Android impression: must-have apps

I’ve had my Android Dev Phone 1 (T-Mobile G1) for a year now, and figured I should update my previous post about what applications I recommend:

  • Google Listen: it isn’t the perfect podcast listener, but, as with most Google products, the difference between it and perfect is small enough to tolerate.
  • Astrid Task/Todo List: a great to-do list with a nice, simple widget. I’ve recently starting using its synchronization with Remember the Milk and it works well. My list is in the cloud and available to me from anywhere.
  • ConnectBot: still the best ssh client I’ve found.
  • RealCalc Scientific Calculator: I know, there’s one installed, but it doesn’t do RPN or binary/hexadecimal; this one does.
  • RingDroid: my favorite application for getting audio files (or parts of them) to ringtones.
  • Google Voice: now everyone can afford the power of a software PBX.
  • My Tracks: fun for mapping favorite bike routes and sharing them via Google Maps
  • Google Sky Map: simple, amazing, and tons of fun for people who are new to the power of a smartphone
  • Voice Recorder or Droid Record: turns your phone into a basic audio recorder. Handy for meetings, notes in the car, etc. Both work very well, just with different interfaces.
  • Google Goggles: I used to recommend Barcode Scanner (which is still handy), but this is a bit more sophisticated; awfully handy when shopping and making notes. Take a picture of a price tag (barcode), object, building, text in a foreign language, etc., and Google will work its magic.
  • Contact Owner, by Paranoid Android: changes your lock / wake-up screen to include a little message on how to contact you (in case you lose your phone).
  • Astro File Manager: a decent file manager (think Dolphin / Nautilus / Explorer) that also has a process manager.
  • Pintail: if you ever lose your phone, you can send a specially-formatted SMS (with a PIN) to it and it will respond with its GPS location
  • BeamReader PDF Viewer: It’s the only PDF viewer I’ve found that can reliably (and quickly) handle very large PDFs, like data sheets for electronic parts. There’s a free version with limited capabilities and then a “key” version you can purchase which will unlock the remaining features. The only pay-for application I have installed at the moment.
  • KeePassDroid: a password manager based on the open-source KeePass. Does what it says.
  • Google Buzz widget: if you use Buzz, it does what you expect it to do.
  • Android Terminal Emulator: rarely used, but fun for poking around or the occasional hack.
  • Compass: again, does what you’d expect. Works with GPS off, which is nice for battery savings.

And the games / silly applications:

  • Jewels: a Bejeweled clone.
  • Magic 8-Ball: “the outlook is amusing.”
  • Coin Flip: I almost never carry change; this helps settle who drives to lunch.
  • Ethereal Dialpad: a neat little “touch to make music” app, good for demonstrating the interface to others. I wish it supported multi-touch.
  • Tricorder: silly fun watching the raw accelerometer data, etc.
  • Barrage Lite: a Scorched Earth clone.

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