A few months back my wife and I headed into our local Verizon store. The plan was to get off of our respective parents plans, and, like real grown-ups, have a cell phone plan of our own (complete with outrageous bill).
Being the tech nerd, or geek if you prefer, I was aware of the release of Droid phones on Verizon…in fact, I had been drooling over them in online blogs, videos, and TV ads for several months leading up to the release. It must have been a mixture of an insane load of Grad School work, coupled with my unhealthy yearning to be at home playing XBox, but I had completely spaced that the day we were going to get new phones was ALSO the release of these phones.
Verizon store was insane, and we immediately realized why. I walked towards the MOTO Droid on display and could hardly control the salivary glands leaking from the sides of my mouth…that thing was awesome…and with a $400 price tag, it better be. We “settled” for the HTC Eris…with its $99 price tag, this phone was well within our budget, and Verizon really made it worth it, giving us free upgrades. So far I love the Eris, and am a completely smitten Droid user.
Okay, enough rambling and backstory, time to talk about the best part of Android…the open source applications
1. Seesmic (Free)
I gave up on the Twidroid app after less than an hour of having my phone…too simple, and the lack of conversation threading was a HUGE turnoff (not sure if that has since been added). Seesmic has a solid reputation for their desktop Twitter program, and although I use Hootsuite on my Mac, I have been (sort of) patiently waiting for one of the Twitter powerhouses to step into the Android realm. Seesmic’s Droid app offers a solid design, easy to navigate, but with enough features to still thrill me. I love the way it easily handles replies giving me the option to reply to multiple people from one tweet.
If you are a Twitter user looking for some solid features and a fairly in depth approach to its build, then Seesmic comes as my top choice. If you are a bit less Twitter obsessed, then my other choice may be right up your alley.
2. Swift (Free)
Swift was my jumping off point. After ditching Twidroid, Swift was my favorite Twitter app. Good conversation streamlining, VERY simple layout, and easy navigation made this my go to app for a long time, until I switched to Seesmic for the increased features. If you’re new to Twitter, or just don’t need so much depth, Swift is still a great, clutter free alternative.
Honorable Mention: Twitterride
1. Last.fm App (Free)
This app is actually still fairly glitchy…in any given week you may actually see multiple updates. However, when it works, it’s great. Same idea as Pandora, but keeps WAY better track of your music interests and play counts. If your a music-o-phile like me, Last.fm integration belongs on everything from your computer, to your phone, ipod, and playlists.
2. Shazam (Free)
This is one of those apps that is a life saver for music lovers. It listens to a short clip of a song…on the radio, at a restaurant, or basically anywhere you go and need to know what song is about to get stuck in your head. This is the first song identification application that I have seen ACTUALLY work…and if you know me, you know that it was thoroughly tested. I threw what I consider to be some of the most obscure, un-mainstream music at it, and within ten seconds it had title, artist, album art, and a ton more info…this thing is a blast.
Honorable Mention: Pandora (Free)
1) GMote (Free/$2.00)
I just got this app and am already obsessed. By downloading this app for your phone and a program for you computer (works with Mac/PC/Linux) you have now made your Android phone into a remote…it syncs files, changes volume, mutes, pauses, skips tracks, etc. And, arguably the best part: this is not limited to music or video files…you can use your phone as a remote for powerpoint presentations! There is so much possibility for use with this that I will most likely spend months playing with it. I am already jazzed to use this next semester in classes.
2. Zombie, RUN! (Free)
This app makes even the most mundane trip to the grocery store a fight for survival. It is fully integrated with Google Maps, and uses the phones strong GPS to follow your location, and add in zombies on the map who are closing in on your location. You have the ability to choose the speed/type of zombie, game-type, and even choose an end destination. The goal is to drive/walk/run/hide your way out of risk of zombie attack. The best way to really explain it is to just have you try this app out…after all, it’s free, and may provide just the training you need for the zombie apocalypse.
This is nowhere near all the cool apps available to explore on Android. I hope you find this list fun and useful, and I hope people use the comment section of this post to share more of the newest/coolest Android apps on the market. Enjoy!