Skip to main content

Topic: Must Have Mobile Apps. (Read 4472 times)

Must Have Mobile Apps.
**EDITED TO INCLUDE THREAD LINKS

Well it's that time again, time for me to setup a new device. It's been awhile since I've sorted thru the market and as usual there are many new apps/devs I've never heard of to try or cull. Normally I'd take the time to download and try them all but with the increasing number of badly written, ad ridden, SDK apps out there I thought I'd try to solicit the community's help in determining good and bad. (Might save some testing and a restore or two.)

The more functions an app has the less apps you need and all the better for the Android OS's "multitasking" ability. So to that end I try and look for apps with a small footprint but a big kick. I've listed some tried and true apps with both paid (pro) and free (lite) versions to start off.

Market alternatives:

Best Apps on Android Market- Tested and approved apps from the market. First level sort anyway.
Getjar- A throw back from Symbian OS. Still a good source for apps.
AppsLib- A little off the reservation but a good source for more quality apps.
F-Droid- Open source apps.

Market apps (no root):

QuickPic- Small but powerful album substitute. Quick and plays mobile vids.
ES Explorer- All-in-one file manager. Been around forever. File/root explorer, unzip, cloud/network client and media player.
Mobo Video Player- Plays most any video format.
Ultra Keyboard- Best thing is; it's not Swype, lol. The toolbar and clipboard make this the best for me but development dipped for awhile. It seems to be doing good now tho. Copying multiple texts before composing is nice without having yet another clipboard manager and the toolbar adds word processing functions that I appreciate.
VidTrim- If you've ever wanted to send a video you just recorded but it was too large... bam.
Mp3 Media Converter- Multiple format converter.
Toddler Lock- Yeah, you know. Most powerful app around if you have a toddler.
Hide It Pro- Neatly hides whatever. I'm sure there are nefarious purposes I won't explore but it worked well to hide personal data I didn't want available on an unlocked phone.
Floating YouTube Popup Video- PIPed Youtube.
AnTuTu Benchmark
A better camera
Camera FV-5 Lite
Androidify- Make android avatars. Just for fun.
Calendar+- Here's a google calendar replacement I'm considering. Seems to include features I've looked to other apps outside my calendar for. Preliminary look is good.
Ultimate custom widget (UCCW)- Make fully custom widgets. Neat tho may take longer to perfect than it's worth. Made one I thoroughly enjoyed.
Ghost Commander- Duel windowed file manager.
or Open Explorer Beta- Very quick and neat
Type and Speak- This was just something I could have some fun with.
For my all-in-one Gapps substitute... GApps Sandboxed Browser is something I'm gonna try.
<a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alfray.timeriffic">Timeriffic[/url]- Take control of notifications

Launchers:
Nova Launcher- Very streamline and more functional than stock, and a good efficient launcher is the best way to improve performance without modding.
WindOS- Windows XP look-alike launcher. I looked for this for the 'just for fun launchers' earlier but just came up with it. Not so functional but fun.
Launcher3- Open source very basic.
Epoch launcher- I liked the looks of this overly simplistic launcher. Not very functional. Not great.
Atom Launcher- Again simplistic but with style. This one would be neat built into a ROM.

Frenzie's blog- Has several good apps worth a try.

Market apps (root):
Rom Toolbox Pro- Root terminal, UI and build property hacks, ROM manager, ad-blocker, app manager, script manager... the list goes on. All the basics for stock modding.
Busy Box Installer- I installed this. Usually comes with custom ROMs tho.
PDAnet- USB tether.
Screen Grabber- Screen capture.
Screen Shot it- If you don't have, between these two you're covered.
Orbot- Part of the Tor project.

3rd party:
**This is a BIG risk! Know the dangers before installing anything... That said, this is a must have from way back, better than any game. CBS sued and had it pulled from the market years back on copyright infringement. Saying, it was too much like the "device"/prop from, Star Trek: TNG. 0_o Anyway, I linked a forum that links a download and explains more. A must have for any science fiction fan.   
TriCorder from Moonblink- Tricorder app. Gravimetric, magnetic and radio bandwidth sensor among others.
Barnacle Wifi Tether- Ad-hoc Wifi. Was removed from the market because it circumvents hotspot blocks. (Root required)
Xposed framework - (XDA article) (Root required)
  • Last Edit: 2014-02-26, 10:32:45 by ensbb3

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #1
I wrote up a blog post along these lines a couple of years ago. Probably the most important one from there:

<a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alfray.timeriffic">Timeriffic[/url]
Again, it seems like this should be included by default. Set your phone up to stfu at night and whenever else you don't want it to ring. You can also change some other settings if you want, but for me it makes more sense to turn e.g. Wi-Fi on manually.

Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #2
You can also change some other settings if you want, but for me it makes more sense to turn e.g. Wi-Fi on manually.


Yessir, Leaving wifi on is a terrible battery drain. With access to build props you can turn down the ping rate for a significant difference... But as you say, it makes more sense to just manually connect... Neat app. Worth a look.

