I’m a not-so-recent convert from an Apple iPhone (3GS, when it was the rage) to an Android – specifically, the Motorola Droid Bionic (the hero phone for ten seconds). Since then, I’ve spent some time trying to re-create the experiences I had on my iPhone, as well as improve them. I was met with mixed success. But I’ve hit a point where I can share a review on a handful of apps that, combined with my actual device, make this an enjoyable experience.
- Go Launcher EX ($1.88 when I paid for it) – This is an app launcher replacement for what’s installed with the stock OS (for me, that was Gingerbread with a Motorola accent). Not terrible, but it could use some work. Enter Go Launcher EX. There’s a free version as well, but skip Starbucks for one day and get this. It’s worth it. You can swap the four/five stock apps at the bottom (effectively giving you fifteen ‘dockable’ items), you can swipe screens (not really new), and other things. What’s also cool is the ‘settings’ widget, giving you instant visibility (and access to) things like blue tooth, WiFi, GPS, airplane mode, and more. It comes with a few pre-loaded widgets (like a meter showing your RAM use, as well as a quick ‘n easy way to see what programs are running – a bit more elegant that the default task manager).
- Waze (free) – The best traffic and navigation app I have seen, and I’ve tried a handful. You can save some locations for frequent GPS’ing. After a while, Waze learns your patterns. For instance, after I used it a few times, it’d pop up with ‘Going home?’ when I got in my car in the evening. You can view alternate routes, and it shows you little markers of traffic tie-ups or incidents along the way. And how does it get those? It’s crowd-sourced. As you drive along (safely), it lets you submit a report of traffic (it grabs your speed as well) into the collective hive. You can also opt to see reports from people in your general area. You can report speed traps, road hazards, breakdowns, and the like.
- QuickPic ($0.99, I think) – Media management is not Android’s strong suit. So when I started taking pictures, and couldn’t easily put them into folders, it frustrated me. I read up on the solutions on the net, and none seemed to work. This one solved my issue. The categorization is easy. I can exclude certain folders from getting indexed (like album art). The thumbnail preview is fast. And I can control whether it looks on the internal SD card or the external SD card. If you take more than a handful of images and pictures with your phone, and need to organize them, I recommend this app.
- Syncing music with iTunes (free) – This isn’t an app, per se, but it’s the best work around I’ve found yet. I use iTunes to manage my music, only because I had an iPhone for two years, and wasn’t smart enough to use DoubleTwist or something else. I’m not really a fan of iTunes, but now that I’m partially locked in, it makes it hard to untangle yourself. Getting media onto an Android phone is as simple as plugging in a USB cable. But what if you want to get music over by playlists, artist, or what have you? This solution here (How to sync the Motorola DROID BIONIC with iTunes) does it flawlessly. It makes your phone show up in iTunes (when connected). Now you can drag ‘n drop playlists, entire artists, and the like, quickly and easily.
What about you? And solid go-to apps for the Android that you can share?
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image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saadirfan/5168981298/