Approximate time to read: 3 minutes
I’ve had my HTC Hero now for over a month, and have already settled on a number of apps, after much installing, trialling and uninstalling. I therefore thought I’d share my results, all neatly categorised.
I haven’t linked to any of the apps, as they should all be searchable in the Android Marketplace.
Oh, and I haven’t listed games (they’re a lot more of a personal choice, I find).
The BBC news widget is particularly useful, providing easy access to the various BBC news feeds.
Movies, by Flixster, uses GPS to good use by displaying nearby cinemas and listing for their current shows. However, when viewing other information, such as trailers, it does appear to have constant network issues and this feature therefore doesn’t appear to work. A shame.
Google Sky Map is a fascinating educational tool that lets you point your phone heavenward and view the stars and planets whilst moving around.
ShopSavvy is a barcode scanner that will then look the product up to try and find prices. Useful for when you’re out shopping.
WikiMobile provides a mobile interface to Wikipedia.
Until an official BBC iPlayer app appears, beebPlayer will help – it will let you view iPlayer TV content, along with listening to live Radio. Sadly, there’s no iPlayer radio content available.
Amazon MP3 provides access and purchasing capabilities for MP3 tracks from the Amazon website. They also have free tracks, although it’s best to look these up on the main Amazon site and then search for them on the app, as there’s no option on the app to list free tracks.
Last.fm is a streaming music player for the popular website, whereas Simple Last.fm Scrobbler will send details of all the music you’ve listened to, to the very same site for statistics purposes.
And for those who haven’t come across Shazam before, it may come as a bit of a revelation. The next time you’re at the pub and can’t identify a piece of music, simply use this app and it will work it out for you.
Lastly, I come to Podcasts. I initially used Google’s own Listen app but that simply failed to pick up new episodes of subscribed “shows”. I’m now trying out BeyondPod, which is only free for the first week. So far, it seems to work nicely.
Meebo is a good, all-purpose instant messaging client.
And, if you find the default text messaging software a little bland, you could try Handcent, which includes speech bubble style conversation threads and is generally, well, a little more inspiring.
By default, reminders on Android are a bit lacking – you get a text or a missed call and you don’t get to hear about it after the initial reminder. Missed Reminder will keep nagging you and has a plethora of options, from LED colours to flashing the trackball.
3G Watchdog is an excellent way of monitoring your data usage (you just need to know what your data usage limit is and when it runs to/from).
In an attempt to preserve battery power, the phone will automatically drop wi-fi connection when the phone is in standby. This option can be changed via the settings, but you may want to be able to switch this on/off as required. Wi-Fi Lock is a useful widget to do just that.
AK Notepad is, well, just that – a useful note facility. However, if you want to stick a note on your screen, then I’d recommend Sticky Note.
Integrating with my existing online services, Quick Save will add a facility to quickly add links to Read it Later, and Astrid will synchronise and allow me to update my Remember the Milk to-do lists.
A more recent find is cloudList which allows you to create “tick lists” which can be accessed on both your phone and on their website.
WordPress have released their own app, WordPress for Android, which allows the quick editing of posts.
Sadly lacking is an app for Google Reader.
Facebook have their own App and, for eBay, Pocket Auctions works well.
I’m not mentioning a Twitter client right now, as I’m in the middle of reviewing a number – more on that in a later post!
Advanced Task Manager provides quick lists of running apps and ways to quickly “kill” them. There’s even a widget to perform an instant kill.
For file management, I’d turn to ASTRO which, erm, does just that.
Profilechanger is not very pretty but does exactly what I want – allows me to change profiles at certain times of the day – in my case, it goes silent overnight.
One the facilities sadly lacking in Android is the ability to backup your data and your apps. MyBackup Pro does just that – both onto your SD card and online. However, unlike most of my other recommendations, this isn’t a freebie. Give the trial a go though!