Reintroduce me to some great Android Apps
November 15, 2012 12:24 AM   Subscribe

Android App Filter: What are some great applications (productivity, communication, fun) that I can utilize on the upcoming Nexus 4?

I'm upgrading from a LG Optimus V to the Nexus 4, so this is a huge upgrade for me. I'm familiar with the Android platform, but I've never really searched for apps too much.

Things I currently:

Podcasts (I currently use DoggCatcher, but I'm looking for alternatives)
Stock Android Music App

Things I know about and plan to use:

Google Reader

Specific things I'm interested in:

Social Media applications (Using TweetDeck, but open to alternatives)
Some good trivia games

posted by apip to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Previously: 1, 2, 3.

Definitely try voice-to-text / voice recognition / dictation / whatever you want to call it. I can write multiple paragraphs at a time using free dictation software (Google or Nuance). I will modify my previous recommendations around voice recognition: definitely download the Swype Beta from Nuance and try it out. But Google's voice recognition has improved drastically, so it's a wash between them. Nuance's voice recognition is slightly better, and allows more punctuation (e.g., quotation marks, parentheses, colons). But Google's dictation allows continuous dictation, so instead of speaking, waiting for it to get the text, and then having to text present on the screen, Google's voice recognition simply writes the text as you speak it.

Try both out. Ever since I discovered decent voice recognition, I write most of my emails on my phone even though I'm sitting in front of my computer and could type them on a full keyboard. Dictating is just easier.

Podcasts: BeyondPod costs $6.99, but was worth it to me.

Depending on what you use Evernote for, try Google Docs / Google Drive. I like having my documents tied in to my Google account instead if a separate platform. (But Evernote's OCR is pretty awesome).
posted by Tehhund at 4:54 AM on November 15, 2012

I've just downloaded Pocket Casts at the recommendation of a friend.. I wasn't thrilled with the other solutions I had tried. I like how it can import from Google Reader's Listen Subscriptions so I wasn't entering all the podcasts again!

I like SwiftKey's keyboard and specifically the auto complete. I haven't used enough voice recognition to know what's going on there but it looks like Tehhund gave a lot of helpful suggestions.

Do you ever sit in traffic? Waze is a godsend.

Dropbox has a 50GB deal going right now (depending on your carrier) when you install it on your Android phone. I think the regular account is 2 GB, and you get the 50 GB for 2 years. I'm not sure what will happen after that.
posted by getawaysticks at 5:28 AM on November 15, 2012

Before you try swipe, try Google's built in gesture typing. I'm using it right now, and it works pretty well. Really well, in fact.
posted by zabuni at 5:59 AM on November 15, 2012

Also, I really like Google goggles for getting information a about random books, music, and movies. If you can scan the barcode, the Amazon app is good for comparison shopping.
posted by zabuni at 6:27 AM on November 15, 2012

Swype's neat, but I definitely like SwiftKey a lot better. Its word predictions are usually eerily accurate, and doesn't completely go to hell if you're trying to type a word that isn't in its dictionary.

I've used Waze, and while it's a neat concept, I think I still might like Google's navigation a bit better. Seriously, Google Maps on its own is enough on its own to sell Android as a platform.

My home-screen's pretty boring right now (I use Nova Launcher). The apps on it are:
SiMi Clock (Widget)
MissedIt (Widget)
Notational Acceleration (a must-have if you use SimpleNote or Notational Velocity)
Google Maps
Pocket (great offline reading list)
Firefox Mobile (it's a toss-up between this or Chrome -- FF Mobile is surprisingly good)

Looking in my app drawer at other stuff I frequently use:
Adobe Reader
Google Authenticator
Bank of America (mobile deposit rocks)
Chrome to Phone
DC Metro Transit (plus some other local transit stuff like ParkMobile, Car2Go, Spotcycle, and Zipcar)
DeskSMS (Highly recommended)
Fly Delta (re-books you for free while you're in the air if your connection is late!)
FoxFi (free tether)
GateGuru (tells you where to find the less-awful airport food)
Impetus (workout interval timer)
Square Register
Google Voice
Wapedia (good alternative mobile wikipedia browser -- captures all wikipedia links you click, and opens them in a more mobile-friendly interface)
Widget Locker
posted by schmod at 7:07 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Another vote to have a look at Beyondpod, with the caveat that I have never used DoggCatcher so can't compare. Plays nicely with google Reader if you want it to, sensible defaults, and more options than you can shake a stick at if you want to dig into the menus and configure how your various podcasts are downloaded, deleted, assembled into playlists, etc.

Viber is a VOIP / texting over IP client, a bit like Skype. It creeps me out slightly because I can't figure out their business model (free app, no ads, no paid services, solid-looking privacy policy, easy export of data, etc), but it has been working well for me. You can only call / message people who also have viber installed, but a surprising number of my more well-travelled friends turn out to use it.

Tasker is one of many phone scripting / automation tools. I have it set to control my phone's ringer volume depending where/when I am (e.g. silent when I'm at work), controlling bits of the phone when certain programs are launched (e.g. wifi on when I lauch Maps; GPS off if Facebook is open), and to make sure that texts from specific numbers make a noise even if my phone is on silent. There's a lot of scope to do more complex stuff than that, but I find the interface to be a bit weird and never really got into playing with it.

Gentle Alarm is a very nice alarm clock. Lots of options for gently increasing the volume of either built-in alarms sounds, any music on your phone (specific songs, albums, artists, etc), or internet radio streams. Also stuff like controlling the snooze options and setting little puzzles to be solved before it will turn off.

Google Currents is a very nice magazine / newspaper app. It doesn't have a huge range of news sources listed, but for the ones that work it's a very nice way to read them. A possible caveat is that I use this on a tablet, so with a phone it might not be as friendly.

If you're interested in games, the current Humble Indie Bundle is for Android. You can buy them now and download them whenever your phone turns up.
posted by metaBugs at 8:02 AM on November 15, 2012

I agree with schmod that Google's navigation is better, but Waze is better (IMO) for a traffic/commute situation where you're on 1 of 3-4 set routes. It popped up while I was starting to hit a pile of traffic that there was a wreck about a mile in front of me. Saved me a ton of time - I was able to get off the highway before I was really stuck.
posted by getawaysticks at 12:22 PM on November 16, 2012

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