A few Android apps

Inspired by my recent acceleration into the world of Android, and a recent similar post by Jason, I thought I'd take some time to promote some of the apps I've found interesting or useful on my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 devices.

Google Play Applications

All of these are available from the Google Play App Store. Unless otherwise stated, they are free apps; any stated prices are accurate at the time of writing this entry.

  • Andmade Share - this replaces the system 'Share' menu with something more configurable: hide apps you don't ever share with; reorder the options and put your favourites at the top.
  • Barclays Mobile Banking (not Nexus 7) - I bank with Barclays. This is useful for checking how much money I've burned. The app also includes a mobile PIN sentry, which means you don't need to remember the stupid device everywhere you go.
  • Blogger - I'm hosting this blog through Blogger; it's a nice app for writing short posts, or creating headers for posts you want to remember to write later.
  • Evernote - notes, images, ideas, reminders - all in "the cloud". As the app page says, "Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity".
  • GitHub - it's nice to be able to browse my GitHub repository and activity for watched users and repos from my devices. I'm a geek. Sue me.
  • Google Authenticator - this is an essential app for anyone using Google's "2-step verification".
  • Instapaper (£1.93) - I don't always have time to read every interesting article or news story when I see it; Instapaper has served me well as a place to queue these for my future-self
  • LastPass - I have used LastPass for over a year, and it's very useful to have access to the data, and bookmarklets on my devices
  • MX Player - this player seems to be able to play any video format you can throw at it. It's especially useful if you're a torrent user and you sometimes get MKV files. No more time spent waiting for HandBrake to convert the video to one of the few 'proper' formats. I don't like ads so I upgraded to MX Player Pro (£3.50); the free version has a few small ads here and there - most people could easily tune them out.
  • NFC Task Launcher - I wanted to play with some NFC tags. I bought a few and used this app to configure them. You can do some cool things with the tags - but if you're like me they do get forgotten quite quickly. Still, fun to play with.
  • Notify My Android - some sites and external apps can send notifications to your device; you can also forward email to a provided address and receive notifications for them (useful for important messages: create a mail filter to forward messages from your loved ones, or package notifications from the office post room). If you're feeling exceptionally geeky, you can write your own software to use their API. You get 5 notifications per day for free, or you can upgrade to premium for a one-time fee.
  • Nova Launcher - before JellyBean gave everyone the landscape home screen Nova Launcher filled the void. Nova Launcher give you many more features than that though, so I'm still using it as my default action for the home screen button.
  • PinDroid - I use Pinboard as a shared bookmarking solution (I jumped to this ship when delicious went the way of the dodo). This app gives me a Share option as well as a way to browse my bookmarks if I get bored of using Chrome.
  • Podkicker Podcast Player - this is a pretty decent podcast manager and downloader. It's helping me escape the dependency on iTunes. I like to pay people for their trouble, so I've upgraded to Podkicker Pro (£1.99)
  • QuickPic - a nice alternative to the Gallery app; you can create desktop shortcuts directly to specific albums (great for showing off your finer art) as well as restrict the places it looks for images (do you ever feel like you're drowning in galleries with the default app?)
  • Send to Instapaper - save a URL to Instapaper to read later even if your phone is not currently connected to Internet. This app is intelligent enough to know the phone is not online. It stores submissions and sends them when the device is back online.
  • Simple Last.fm Scrobbler - I'm a big fan of last.fm and having lot of stats about the music I listen to. This is a lightweight scrobbler that submits information to Last.fm on what music I play on my android devices.
  • RealCalc Scientific Calculator - just a really nice calculator app
  • SoundHound - the app I use to try to work out what cool music is being played in the lift, or the shop, or restaurant, or club that I'm in. Helps me confirm some things, or discover new artists.
  • Tweedle for Twitter - the least hateful Twitter client I've found for Android. It's young, and has some features missing, but it feels nice enough and I'm hopeful it'll keep improving as time passes. Sadly, nothing out there is anywhere close to TweetBot so I'll always be disappointed with anything else.
  • Wifi Analyzer - a nice tool for checking wifi signals and their strength around you; use it to move your home wifi to a less congested channel, or just wander round and see what wifi is available in the world at large.

Other Applications

These applications will require you (temporarily) configure your device to allow you to install non Google Play apps:

  • Swype Beta - I like the gesture-based input keyboards. When I first received my Nexus 7, JellyBean didn't have a native gesture keyboard. I'd heard of Swype previously and jumped through the few hoops to install it. I like the look and feel of this more than the JellyBean gesture keyboard.

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