My 10 Favourite Android Apps
- BBC iPlayer
- F1.com Live Timing
- SMS Backup
I was watching the news with breakfast the other day and Bill Turdbill was doing my head in, so I opened the iPlayer app and watched Russel Howard’s Good News instead. It’s more of a boredom filler than a new way of watching TV but being able to stream BBC channels to your phone could be very convenient, especially if I were missing the F1!
A simple SSH client, made extremely useful by the ‘screen -x yoursessionname‘ command; I can set a script running on a shared screen session and receive any messages or errors on my phone! Of course a touchscreen doesn’t really lend itself to typing terminal commands but it would do in emergencies.
My biggest reserve about this was bandwidth usage but the app simply presents your Dropbox’s folder structure and allows you to download files as you need them. This app helps bridge the gap to a netbook for me as anything I feel necessary to keep synced across computers is available on my phone.
I love this app! It is by far the best workout tracking app in terms of its fundamental purpose and its extras such as social integration, music scroblling (which appears on your mapped route) and the awesome pep talk feature which transcodes written messages to your friends who are currently on a workout.
Come race weekend I used to set up my laptop with the live timings on screen and have the second race feed on my computer. I’ve cut out the laptop and substituted it with the official F1 app on my phone, which gives a lot more information than the web based Java feed. I quite often check the split times only to have Mr Brundle or Mr Coulthard repeat them a few seconds later, and watching qualifying is very exciting as you can see drivers “go purple” as they set their fastest laptimes. Obviously this is only for F1 fans but if you are it’s a must have app for race day!
Just before I got my phone I went through and changed all of my passwords to make them safer. Or in other words more difficult to type on a smartphone! With KeePass you simply get to a login screen, open the app, find the entry for the website you want and it will give you two notifications, one with the username and one with the password. You then just switch back to the app or webpage in question and paste them both in. Simple. And to make it even better I store my password database in my Dropbox so it’s always up to date!
This one’s pretty cool. You install a Java app on your computer (Windows, OSX, Linux, anythingthatrunsjava) and you can use your phone as a mouse and keyboard! It’s fantastic if your PC is hooked up to your television as you can use it as a remote control. An honorable mention goes to TeamViewer which will let you see the computer you’re controlling but we use it at work so for that reason alone it doesn’t make the list!
This is almost as cool as RemoteDroid. Would be cooler if it didn’t have a few issues (it’s currently in Beta) but here’s the gist of it. You choose your media source, which can be your phone, your PC or any DLNA device such as a NAS drive, you choose your play destination, which can be your phone, PC or any other DLNA device and then you browse for media and enjoy! It’s most effective/stable when you’re not streaming over WiFi so for my purposes, which is controlling my PC from outside, it works perfectly.
This is a nice little “install and forget about it” app. Basically, when you send a txt msg it places it in your gmail account with a label of your choosing so you can look through your txts, both sent and received, on your computer.
I’m just using the built in Twitter app but it does what it says on the tin. The one mild annoyance that may see me switch to TweetDeck is that the notification sounds conflict with the built in music app.
Also worth mentioning are some of the built in apps. The navigation is brilliant, although it does use your 3G connection for maps so you may want to go for something like Co-Pilot if you’re going abroad. My only complaint with the built in music app is that it doesn’t support FLAC but I’m not a total audiophile so 320 MP3s are fine by me. It also works great with the Last FM app for scrobbling. The messaging and calling apps are fine, although not exactly innovative, and the GMail app is great because you can have multiple accounts so I can check my @martindownton.eu mail on it too!
I’ve left out the Kindle app because… well I’m not really sure why, but I personally have no problem with reading books on my phone, despite having reservations before trying it.
The only app I would love that isn’t on Android is Microsoft’s Photosynth. The odd thing is that it isn’t on WP7, it’s on iOS! I haven’t come across a good photo stitching app for Android yet so if anyone knows of one, share you secret!
I think I’ve rambled on enough now. Android is great!