I am hoping this will stimulate a little debate and also I get a few suggestions for things to try.
Before I go any further, I think the one thing we can say about a successful Mobile OS, is that it offers the end user a diverse range of applications (or extra’s). These can be functional or merely fun, serious or incredibly silly. Without the ability to “bling” your phone OS to your tastes, I think an OS is doomed to failure.
Maybe it’s one of the reasons why Windows Mobile never saw the popularity of Android or indeed Iphone.
So here are a few of my must have Android apps (in no particular order):
Without doubt, the simplest, most functional IRC client for Android that I have tried. Theres nothing fancy here, however all the important functions such as set /nick and colour coding for different users within a channel is standard. Connecting to an IRC network is simplicity itself and the lack of the in-depth options you might get with a desktop client are in Dara’s favor since “it does exactly what it says on the tin” and that is allow you to chat via IRC with your mobile. Great stuff.
The one thing I found lacking with the default packaging of Android (HTC – Hero) was that there was no package to make notes, a simple text editor if you will, which would allow me to type in my thoughts for the day whilst on the train/on the move. In steps the excellent Easy Note and what a great job it does. The main advantage with Easy Note would be the simple integration with Google Docs and the way that text can be organized into folders each with their own unique icon (and password locking) if you wish. Of course you can save your notes locally if you wish and the only thing which seems lacking at the moment would be two way communication with Google Docs so that data can be retrieved from Google Docs to Easy Note.
Probably the most important application for me whilst using Android. The default browser is fine (although it does have a few annoying features such as being unable to turn off site preview) but it pales in comparison to Opera. Opera is fast and it very intuitive when it comes for browsing, which it needs to be since there is limited room to show pages comfortably. Opera also has a very simple filing system for your favourite places and all the pages Ive visited have rendered quickly and without error.
The RSS software that enables be to keep track of my favorite sites. Very simple to use and works very well. Theres not much really to say about an RSS reader, although PureRSS does seem to hog system resources when its downloading my articles. A minor drawback which only occurs when PureRSS is running a scheduled update.
A Usenet reader which like the majority of Android applications, works exactly as it is supposed to. Tt’s a shame more people don’t tap into the wealth of knowledge over in the newsgroups.
Believe it or not there is a MUD client for Android! A very bizarre feeling to be experiencing an RPG world as I did so many years ago, when advanced GFX/SFX didn’t exist in the home and computers really were computers! Ive covered MUD’s here before and its one of my guilty pleasures that I can often lose days of my life too. Coincidently Aardwolf (a MUD I have mentioned numerous times before) is already setup up in the favourites menu, so I was able to test a MUD experience with one of my developed characters on Aardwolf. How does it work? Very well. I can see a little issue in the heat of battle trying to issue commands, but then there is the macro option and your exploring, communicating is all very much the same as on the desktop, albeit a little smaller.
For those lucky enough (or not) to be in the UK, you have Beebplayer for streaming of the BBC’s shows. On the HTC – Hero it works very well and I was able to keep my young lad entertained the other day whilst in the back of the car watching “Chuggington” – That feature itself makes it worth its weight in gold!
I mentioned the WordPress software which allows you to draft/publish articles for your WordPress blog. Very handy. Whilst the copy and paste features are rather fiddly at times and the Bold/Underline/Italics can sometimes cause utter confusion in your draft, its a very handy piece of software and when you have to blog away from a PC, its very convenient to have the facility on a small phone that fits in your pocket.
I have only listed those apps which I had to download independently with the Market Place and of course by default, Android comes with some great software which is on my vital list. First one being Peep (and excellent Twitter client) My Google Mail client, Google Maps and Google Talk.
I have repeatedly said that the Android platform never stops amazing me with its diversity and being an ex-mobile sceptic, it says a lot that I now regard my little HTC as almost an essential piece of hardware for daily life!
I would be very interested to hear what apps you are using and in particular if you have found better alternatives to the ones I have listed above.
So whats next? I will be looking into Bittorrent clients for Android and also the variety of file managers available for the platform.
Goblin – firstname.lastname@example.org
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