caught anything but there is enough press about malware in the Android space to make me cautious. Once installed and setup (I’ve got the free version) it fades nicely into the background. Worth it for the peace of mind it brings.

Timeriffic - This app will be missed. With it I’ve created several profiles for my phone based on the time and day. For example, during my weekly cello lesson my phone automatically goes to silent mode. At the end of the lesson it returns to normal ring and alarm mode. I’ve got a night profile, an at work profile, and an evenings and weekend profile. I rarely worry about my phone making unwanted noise thanks to this app. I’ll have to learn to manually control the iPhone’s sounds as I don’t think there is an iOS equivalent.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.