Now that we've reviewed the iPhone, Android, and Palm Pre here, we felt it fitting to talk about our favorite applications for these great devices. Our first installment is for the Android platforms. Keep in mind that this refers to the Android 1.5 firmware--so if you don't have it yet--grab it here.
We've broken this post down into sections for easy digesting:
- Social & Communications: Tweet that or Skype it, we're looking at the ones we like
- Utilities: Make your G1 work better, and make it work for you
- Navigation: I want my turn-by-turns on my terms
- Multimedia: Rock-out, View-on, and YouTube it from your G1
- Get my Geek On!: The cool stuff that we can get our geek-0n to!
Social and Communications:
Facebook: If you own a G1, you know it came with MySpace mobile. But who still uses MySpace? Okay, so a lot of people. But Facebook didn't develop an application for Android. Good thing Android is open source and has thousands of devs out there: This is a quick and dirty on the three different Facebook applications available from the Android Market: fBook, FBabble, and FooBook.
- fBook is basically a wrapper for the mobile version of facebook. Update your status, upload photos, and leave comments on facebook. However, the fBook application?s chat feature no longer seems to work. This is where the next offering comes in handy.
- fBabble allows the user to chat on facebook, but it currently lacks the ability to upload photos, update your status, etc. You should only login to fBabble while actively chatting, as it will drain your battery with a constant data connection. .
- Foobook is the fastest way to update you status and quickly see all of your friends' status messages. FooBook also allows for periodic update and notification of your friend?s status?you can set it to for as often as you like. no profiles, no chat. fBook is our favorite, because it gives you the most functionality?and we never really use the facebook chat ability.
- Multiple language support
- T9 soft keyboard (in addition to the G1's native soft keyboard)
- Easy selection of contacts (who remembers phone numbers anymore?)
- Batch sms sending, notification management, signature support
- Customizable "bubbles" for your conversations, and multiple date/time displays
Barcode Scanner, CompareEverywhere, and ShopSavvy:
This next one is a cross between Shopping & Utility--we're not sure where to put it actually:
Anobitt: Every wanted to have your own virtual card-catalog of all the books, movies, CDs, and other media that you own? Ever thought about how long it would take you to catalog all that stuff!? Well, the Anobiit app is every-bit the app for that. Available on the Android Market, it enables the user to simply scan the barcode of your book, DVD, CD, etc and it grabs all the info: cover artwork, ISBN, publisher/author, etc. It then uploads the info to your aNobii site which hosts your virtual library and even enables lending should you decide to share and borrow. What's more, you can add books to your online "wishlist", so if you're not ready to compare prices, buy, or "shelve" your own copy, then you can put it there so you don't forget. It takes all the work out of cataloging your catalog!
Craigslist: Yeah, there is an App for that! Simple, easy-to-use, no-frills application for checking your local (or any other) craigslist site for recent ads, including photos and links. We like this one!
TuneWiki: This app is a great solution if you want an all-in-on player... it plays music and video--both locally from the G1 and via last.fm and SHOUTCast. In addition, it will download lyrics and display them on the screen in 40+ languages. Very nice interface, easy to use, and a great one-stop-shop.
Dizzler: Dizzler is something else entirely: while Last.fm, iMeem, and others will play similar artists in a radio-style playlist--all hosted on their servers, Dizzler doesn't host anything. Instead, it scours the internet and provides the music-on-demand that you want. This is good if you're wanting to hear a particular song instead of a genre. Just don't expect it to socialize with you.
Shazam: Do you remember Gracenote? How about those expensive apps from the phones of yore that could listen to a song and tell you who it was? Ever been at the pub or coffeehouse and wondered who was playing, what album it was on, or how you could get it? Shazam is that app--and it is free. Just open the app, it'll listen for 10 seconds, and then pull up the cover art, artist, album, and a link to buy it if you so chose. Very cool. So cool in fact that we may mention this again in out Get Your Geek On section :-)
Nav4All: Folks have wanted a free turn-by-turn, voice-prompted navigation system on the Android for a while. Nav4All is ubiquitous--available on hundreds of phones and is free. Well, it is free until 2010 anyway. We've test driven this and it work likes a charm--all over the world in fact! It also links to thousands of restaurants and other places of interest. When we were driving on the old-world streets of Santa Fe (old-world since the town is pre-Plymouth Rock), it navigated us through all the narrow passages and even re-routed us to the nearest gas station when we were low on petrol. Again, it is free, but the UI isn't spectacular and it is not as user-friendly as a TomTom or other subscription apps.
TeleNav: This app beats Nav4All in our opinion--just because the UI is way better. However, it should be better at $10/month--the current subscription rate.
Alternate Home Screens and Themes:
ASTRO File Manager: This is the best file manager we've seen yet on the Android. It not only lets you view and manage the SD card, but you can also dig deep into the phone itself.
Weather Channel: If you're using one of the alternate home applications, you may not need any of the weather apps like the Weather Channel's or the Weather Bug app, because this function can already be added as a widget on the homescreen. But for those who are interested, we found the Weather Channel's app do be accurate, easy, and full of good stuff: forecasts and real-time weather for virtually any location.
Get Your Geek On!
BioWallet: This application gives you peace of mind while taking a piece of biometric data: your iris as scanned by the device's camera! It protects sensitive information like account numbers, user names and passwords, and other stuff you might want to keep uber-private. Very spy-like if you ask us!
Metal Detector: This is a somewhat cheezy app--perhaps a step above those ubiquitous fart-generating apps for both the G1 and iPhone. It uses the magnetometer as, well, a magnet. It scans and then tells you it has detected metal. Silly, but geeky.
Heads-Up-Displays: There are a growing number of HUDs in the market--and hopefully more will come. At night, you can put your Android device on the dashboard and it will mirror-reflect the screen onto your windshield--providing GPS, speedometer, weather, and other info right in plain view!
You're Turn: There are thousands of apps now and we've only covered a few! Let us know what your favorite apps are and share them! Cheers!
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