Essential (free) Android Apps

Hello once again!

I’ve recently got myself an HTC Desire, probably the best phone I’ve ever had the opportunity of playing with. It has everything a self respecting geek needs.

This is not going to be a review of the phone, that may come at a later date, however what I will do, is list what I consider to be the essential apps that this OS needs (please note, I am not including apps that are already on the HTC Desire by default (google maps, navigation etc)):

1. Handcent – probably the best SMS client that you can freely get for Android.

2. Advanced Task Killer – Not necessary, but I would say keep it on hand if an app crashes, Android does a great job of background application management.

3. CalWidget – SUBSTANTIALLY better than the HTC or Android calendar widgets, actually allows you to view useful information about upcoming events.

4. Ebuddy – Fantastic little IM app. Allows MSN, Facebook chat, Google Chat, amongts many other things.

5. NetCounter – Even if you are on an unlimited/high data plan, I would recommend this app, especially for roaming.

6. WifiAnalyzer – As a geek, you will come across situations where you need to either find an access point, or diagnose access point issues, this app will allow you to do both (even clearly differentiates between different channels, open/closed APs, and even a AP proximity sensor.

7. UsefulSwitchers – If like me, you’ve noticed the HTC Desire’s battery is less than stellar, use this app to have all your switches (such as wifi, gps, data, amongts many more), in a single place. This will allow you to save glorious screen real estate.

8. Movies – If you like going to the cinema or renting DVD/Bluray, then this is the app for you. It will allow you to see what is showing at a cinema near you (using gps or cellID), then tell you the showing times, and what rating it got on rotten tomatoes.

9. GPS Test – This will allow you to see all the info of your GPS, including local time, position, how many GPS satellites you have nearby etc.

10. ShopSavvy – When you go shopping for anything, use this app to make sure you are NOT being ripped off. It will take you to a website or local store that might have the item you want cheaper. This will enable those greedy bastards to price-match.

11. Juice Defender – Probably one of the best apps for the desire. It can extend your battery life by between 1.5x to 2.0x (at least on my phone). Really useful, and you don’t really lose any functionality.

12. Juice Plotter – An addon/extension of Juice Defender. Will give a rough indication how much battery time you have left.

13. File Manager – As Android doesn’t seem to be able to delete files you download (such as word documents), this is an excellent and fast program that allows you to do just that (and more).

14. Callfilter – I’ve had issues with morons prank calling me on withheld numbers. This app will stop that. It can do one of two things. It can either redirect numbers directly to voicemail, or answer and hang up on them. Absolute Godsend.

Apps that are not essential, but are cool:

1. Zombie Run! – This is a really funky game. It uses your GPS location on google maps to simulate a zombie outbreak where you have to physically run away from them, or find alternate paths to get to your designated location (of your choice), it even includes muliplayer with other people with an Android phone!

2. MoneyManager – If you have trouble keeping track of your finances (like myself), then this is an epic app. It will allow you to note down everything you spend/earn and let you know how much money you (should) have in the bank.

3. Google Sky Map – If you like the night sky for photography or just to see the stars/planets, then this is the app for you. It will allow you to see all the constellations around you just by moving your phone around. (This is also an awesome app to show off to a potential vict..ermmm…girlfriend that you know about our grand and magestic skies.)

4. Layar – This is a AR (Augmented Reality) app. It will take information from Wikipedia and other sources to show you what is around you in real time. It’s funky but definately not essential.

5. Mario Live Wallpaper – Probably THE coolest wallpaper one can download. It will display Mario going through levels as your background, calculated in real time, this is NOT a video, but a basic AI wallpaper. Note: It will suck up battery worse than a $2 hooker.

6. Keyring – If you have a bunch of clubcards (such as the Tesco Clubcard), on your keyring or in your wallet, transfer them to your phone using this app. You can use your phones’ camera to analyse the barcode, or you can enter it manually.

For now this is all I can offer you. I hope I have enriched your Android experience by giving you this information, and if you have any other apps that you can recommend to myself or other users reading this blog, PLEASE post em in the comments section!

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