I tried K-9 mail... Luckily I only lost one of the old ensbb#@whatev's to it. Got hacked inside a month. But I am looking for g-app substitutes. Mine from my old phone were a 3rd party hack of the g-apps package and not available to this device. A good low resource SMS manger with emoji support would be nice too. That was another 3rd party one. I hate to go back to Go or Handcent. 
  • Last Edit: 2014-02-22, 21:08:31 by ensbb3

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #3
The default SMS app seems to do emojis?

Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #4
Edited: I had a bad data connection and couldn't load/post links...

The default SMS app seems to do emojis?

Android smilies. I like the unicode Japanese set and the extensions of it too. 
  • Last Edit: 2014-02-23, 23:14:49 by ensbb3

Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #5
I've installed a couple to try.

Textra & ChompSMS- Same dev. They seem quick enough. And they have the [1]emoji plugins [2] I want.

Go SMS pro- Has the advantage of me having donated and paid for many plugins and themes. Seems to run better on this phone. IIRC SMS ads were annoying with this one tho.

Calendar+- Here's a google calendar replacement I'm considering. Seems to include features I've looked to other apps outside my calendar for. Preliminary look is good.

  • Last Edit: 2014-02-24, 00:42:54 by ensbb3

Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #6
Actually getting in to this some I've remembered how much I despise sorting thru Google Play... Which reminded me of some alternatives.

Best Apps on Android Market Tested and approved apps from the market. First level sort anyway.

Getjar- A throw back from Symbian OS. Still a good source for apps.

AppsLib- A little off the reservation but a good source for more quality apps.

Some I'm deciding on...

Ghost Commander- Duel windowed file manager.

or Open Explorer Beta- Very quick and neat

Type and Speak- This was just something I could have some fun with.

For my all-in-one Gapps substitute... GApps Sandboxed Browser is something I'm gonna try.

And for the security concerned, something I should of put in the OP: Orbot- Part of the Tor project.

And launchers for fun:

Launcher3- Open source very basic.

Epoch launcher- I liked the looks of this overly simplistic launcher. Not very functional. Not great.

Atom Launcher- Again simplistic but with style. This one would be neat built into a ROM.

I'll stick with Nova launcher for now but it's nice to have a change of style handy.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #7
I use a bunch of stuff from F-Droid. Among the applications available there are K-9 Mail, Aard Dictionary, Barcode Scanner (QR code reader), Timeriffic, and OpenDocument Reader. If it weren't for Google Calendar and Contacts I might consider running my phone without any GApps at all.

For a launcher, Trebuchet (CyanogenMod default) wasn't horrible, but the latest version seems to have removed some options.

Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #8
Oh yeah. I forgot about F-Droid. Thanks.

Manufacturers and Providers are another source for quality/approved apps. I know Samsung and Sony have their own markets, and Amazon too, of course. US providers that have a market place are Sprint and Verizon, that I know of. Tho, provider markets aren't so good for me. I'm looking to part ways, not get deeper in... We should probably mention Opera too.

With a calendar on my phone I don't need to sync it to other places so google is just an annoyance. My son's mom likes to sync her calendar events for our son to mine, anyway... Mostly cause it irks me, I think. Occasionally I get an e-mail regarding a hair appointment I didn't make or something, lol. The long and the short is, I'm stuck with google until a custom recovery becomes available. The tedious task of figuring out what I can and can't freeze from the stock bloat will make sorting thru the market seem exciting.
  • Last Edit: 2014-02-24, 20:56:01 by ensbb3

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #9
With a calendar on my phone I don't need to sync it to other places so google is just an annoyance.

I mostly use the calendar on my phone, but enter it on my desktop. I don't want Google Calendar per se, but they made it so it syncs best that way. Some experiments with my own CalDAV server were reasonably successful, but for now I'm choosing convenience over purity.

The contacts are a similar matter. Unlike the calendar, Google contacts is fairly awful. I used to sync these things differently back when I had a feature phone, which was better in some ways and worse in others.

Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #10
And done! Got farther than I ever hoped too.

I installed the, Xposed framework (XDA article), and found several useful modules. This one is a keeper for sure. Along with the boot manager I stopped the random bloat apps without having to freeze them. I found many good modules to add custom rom like features to stock, in fact. Naturally it's odexed being stock so not many of the GUI or theme mods work. I didn't expect they would, and at least I got power menu, notification and status bar tweaks.

Finished with enough time to look thru my old apps and see what's buried... And here's what I found.

Root required:
Busy Box Installer- I installed this. Usually comes with custom ROMs tho.
PDAnet- USB tether.

Screen Grabber- Screen capture.
Screen Shot it- If you don't have, between these two you're covered.

No root required:
VidTrim- If you've ever wanted to send a video you just recored but it was too large... bam.
Mp3 Media Converter- Multiple format converter.
Toddler Lock- Yeah, you know. Most powerful app around if you have a toddler.
Hide It Pro- Neatly hides whatever. I'm sure there are nefarious purposes I won't explore but it worked well to hide personal data I didn't want available on an unlocked phone.
Floating YouTube Popup Video PIPed Youtube.
AnTuTu Benchmark
A better camera
Camera FV-5 Lite
Androidify- Make android avatars. Just for fun.
Ultimate custom widget (UCCW)- Make fully custom widgets. Neat tho may take longer to perfect than it's worth. Made one I thoroughly enjoyed.
WindOS- Windows XP look-alike launcher. I looked for this for the 'just for fun launchers' earlier but just came up with it. Not so functional but fun.

