A few Handy Android Apps – Pros and Cons

Android has picked up the smartphone arena like no other and India especially is one of the larger markets it is serving. The Samsung galaxy tabs have been a revelation, even more than the iPad in India. Applications make life so much simpler on the go, and am gonna list a few apps that I use on a daily basis.

Social Networking

1. Tweetdeck ****
Am fairly sure a large percentage of twitter users run tweetdeck on their desktop. The multitude of features that are provided in the computer version can ALSO be availed in this app: Facebook, Foursquare and Google Buzz integration; customize vibration, sound and light for each column; instantly access all your identities through your tweetdeck account; deck.ly support.
Cons: bland interface

2. Twitter for Android ***
The official Twitter app for Android does have a major number of users following the introduction of handle prediction and has a very pretty UI to add to the appeal.
Cons: Real time updates frequency is only 5min or more.

3. Tweetcaster ****
Considered the ultimate twitter app before Tweetdeck entered the scene. Integration with twitlonger, coupled with image and video previews, was a favorite for me till I shifted to tweetdeck.

4. Facebook for Android ****
From a bland, poorly appealing UI with lack of notifications, it has now come a long way with integrated Chat, checking in at places, facebook group access and push notifications. A must have for the FB fanatic.

5. Orkut **
Google does have an app for orkut, though not much effort is put into making it. Seems like a java interface to the webpage of orkut.

Blogging

1. WordPress ***
Dedicated wordpress app, has a wonderful UI. Enables posting from your phone, notifications for comments and a page to track your stats as well. I respond to most of my comments through my phone.
Cons: It is good for some quick short posts to press, not really ideal for working on a piece.

2. Tumblr **
Just like the blog, the app has a very simple and colorful UI. Easy to publish pictures and videos captured on your Android

Google

1. Google Maps ****
If your device has GPS|aGPS; this app is a must. Very handy during travel with multitude of features: track your location; keep in touch with your friends location using ‘Latitude’; ‘Places’ helps you find nearby restaurants, atms, coffee shops etc; track the Google buzz in the vicinity and now Google has also enabled ‘Check-ins’!

2. Google Reader ***
If you read news on Google Reader, or follow blogs on your pc. Then this app will calmly sync ur fresh reads daily making reading stuff on the go fun and simple. This app’s biggest rival is NewsRob which has been in the market for a much longer time and is considered the favorite among many.

3. Scoreboard **
There are more negatives than positives for this app. It is used to track scores, give live updates of sports all over the world. My liking for this app is merely because: a lovely widget to keep track of forthcoming games; good app to track football- be it europe, individual leagues, or international. Multiple teams can be favorited and different levels of notification enabled for each team to know the scores [min-by-min, half time, full time etc]

4. Google Goggles ***
This application uses your camera, to snap something up, then uploads it to google database and tries to interpret what you see. It’s been largely used as a barcode scanner [not very useful in India]; but very handy in the West.

Other apps I use out of interest.

1. Wikidroid ****
As simple as the name suggests, if you are a Wikipedia freak, and need to wiki something, this is really handy. With custom browser, it is really fast.

2. Dictionary.com ***
‘The word of the day’ widget always finds a place in my homescreen. handy to quickly do a search.

3. 3G Watchdog ****
2G or 3G, for a user like me who has a limited cap of 2GB per month data usage, this does a fantastic job to ensure you do not exceed your usage.

4. Advanced Task Manager ***
When a program doesn’t respond, and if you wanna shut it down, it takes longer to go to Android’s Running Services page each time. This app leaves a small icon on the notification bar. and is just a click away to shut down the unresponsive program.

5. Whatsapp, Pingchat and Liveprofile ****
Whatsapp: is the most popular inter platform instant messaging service. Works on push notifications connecting Nokia, Blackberry, iPhone and Android users all over the world. (paid app). It works purely on data charges and will save you all the money you spent of SMSing daily.
Pingchat: is the free version and does the same things as Whatsapp.
Liveprofile: is similar except it creates a mood for Blackberry users, i.e., it requires a LiveProfile PIN to sign in.

There are umpteen number of apps in the market. These are few I keep running on my HTC Legend Android 2.1.

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