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.

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HTC Hero Review

1 02 2010

The HTC hero is easily one of the best new phones out on the market now. Not only that, but it has the power to take away from the market share of the iPhone. With the power of the Android operating system, and the innovation of HTC, there is a whole lot going on under the surface here that makes this phone a heavy contender in the smart-phone market today. Granted this phone, as any, comes with its own bracket of shortcomings, they can be easily overlooked in just how much of a role this phone can play in your life. With that said, the first thing you need to take into account when entering the Smartphone market is price, and the Hero backed by Sprint is easily the best bang for your buck. For $69.99 a month you get unlimited data, unlimited text, unlimited mobile to mobile, and 450 minutes you will use if you ever call a landline. The service is right up there with AT&T and Verizon, better than AT&T some would say, and goes to show how much the other two are going through to rip the consumer off.

Enough about the service though, lets move onto the phone. One of the first things you will notice about the Hero is it shares its touchscreen with a trackball and button alternative. This is one of the best features because it is nice to have a hardwired option to contrast those precise touch operations. Its as fun using the trackball to navigate your phone as it is to us your finger, plus it takes less effort. After unlocking the phone and getting to the Home page, another fun feature is the load of Widgets that HTC has unloaded into this phone. the HTC Sense is a great featured theme with a lovely looking interface, and plenty of useful and intuitive apps and widgets. Another thing you will love over Apples operating system is that android has its own Widgets that drastically increase the functionality of your phone. Like the Palm Pre, you can multi-task on up to six applications at a time, and switch between them just by holding down the home button.

You can voice search through Google or Yellowpages, or use the Layar app to turn your camera into a device that will locate anything from Papa Johns to Walgreenz and display them in a 360 degree fashion that correlates to your GPS location. Just stand and turn in one spot and you will see the location of all the businesses that surround you as you turn.

Along with a great look and feel, the Hero also touts one of the best cameras in a smartphone available now. At 5MP and a video option, all of your (daytime) shots will look sharp, and feel great. The shots can be uploaded to almost any online service you would want, right through Android.

The only downfalls this phone has is its battery life, with a supposed talk time talk time up to 420 minutes and standby time of up to 750 hours, this doesn’t take into account all of the apps and widgets you may have running at one time. This is where a good Task Manager, like Advanced Task Killer will come into play. Keeping an eye on whats running on your phone at any point in time is a nice feature, and will reduce the demand on your phones battery. The only other issue is the lag that can come with a device that can handle so much. Once you hit the android marketplace and start downloaded all types of apps, you may start to notice a lag in your phones general operation. Once again, be sure to utilize the task manager to help keep unnecessary apps in their place, and keep your hero running nice and smooth.

All in all, the Hero is an easy buy to suggest. With all of the other options around, you can’t get any more bang for your buck than you can with this phone. Between offering a multi-touch feature, and mobile widgets and applications, you will love this phone from the moment you wake up, till the moment you place it to charge overnight.