Following on from my post on the Top HTC Desire Cases, I thought I’d take a look at some of the other ‘must have’ items for the HTC Desire – the Apps.
It’s been just over 7 months since I posted my last top ten of Apps for Android and though it was time to take another look at what’s out there.
I’ve been playing with the HTC Desire & Android Marketplace for a few days now and have been trying out some of their most popular apps. I’m still using my iPhone 3G so again you’ll see some comparisons between the two, but having spent some time with the Desire I’m extremely tempted to switch!
ShopSavvy was featured heavily in T-Mobile’s first TV ad (the one where they all start dancing in the train station). It allows you to scan in the barcode of a product using your phone’s camera and it will then compare prices locally and online so that you can check to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
You can also see reviews of the product and set the app to alert you when the price of the item falls below a set limit. This is a great app that is currently only available on Android.
I’ve been using Movies on my iPhone for about a year now and it’s definitely one of the best movie apps available, so when I saw it available for Android it’s gone straight into my top ten. Movies allows you to search for nearby cinemas using your GPS location, search by film, see upcoming films & trailers and share ratings with your friends on Facebook. It provides contact details for all cinemas, but lacks the ability to book your tickets through the app – hopefully this is on it’s way.
Opera Mini is probably the most popular third party web browser that you can get for mobile phones. Instead of rendering pages in the standard way, your request to view the page is handled by Opera’s servers instead of the phone. This process strips out any unneccessary information and compresses the data being sent to your phone. Not particularly exciting to the end user, but what it does mean is that your web pages load almost twice as fast as they would using the default browser – especially when you’re connected to 3G.
Augmented Reality is still the next big thing to hit Smartphones. Layar is still leading the way, but we’re still way off from it being a llife changing app! Having said that Layar really takes a step in the right direction. If you’ve not come across augmented reality before it’s where the ‘real world’ and internet based information services come together.
Your Desire uses its GPS and compass to determine where you are and which way you’re facing and then uses the camera to show your surroundings on screen. Augmented reality applications such as Layar then display information on top of what you’re look at – hence the name. These ‘layers’ of information can be turned on or off and there are layers available to show you information such as nearest cashpoints, train stations hotels – even which of your friends are nearby.
As you move the camera around this information updates in real time, with Icons on screen indicating where things are. To find out more information about a hotel for example, just press it’s icon and you’ll be presented with information such as address, phone number, website, reviews etc. It’s still in its early stages but it’s growing quickly and you now have a number of ‘layers’ that you can turn on and off as and when you want..
Seesmic shows more than just your friends tweets. It brings all your timelines into one simple screen, allows you to share videos, photos and location information with your tweets as well as the usual direct messaging and tweeting options.
Meebo is an Instant messaging application that allows you to communicate with your friends regardless of the messaging program that they’re using. Meebo can connect to AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk/Jabber, MSN, ICQ, Facebook Chat & MySpace IM using just one log in.
I loved this on the Hero and still love it on the Desire. It uses your location to adjust settings on your phone. It might seem a little confusing at first, but you can program your phone to perform certain functions when you get to predefined locations. For example – You can set the phone to remind you to charge your battery when you walk through your front door or you can set it to switch to silent mode as soon as you arrive at the cinema.
Recent updates to the app allow it to post messages to twitter when you get to work or sms relatives when you’ve arrived home. The list is endless and you can configure it to do exactly what you want.
This is one of those apps that really makes you wonder how they do it. Shazam has been around for a few years now, but instead of paying premium rates for dialling 2580 on your mobile, you now have a free of charge app that can tag songs for you.
If you’ve not come across Shazam before, it’s a music tagging system. If you hear a song that you like but don’t know what it is, launch the app, press ‘tag now’ and hold the phone towards the speaker. Within seconds you’ll get information on the song, including Name, Artist, Album, Year of release, Amazon MP3 Store link, Artist MySpace Page and YouTube Video Links. It’s amazingly fast and surprisingly accurate.
One of the most frustrating things that I’ve come across on the Desire is the keyboard – particularly in portriat view. With the iPhone, it knows which letters should come next when you’re typing and (invisibly) greys out the letters that you are unlikely to need. This makes typing a little easier as you don’t need to be 100% accurate when pressing the letters.
Android doesn’t have this as standard, but thankfully this App adds a similar feature which makes typing a lot faster and easier. Instead of ‘greying out’ keys, it makes them laarger or smaller, depending on how likely they are to be the next one pressed.
Imagine you’ve spent forever and a day installing the best apps possible on your Android phone. What happens when you switch phones, or your handset breaks and you have to get a replacement? Apple have this covered as your Apps are backed up to iTunes everytime you sync, so how do you deal with this if you’re using an Android phone? Simple – use AppManager.
It allows you to back up all your apps to the Micro SD card in your phone. If you need to switch phones, you can simply move the memory card and restore all your apps once you’ve reinstalled Appmanager. Appmanager is a free download from the Android Market on your device.
These are just my top 10, there might be other apps out there that are even better than these and I’ve just not found them yet, so if you’re using an app that you think should be in the top ten leave a link below!