Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let's talk Android Apps

What apps do I use on my Google Phone?

Generally, I install apps that are either useful or diverting. Often there's a bit of overlap, and some categories include show-offy or just-in-case-someday-maybe.

Toggle Settings: I use this one constantly to toggle wireless, Bluetooth, and GPS. I also use it to quick toggle brightness and ringer mode. It's pretty flexible. I used to use Any Cut to quick toggle Bluetooth, but Toggle Settings works better for me.

Twidroid: If you follow my twitter, you know I use this a fair amount. It's a little crashy, but the developers have a strong and active release cycle, which is nice.

AK Notepad: I carry around a 99-cent paper spiral notebook in my back pocket for most note-taking, but this is a handy digital alternative until Google Docs works on my phone. A lot of people seem surprised that I use paper.

Flashlight: When it says light, it means light. Max brightness, no sleep, all white. Very practical.

The Weather Channel: Boring but useful. Has some neat smarts about location if you travel.

Bubble and Compass are a bubble level and compass, respectively. Countdown Alarm++ and Stopwatch do what they say they do. Handy to have.

ParkMark and Location Log are "where's my car" sort of apps. I don't have a preference for one or the other yet. YMMV.

Wifiscan does the wardriving for you and outputs a Google Earth KML or CSV to your SD card. The developer is super friendly, too.

ConnectBot does ssh and does it well.

Magic 8-Ball is a fun show-off toy. Sky Map falls into the same category, but as a real star map that changes view as the phone moves and shows real-world views based on GPS and compass readings is much sexier to show off. Somewhat geekier is The Schwartz Unleashed, complete with motion-sensing lightsaber noises and custom colors.

Phonalyzr and Power Manager are usage tools. The former reads my call log and displays nifty usage data; I don't know how long it will stay around. The latter lets me tweak power preferences, but I don't use it fully.

Shazam really pushes the envelope for the cool factor. Play music, hold the phone to the speaker, wait, and it'll tell you what song you're hearing. Like having a portable music trivia geek in your pocket.

ShopSavvy scans UPS barcodes and returns real-world and web pricing. Very handy when comparison shopping.

I currently only have a few games on my phone, would you believe?

Tetroid: A tetris clone I haven't played yet. Gotta have tetris.

Scrambled Net: A nice port of the puzzle game knetwalk, but since lost its appeal for me. I'm good at these sorts of visual spatial puzzles.

Lexic: A Boggle clone. I like word games, but I have poor skill in Boggle.

Coloroid: Another puzzle game that's a bit maze-like, but not as addicting for me.

DroidDice and Chess Clock do not count as games; they are tools for real face-to-face gaming.