On my old and proudly abandoned WinMo website I had a section called What’s Doug Running? which people liked partly out of voyeuristic titillation but also for app inspiration using me as an apps role model given how apparently sturdy an authority on the matter I appeared to them from the rest of the sections including the fanmail page where I’d post only the nice emails people sent me, most of which I wrote myself.
So now I have this Google phone and with it I can say sianara to the need to help people desperate to get their phones less crappy because Google phones simply aren’t like that out of the box whereas Microsoft phones are. So, no third website from me on how to tweak your registry to get GPS working right with Android and all that other WinMo crap. But that particular section, that’s worth mentioning right here, but for my Android collection. Top Ten Android Apps lists are a dime a dozen and you’re only going to find a top ninetysomething apps vouched for and used by Doug Simmons list here.
So after the break, if you’d like, I’m going to hit you all with an annotated list, complete with market hyperlinks if you’re reading this on an Android phone, of what I’m running at the moment, things you may want to consider running too. Things to consider being able to run were you to take the plunge and buy a Google phone like so many others including our own Dr. Jim Taylor (PhD doc, don’t ask him for Percocet scripts) who gave himself extensive psychotherapy to break out of his Microsoft Stockholm Syndrome which sadly still afflicts a handful of our other writers.
Many of these are free, some are not, some are paid versions of apps that also have free versions supported by ads, most don’t require root, a few do, some are Android only, some may be found on other platforms. I’m just dumping a list here, not ranking them or sorting them and it’s best viewed on an Android phone to hit the market links (all the links are market links). Some of these apps of which I am particularly fond I may write individual articles for, like Locale. While you’re here please contribute any other sweet apps if you know of any. Okay? Let’s roll.
AdFree, link, strips out ads from web and apps with a custom and updated and arguably unethical /system/etc/hosts file. Requires root.
Adobe Flash Player 10.1, link, Froyo-only though there are non-Froyo Flash players running around XDA.
Antennas, link, like a wifi wardriving thing but for GSM and CDMA towers, overlays the towers to which you’re connected or have been connected on a map.
ASTRO File Manager, link, excellent file manager. Free with ads or paid without.
ASTRO SMB Module, link, lets you jump onto Windows networks using samba with ASTRO.
B&B Gallery, link, a no-nonsense gallery program.
Barcode Scanner, link, as the name implies it lets you scan barcodes. Good at parties.
Battery Widget, link. As the resident battery boss, even though I have a taskbar mod that displays the percentage, gotta have my battery status widget.
Better Keyboard, link, is a better keyboard than the stock soft keyboard but not as good as SwiftKey.
Calendar Snooze, link, lets you specify exactly how frequently you want to be nagged by Google Calendar appointments. Paid version offers some more functionality.
Chrome to Phone, link, lets you, while using either Chrome or Firefox on your computer, beam a webpage or a Google Maps thing to your phone. Requires Froyo.
ClockSync, link, uses NTP to figure out the exact time and adjusts your system clock periodically. Requires root.
Compass, link, hands-down the best compass app. I’m a city slicker, don’t go hiking, not much point in having this but hey, why not.
ConnectBot, link, badass SSH client.
Dog Whistler Pro, link, freaks out certain dogs and pisses off my fiancee. Free version available.
Dope Wars, link, classic educational software you’d better use if you plan on becoming a drug dealer.
drocap2, link, screen cap program, requires root.
Earth, link, Google Earth. Entertaining, wow-factor, for a little while.
Google Voice, link, pipes your phone into your Google Voice account which is friggin’ awesome.
GPS Test Plus, link, lets you see what’s doing behind the scenes on your GPS receiver, also has a speedometer thing. Free version available.
gTasks, link, syncs you up to your Google Tasks to manage them and stamp them down in a widget.
K-9 Mail, link, excellent email client for POP, IMAP and WEBDAV.
LauncherPro, link, juiced-up launcher (home screen manager).
