Android... alive!
December 22, 2010 10:22 AM   Subscribe

My wonderful HTC Legend and I are a match made in heaven. Help me make the most of it. The jump - you know you want to.

After nearly two hours of cell phone store hell, my bought-from-craigslist HTC Legend began working. My first smartphone, it's an upgrade from a POS cell phone and a 1st gen iPod Touch. While the phone is officially tied to the Korean Android Market, I've already figured out how to install apk files found on the internet without worrying about rooting the phone.

Here's where you, wonderful MeFi, come into play. The Android Market seems a huge discombobulation of a mess. Sure, you can access the files from any number of sites, but none seem optimally organized. Perhaps you know of one...?

Another desire is to find those apps that Android can brag about having that the iOS devices can't. I'm reasonably confident in the ability to root the phone, but would prefer not to for the time being.
posted by chrisinseoul to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Phandroid is my source for most Android stuff, and they have quite a bit of app news.

As far as markets, I can't be much help -- I don't look for apps there, for the most part. When I need something that I think there might be an app for, I just google for it. (ex.: Last week I was looking for a downloadable Vienna street map+GPS app for an upcoming trip. A little googling let me to the Android forums, where I read good things about NavDroid.)

The only thing I use the Market to discover are games. I do hear good things about the AppBrain and DoubleTwist markets, tho.
posted by coolguymichael at 10:55 AM on December 22, 2010

Cyrket as well.
posted by those are my balloons at 11:55 AM on December 22, 2010

I haven't touched an iPhone in a very long time, so I might be out of date with the following.

apps that Android can brag about having that the iOS devices can't

This part of the question is difficult for 2 reasons. Firstly, it would help to know what you want your new Legend to do specifically. Enjoy music? Manage a busy lifestyle and erratic schedule? Stay connected to people with FB/Twitter/LinkedIn/4Square/etc? Take some part of your job with you to perform on the commuter train?

Secondly, the strength of Android devices (before you get to rooting) is not so much that there are "killer apps" that iPhones can't use. Most Android applications have an identical or very similar iPhone cousin that performs the same task. But if there is a key feature that iPhone apps (or iPhone itself) either don't have or is buried beneath sub-sub-menus, you can (after trying a dozen different applications) find one that puts that key-feature front-and-center (though often at the expense of other functions you can easily do without). My favourite applications are not so much the most popular and certainly not without an iPhone cousin. They're typically the fourth most popular of many, but have one key feature as their reason d'etre. And if it's something you use a lot (SMS/weather/live train or plane schedules/Twitter/FB/daily calendar/music player) then there are a dozen or more different widgets to put that functionality right on your homescreen as soon as you wake up the phone.

That said, I don't think iOS offers anything like Locale. Or the battery widget at 4:44 in this video.
posted by K.P. at 12:19 PM on December 22, 2010

Like Locale mentioned above but a little more full-featured, in my opinion, is Tasker. You can set up your phone to turn on Wifi as you walk in the door at home, to pull up your grocery list when you go to the store, or a million other automated tasks that make your life easier. I'm not aware of anything on iOS that can do all that through one simple and extensible program.
posted by hilaritas at 12:45 PM on December 22, 2010

I use AppBrain to navigate apps. It helps with the giant mess that is the Android market.
posted by saveyoursanity at 6:21 PM on December 22, 2010

I have an iPhone, and the Android programs I'm most jealous of are the Google apps. The new 3D version of Google Maps with turn-by-turn directions and Google Sky in particular. I use Tom Tom and Skymap to do the same things, but the Google apps are free while their iOS equivalents are not.

Now that I hear about Locale, I'm jealous of that, too. But does it rely on battery-draining GPS to figure out where you are?
posted by Thoughtcrime at 7:58 PM on December 22, 2010

AppBrain is good for all the reasons listed, plus if it synches your app and allows you to reinstall if you have to wipe the phone for any reason.
Swype keyboard is amazing for typing
Google Voice (free) (if you can use it) is awesome for bypassing your carrier voicemail and storing messages online. It also transposes them into a fairly readable message.
Replace the default SMS messenger with Handcent SMS (free) and then turn off notifications in the default one. It allows you to easily send messages to multiple recipients and has alot more features.
Gesture Search (free) is great for searching your contacts
Mixzing (free) allows you to use features similiar to iTunes Genius and is also a great music player
My Tracks (free) is great for tracking exercise
Wordfeud (free) allows you to play Scrabble against other Android phone users
Pocket Legends (free) is like WOW for your phone
Tasker (paid but worth it) lets you control EVERYTHING on your phone. If you're a hacker type, you'll love it.
Get some type of LED torch app for your phone. They differ from phone to phone but make a much better (directed and bright) flashlight using your camera's flash.
posted by Raichle at 8:15 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

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