Android Apps – Suggestions

'Suggestion Box' by disrupsean Ok, I’m getting antsy for a few good apps that I need or would like on my G1 Android phone.  I’m betting we’ll see some interesting new apps hit the Android Market in January when Google adds the ability to charge for an application.  I’d also like to make a few suggestions for some applications that I really need to have soon for productivity purposes.

Office Apps

The need for real word processing and spreadsheet applications is no joke.  An app that supports Word, Excel, and a couple extra file formats would be appreciated.  This is an application that I’d pay for.  Make it decent, include PowerPoint support as well – it needs to be a quality app.  Ability to save/load from SD is a necessity btw.

Adobe – Flash & PDF

’nuff said.


A camcorder app would be awesome, but even better would be to see a QIK client released.  Is this too much to ask?

Onscreen Keyboard (psst Google, you listening?)

There are a couple apps that already include an onscreen keyboard, so why can’t the OS?  Alls you have to do is draw some buttons and feed the button presses through the existing keyboard driver – come on, it’s not that hard.  I’m surprised at all the existing Windows Mobile onscreen keyboard vendors – this is an easy market to jump into here.

Navigation Software

Here’s another good opportunity for some enterprising company.  Don’t get me wrong, Google Maps with GPS and 3G kicks ass, but when you’re out of data range – and when you really do need some navigation assistance – it really starts to show its deficiencies.  A good navigation software package like TomTom or Garmin’s would be quite nifty – and with the size of microSD cards on the market, not too hard to load up maps for offline roadtrip fun.

So these are some of the things that I would like to see.  There are tons more – do you have some suggestions?

Photo credit: disrupsean

Why Google’s Android Simply Rocks

Android There are dozens hundreds user-interface or aesthetic reasons that I could list off about the T-Mobile G1 which runs Google’s Android. However, it’s the functionality that has really sealed the deal for me.

The form factor and the ability to quickly add such a wide variety of applications to the device really makes it more useful to me then previous smartphones I’ve used.  The variety of applications and new ideas is exciting and fun to watch develop. It’s no secret that mobile app marketing is very successful, below I’ve listed a number of applications that I’ve loaded and find really useful.

Cool Apps to Check Out

  • fBook – A Facebook client app, similar to the iPhone app. Makes quick work of keeping up on Facebook.
  • Locale- Basically a profile customization utility.  It can change profile settings based on location, time, system events, contacts, messages, calls, etc… Really useful
  • Maverick – An IM client that allows you to connect to more Google Talk accounts than the one tied to the phone account.
  • Meebo – A Meebo client that allows you to log into not only your Meebo account, but also into any other IM service that Meebo supports.  The nice part of this is that the Meebo client uses the data connection for send/receive rather than the text-messages that the built-in IM client does for Yahoo, Live, or AIM.
  • PF Voicemail + – Enhanced voicemail, similar to visual voicemail on the iPhone. Allows you to review your voicemails by caller so you can choose which one to listen too first.
  • Phonalyzr – Nifty little utility that will graph your call usage by date, time, length, incoming, outgoing, and other criteria.
  • ShopSavvy  – Cool tool  for use while shopping.  It uses the camera to scan a UPC code and then look up that product online.  It has the ability to generate wish lists, and alerts for favorable pricing.
  • Mileage – Allows you to keep track of mileage and costs for multiple vehicles.
  • Twidroid – Currently the best Twitter client for Android. That statement, of course, is entirely subjective.  I like it and that’s all that matters right now. 😉
  • WeatherBug – Great Android version of the desktop app. Well designed for the screen size with a smaller memory footprint than The Weather Channel app – which is also a top-notch weather client.
  • TextEasy – Allows you to send an SMS text message to more than one recipient.
  • Toggle Settings – The app to have! This great tool allows you to quickly and easily manipulate various settings and radios on the G1. Very important since we know how power-hungry the current G1 software stack is.
  • wpToGo – Have a WordPress blog? Either on or self-hosted, this tool is a simple but effective blogging client for Android.
  • Opera – Opera Mini 4.2 for Android. ‘Nuff said.
  • AnyCut – Allows you to create a shortcut on the desktop for nearly anything in the system.

Other Good Apps

  • Task Switcher  – While you can’t close processes with it (or others that don’t have root access) it’s still nice to see what apps you may have left running.
  • Voice Recorder – Quick voice notes. This functionality should have been built into Android.
  • Video Player – Watch videos from your SD card.
  • Solitaire – When you need to pass a few minutes.
  • Pictoral – Ties into Picasa.
  • PAC-MAN – Is there anything to say?
  • Orienteer – Makes use of the digital compass in the G1.
  • Fitness – Uses the accelerometer in the G1 as a pedometer. Kinda works, and the developer is getting closer and closer with each release.  Neat to see new app ideas like this.
  • HotSpot Locator – Locate T-Mobile WiFi hotspots close to your location, either by GPS or by Wireless.
  • inetwork test – Get a quick result on the 3G or EDGE network performance in your current location.
  • Convert That – Conversion tool for nearly anything you can think of.
  • Bubble – Mostly a demonstration app, it’s a level that uses the accelerometer in the G1.
  • aTweeter – Another Twitter tool. A bit lighter weight than Twidroid, but improving quickly.

Of course, I don’t have all these installed right now (though almost!).  I’ve been testing and experimenting with these apps and many more.  The available application options have grown significantly over the past month. A great indication of a healthy & robust development ecosystem.

