I regularly get people, who have recently got an Android phone, asking me what apps I'm running on my HTC Hero. Having recently done a cull of apps that I don't use, I thought it was worth posting a list on here of what I use now, on Android 1.5, and why.
News Buzz Widget
Tech Buzz Widget
Mobile Buzz Widget
Gaming Buzz Widget
- I'll cover those four together since they're basically the same, just with different news feeds. When I find myself with a moment to glance at the news, these widgets are really handy. I have the regular News on my main home screen and the other three off a couple of pages away. Each of these is a bit configurable in terms of the content they cover and how often they refresh; they'll typically hold the latest 20 stories for you to browse through.
- This is a really nice representation of the stories from Engadget.com, Engadget HD and Engadget Mobile
- The official Android app from Digg.com. To be honest it's usually the last of the news apps that I check since I tend to get the news from Twitter rather than Digg these days (or even Digg on Twitter), but it's not a bad app.
Facebook for Android
- The official Facebook app. It is lacking in some ways, when it just redirects you to the site, but they are actively developing it.
Seesmic for Twitter
- I've tried many Twitter apps over many mobile platforms and this is as good as any, and better even than many paid apps. I would like to try the official Twitter app when HTC eventually release the upgrade to Android 2.1, but that doesn't have bit.ly API support, so I would likely stick with Seesmic anyway.
Skype on 3
- This has specifically been co-developed by Skype and the 3 network in the UK. It doesn't work over wifi and may only work on the 3 network, so I don't know how much use that might be to you if you're on another network.
Location / Navigation / Augmented Reality:
- When I'm out and about I tend to check-in to both Gowalla and Foursquare, but as things stand Gowalla has the much nicer app and I actually prefer the service's functionality generally. Even though I know Foursquare had a headstart and more users, of the places that I've travelled to, Gowalla tends to have more places added. [UPDATE] Since posting this, it occurred to me that people may not know what these are, so in a sentence: these location based social apps allow you to share your current location with friends, keep track of where you've been, publish tips on visiting places and potentially take advantage of promotions; however, keep in mind there are privacy issues around broadcasting your location.
- This is the most expensive app that I've purchased for a mobile device ever, especially since I got EU and US maps. The fact that I've never had a problem with how much I paid for it is about as good as a recommendation gets. I've used this to drive around the UK and Florida, and on foot in Amsterdam and Washington State - I've rarely had any issues with it.
- Technically it came with the phone, but I've subsequently updated it, so it counts for this list. Again, I'm looking forward to the newer versions of Android to be able to use new features in this app, such as turn-by-turn navigation. I doubt that it would replace CoPilot, which still has the advantage of offline maps, but it may be enough for some people.
- I don't really go on enough trips to make it worth using TripIt, but the fact that lets me very simply add and keep track of an itinerary makes it worth having on the phone.
Google Places Directory
- These two apps tell you about businesses and places of interest in your vicinity. Aloqa handily lists coupons that are valid at places, like restaurants, near you too.
Layar Reality Browser
Wikitude World Browser
- These two also provide information about places and things around your current location, but do so in a snazzy augmented reality style. Impress your friends by using your phone as a heads-up display, until you walk into a lamp post.
Google Sky Map
- A work of sheer genius and a must have for any Android user. If you aren't into astronomy, it doesn't matter; get this free app anyway.