G1 Android App Market Review

September 2nd, 2009


I LOVE my G1. I’ve had it since it was released Oct 2008 and have loved it since. Although, this is my first smart phone, Jeh has had his iPhone for awhile and I have something to compare it to.

Battery life of my phone is actually really good. I check my email all the time, use my browser maybe 0-30mins a day, and text all the time. My battery hardly ever hits 50% battery life. I have to admit, though, that there was a time where my battery was draining faster than normal. All I did was a “battery restart” (letting it drain all the way till it wouldn’t turn on anymore, then recharging it overnight fully) and it was back to normal. I thought about upgrading to the newest Android phone (G2) for about a full 2 seconds. One of the reasons why I love this phone is because it has a physical keyboard (and a soft keyboard if I need to just type a few letters). I’ve used Jeh’s iPhone and I HATE his keyboard. Although, I like his better than the G1’s soft keyboard, I would take my physical keyboard any day. I can type faster and am 100% less frustrated than when the iPhone changes my word to a wrong one and when I keep hitting the key next to my intended one. It is completely a personal preference when it comes to physical and soft keyboards, but aside from the keyboard I love everything else about the OS (Android). I love how integrated it is with all my google products (I love google, btw), like google calendar, gmail, gmail contacts, google voice, etc…

So besides my love for my phone, I also love that the app market is “open”. Unlike Apple’s for the iPhone, where they can block really good apps that tons of people would benefit from, JUST so they can release their own version. Pathetic really. Anyway, aside from my hatred of Apple, I thought I would give some very brief personal reviews of some of the apps I’ve tried out from the Android Market.

AK Notepad: Notepad app, seems to be one of the better ones that I’ve tried
My Coupons – Eat Free & More!: Contains some pretty good coupons
Astrid Task/Todo List: One of the better to-do list apps
Google Maps: This is just an update to the already existing Google Maps on the G1. One of the updates included the addition of searching by voice. When I was using it and trying to say “Seattle’s Best Coffee”, my baby nephew was screaming right next to me and somehow it got what I was saying. I was pretty impressed.
US Yellow Pages Search: Nice fast way to get addresses and phones numbers (although Google Maps is pretty good for the same things plus additional business info like hours and ratings)
Missed Call: Your phone will blink if you missed a call…which strangely isn’t an included feature on the G1
Tip Calculator: (by iStockManager) Nice tip calculator
SMS Popup: Similar to an iPhone, when you receive a txt the screen will turn on and a window will pop up
Places Directory: (by Google Places Directory Team) Lots of people like this app to find nearby business info (same info you’d get from google maps, like hours, ratings, addresses, phone numbers, etc…)
Useful Switchers: (by Maxim Yudin) Fast and easy way to switch between preset settings without having to search through the menus, like: Ringer Mode, Silent Mode, Wi-Fi, GPS, Wireless Location, Bluetooth, Brightness, Screen Timeout, Airplane Mode, Auto Sync and 2G to 3G
Weather Widget – Free: (by Android Apps) Nice weather widget (show current temp, and the week’s weather predictions)

