Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cool Kids Club - AnDROID Style

This post was initially inspired by my friend Rachel who recently got a Droid, but I can almost safely say that Rach has already become well acustomed to many of the apps and all fun stuff that goes with it, being the tech saavy and internet guru that she is.  So, this post is now for all the new Android phone loving owners out there.

Things you need to know:

1. Go crazy with downloading apps.  That's 90% of the fun in owning a phone with a HUGE marketplace.  However, download one at a time and get a security software first that will scan each download. I use MyLookout.  I really like, because it also backsup my phone each night and does a virus scan while I sleep.  There's tons out, so take your pick.  When you decide you wouldn't actually use an app just uninstall it (from the market place or the settings menu).

2. Don't get a home replacement app yet. Don't know what that is, even better (e.g. OpenHome, pandahome, GDE, Home++,aHome, etc).  They SUCK your battery like a kid deprived of food.  Only after you've had your phone for awhile consider looking at one...others may disagree on this, but the user interface is really fine for a bit. But that's all opinions.  I've had some awesome home replacement apps that I loved, some cool themes, but found they made my phone slow and battery drain.

3. Get a task killer.  There are tons.  Your battery will thank you.  Advanced Task Killer is probably most popular, but there are losts of other great ones.  Word of caution: be careful what you kill.  Kill the alarm, your alarm clock probably won't go off.  Also, there are some process (that most task managers will ignore anyway) that are critical to the system and your phone will go crazy if you kill. Don't panic if it does. Simply reboot your phone then kill them one at a time until you figure out which one not to kill.  Also, there are some programs that will start themselves again right after killing them, making them extra annoying.  If you have some that do this and are really draining your battery, I have a app I use to take care of this and the annoying boatware that comes on when you boot...StartupAuditor, it cost money, and be careful when using it.

4. More on battery life. Be aware of what your doing on your phone. Live wallpapers look super cool, but totally drain your battery.  I recommend finding either a picture you like or getting on flicr and finding a good wallpaper.  Also, widgets drain power too. However, not as much, so just don't go insane with them.  Other big battery killers are any apps that will update itself for you...think a twitter app for instance, in order to notify you of new tweets or mentions it probably has a default setting for how often it will check for updates.  Almost all of these setting can be disabled.  For an everyday phone user, I'd say just check these settings for each app to make sure no one is sucking your battery without your permission.  For tech saavy people, like my friend Rachel, I would recommend downloading Spare Parts.  It's an app that can tell you the history of how your battery has been used among other things.  What's unique about this app is that this app is from code google wrote for the Android OS, so it brings to life settings you didn't know you had.

5. Read user comments.  Before downloading an app, check out the first 10+ comments to get a good idea if this app will work with your phone or is worth it.

6. Yes, you can totally customize.  You can change up all your icons if you want.  CAUTION: hours of your life may randomly disappear while customizing the look of your phone. :)  Try the app AnyCut (I went straight for BetterCut the paid app in the beginning, so I'm not sure the differences...but their made by the same people).  You can dowload icon packs from the market, just search "icons."

7. Oh yes, also make sure you find a good "if your phone gets stolen" app.  I use Mobile Defense, mostly because this app "hides" itself so someone doesn't know you have it on there and try to uninstall it.  Plus, some other cool features.

8. Alright, so here are a few of my personal favs when it comes to my apps.  For Twitter, I use Twicca, I really like the interface and that you can lable use a certain color, so all my friends come up with a purple bar next to them and my politcians a green one...it's however you want to set it up.

FeedSquares is another personal fav for an rss reader (aka google reader).  It's really neat how it displays them, but there are some other great apps for this out their too.

I almost forgot, Blogaway, the app I'm currently using to post this blog post from my phone.

There are many more apps and bits of knowledge to share, but I should probably go to work, so I'll leave you with that for today!