Sunday, March 10, 2013

My Favorite Android Apps

I'm going to upgrade my phone ROM to an "experimental" version of Android 5.0, aka Key Lime Pie. Every time I try a new ROM, I end up re-installing the apps I like/love/need and simply not installing the ones I've stopped using or use too infrequently. Consequently, there aren't very many apps on my phone. If the new Android doesn't play well with my apps, I'll go back to Jelly Bean and repeat this culling process.

3D Digital Weather - It's not rated as the best clock/weather widget, but it's my favorite.
ADW Launcher - I'm hooked on this interface. 5 column app drawer.  Cool themes, fades, and effects.
Alarm Clock Xtreme - It takes extreme measures to roust me in the morning, and this thing cranks up the volume and blasts me out of bed if I don't respond to the preceding gentle alarm. I run the same thing on my tablet, and I can see the next alarm on the lock screen, so I know when it's set.
Astrid - It's a great task manager, especially if you need to assign/accept tasks to/from others.
Chrome - I use Chrome for some browsing, and. . .
Dolphin - . . . for certain sites I use Dolphin. I have a right to be ambivalent.
Field Trip - This uses your GPS to alerts you of nearby points of interest. Sometimes it really is interesting, sometimes I feel like it's preparing me for Final Jeopardy.
Gmail - Of course.
Google Drive - A great way to back up files on my phone or move files between my computer, phone, and tablet.
Google Search - Google Now and Voice Search are moving from nicety to necessity very quickly.
Google Voice - I use this for voice mail and texting sometimes. The voice mail transcriptions are both aggravating and useful. I haven't seen much progress lately.
Google+/Messenger+ - I follow interest groups and communities which interest me, and it's becoming my primary place for sharing things.
GPS Status - the GPS signal locks on faster and seems to be more accurate and reliable since I installed this. It is a very functional compass, altimeter, speedometer, and generally cool app to look at.
Ingress - This is a GPS based game involving team play in the physical world. The concept is great, and during the current closed beta test the rules change from time to time. There should be more games like this, however. You literally can't sit at home and play it, you have to hit the streets to play. I like a majority of the places this game has taken me and the team play aspect has made it very interesting.
Ingress Portal Timer - This little utility is for Ingress players.
JEFIT - This paces my workout, keeps track of my routines, tracks progress. . . because I don't remember from week to week my constantly changing one rep max on seated leg curls, rear delt extensions, or side lateral raises. I can also easily tell which body parts are due for a workout and it nags me when it's time to hit the gym.  I bought this one, but there's a free version.
Kitchen Timer - Best little egg timer app.
LinkedIn - This is a new one for me, and it's growing on me. The app far surpassed my expectations.
Maps / Navigation - This app keeps getting better and the integration with Google Now is one of the top reasons I have an Android phone.
Notifications Widget - This puts notifications on the lock screen. With this I can glance at my phone and decide if I want to respond now or later. I'm also a fan of turning on voice notifications in the accessibility settings when I'm home, so text-to-speech lady reads it to me and I don't even have to look. Turning this on is automated with Tasker. Tasker knows when I'm home, because it can see my home WiFi router.
Online Banking - This saves me from the "Would you like to check your balance?" prompt on the ATM, which sometimes costs money if you accept.
Pocket Casts - I'm warming up to this alternative to Google Listen, which seems to have been surpassed here.
Raindar - Animated weather radar, because in the southern plains in the Spring, weather can be a dangerous, full contact sport.
Tasker - Oh so wonderful tool of automation for doing obvious and nice things to my phone, like launching apps at a certain time or place or changing my phone settings on my behalf based on time, location, and other triggers.
Waze - Maps has no idea about traffic and will steer you right into the thick of it. I'm in DFW, ya'll. Traffic is a factor in my every day. This app knows all the shortcuts, traffic alerts, red light camera locations, speed traps, etc.
Winamp - My favorite MP3 player still whips the llama's ass. Shoutcast, people. It's better than Pandora if you have a good data connection.

Did not make the cut:
Apollo Music Player - I'm not re-installing this since I discovered Winamp for Android, which actually syncs with my PC and has superior playlist management.
United Airlines - I'm not keeping it, because it's useless unless you're traveling. However,real time flight status kept me better informed than the other folks in the gate area. I was also able to ask proactively to be booked on an earlier flight when I noticed a few hours ahead of time that a storm had delayed the plane, which saved me from being stranded on that occasion.
Facebook - deleting the app. If I want to go there, I use Dolphin.