Meewella | Fragments

The Life of P


A long post today that just covers the Android apps I currently use and recommend. If that doesn’t interest you, here’s my review of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans instead.

To keep an eye on the latest app releases check out Android Tapp and Revision3’s daily App Judgment show, which covers  both Android and iPhone. You’ll notice there aren’t direct links to the app marketplace below. That’s because unfortunately the Android marketplace doesn’t quite work like that at present although its redesign is soon to launch with Google’s I/O conference in progress right now.

So here’s what I use in approximate order of regularity/usefulness:

Dolphin Browser HD is currently the best Android web browser for high-end phones. A slick interface, tabbed browsing and very smooth pinch-to-zoom.

Astro File Manager is self-explanatory: the easiest way to browse files on your phone, especially if you download and install apps outside the Android marketplace.

Lookout is an all-in-one security package with cloud backup, anti-virus scanning (primarily to protect you PC when you attach your phone) and the ability remotely to locate (and, if stolen, wipe) your phone from any browser. Paid alternative WaveSecure is also very well reviewed. and Spotify are both great streaming music services. The former is free, while the latter requires that you are a premium subscriber to use the mobile app. Still, that entire library available anywhere isn’t bad for £10 a month.

Catch That Bus is the first and only app I’ve purchased to date and is a bargain at £1.79. It uses Google Maps and overlays UK bus stops. Select one and you’ll see a live board with expected arrival times. No more wondering whether it’s worth waiting at a bus stop.

JuiceDefender saves battery life by regulating your data connection and wifi, but it can interfere with streaming media services like Spotify.

Evernote brands itself as a “digital brain” for storing and searching notes, pictures and clips from websites. Not only can you now access it anywhere, but you can use your phone’s camera to snap photos, which Evernote will scan with OCR to make any text searchable.

ShopSavvy lets you scan product barcodes while shopping and will provide details and price comparison with both retail and online stores.

Dropbox is an service I already recommend for cloud-syncing files on desktops, and now you can access all of those files remotely from your phone too. Mobile is obviously nothing like the desktop version but offers a handful of really useful tools to improve images taken with a phone camera.

TaskPanel lets you kill off apps individually or en masse. Android’s multitasking implementation means that the OS will automatically prioritise and close unused apps when it runs out of memory, so this should be unnecessary. But in some cases you may prefer to keep things tidy yourself and it can improve battery life.

Twitter and Engadget both have official apps that, while not particularly special, do stand out for their slick interfaces.

Quickpedia let you browse wikipedia and is noteable mainly in that it includes suggestions for search. This on a pocketable phone is probably the next best thing to owning The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

Shazam is a neat little app that will listen to a snippet of music and identify it, all for no charge.

Barcode Scanner may sound odd for a phone but the Android community often shares apps and links using QR codes (2D barcodes). Simply snap one, even directly off another screen, with your phone camera rather than fiddling around with the keyboard.

Yelp and Aloqa are both goods ways to find local restaurants and entertainment.

Layar is an augmented reality app which means it uses the phone’s camera to display the world around you with overlayed information. They’re a great glimpse into the future but I feel aren’t quite smooth enough for general use yet.

Flixster Movies brings current film info, showtimes and trailers to your phone.

c:geo is great for entering the world of geocaching.

Compass lets you – wait, do I really have to explain this one?

Whew, any I missed that you think should have been on here? As always, let me know.


  1. Looks like a pretty good list of apps, a couple to add are tricorder (a must have for sci fi geeks, this let’s you see what all the gizmos in your phone are doing; accelerometer, acoustic, electromagnetic, gravity), laputa (a nice free ebook reader with a fair few books on offer), millionaire (if you’ve ever dabbled in shares this is great $100k to spend on shares fill your boots!) And finally beebplayer (BBC iplayer for your android, quality).

  2. Cheers for the additions, Dan. Laputa is a good find and it’s generally hard not to like a tricorder!

    What kind of streaming quality were you able to get out of beebplayer? I only tried it briefly before but found the macroblocking made it look pretty rubbish on the Desire’s hi-res screen. May have been an unrepresentative experience though. Hopefully when the BBC release their app they’ll enable higher quality streams but I guess they may be worried about pissing off network operators like they did ISPs…

  3. I’m liking Dolphin a lot – I knew there had to be a better browser out there! I’m still getting to know my HTC Desire 🙂 Thanks for the post, really useful.

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"Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has."

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