A few weeks ago, I got an Android-based HTC Desire mobile phone for some of the work we’re doing on thinkbroadband looking at broadband speeds. It has taken a while to get used to using a next generation smartphone, as someone who has been a Nokia s60 user for quite some time.
This is a list of some of my favourite apps..
Also known as TweetCaster Premium, this is the first app I purchased. It is far nicer than the built in HTC Sense twitter client, supports multiple twitter accounts, and generally runs well. It has crashed a few times, and doesn’t have the same search functionality I’m used to on a desktop, but overall seems good.
An alternative way to type, a keyboard that allows you to simply ‘swipe’ the shape of where your finger would go between the letters, so to type ‘hello’ you would simply drag your finger from ‘h’ to ‘e’ to ‘l’ and finally ‘o’. Obviously requires some prediction/correction to make it work.
Note: Having played with Swype a bit more, I think it might just be a bit better (edit – a lot better!!)
If you’re abroad, then data roaming can get very expensive. It’s therefore quite useful to be able to keep an eye on it. Although there are probably better applications, the one I’m using is NetMeter which splits usage across Wi-Fi and and your mobile data provider.
Good application for use when shopping. Just scan the barcode of the product you’re looking for and you can instantly get pricing from both e-commerce websites as well as nearby stores to compare.
thinkbroadband speed tester for Android (beta)
Part of the reason I bought the HTC Desire is our development of a mobile version of our popular speed test tool which measures the speed on a Wi-Fi or 3G/HSDPA connection. This mobile speed test for mobiles running the Android operating systems is now in public beta so anyone who wants to test it is welcome to download a copy (link above). We hope to add a lot of features so it’s just a very basic speed tester at the moment.
This is primary for those using Wi-Fi at the moment as it does consume quite a bit of data. Please make sure you never use it abroad when roaming. It runs in the same way as our Java speed test and is therefore not a ‘web’ download, so you will see any traffic shaping taking effect.
London Tube Status
A very useful app which warns you of maintenance work on the Tube as well as providing you wish platform signs showing how long until the next train arrives. It also shows where the train is currently in the tunnel system; unfortunately it needs Internet connectivity to work so will be of limited use actually on the tube, but excellent for finding out when to leave if you’re near a tube station.
This game is useful for spending time on a train when you want to use your brain a bit. There is a free Sudoku application which did have some nicer features including more appropriate ‘hints’ but the Mighty Might Good Games Sudoku app looks good and is also available for the iPhone.
Very useful for terminating those applications which you don’t need running, especially where you want to ensure they aren’t doing anything unexpected. There are others but I like the simplicity of this one (and it’s free).
IP Address Widget & BatteryLife
These widgets show you instantly which Wi-Fi network or data service you’re connected to, what your IP address is (on the phone as well as the ‘real IP’ you are accessing the Internet from, with reverse hostname if applicable) and battery capacity/temperature respectively.
Layar Reality Browser
An augmented reality browser with all sorts of layers from tube stations to property prices. Absolute must on any smartphone.
The perfect program for working out what channel you should use for your Wi-Fi connection. It will show you among other things how other networks are spread around in your vicinity, and help you track the signal strength to find the best location for an access point.
Allows you to map Wi-Fi (open and/or secured) access points as you roam around the city/country.
I haven’t found yet a good SIP client which works with our phone system (and I’ve not had time to debug it extensively), but in preparation I have the Nominet ENUM application called ENUMDROID. Last but not least, the must-to-have RingDroid which makes creating ringtones from WAV files easy.
I also wish Taste London developed an android app but alas they only have an iPhone version at the moment.