Android Market

10 Essential Free G1 Android Market Apps

August 2009

ANDROID SAT NAV

If you came here for sat nav software, visit the Android Sat Nav Apps page.

Here's my list of excellent free Android Apps for the T-Mobile G1. They're all free and available on the Android Market. Some are superb applications, some essential little tools, either way, you MUST download them! There are other exciting new apps in the android market for you to explore, but these are my essential ones that I keep installed.

aFile Lite

aFile Lite

At first glance, aFile Lite appears to be a pretty decent file manager for the Android platform, but it's actually much more than that. It allows you to manage the files on your mobile device through an easy to use web interface on a PC or laptop on your LAN over WiFi. I've used it quite a bit, and it's been totally stable. You can also add services to it, such as Box.net and connect it to your account to transfer files direct to there. There are lots of other good file managers on the market for the G1, none of which are perfect in my opinion. AFile Lite is as good as any though, and as it includes the remote file transfers too, it's the one to keep. Essential.

Silent Time

Silent Time

Silent Time is a brilliant Timed Profile application for the G1 and Android Devices. Despite the naff name, Silent Time is essential. It allows you to set periods of time where your G1 will automatically switch to silent mode or vibrate mode. You can set multiple schedules too that run on certain days of the week. So for example you could set the phone to vibrate only between 9 and 5 every weekday. It loads automatically at startup, and displays a notification when it's in one of it's silent schedules. A brilliant app that's available free on the Android Market.

Download Crutch

Download Crutch

This useful little tool allows you download any file type from the G1's built-in browser. You don't run Download Crutch itself, it acts invisibly allowing you to download any file type where usually, you'll find that you can't download files that aren't supported by any certain application on your device. Essential.

GDocs

GDocs

GDocs allows you to edit your Google Docs on your Android device. The version I've got only allows editing of text type documents, but it's certainly very useful to be able to do that. The way it works is to display a list of your documents, allow you to download them, edit them offline, then sync them back up online. So you don't need to be online all the time while you're editing, you save your changes locally as you go, then sync when you're ready. It's not spreadsheets, just text documents, and just basic text. No fonts or anything, but very useful all the same.

Hi MSN

Hi MSN

There are lots of IM clients available for Android, but I find Hi MSN very slick looking and easy to use. It's also been totally stable for me too, and has just enough settings to keep me happy. :-)

Nav4All

Nav4All

Android Sat-Nav

In my opinion, at the moment, the best we can do for a FREE sat-nav solution is Nav4All.

Android Sat Nav

For more information on Android Sat nav, visit the Android Sat Nav Apps page.

We also can use AndNav, which does the same job as Nav4All, but isn't as reliable in my opinion, and the standard AndNav doesn't do full UK postcode matching. AndNav is much more advanced than Nav4All, but I think it tries to do too much. Its user-interface is much better than Nav4All, but I wish the service was a bit more reliable. Very often, it takes minutes to calculate a route, even with a good internet connection, and often comes back with errors.

The disadvantage of using an online service like these is that in order to calculate your route, your mobile has to request it from a server on the Internet. If you don't have signal, or the server is down, you can't do that. Also, if you want a map view as you drive, it must be downloaded bit-by-bit as you move about. This can be slow and also depends on your signal and data connection. A proper Sat Nav program won't have these problems, but we can't complain because Nav4All is free for now, and works well. It's been around for years and is quite mature, but its interface looks a bit simple and dated. It looks like it's been quickly modified to work with the Android platform and the G1's touch screen, and doesn't work very well. But you have to have Sat Nav, and this is the best free solution, in my opinion!

ShopSavvy

ShopSavvy

ShopSavvy sure is impressive! You scan a product bar code, with the G1's built-in camera (which works very well), and ShopSavvy then goes online and comes back very quickly with the details of the product, including a picture, and how much it costs from various online shops. It even shows you where you can buy the product locally. The product database doesn't include everything, obviously, but does hold an impressive number of products. There are other apps in the market that do a similar job, but Shopsavvy is the best.

Shazam

Shazam

Shazam is one of those impressive services that takes a listen to a few seconds of a music track, thinks for a couple of seconds, then tells you what the track name, artist and album are, along with a picture of the album cover, and where you can buy the music from. I've tested it with loads of music from TV and radio and it finds most of them. It even works really well in noisy pubs, sometimes working even when you can barely hear the music yourself! It's not going to find anything really obscure, but it's seriously impressive.

SnapPhoto

SnapPhoto

The G1's built-in camera is pretty poor, lets be honest. Not only is the hardware pretty average, but you get NO settings for the pictures, whatsoever. I don't know about you, but I NEED settings. SnapPhoto replaces the G1's built-in camera app, giving you lots of settings, like white balance, picture size and quality etc. It can also bind to the camera button as the default camera app, so that SnapPhoto starts when you press the camera button from the desktop. I've found it to be a little temperamental if I'm honest, and it sometimes crashes, but it's an impressive replacement for the G1's sorely lacking built-in camera software.

TuneWiki

TuneWiki

I think the built-in music player is really good in the G1, but TuneWiki is even better. It acts as a replacement music library, and more. It can scan your music library and automatically download album covers. This is pretty cool, but it does more. It also acts as an online radio client for Shoutcast streams and Last.fm. You can search hundreds of online radio streams within the program and choose your favourites and listen to them live over WiFi, while displaying album covers and song text. It really kills the battery of the G1 streaming music over the Wi-Fi, using it up in 2 or 3 hours, but that's not TuneWiki's fault!

That's my top apps for the excellent Android platform. Hope you found some great new stuff to install here. There will be more exciting stuff to add soon!