It’s still a whole new Android world… 6


Sure, I may have had to drive over to the special AT&T store that will investigate, service and/or potentially replace your still-under-warranty device upon request.

And they may have had to go through their super-duper reinstall of the underlying Android OS to try and deal with the nagging annoyances I’d started to experience (phone constantly restarting, not maintaining a Bluetooth connection, horrific battery life, or worse – flipping off but not then back on).

And I may have gotten back my old phone – but now with no third-party apps at all on it! BONUS!

But I also got a new battery out of the deal – along with a fresh & sparkly phone that’s gone through the equivalent of what I imagine Dorothy & Co. went through upon arriving at Emerald City.

And yes, I’m still a fan of my Motorola Atrix.

That whole ‘re-install the apps’ process? Not as painful as I might have imagined. For starters, I’m not really *using* many apps – why do I need them when a browser will do? And my data’s already being pulled in from other places – calendars, contacts, phone numbers, photos, email – you name it, it already lives elsewhere as well.

Secondly, I’m not trying to make my phone do everything. While all of my books are eBooks these days and I love, love, love my Kindle app on my tablet (1st generation iPad – yes, I’m OS-double-dipping), for example – I have little to no desire to actually read a book on my phone these days.

(That goes ditto for any app that requires heavy reading – Instapaper-ish apps, GReader apps, etc. – yes, I’m talking about you.)

Finally – both the Android Market (now re-named Google Play – except not yet on this phone) and Amazon’s App center both remembered the apps I’d already downloaded & made it easy easy to get them back with a single click per app. (I only had to manually grab less than five apps I must have obtained elsewhere…)

So less than 2 hours after I started this process (while also working, checking email, eating lunch & doing my usual multitasking thing) – well, I’m done.

The apps that made the cut are as follows (some come as defaults):

  • Anything from Google – Gmail, Maps, Contacts, Calendar, Music, etc.
  • Evernote (it’s how I capture the handwritten whiteboard full of grocery items on my refrigerator, for starters)
  • Two other useful ‘toolbox’ apps: Dropbox and Tiny Flashlight (you may laugh at the latter – but I use it *all the time*)
  • Since my phone serves as my primary audio source in the car: Spotify, Pandora, Google Music, PocketCasts & Amazon MP3

What quickly gets replaced/upgraded:

  • Default ATT browser? Nope, it’s Dolphin instead.
  • Ditto keyboard – SwiftKey all the way

I still may have a bit of tweaking to do (why, oh why does EVERY notification want to include sound as a default? DO. NOT. LIKE.) – but I’m now good to give this 2.0 version another spin or two.

But I should ask you:

  • What Android phone apps do you consider essential – and why?
  • What apps do you rush to uninstall?
  • And what are the top settings to change/modify on your phone?

Or in other words – what am I missing?


6 thoughts on “It’s still a whole new Android world…

  • GeekEyeCon

    My only suggestions would be Advanced Task Killer, and the Amazon apps (amazon app itself, amazon appstore, and amazon price check.)

  • Kathleen McDade

    Do you play Words With Friends? :-)

    I hate the official Twitter app. Right now I’m using Tweetcaster, but I haven’t been using it for very long.

    On my home screen and not previously mentioned: Foursquare, Facebook, Mute (one touch mutes all sound). Other things I use frequently: banking apps, PDX Transit Finder.

    I usually change my settings so I don’t get notified about every. single. thing, but I recently got a new phone and I’m having a little trouble with that.

    • Betsy Post author

      Am also trying Tweetcaster out (used to use/pay for UberSocial, but recent UI changes annoyed the crap out of me, plus bandwidth hog). Abandoned Foursquare (also battery drain, as @robwagpdx pointed out), only use FB on laptop. Must get Mute, though!

  • Robert Wagner

    SwiftKey is an essential part of any Android users collection – at least if they type more than 8 words a day. I’ve yet to use even a remotely competent default keyboard (Motorola Droids 1-4 with physical keyboards aside of course) and my current Samsung Galaxy S2 has by far the worst software keyboard yet.

    Some of the strange little apps I’ve found myself using over time, in some cases a lot more than the bigger name stuff:

    Shazam – because you should never be at a loss as to what song you’re listening to – I even paid for the full version
    WordPress – I don’t blog with it, not on the phones and not even on the tablets, but it makes comment moderation and minor edits a breeze when you’re out and about. And it finally doesn’t suck on Android anymore.
    Google Talk – because everyone I know that uses chat uses Google Talk
    Skype – though I never make calls with it, Skype is my goto “fake voicemail and phone” for when I have to give out a phone number but don’t necessarily want to receive calls on it. I used to use Google Voice for this but started having a lot of trouble with the app and never went back to it.
    A smattering of different VNC/file sharing clients – some work better than others depending on what I’m trying to do and none of them has a name that’s easily recalled right now.

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