The Weather Channel: (by The Weather Channel) Info taken from weather.com and has more in-depth weather info much like their site (Current weather, Hourly, 36 Hour, 10 Day, and weather warnings/alerts). I’m not a fan of the recent update which included a current temp icon in the notification bar, which I can’t seem to turn off. But other than that I love the app. UPDATE: I figured out how to turn off the icon in the notification bar. Get to the “My Places” page (click menu button, then “Add New” to get there). Long press the location that’s set to Home, and select “Unset as home”. Voila. The icon in the notification bar is only for your set “home” location.
SMS Unread Count: (by kanokgems) the icons on your home page for “Messaging” (text messages) and “Dialer” will show a number of how many unread text messages you have or missed calls
Ultimate Stopwatch & Timer: (by mippin.com) Nice app if you need a timer or stopwatch
Any Cut: (by Keff Hamilton) Really useful shortcut app. You can use this to make a shortcut on your home page to any setting page that you want. I actually use this for making shortcuts to people’s phone numbers. Alternatively, you could just Press and Hold your finger on the home screen to pop up “Add to Home Screen” and select “Shortcuts”, then selecting “Contact”. BUT it seems that it only shows their primary phone number and not all the phone numbers (which I personally like to have shortcuts for 2 different phone numbers, like someone’s home number and cell number). Any Cut shows all the phone numbers.
Google Voice: (by Google, Inc) Works with your google voice number (if you have one). I like the app and that it transcribes the voice messages, you can make free calls (through your GVoice number) easier, etc…
Twidroid: I can’t remember which other Twitter apps I’ve tried before, but I think I tested maybe 2 other ones and found this to be the best. I haven’t checked lately for any changes in the other apps or if there are any new apps that I haven’t seen yet. But Twidroid is a solid app that does everything that it needs to.
Hi MSN beta: I’ve used for half the day before and found that it’s not too bad. I like that it alerts you if the screen isn’t on someone that pings you. I like even more that it doesn’t use SMS (text messages), meaning you won’t get charged if you “text” too much. Although, I noticed that it signed me out a few times when I was switching apps and didn’t seem to stay signed in. Not sure why that is. Nice app, but not very reliable.
Task Manager: (by Wing Tseng) I needed something to show me which apps were using up my battery. Too complicated and I didn’t understand it. It seemed to show ALL of my apps (every single install, like factory installations) with numbers that I had no idea how to interpret. I was a little intimidated and didn’t want to delete anything that might affect my phone.
TasKiller free: (by Thibaut Nicolas) It’s pretty straight forward and easy to use. It shows which programs are currently running and is color coded depending on its status (like running in background, a program consuming CPU and ones not consuming CPU). Just click the Menu button, then click “Faq” to read which color is which, as well as other useful information you should know before you start closing programs. The button at the top with the TasKiller logo on it closes ALL programs in the list. So make sure you read the Faq before doing that (for instance, you should not close the “email” program, but its ok to close the “gmail” program. They explain why). I also like that they don’t list things like Phone, Keyboard and Alarm since those are things you don’t want to “kill”, unlike the Task Manager app where it shows basically EVERYTHING.
Movie Finder: (by ikamobile) I like all the info it shows you, like movie times and you can even see trailers in the app. Recently we noticed that it didn’t seem to show ALL of the movie times though, so it seems less reliable to me now. The time we noticed the inconstancy was at Lincoln Square Cinemas in Bellevue and it didn’t show the IMAX times for a certain movie. But it showed everything else. Not sure why.
Voice Recorder: (by Mamoru Tokashiki) Nice app if you like to record voice memos
Compass: (by Bill Basaraba) Pretty accurate compass (that is, if your internal accelerometer and internal compass isn’t messed up, due to magnets or something)
Seattle Bus Finder Lite: (by Chipin Studio) I like that I can see where my bus is if I get to the bus stop a little late.
Local Search Spinner: (by AndroidApps) I don’t know why, but this is the only app that I’ve found that has this feature. You can input your own words and spin the wheel so it can decide one out of how every many choices you have. I love that you can personalize what you want it to choose from. BUT the app is ugly and has a horrible user interface. It deletes everything you just typed if you close the keyboard before saving it. But I keep this app because Jeh and I are extremely indecisive and need something to choose for us for things like dinner.

Games:
Sudoku: (by genina.com) Pretty good sudoku version. I haven’t tried other sudoku apps, though.
Labyrinth Lite: (b Illusion Labs) Very fun. You tilt your phone to move the ball around the maze.
Coloroid: (by Benjamin Lewis) A extremely simple game, BUT it becomes very challenging and is pretty fun. This is a keeper for me.
PAC-MAN by Namco (FREE!): (by Namco Networks) Fun, of course. But the file size is rather large.
Bonsai Blast: (by Glu Mobile) Large file size, but fun game of shooting marbles from a stationary place into the tail of marbles containing 2 of the same color
Breain Genius Deluxe: (by Glu Mobile) Large file size, but fun thinking games.

I just want to say that even though I hate Apple, I do agree that iPhones has features that G1’s should have included. I just personally prefer a physical keyboard, which is what sold me on the G1 (besides the OS being Google). I’ll post more reviews of Android apps if I remember to and if I find worthy ones.

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