3rd party (now):
Barnacle Wifi Tether- Ad-hoc Wifi. Was removed from the market because it circumvents hotspot blocks. (Root required)
 
 
Well, Maybe someone will fine something here useful. I'll update the links in the OP, if I can. I've exercised my demons for now.
  • Last Edit: 2014-02-25, 13:46:18 by ensbb3

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #11
WindOS- Windows XP look-alike launcher. I looked for this for the 'just for fun launchers' earlier but just came up with it. Not so functional but fun.

What's imo really missing from Android is some simple categories/folders (unless I'm missing something obvious). Right now I'm running with only the bare necessities, but back when I had a bunch more e.g. a "Games" folder would've really helped, not to mention a "Stuff I almost never use but keep around just in case" folder.

Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #12
Indeed. Some kind of indexing would seem in order. I used to bother to folder my app drawer but the UI improvements post ICS (4.0.x) prevent Nova Launchers drawer fixes from working. As soon as you grab the app it kicks out to place it on the homescreen. Maybe a toggle I missed somewhere? Regardless I shouldn't have to. With the tabs added across the top for widgets (That I don't need. Hello! Long press the wallpaper while you're looking at the spot you want it!) it seems like indexing would be a simple thing. It's the main reason I haven't changed my layout much in years. 3 screens (home the center one) and three dock screens puts most everything within two taps, maybe toss in a gesture. as long as I have a custom notification bar even individual features are quick access. Commonly used goto dock and notification bar. Homescreen gets a weather widget and fad apps I'm currently messing with while one screen gets dedicated like a control panel with all system tools and the other screen with media and data concerns, browsers/viewers/editors. I don't have many games... Maybe none atm actually. Makes it so I don't even goto the app drawer that often. But much is redundant and wouldn't be needed if I could open the drawer and quickly find what I'm looking for. I've seen apps that claim to categorize and one may of even used the drawer tabs, now that I think back. Nothing I'm recommending tho.      
  • Last Edit: 2014-02-25, 22:46:32 by ensbb3

Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #13
(unless I'm missing something obvious)

...You have a custom mod tho. Trebuchet doesn't make a folder when you hover one icon over another?

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #14
...You have a custom mod tho. Trebuchet doesn't make a folder when you hover one icon over another?

Not in the app list. If you pick it up it shows you the screens so you can drop it on one of 'em. I thought all launchers made folders for those bottom four icons though.

Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #15
Not in the app list. If you pick it up it shows you the screens so you can drop it on one of 'em.

Ah, ok. that's what I thought you meant.

I have the paid version of Nova on my tablet. Seems I got the free version on my phone somehow (I better not have to pay again, grrr). Turns out the free one doesn't sort the app drawer at all anymore. And to add to my confusion, you don't stack icons anymore. You define the tabs and folders you want in; Nova Settings>Drawer>Drawer groups.

I thought all launchers made folders for those bottom four icons though.


I assumed they all would by now, but Touchwiz (my stock) doesn't allow them in the dock.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #16
Clipboard manager is indispensable for me. On my Android I have Clipper https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.rojekti.clipper

  • Banned Member
  • [*]
  • Banned
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #17
What does it do?

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #18
Clipboard manager manages clipboard of course. Clipboard is the virtual (metaphysical!) place where the content goes whenever you copy stuff. Clipper maintains a list of copied things so you can review what you have copied, and re-copy them for pasting. It's useful for example for serial quoting when composing a huge treatise-length post for DnD on your mobile phone. Like this:

  • Banned Member
  • [*]
  • Banned
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #19
Is it for the mobile phone or the tablet?

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #20
It's useful for example for serial quoting when composing a huge treatise-length post for DnD on your mobile phone.

In other words, it's useful when you're insane? :lol:

More seriously, the default Android clipboard handling is exceptionally bad. I don't even know what any of those stupid icons mean.

  • Banned Member
  • [*]
  • Banned
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #21
Frans, on my comp, I use a couple of text files to 'buffer' multiple copypasting. Sometimes, one needs to not lose the already copied item and suddenly copypaste another.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #22
I use a clipboard manager (Clipman), but I certainly don't compose treatises on my cellphone. Although if I did, I'd probably do it by speaking to it.

An alternative method is to use a USB OTG adapter so you can attach a real keyboard, or use one through Bluetooth. But if you know in advance that you'll want to compose treatises, I'd take a netbook.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #23
Clipman and Parcellite are common on Linux distros to collect clipboard content, often configured to autostart at desktop login. They are a normal thing on Linux now.

I don't really write my long posts on smartphone, but I wish Josh would write longer. He has a lot to say, but says it in brief successive posts. He needs an app to get his act together, to acquire composure.

  • Banned Member
  • [*]
  • Banned
Re: Must Have Mobile Apps.
Reply #24
I'm not a Leo Tolstoy, actually.;)