If you’re thinking about an Android device – don’t hesitate.  Sure, the G1 may not be the one for you, but watch the next one or two devices that come along on your network.  I promise, even the iPhone doesn’t hold the amount of promise that Android does long term.


Android Developers! Here’s a phone-load of free ideas

android logoYeah, I’m a little excited while I sit and wait for my T-Mobile G1 to be delivered. During this waiting period that nearly every geek worth their weight in Apple will experience, I’ve been reading  reviews, opinions, development docs, looking up existing applications and so on.

During this time I’ve been thinking about the things that Google did & didn’t put in the phone. I’ve been pondering the criticism and the early praise for the device, and I’ve started thinking about what I want out of the G1, and through this I’ve come up with a list of possible application ideas for some “Rock Star” android developers. So here they are.


  • Video Camcorder App (since Google left this out!)
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Flickr Uploader
  • QIK & Seesmic Video Client
  • A Slingbox client
  • A Kick-But Media Player
  • Rhapsody client, iTunes Client, and so on
  • Skype, GrandCentral, ooVoo Clients

image Social Media

  • Twitter Client
  • Facebook (and other social networks) Client that supports pic/vid/audio uploads
  • Find a way to use the accelerometer as an input device – specifically for scrolling. (Ok, yes like the information pads from STNG that the crew would simply tilt back & forth to scroll the information on the device – geeky I know.)


  • Bluetooth AD2P Stereo Headphone Support
  • Bluetooth HID support for keyboards (Specifically my older ThinkOutside Bluetooth Keyboard please!)
  • Bluetooth HID support for Mice
  • Multi-Touch input drivers (I believe Google didn’t do this because of IP concerns – I’m probably wrong)


  • Google Reader App (How’d they miss this?)
  • Google Docs App (Gears… Hello!)
  • Note taking app (I’d like one that integrates/syncs with Microsoft OneNote, but others like Evernote)
  • Full Screen Keyboard
  • Blogging client similar to Windows Live Writer
  • Weather App (Forecasts, Maps, etc…)
  • Support for email signing/encryption certificates
  • Travel App (This one could be cooler than they have been to date: detect location via GPS, set correct time/date, download current weather, look up local restaurants automatically and present by breakfast/lunch/dinner times, download current exchange rates, more…?)

Heck, I’m just listing off things I want – but look at the device and think of the G1 as a PC rather than a phone. Remember, with 3G, GPS, accelerometer, touch interface, camera, access to your Gmail Contacts & Calendar, Maps, etc… what could you build using a combination of these hardware and soft resources? What if…? Since Android is an open platform, you can replace even the core components of the software suite: dialer, browser, email, input drivers, camera software… it’s endless.

Ok, now that I’ve demonstrated that I’m an Android fan-boy, I’m going to go back to work. Have fun!

T-Mobile G1 will be here on Nov. 10

T-Mobile G1 Looks like Christmas is in October for me this year. I’ll be looking for the new T-Mobile G1 to show up around the 10th of November according to the order information. Yeah, I couldn’t help joining over 1.5 million other new Android fans and preordered the phone last night.

I’ve been waiting for some time for the right phone to come along, and this may be it. For sure, it’s a whole new ballgame instead of Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Nokia S60, iPhone, or Palm.

Let’s see… Google Maps integration, GPS, Push Gmail, Google & YouTube integration, 3G on T-Mobile (so I don’t have to change carriers), the Android Market, and integration with Amazon MP3 store. Too cool.

I’ll post on the device as I get it and share what I learn about it. Happy to have an exciting 3G smartphone on T-Mobile for a change. I’ve made my darn T-Mobile MDA last nearly 3 years!

Photo credit: T-Mobile

The Final Piece?

T-Mobile G1 Its no secret that I’ve long been a fan of Gmail. In fact, I moved my main email domain to Google’s hosted service about  two years ago. I’ve loved the flexibility, space, search, and tagging that are tightly incorporated into the service.

The only problem was a few niggling odds & ends. Not big issues mind you, but a few things that just make it hard to switch 100% to a web-only email environment. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been about 87% of the way there already. When out & about I use the web interface daily for most email tasks. When I need to find something – use the web interface for searching. I’ve used both POP and IMAP to view mail on my Windows Mobile phone since I signed up – and much more.

The few items have been enough for me to keep an email client installed, and here they are:

  • Creating HTML emails
  • Custom HTML Signatures
  • Contact Synchronization with my phone (the real biggie)

A number of these I’ve gotten around. Early on I found that I can cut & paste an email signature from a web page to a Gmail email when composing. Simple, but not convenient. The number of specialized HTML emails that I send are small and the Gmail editor is up to 99% of the tasks. The contact thing is the hardest to get past though.

I have a Windows Mobile phone, and contacts in Outlook sync right to the phone easier than anything else that exists out there. Period. I’ve had Nokia, Samsungs, Motorolas, and BlackBerrys – and all had sync tools that worked, but none as easy as Outlook to Windows Mobile.

At any rate, the real issue with contacts is getting them synchronized between Outlook and Gmail. It’s extremely tough. With the upcoming release of the T-Mobile G1 “Google phone”, it looks like all that might actually be ending. With built-in Gmail support it also has the ability to sync your phonebook with Gmail contacts. Sweet!

So I’ve been debating whether to throw down on this device or not. It may be the one, the final piece that let’s me go web-only for email management.

Oh, the signature piece – yeah I found this great Firefox plug-in called Blank Canvas Gmail Signatures which allows you to have up to four HTML signatures for each Gmail account. Highly recommended!

So is this the final piece to my text communication puzzle? It very well may be.

And 3G to boot! 😀

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