Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Google quite possibly now owns my soul... [Part 2]

So now I'm running Android as my primary phone OS I'm leaning more heavily on the surrounding Google services, specifically:
  • I've started making more use of my GMail account. This is actually coming in more useful for talking to job agencies as it's easier to specify the Gmail email address than having to explain constantly that imorital actually doesn't mean anything of significance.
  • I'm making use of the Google calendar, especially getting this to sync with my various instances of Outlook. The calendar then automatically syncs to the phone without having to perform this step by plugging it into the PCs in question. Essentially a (more or less) up to date copy of my calendar is always accesible on the web and from their to my various devices with no manual intervention.
  • Likewise The tasks. This synchronisation isn't as slick unfortunately, especially with regards to Outlook tasks. I live in hope this will improve over time (hey Google, I'll come and work for you to write the code if you want).
  • I'm making use of Google reader to keep track of my RSS subscriptions. Again this is all kept in sync so I see what is unread between devices.
  • My homepage of choice has been iGoogle for a while, it offers a decent "at a glance" view of what I want to see on the web, including the aforementioned Calendar, tasks and reader (probably email too if I could be bothered setting it up), along with stock prices, weather, train times, etc.
  • I've even used the free Google navigation to guide us to/from our recent holiday.
  • I'm currently playing with Latitude, although since (like most of the sane population of the world) I don't always want people knowing where I am, this will likely be a phase.
  • I've started using Google Talk for chatting to a couple of friends from both the Google web pages and my phone.
  • I'll probably start using Google Voice when it arrives properly in the UK.... assuming it offers similar features to the US version (i.e. free calls to landlines)
Also of note, during my many years of using Windows Mobile devices I probably never installed more than 15 applications, that's changed considerably with the advent of an Android device. So what have I installed?

Well in no particular order and loosely categorised:
  • Paper Toss by Backflip Solutions inc.
  • Word Up! by Anthrological
  • Jewels by MHGames
  • Talking Santa Free by Outfit 7 Ltd.
  • Talking Roby The Robot Free by Outfit 7 Ltd.
  • Talking Tom Free by Outfit 7 Ltd.
  • Finger Dance Lite by Blink Droid
  • PAC-MAN Championship Edition (Demo) by Namco Networks
  • Raging Thunder 2 Lite by polarbit
  • Bubble Burst Free by Androgames
  • WordSearch Unlimited Free by JiuzhangTech Ltd
  • Star Wars light Saber by Eder Rueda Fernandes
  • Andoku Sudoku by Markus Wiederkehr
System Stuff
  • AppBrain App Market by Swiss Codemonkeys
  • Quick Settings by Sergej Shafarenka
  • Bluetooth File Transfer by Medieval Software*
  • ASTRO File Manager by Metago
  • ASTRO SMB Module by Metago
  • ASTRO Bluetooth Module by Metago
Productivity Tools
  • Yell.com by Yell.com Mobile
  • Google Search by Google Inc.*
  • WikiMobile by Bonfire Media Inc.
  • Google Goggles by Google Inc.
  • London Tube Status by Pete C
  • RAC Traffic by Oakley integrated Business Solutions Ltd
  • Barcode Scanner by ZXing Team
  • GTasks by Dato
  • Google Maps by Google Inc*
  • Evernote by Evernote Corp.
  • Gmail by Google inc*
Media, Leisure and Communication
  • Audible for Android by Audible
  • Just Pictures by Kounch
  • Camera 360 by mAPPn, Inc
  • SoundHorn by SoundHorn Inc.*
  • Flash Player 10.1 by Adobe Systems*
  • Endomondo Sports Tracker by  Endomondo
  • Waitrose Christmas by Waitrose Ltd.
  • YouTube by Google Inc.*
  • Adobe Reader by Adobe Systems*
  • Epicurious Recipe App by Conde Nast Digital
  • Simple Last.fm Scrobbler by Adam Renberg
  • Sykpe by Skype
  • Facebook for Android by Facebook*
  • Kindle for Android by Amazon Mobile
  • Twitter by Twitter Inc*
Ecommerce Tools
  • Google Shopper by Google Inc.
  • Official eBay Android by eBay Mobile
  • EZ Tip Calculator by Daniel Hong
  • Amazon MP3 by Amazon.com*
Tech stuff
  • Droid Forums by DroidNetwork.net
  • XDA-Developers by XDA-Developers
Items marked with * are possibly part of the HTC stock rom, however since using App Brain updates to these components are found and installed, after which they appear on my list of downloaded marketplace applications.

I had, as you may well know, already had some experience of Android by running it on my old Windows Mobile 6.5 HTC Touch Pro2. This was running the basic Google UI, but even so taught me the basics of Android (even though some of them were a little more clunky than an HTC Sense Skinned device). The thing that struck me about Android on that phone, was how much cleaner most of the applications looked than WM itself, even though it wasn't the primary OS. That initial impression, even on the large screen of the Desire HD, has not been as great on the new phone, which I put down to knowing exactly what to expect this time. Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty that makes me smile, and the implementation of Android 2.2 is complete (the TP2 version was missing things like Flash and a decent battery meter).

The two things that stand our for me are being able to watch Flash in the browser (I have used this facility to run the BBC iPlayer and live streams extensively, both full screen and in page), and the fact that it's proved thus far to be very stable (it hasn't had a system crash once yet, although a few applications have force closed, but this has been isolated from everything else - interestingly the old Marketplace application proved least reliable).

So overall I'm loving the Android experience, I just need to start coding up some of my own apps now, and even that looks relatively simple. Watch this space!

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