Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that I’m using my mobile phone (HTC Hero, if you care) more for surfing the internet than I do for making calls and sending texts. This is either representative of a shift in the way people use the internet, or just conclusive proof that I don’t have many friends.
Either way, the first thing you notice as a mobile phone surfer is that you want to spend as little time as possible using the handset’s web browser. Sites have absolutely terrible mobile versions, and the browser refuses to run in the background.
If you’re going to use the internet on the move, you’ll need Apps. So here are the Android Apps I just couldn’t live without.
For Tweeting: Swift
For weeks, I plodded along with TwiDroid. I hated it. It made the box standard “Peep” application look like the pinnacle of coding development. So I deleted it, installed Swift and never looked back. It lets me do everything I do on my desktop, which is all I wanted from it in the first place.
Swift lets you load internet pages up in the app. Words can’t express how much of a timesaver that is. Other than that, it works quickly, very rarely crashes (Take note TwiDroid!) and generally lets me keep up with my network when I’m out and about. It’s also been very useful in the snow, as @MatthewHill has to brave the Manchester Metrolink before I do.
For Keeping in the Loop: NewsRob
It’s the most reliable RSS feeder I’ve found for Android, and it integrated perfectly with my Google Reader. If you need to know the benefits of having instant access to your RSS feed when you’re on the go, then you’ve never spent hours waiting for a train. Just fill it with a mixture of entertaining, insightful and interesting feeds and watch the hours fly by.
For Finding Things to Do: FourSquare (for Android)
I’ll admit, I’m addicted to FourSquare. Maybe it’s the xbox geek in me that likes unlocking achievements just for buying a sandwich, or maybe it’s the sneaking suspicion that Roger Davies might well be right, but I can’t enter a cafe, shop or restaurant without searching for it and checking myself in. Even better, last time I was in London it helped me find a nice little pub where I spent an enjoyable morning before a tedious game of football (Brentford 0-0 Leeds).
For Finding My Way Home: Google Maps
Hands up all those of you who’ve found yourselves trying to decode a public information map at 3am, after a skinful. Just me? Fine. Well, instead of paying 90 odd quid to turn an iPhone or HTC phone into a TomTom, you can just use Google Maps. Installed as standard, the directions function works in real time, allowing you to navigate around. Ok, you couldn’t use it if you were driving as there’s no audio, but it’s perfectly fine for pedestrians. The only drawback is the power drain. it requires lots of processing power – and that’ll drain your battery.
For Keeping Myself Entertained on Dark Nights: Google Sky Map
What, you were expecting some sort of random boob picture generator? Unfortunately I couldn’t find one, so I have to content myself with a little bit of stargazing. Any app that lets me point my phone at a bright dot in the sky and then tells me what it is has to make my list. Plus it helps me look clever in front of the Mrs. A word of warning though – it has the same power issues as Google Maps, as it needs GPS and an internet connection.
If you’ve got an app you think I should try out, any feedback on the ones I like, or you just want to ask what this post has to do with anything, let me know in the comments section. Otherwise check back soon for something about SEO or copywriting. You know. The usual schtick.