Thursday, December 8, 2011

Four Fabulous Apps For a New Android

This time on "Glorious Time Wasters" -- 4 Incredibly Useful Apps for a new Christmas Android device!

Tis the season to be giving -- and getting -- and the best thing to get right now is a new Android device.  They come pretty fully featured, and a lot of them come with pre-loaded software (some of which I'd actually recommend).  But whether yours is a humble device that only connects via a nearby wireless hotspot or whether you've got the latest high-end Android with lots of bandwidth and cellular transmission, there's ten types of applications that EVERYONE really should have.  I'm staying out of some of the more interesting ones (like rootkits and so forth.)  This list is a "really should have this" list for anyone getting (or giving) a new Android device.

...and you KNOW how much fun it is to hop off to Marketplace and show someone how to get goodies, right?  So get them started right with these apps!

#1 -- Google Maps.  Why do I have THAT on the list?  One word -- traffic reports.  In the case of Dallas, it gets its info from TXDOT, so it's not "up to the second" reliable, but it's free.  And it gives you "good enough" warning about problems.

#2 -- Dropbox, the file mover of choice.  Some of us can do it via Bluetooth, but for a lot of people, "Bluetooth" indicates someone with really bad dental hygene (come to think of it, there's times when I'm trying to get Bluetooth devices to talk to each other when I think it would be easier to go in for major dental surgery.)  If you love Bluetooth and it works for you, stay with it.  For the rest of us, there's "Dropbox."  Dropbox is basically free web storage for your files.  You take whatever it is you want, upload it to your Dropbox, and it's now available for every Android device that you've got. It will automatically load anything you put up there to your regular computer.  It's great for backups and less of a hassle than Google can be.

In this day of "you can totally lose track of your life if you lose your phone, computer, blackberry, etc, backups are a gooooood idea!  Listen to the geek, folks.

#3 -- Astro File Manager -- a better file handler than the one that comes on most devices.   There's no real consistent scheme out there -- and some of the ones that come with the Androids are full of Mystery Meat Navigation (do I double tap to move?  Where's that file located?  Why does it pretend I've got 2 SD cards?)    Astro File manager's interface makes sense, and it's fairly intuitive to move files between directories.  It also accesses the top level directories, something that some apps don't let you do.

#4 -- Flashlight and Candle.  Okay, that's two apps rather than one.  But our phones and Androids are becoming extremely versatile devices and there's lots of times when having a small amount of light really helps.  I like Candle Free if I'm just wanting to find my way through the dark house to the bedroom without tripping over the cat.  Flashlight Free is for when... well... ya need that extra light.  We also use Candle Free for birthday parties (yes, you can blow out the candles), and yes my family is in the Entirely Too Geeky To Live In The Real World category.

If you don't have these apps on your devices, you might like them.  If you do, don't forget to suggest them to everyone around you.  You'll look awesomely uber-geeky when you show them how to avoid the shopping traffic when they head out to buy your gift for Christmas.

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