Some recommended Android applications

So yes, a while ago I got a Samsung Galaxy S phone, which runs Android. My experience so far has been quite good, though for some reason the firmware specific to the Galaxy S has quite a few bugs. Hopefully the 2.2 update, coming out soon, will fix all that. Anyway, of course I installed a lot of applications, and here are some of the ones I would recommend. Many of these have been reviewed and recommended numerous times, but some of them are less well-known, but still very useful.

All of the following applications are free, except for Wolfram|Alpha. LauncherPro, Astrid and Autokiller also have paid versions or extensions with more features.

  • Barcode Scanner – everyone needs one of these, right? Without the ability to scan QR codes, even installing new applications can be a hassle.
  • SL4A – allows you to write interactive scripts for Android, with access to the Android API, in several programming languages. It’s quite powerful, and much more convenient than writing an entire app for many purposes.
  • Tweetdeck – a social networking client, with emphasis on Twitter. More suited to those who like to read through every single update they recieve, but it has many good features.
  • LauncherPro – a very, very good home replacement app. Much better than the TouchWiz launcher, anyway, and the paid “plus” version has some nice widgets.
  • Wolfram|Alpha – native application of Wolfram|Alpha, with location-aware results and a giant keyboard with every symbol you can imagine. Good if you use the service a lot, though for light users the mobile website, which is free, will probably suffice.
  • K9 Mail – a very reliable email app, with support for IMAP push. No Exchange functionality, though.
  • Financisto – a “personal finance manager”, allows you to track income and expendature. Very quick to use, but quite detailed.
  • Astrid – a famous task manager. Very simple, and has Remember the Milk integration.
  • Trillian – multi-platform multi-protocol instant messenging client. Account data is stored on Trillian’s servers and is synchronised between devices, which is convenient. If you are worried about privacy, though, there is always Beem, but it only supports XMPP (used by Facebook Chat and Google Talk).
  • Dropbox – a great general-purpose cloud-syncing service for files, with clients available for all major desktop and mobile operating systems.
  • ConnectBot – SSH/telnet client, able to run in the background and emulate several terminal types. Can also act as a local terminal emulator.
  • Wifi Analyser – detects and analyses nearby wifi networks. Perhaps more useful if you are a network technician, but still a nifty little application.
  • Tram Hunter – do you live in Melbourne, Australia? If so, this app is quite useful – it consumes the TramTracker web service and presents tram service information in a convenient manner. Pity there isn’t one for Metlink!
  • Autokiller Memory Optimiser – Android has an internal task killer, which is responsible for culling processes when memory gets low. By default, however, the memory values at which it does so are set quite low, and thus the device can still get quite slow. Many people solve this by using third-party task killers, which can automatically kill processes by themselves, however this is sub-optimal because these external applications, besides introducing extra overhead, have no good way of determining what applications are still working in the background, or are important for the continued running of the phone, and thus rely on user-defined “ignore” lists to prevent unwanted terminations. The internal task killer, on the other hand, is able to assign scores to each process depending on how active it is, and kill off the least important ones first, and in an elegant fashion.