Last time I told you about the first 5 apps that I have found invaluable for my new Google Android phone and today I would like to talk about the other 5.
Looking through the Android Market, I have come to the conclusion that there is a lot of crap in there (busty bikini girls washing your Android screen with soap and water, while grinning insanely at you?) but there are also a lot of gems. Finding those gems can be really difficult, unless you know exactly what you are looking for. I have found things simply by thinking to myself “what would be useful to me? What do I need on a phone?”. Busty bikini girls are definately not on that list but the following items are.
So let’s start once again at looking at some of the things you should consider installing on your Droid.
I have an excellent camera on my phone but nevertheless, some photos just don’t come out the way I want them to. In the absence of an official Photoshop app for the Android, PicSay is a suitable alternative in the meantime.
As well as being able to alter the photo in terms of contrast, brightness and many more (see the screenshot to the left for examples), you can also add fun special effects such as word balloons, titles, graphics, color correction and highlighting. Just increase or decrease the desired special effect by running your finger over the bar at the bottom of the screen and see the photo being updated in real time.
PicSay then saves the altered photos in its own folder on your phone so if you ever need the original photo for whatever reason then it’s still there.
A great app and one that is definately needed if you use your phone camera a lot.
OK, you could go to the mobile Wikipedia website but that is just a stripped down bare-bones version of the regular Wikipedia site. WikiMobile on the other hand is another version of Wikipedia which has some extra features I like when I am looking for some obscure fact while out on the road.
Searching for a topic is as simple as inputting it into the search box. Entries are laid out on the screen nice and compactly, and are easy to read.
If you don’t know what you are looking for, try clicking “Random Article” to see….yes, you guessed it….a random article! Clicking it just now took me to the page for “naked imperialism” while clicking it again took me to the page about koala bears. You can also click the popular button to…do you need me to spell it all out? Nah, I guessed not. You can work out all by yourself what the “popular” button does.
With “My Bookmarks“, you can easily save WikiMobile entries to a bookmarks section for later reading. Just go to the entry you want to save, tap your menu and choose “add bookmark“. Now article research is made much easier and those visits to the doctor’s waiting room need not be boring ever again. Who needs to read a woman’s magazine when you can read about how to build a fractional rig on a boat?
This one is limited in its usefulness but I included Barcode Scanner because I still like it and I love the looks I get in shops when I walk up to products and zap the bar code with my phone!
Starting the app, you will get the red laser-like line across the middle of your screen. Just place the barcode completely within your screen with the red line through the middle. Hold it steady for 30 seconds or so and the barcode scanner will then give you the option to open a product search or a web search. Both options lead to Google so I recommend going with the web search.
The app is most successful with books as it takes you to the book on Google Books. I particularly like this part as I am often in bookshops, trying to figure out whether to buy a particular book or not. Now I can just get my phone out, scan the barcode and then quickly scan the relevant book reviews on Google Books. No more buying total stinkers.
Nightwatch turns your Android phone into a glowing alarm clock. You will need to either lay the phone down on its side (the screen turns as you turn the phone) or you will need to buy/make a stand for it to sit on. But either way, this allows you to see the time in the dark and set your alarms effectively.
The clock is very customisable :
- Choose from either an analog clock or a digital clock.
- Choose how you want the date to be shown.
- Choose 24 hour clock or am/pm.
- Choose how bright you want the screen.
- Choose how loud you want the volumes to be.
- Choose what colours you want the screen to be.
This one is perhaps one of the most important ones of all and I don’t understand why Android doesn’t include this as a default function. Process Monitor is basically an app to mimic Windows’s Task Manager. You can see a list of all running apps with the ability to either kill the application (shut it down) or open it. To choose, just press down on the desired app and wait for the pop-up menu to show.
One of the things you have to bear in mind about an Android phone is that the battery is not that great. If you use the internet and apps on it quite a lot, the battery will drain in less than a day. So you should always be looking for ways to decrease the pressure on the battery such as disabling needless taskbar notifications and killing unneeded apps. Since Android doesn’t have a similar default app, Process Monitor is definately needed. As well as showing all the currently running apps, PM also shows you the level of your battery and the amount of currently available memory.
So that concludes my ten recommended apps for the Google Android phone. In the next few articles, I will be looking at the games you should be installing on your Droid as well as the best websites to view on a mobile phone. While you are waiting for all that, let us know what you think about these 5 apps and whether you know of any better ones. I am always open to suggestions about how to improve and refine my phone!
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