Linpack, link, drag racing benchmark utility to see how many megaflops you can pump out relative to all the other linpack addicts (overclockers primarily). Look, I made the top 100.
Locale, link. This one’s too sweet to summarize in a phrase, gonna save it and its plugins for an article.
MicDroid, link, creates auto-tune effect a la the iPhone’s I Am T-Pain. Good for parties (lame parties).
Movies, link, figures out where you are, tells you what’s playing and when and so on.
NewsRob, free/paid, unparalleledly ridiculously awesome Google Reader client. Google Reader is also unparalleledly awesome. Yes I know that’s not a word.
ONN, link, kind of a frontend, youtube-ish, for The Onion. Always impressed these guys haven’t run out of funny ideas.
Open Spot, link, crowdsources free parking space tips which would be sweet if a lot of people started using it, which they might.
Quadrant Standard, link, heavy duty benchmarking thing for rom and kernel addicts.
RockPlayer, link, video player that handles pretty much every format.
rss to Google Reader, link, lets you Share Page on the browser to pipe in an RSS feed of the site your’e in into your Google Reader account.
SetCPU, link, lets you manipulate your CPU speed up or down based on conditions you specify. Needs root and if you want to OC you need an appropriate kernel.
SayMyName Dessert, link, recites names of incoming calls, SMS and K-9 emails.
ShareMyApps, link, the thing I’m using to do this article.
SoundHound, link. You remember that iPhone commercial where you hear a song you like at some party or whatever, you press the app button and it tells you the name of the song? Well it’s like that except it’s better in that it recognizes much faster and in less than ideal sound conditions, it can recognize songs if you just hum them, links you up to the Youtube video, lyrics, Amazon MP3, the whole deal.
Speed, link, solid speedometer.
SpeedHUD, link, solid speedometer that displays a mirrored view so you can lay it on your dash and see the reflection on the windshield and pretend you’re in an F-16.
Speed Test, link, speedtest.net’s speed test frontend. Not recommended for those who use AT&T. 😛
Surveyor, link, really fascinating tool that lets you estimate the distance between two points using funky math, the GPS and the compass on the camera view. Probably very inaccurate but high nerd wow factor.
SwiftKey Keyboard Beta, link, dare I say is BETTER than Swype. It uses math and statistics to guess the next word you’re going to type so you don’t have to type it and now and then is right, learning more about you over time.
SwiFTP FTP Server, link, which in addition to being an FTP server to access your phone over wifi lets you do it over cellular too which is so damn impressive I had to write an article about it.
SwitchPro Widget, link, like the power widget that lets you turn this and that off except you can use up to seven buttons and specify what each one does with maybe over a dozen choices.
Terminal Emulator, link, for those who like Linux and command line interfaces.
Trackball Alert, link, lets you get your Nexus One’s trackball to use different pretty colors for different notification glowing. Requires root.
Trapster, link, crowdsourcing app that warns you about speed traps and red light cameras because it’s important to drive super fast when you run red lights without getting caught.
wardrive, link, excellent wifi wardriving app.
Weather Widgets, link, weather widgets, no big whoop.
WordPress, link, which is what I used to write this article.
ZAGAT ’10, link, your very own copy of Zagat but on your phone and with GPS support. Costs like $10 but compared to the money you’ll blow on the restaurants it aims you toward, that’s nothing.
That took longer than I thought it would, quite a big list, but that’s some high caliber shit right there. But I should note that it’s maybe less than half of all the ones I’d consider worth mentioning, however I flash roms periodically and like to start from scratch to see what new things are out there rather than just doing a big restore job. So it would be very helpful to those reading this in addition to yourself (and to me) if you’d post your own suggestions, if you’re an Android guy that is; but if you’re not, feel free to post some is there an app for this and that questions and I’ll try to field them.
Too long; didn’t read? If you think WinMo is special because there are a ton of apps with a high nerd / badass / otherwise pretty sweet factor, man you are wrong.