Recently, a friend acquired a G1. Knowing that I absolutely adore mine, he asked for recommendations for great applications to download. (I’m sure there are plenty of excellent apps that cost something, but a qualifying criterion for being a great app as far as I’m concerned is being a free app.)
All of these are searchable within the Android Marketplace (in no particular order).
Want to provide someone with the ability to locate you without sending you a text or speaking with you? Whoever has the PIN number for your phone’s Pintail account (that you previously assign) may “ping” your phone by texting “Locate PIN#” and receive a link to Google maps with the phone’s (and presumably your) location. Lost your phone? You can send your phone a text with that same assigned PIN number and receive a link to your phone’s location. This app offers customizability settings, allowing you to have a modicum of control over the app’s behaviors.
2. Facebook and MySpace (2 obvious self-explanatory ones…although who is really using MySpace these days?)
3. Facebook Sync
Say you have a contact both in your phone and on Facebook, but no picture assigned for them in your phone’s contacts. This app synchronizes that contact’s picture on Facebook with the contact in your phone. It’s amazing how well it works.
4. Rings Extended
Enables you to use any MP3 you have on your phone to serve as any ringtone, alert, or alarm. My phone would be much less fun without this app.
5. SMS Popup
Instead of just an alert in the notification bar at the top whenever you get a text, this program will allow a preview of the message along with the contact’s picture who sent it to you to fully pop up on the screen. My only complaint about this one is that there is a little bit of lag time between the time you select Close, Reply, etc. on the screen, but the functionality is worth the lag, in my opinion.
6. AK Notepad
Handy simple notepad app. Will let you shortcut whatever notes you make to the desktop and set reminders for those notes if you like.
Lets you create Home screen shortcuts to anything you want. Anything. If you find that you call or text a particular person frequently, you can make a shortcut that will take you directly to that action (complete with their contact picture).
8. Klaxon (…Klaxoff…)
For those of you that plug your phone in by your bed and use it as an alarm clock, I highly recommend this app. It’s a much more customizable alarm than the standard on-board alarm for the G1. It’s “Snooze” button is actually accessible without having to look at the phone. And let’s face it; who wants to be fumbling around with your phone when you just need 10 more minutes of sleep…and maybe 10 more after that.
Best mobile browser I have had the pleasure of using so far. I had Opera mobile on my hacked Nokia 5300, and that was an undeniable huge step-up. But Steel allows you to copy, paste, zoom, etc. It also features a soft on-screen keyboard if you’re not interested in flipping your phone out to access the keyboard.
10. PF Voicemail
Visual voicemail, just like for the iPhone. Sign up (the whole service is free), and you can see your voicemail before you listen to it, choosing the order in which you listen to messages, just as you would imagine. I think it also allows you to listen to your messages online if you don’t have access to your phone (i.e. if you’re overseas), but I’m not sure about that part of it. I don’t use that particular function, but I remember something about that.
Allows you to search your contacts faster with an on-screen keyboard system. Also better than phone’s default contacts search capabilities.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the bar-code scanning this phone can do. This happens to be my favorite app for this purpose, but I knew there are a handful of others out there that apparently do the same thing. Even my boss gets a kick out of showing this feature off to friends and family when they visit our office.
“OMG, I HAVE to enter this movie into my Netflix queue before I forget!” If you frequently find yourself in this situation, download this app. The next step is to take the movies available for viewing on your Mac or PC and make them available for the Android.
14. Not an app, but a cool feature
You can add a “Photoframe” to your Home screen. “Long-click” any blank area of home screen and select Widget. Tap widget, and select Picture frame, and it will allow you to select whatever picture you’d like to put on the home screen.
A really decent in-phone photo editor. Add effects and graphics to pictures. Nice library of clip-art.
Install this app, install the server software on whatever computer you want to control, and you can use your phone as a remote for iTunes, DVDs, etc. Impress your friends with your virtual Universal Remote Phone. URP. LOL.
Much like Gmote, this app allows you to mouse around whatever computer you link up to the phone. The primary practical application of having this capability surely must be PowerPoint-style presentations. I never find myself doing PowerPoint-style presentations these days, but it’s fun as hell to show off.
18. Save MMS
This app allows you to quickly and easily save any pictures people text to you. Why this would not be an automatic-include for the Android system, I do not know. Thankfully, open source fiends patch up what initially fell short.
Mehoo and the Exactly What. Exactly what? Where? Exactly. AWESOME app for finding everything from the closest Starbucks to get your caffeine on to any restaurant to the best gas prices in your area. Really comprehensive, really easy to use. (Much better than BooRah.)
20. Shazam (aka the Gomer Pyle app)
Exactly like the iPhone’s version. Start this app, allow the phone to “hear” whatever song is playing for about 30 seconds or so, and Shazam’s comprehensive database will tell you what song you are listening to and who is performing it. Very cool app when you just can’t think of the name of a song or artist and it’s driving you CRAZY!
Let me know if you find anything exciting or recommendable! I’m impressed with the regularity quality apps are added to the Marketplace. If there was a piece of technology that could inspire me to pick up learning Java, this is it.