I recently wrote a piece “5 Essential Apps for Newbies”. It actually got a bit of criticism for highlighting “boring” apps. This wasn’t the main problem though, because my friend @jmdc88 bought a shiny new Samsung GSII and asked me why she wasn’t liking Swype, and that made me realize that I might have missed a few things that newbies and just people in general who want to get more mileage out of their Android device might like. Remember these are “MY” favorite apps, so your mileage my vary.
1 ) Input Method: Swiftkey X – by far the best predictive input method for Android. Reads your Facebook, Twitter, and other text to find out your style, and makes the predictions super accurate. The keyboard layout is also amazing for both phones and tablets. My girlfriend has a blackberry and loves a physical keyboard but the more she uses Swiftkey the more she wants the nice white Samsung Galaxy SII.
2 ) Launcher: Go Launcer EX – This was in my other post, but the key that people need to understand is that the “launcher” is the window manager for Android. Changing this part of your system is essential to getting the “look and feel” you want from Android. Others to consider are “ADW Launcher” and “Launcher Pro”. Some niche ones are “Helix Launcher”, and there are some really funky alternative ones as well that convert your phone to the look of “windows phone”…. but why would you want to do that?
3 ) Personal Finance: Mint.com – No need to talk about this. If you don’t know about it. Get with the program.
4 ) Backups: Titanium Backup – Requires Root
5 ) Web Browser: Dolphin Browser HD – A great replacement for the stock browser, generally faster, a much better experience.
6 ) Multi-Network Real Time Chat: Whatsapp – keep in touch with your old bbm pals, or iPhone users.
7 ) Text Messaging: Handcent SMS (already described in old post)
8 ) Mail Client – K9 Mail – more efficient works with all mail providers
9 ) Work Mail/Calendaring (Exchange) – Moxier Mail
10 ) Automation – Locale – Let’s you set your phone up to do funky stuff depending on where it is and how it’s oriented. For instance I set my phone off to be totally silent with no vibration and to turn the screen off if I put it “face down” during a meeting.
11 ) Lockscreen Customization – Magic Locker – Just really sexy lockscreens, bu also adds things like the number of missed calls, the ability to jump from lockscreen directly to camera etc. Others to try: Widget Locker, GoLocker
12 ) Notes and Files - Evernote – if you ever dreamt of being able to have anything you recorded on your phone, or any document or password available anywhere. Get this. I don’t know how many times I was doing something with my lawyers related to my Condo, being able to instantly pull up different versions of the agreements on my phone. Gold.
13 ) QR Codes/Barcodes – Barcode Scanner – enjoy being a monkey for marketing people, but also be able to lookup information on products based on bar code
14 ) Translation – Google Translate – Want to hit on a girl in a different language in near real time? (I’m not a bachelor anymore what am I writing here?). You get the point.
15 ) Stuff – Google Sky Map – Great to show off your non-existent knowledge of the stars when trying to impress a girl. Hold the phone to the sky and pretend that it’s not goofy what you are doing.
16 ) Music – Spotify – Synching all my music for access any time, any place all done in real time. All for one all you can eat price. I use this to rock music in my car, go to the gym, and just generally have access to any music – anywhere.
17 ) Tracking Flights – FlightTrack - If you are a frequent flyer and hate frequent gate changes, or want to know about delays in real time- use this. Seriously, just use it, it could change your life. Having information while your plane is overheating, knowing you’ll miss your connection and being able to pro-actively re-route your flight at the desk before the masses also figure it out? That could be valuable. It happened to me, it’s real, “just do it”.
This is a good start, I’ll update this post and add more soon. Happy tinkering for now!