Callend Vibrate is a super simple app. All it does is vibrates the phone when a call ends. iPhone does this by default. I kind of missed this in Android. This app fills this missing feature on my phone. Saves me from talking on the without realizing that the call got disconnected. This should be a built-in feature in Android.
I like reading a few comic strips like Dilbert, Garfield. I used to subscribe to them via a RSS feed. But I sometimes miss reading them because there are so many posts in my Google Reader. DailyStrip is a comic strip reader that has access to more than 100 comic strips. I can select my favorites and view them everyday. If I miss a day I can step back and view them too. Check it out if you are into comic strips.
Google has a site for Android Market which list all the apps available in the Market. But it is not a very user friendly site to navigate and find apps. I does not even have a search feature! Whats Google’s main claim to fame again? Anyway once you stumble on an interesting app there is no way to get the app. You will have to go to Market on your phone and search for the app from there. Clumsy! The other shot comings are: no rating, no comments, no sorting on popularity etc.
Here is where AppBrain steps in and shows Google how it should be. AppBrain has three key components:
The site makes up for all the things lacking in the official site. It has search, ratings, sorting, comments (from the market and its own comments). It also has the ability to add apps to your device(s). There are two ways to do this. First add it to your phone’s app list and then sync with the first AppBrain App Market. Second it to use the Fast Web Installer and send the app to your phone instantly. I use this a lot.
AppBrain also has a slew of social features. You can share the apps in your phone or just create a list of apps to share. I have created a list of all the apps I have talked about in this blog. It is available in here and in the side column in the blog. You can follow users and find the apps they are using.
It also provides a lot of useful statistics for developers about the OS versions and demographics of the users.
Try it out. Read more about it at Lifehacker.
It does not matter if there are only 100,000 apps in the Android Market or 300,000 in the Apple App Store. There are some great Android apps out there. Some apps do stuff only iPhone apps can dream off. The kidding aside, I am planning to write a series of blog posts spotlighting cool apps in the Android Market. The posts will not be complete reviews just highlights and I will try to link to a moew through review.
The first one is my favorite app: Tasker. Tasker can completely automate just about anything on your Android phone. The basic stuff I use it for are:
1. Setting my phone to only vibrate when at work, chruch, movie theaters etc. automatically based on time or location
2. Silencing my phone completely during sleep time, removing all visual notifications too
3. Automatically launch the music player or Google Listen when I connect my phone to my car stereo
4. Turn off WiFi at work
5. Make Your Phone Quiet Down When Face-Down
Here are some more use cases from the Tasker site:
- passcode-lock sensitive applications (e.g. for child safety)
- change phone settings by
- application: long screen timeout in a book reader
- time: screen brightness lower in the evening
- location: ringer volume high at the office, turn off ke yguard at home
- wake up with a random song from your music collection
- Text-to-speech; read out loud: incoming SMS/ phone number, WiFi/Bluetooth status, when it’s time for an appointment, when the battery is low etc etc (Android OS 1.6+ only)
- launch a music application when your music SD card is inserted, otherwise a file browser
- start the day with a particular application showing
- change all your home icons and wallpaper every day, or in particular locations
- turn the phone upside down to return to the home screen, tilt 90 degrees to the left and back to toggle speakerphone during a call
- create a Home widget to
- toggle bluetooth/wifi on/off
- launch wireless settings dialog
- show a menu of tasks to choose
- send an emergency SMS with your GPS location
- remap camera etc buttons to other applications, or show a menu of applications and/or actions
- decrypt/encrypt and/or zip/unzip application data on the fly when an application is launched/exits
- pause music playback while in a particular application, restart on exit
- change the Home icon for any application
- take a time-lapse photo series (possibly ‘secretly’)
- make a regular backup of a file on the SD card
- track your phone location via SMS in case of theft
- extend the use of the media button on your headset: take a picture from a distance or go to the previous media track with a long press
- record call times and destinations to the SD card
- show a popup when an SMS arrives from a particular phone number
- setup a birthday SMS to be sent months before it happens so you don’t forget
- record battery levels over time to a file on SD card
- make automatic recordings of what you say during phone calls to SD card
- during the night, turn on airplane mode to conserve battery/reduce radiation, but turn it off every 15 minutes to check for SMS/voicemail.
- setup a vacation SMS message, with different messages for different callers
- launch a music application when headphones are connected
Read more about its awesomeness at lifehacker.
