The Android Apps I’m Using…

by Miguel Wickert

in Android Apps

Like iPhone users, Android users are always on the lookout for new, exciting, useful apps to improve their experience. For some, this is about productivity or social media involvement. For others, mostly fun and games. For me, combination of both. We’re all about finding the next best thing, this includes Android users.

Don’t believe me, a simple Twitter search (#android) will attest to this. The conversions are endless, some have been really helpful. This is neat way to meet and connect with others that obviously share similar interests.

I’m no tech geek, not even close- at least not yet.  From what I’ve learnt about the Android OS system, there are two areas of complaint: application and memory management.  You can’t close an app directly ( but there’s an app for that) while android keeps apps running in the background.

For me, even with a lot of apps running, in use, my overall android experience is smooth and fast.

First, some apps may continue to drain (CPU) which means less battery time. So, there’s a few ways around this.

  • Click the menu button, settings, then select applications, followed by Manage applications. Android will load all your apps. Hit the Menu button again and select “Filter” and then “Running.”
  • From there you can select and force close any app.

Another way around these steps, is an app called “Close Everything.” This paid app quickly became my most used app. This app allows you to close any app running in the background or simply close them all (except predetermined apps) with one click. Close everything is one of the best task management apps I’ve seen to date.

You could manually close apps one by one, but who has time for that. For less than $1, you can’t go wrong.

android-close-everything

Another neat (paid) app is called “Lock 2.0.” For you security freaks out there, it may not be too impressive. If you’re interested in spicing up your lock screen to mimic the iPhone lock screen, this app is for you. It adds a different element: skins, display battery status, different pictures, so on.

If this isn’t for you, there’s another app called AutoLock, which allows your android to time out without the need to unlock it every time.

lock-20-charging

General Apps

Stream Furious: This app lets you tune into countless radio stations and if you upgrade to the paid version (like I did), you could tune into a podcast of choice. I’m a big fan of Somafm and enjoy listening just about everyday. This is one of my most used apps.

Countdown: I know all the productivity buffs will love this one. This app is simple and effective. Simply enter any amount of time into any of the three boxes: Hours, minutes and seconds (from right to left), hit start timer and you’re off to the races. Oh, there’s also a Pause Timer button.

Personally, this app served its purpose during my study sessions. I can’t review vocabulary words (Hebrew) more than 15 minutes, more than that and it becomes mush. I use this app to help limit my involvement on Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook, or blog commenting and writing.

TwitterRide & Twidroid: Okay, I know the debates run wild. I’ve experienced problems (force closing, login issues) with Twidroid, so I moved to TwitterRide. TwitterRide is good to me, no problems yet. Twidroid a bit slower, start up seems to take longer, along with other functions, like switching from replies back to main screen.

Twidroid no longer allows the user to follow or un-follow via their Android device. I also realize there’s other apps out there like “I Tweet,” which I have yet to experiment with.

Shazam: You know those times when you’re at the coffee shop, hopefully not Starbucks, and the music catches your ear. Instead of asking the folks, which is fine, this app allows you to tag (meaning, it will tell you the song’s title and band name) and save the info within the app itself. Oh yeah, you also have the option to search YouTube, Google and amazon.

USA Today & Telegraph: Since I don’t watch a lot of TV, especially the news. American news is…. well, I’ll hold off for now. These apps allow me to quickly browse US & world news without wasting my life away. For me, the notable feature with USA Today app is the option to view the week in pictures for sports, world news and so on.

Backgrounds: With this app, you can quickly change your Android wallpaper. Easily search Flickr: it features a recent, popular and categories search tabs option.

My Backup Pro: This app is a must, if you’re investing in apps and care about your data, it’s a no brainier. If you’re wanting to experiment with your phone and what not, this app is for you. Even if you’re playing it safe, any device could go south for whatever reason.

Secrets: An app to store passwords, pins or account numbers. I never remember my bank account number. You could store logins from your favorite website and so on.

Robo Defense: You gotta have a little fun every now and then. I have the paid version. Tons of fun, as you defend your turf from rebel forces trying to penetrate your turf. For more on Robo Defense, see this reivew by Android and Me.

Handcent Sms: For me, what really makes this app stand out is all the options/setting the user can apply to enhance the all around experience, along with little details from application theme, to font size, bubble settings, auto rotate feature and more. If you’re wanting to spice up your Sms messaging, give this app try.

LukLuk: If movies is what you want, ding ding! This app gives you the option of watching movies stored on your sd card or via network (called “Network Media”). It will test your network’s speed before playing any selected movie.  While the list of movies aren’t that impressive, you bound to find something ya like.

LaunchIt: One of my newer apps. A universal search app for android. This one will cost ya some cash but so far, it’s been worth it. Check out the video review. Feel free to jump around, the video is about 9 minutes.


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{ 5 comments }

1 AndroidTapp.com June 18, 2009 at 4:10 am

Nice write up Miguel! Thanks for that tip on how to force an app to close, I wasn’t aware of that new feature in the Cupcake version of Android. BTW, I too have switched from TwitterRide from Twidroid… too buggy.

Current score: 0
2 Miguel Wickert June 18, 2009 at 6:55 am

Thanks guys! Awesome, glad I could help. Yeah, as I’m learning more about the development process, I have some restraint and compassion for those that subject themselves to the designing/app writing process. All that to say, the app isn’t quite there yet. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

-Mig

Current score: 0
3 Ching Ya June 19, 2009 at 7:21 am

One of the best enjoyment of reading your blog is I could never have guessed what’s coming up next. ^^ I’m not familiar with Android but I try to imagine while reading through. Think I’m gonna love both Shazam and LukLuk, my kind of entertainments — music and movies, which I’m greatly lack of participating lately.

Brilliant post, delivered with quality.

@wchingya
social media/blogging

Current score: 0
4 Miguel Wickert June 20, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Ching Ya,

Haha, I appreciate that as I try to mix it up as often as possible. You gotta stick with the things you enjoy writing about. Thanks as always, for a lively, supportive comment. You rock!

-Mig

Current score: 0
5 Andrew Nattan January 8, 2010 at 6:51 am

I can’t stand TwiDroid myself. I much prefer Swift. Saying that, I’ll be sure to check a few of those out. Thanks for the info!

Current score: 0

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