Best Android Apps

15 10 2010

Ah, Android love.  It is time to review some of the best and brightest offered in the Android Market today.  Some are pretty mainstream, but hopefully we can turn you on to a couple you either haven’t found, or have just been too hesitant to try.  The Android Marketplace, available through the nifty little icon, is a veritable sea of technological wonders.  One of the nice things about Android, and also HTC, is the usability of widgets.  Some nifty little programs that will display and work from any one of your, usually, seven home screens.  So without further ado, let’s get started.

Scan any of the barcodes below with your android phone to be taken to the download for that app in the Android Marketplace.  If you don’t have a barcode scanner, Search for Shop Savvy in the Marketplace and install it.

 

 

Advanced Task Manager

One pesky thing about Android is that fact that a lot of applications like to run in the background.  Most phones off of the shelf, or android for that matter, doesn’t come with any type of Task Manager to help moderate these pesky battery hogs.  So that is where advanced task manager comes in.  You can use the whole app and browse running programs and erase the ones desired, or you can do as I install the single-icon widget and with the press of a button all running apps are eradicated.  At any given time usually about 9 are running at once, but it can get up to around 24, so you gotta stay on it.

 

 

 

HandCent Text Messenger

Handcent is an alternate text messaging application that will take over for the stock version in your phone.  In my opinion, this app supersedes my Hero’s capabilities, and adds a nice iPhone looking skin on the messages.  It offers push notifications that will show over your lock-screen (not good if you like to keep secrets, but you can disable it) which also let you respond from there.  There are roughly seven or so font-packs you can use to spice up your messages, as well as a ton of other tweaks.

 

 

 

EasyTether

EasyTether is a super-convenient app that allows you to connect your phone via USB cable to your PC and “tether” the internet.  Essentially, your computer borrows your phones 3g connection, for free.  There is a paid version as well, but EasyTether Lite gets the job done fine for basic quick computing and just surfing the net.

 

 

 

Where

Where is an awesome app that is not only on Android, but should definitely get mentioned.  This nifty little package will show just about where anything is.  As well as offer the best gas prices in your area, peoples reviews on certain places, weather, etc.  Its really a useful app for someone who is on the move.

 

 

Photobucket Mobile

Most people know what Photobucket is, but if you don’t, it is a image hosting site on the internet.  Basically they store all of your pictures for free, unless you have A LOT of pictures.  The Photobucket app is super useful because if you have a phone with a decent camera, which lots of phones have nowadays, it’s a really convenient way to share these photos online.  Once you snap a picture, Photobucket will then upload that saved picture to your Photobucket account, allowing you to set up slideshows, post on websites and forums, or upload to Facebook, if your phone doesn’t do it already.

 

 

TuneIn Radio

This nifty little app lets you listen to damn near any radio station across the country.  Through which you can get down to the most local of stations, or browse the NPR options.  The quality is crystal clear, and the user interface is a breeze to navigate.  For free, this little app packs a punch.

 

 

 

 

 

gStrings

No, its not an x-ray machine, this is a fully featured guitar tuner offered for free in the Android Market.  This app is better than most any entry to mid-level guitar tuner out there, and its free.  Really a great steal.  Not to mention the way your friends will look at you when you pull out your phone to tune your guitar.

 

 

 

 

 

Notable Mentions:

– 3 (Cubed): if you’re going to listen to music on your phone, why not make it a 3D interactive cube to browse and play it with.

– Google Voice

– Thinking Space:  Mind Mapping software.  Awesome for writers.

– Spectral Analyzer:  A spectrometer.  Good for finding ghosts, or where that mouse is behind the wall.

– Metal Detector:  Uses your phones built in antenna to detect metal.  I didn’t believe it at first either.





Thoughts on GoogleTV

8 10 2010

Google TV looks to be yet another great product of integration by Google, so let us all begin our sacrificial practices to the Google Gods, and give thanks.  After taking some time to browse the tour site that Google has so gracefully laid out for us enthusiasts over at Google.com/tv, I must say my pulse has quickened, and my heart-rate, well… my pulse has quickened.  As a side note, I have been living completely without Cable television for almost six months now, and I must say that I will never go back to paying outrageous amounts of money to be forced to watch mindless crap ever again.  Thanks to Netflix, Hulu, Blockbuster Online, and my HDMI out on my laptop, I enjoy plenty of rich, streaming entertainment which may still be crap, but its my crap.

With that said the onset of the new innovation dubbed ‘creatively’ Google TV looks like the Mecca on my newfound journey towards better quality entertainment.  I finally have a product to sling to all of my friends whom I am consistently bragging to just how entertained I am for about $20.00 a month.  Now, allow me to burst my own bubble.  The specifications on Logitech’s website for their Revue, the hardware that you can purchase to add Google TV to any existing TV’s you already own, requires a Cable or Satellite Set Top Box with HDMI out. *PoP*  For the time being, fingers-crossed that there will be an internet only version available as well.

Regardless of whether or not this will require an active cable or DirectTV membership with compatible set top box, the few screens and demonstrations us low level consumers get are enough to make me salivate at the thought of tinkering for hours with this new UI.  Imagine, Google Chrome launching on your 48″ Sony Bravia HDTV with a Pandora app running in the background, and rich, handpicked content there for you to explore.  The customization will surely be impressive, and as the program responds to consumers behaviors, I’m more than positive it will start to suggest some rather accurate viewing content for the regular users.

Imagine, rather than scrolling down that same old vertical TV guide we have become so used too, you get to Google it, and find when and where the shows you want to watch.  Not to mention a standard DVR method that works with all providers, Dish Network, DriectTV, AT&T, etc.  Although we are not too sure the amount of storage, I am sure it will get the job done effectively.  Also, just like the pocketBLU app for all you blu ray freaks, which lets you control your Blu-Ray players with your Android or iPhone smartphones, there will be an app to allow your phone to thus act as the remote for your new television experience.  It will fully control all functions; yet so will the keyboard you receive with the Revue.  Although you can only imagine the Sony TV’s will be shipping with them as well.  Sony is releasing its full line of TV’s and details on October 12, 2010.

All in all, this is the direction that technology is taking us in, and Google has clearly one-upped Apple, again, by offering us a quality product that is both intuitive, user friendly, and way more customizable than Apple will ever let its customers ever get a hold of.  As for me, I will keep looking for my perfect viewing scenario, but at least for the rest, this seems to be a pretty sweet ride.