I like my Android phone a lot. I almost always use it to read tweets, email and follow blogs on Google Reader. As good as the 4 inch Super AMOLED screen is, sometimes I like to read longer articles on my PC. I usually send an email to myself using the share feature most apps in Android have. It works but is kind of cumbersome. I was looking for apps to share links to sites like Read It Later or InstaPaper. They did not have good support for Android. Read It Later had a few third party apps using their API but they did not do exactly what I wanted. So I created my own App.
It is very interesting to learn to program for Android. I this the OS is well designed and easy to develop for. At least for the simple use case I had.
Once installed here is what Droid Save does:
1. Shows up in the share actions when you share something from your twitter client, browser…
2. When you select “Droid Save”, the first time it prompts for the Read It Later credentials.
3. Once your credentials are validated and on subsequent uses it will either save the URL without further prompts or show a list of URLs if the shared text has multiple URLs. Selecting one saves it to Read It Later.
Well I think I got it almost two months ago. Haven’t had time to blog about it. I got a Samsung Captivate. It is the AT&T version of the Galaxy S phone with Super AMOLED screen, 1GHz Hummingbird processor and 4 inch Screen.
I had ordered the Dell Streak too. Had it for a couple of days alongside the Captivate. It was just too big for me and the Captivate’s AMOLED screen won me over. Would have liked to have a front facing camera of the Streak but the with the old OS and Dell’s delay even in launching the phone made me go for the Captivate.
I think it was a good bet as I flashed FroYo just yesterday on it. Streak is still at 1.6!
I have been thinking of getting an Android phone to replace my iPhone 3GS. There is only so much you can tweak on the iPhone. Apps are great but I want glance able widgets on the main screen like every other smartphone. I want apps like Settings Profile. You can change settings on your phone based on time, location, battery, day/date… I had similar software on my Nokia smartphones for years.
Well I have read that I can do almost any kind of tweaking on an Android phone. So I have been thinking of getting one. The Dell Streak seems to be the only Android phone on AT&T to have a front facing camera. But I want to try out Android before I get it. If it were an iPhone, I would head to an Apple store to try it out. I have never been to a AT&T store. May be I should go and try a Captivate. Does not sound as interesting as going to an Apple store though.
Well I ran across a couple of articles on Lifehacker that let me try out the Android OS in the comfort of my home on my Tablet PC:
The first one is straight forward. The second one did not work as detailed. Maybe it is because of the different Android SDKs. Here are the steps that worked for me to get an Android Market enabled emulator running:
1. You must have Java installed.
2. Get the Android SDK from here.
3. Get the emulator running as per the first Lifehacker article. Choose Android 1.6 as the version to use.
4. Download the System image for Android 1.6 from HTC’s site here.
5. Extract the system.img file to the location of the AVD you just created. Ex. <userhome>\.android\avd\Test1.6.avd.
6. Restart the AVD wiping out the user data.
7. Enjoy using Android and check out the apps in Market.
This is cool. The Galaxy Bean can project an image between the size of 5 inches to 50 inches! Can not imagine how the battery life will be. It should be interesting to go to meetings with just a phone and project presentations on the screen. Nice. It will be released only in Singapore though. [electronista]
Samsung Captivate [androidcentral.com]
Samsung Galaxy S phones are coming to almost all US Mobile Carriers. The phone compares well with even the iPhone 4. The screen Super AMOLED seems to match the Retina Display. The Samsung Hummingbird processor is very capable too. I would love to get myself a Samsung Captivate as soon as it becomes available. I like my iPhone but it is getting a bit boring to use. I can’t tweak or hack it like the other smartphones I have had. Android seems to be the most tweak-able phone OS out there now.
But what is worrying is how every carrier apart from Sprint has removed the front facing camera from the phone. The original Galaxy S has a front facing camera. Looks like they don’t want anyone to be using video chat over their network. My Dad and Brother both have a Nokia N900 and seem to be video chatting using Skype. Why can’t I get a Android phone that can do it too?
I have to say I tried the Readability bookmarklet again after reading that Apple used its code in Safari’s Reader feature. Now it is my favorite way of reading articles.
Readability™ is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you’re reading. Follow the steps below to install Readability™ in your Web browser. [Readability]
I love the way the bookmarklet removes the unnecessary elements of the page and presents the article in a nice big font. I cant go back to reading articles with out this anymore. Give it a try.