After days of being pestered by Corseman, here is the list of the Android applications I use after a few months of optimizing my selection. All of them are free, but many are free as in “free beer” rather than free as in “freedom”.
- K-9 – Excellent IMAP client. A huge improvement over the barely usable stock Android IMAP client. It makes mobile mail a very tolerable experience. With such a name suggesting Mutt legacy, it could only be a good piece of software !
- May 2011 update… Xabber is the only XMPP Jabber client worth using.
- DaraIRC – a decent IRC client, except that I can’t get it to remain connected reliably while in the background.
- PingDroid – Quick and simple client for posting to the Ping.fm multiple posting application which I have now ceased to use in favor of Pixelpipe.
- Pixelpipe – Like Ping.fm, but better.
- Sipdroid – SIP client. For now I only use it for testing, but it seems to be the only serious game in town.
- ConnectBot – a very good SSH client that even does tunneling.
- AziLink – an application that allows USB tethering for Android-based phones, without requiring root access. Here is a nice Azilink Android tethering Debian/Ubuntu startup script – don’t forget to circumvent lame HTTP user agent blocks.
- Linda file manager – does the job of shuffling files around. The Android’s user-facing design is far from being file-centric, but having file management capability comes handy sometimes. You may also like Astro instead.
- Phonalyzr – analyzes the call log and SMS log to display graphs and usage summaries that provide useful insight into your consumption. I like it a lot.
- Barcode Scanner – In 1D or 2D, it does the job. Works for reading QR coded business cards too.
- Taskiller – Kill those rogue background tasks that make the whole system sluggish. Why doesn’t the Android base system feature a task manager is beyond me. Having an ad-supported and unfree program for such a basic utility irks me.
- StopWatch – Very usable chronometer and countdown.
- Maverick – GPS off-road navigation for Android devices. Uses OpenStreetMap, shows heading and provides offline map tiles storage.
- Places Directory – Finds nearby point of interests from an offline database. Useful when in unknown neighborhoods. The database could be better, but it does the job for finding the nearest ATM or a fuel station.
- Google Sky Map – Romantically show the stars to your girlfriend while discreetly checking this awesome augmented reality planetarium to compensate for your utter lack of astronomical knowledge.
- MapDroyd – On top of displaying the sometimes excellent OpenStreetMap data, this application does it offline – which Google Maps will never do. My choice for travel where the Internet does not yet reach.
- Vespucci OSM Editor – OpenStreetMap editor capable of download and upload. But on such a cramped device, I wouldn’t use it for anything but the simplest edits.
- Here I am – Simple application that sends SMS or mail with your coordinates and a link to Google Map.
- Velibike – Paris Velib automated bike rental stations on Google Maps, with bikes and slots availability.
I love writing and the clumsiness of working with text on this platform is a significant part of what I dislike about it. The other part has something to do with Android’s insularity in the free software world.
The Worpdress client is nice though.
- Pocket Auctions for eBay – Good for sniping on the go.
Personal information management :
- Astrid tasks/todo lists manager – Well balanced user interface, tags and synchronizes with Remember The Milk. Too bad that as with anything on Android compared to Palm OS the graphical user interface is horribly slow.
- Facebook Sync – The lazy way to have a picture for most of your contacts. I like to see the caller’s face. Now superseded by SyncMyPix.
- Gravatar Importer – Same as Facebook Sync, but uses your contact’s email addresses to search for a Gravatar and set it as the contact’s picture.
- Frequency Generator – Combine signals of various shapes and frequencies. Nice for the sound curious.
- Ringdroid – Easily cut and use any MP3 file as a ringtone. If you want to use a song as a ringtone, you absolutely need this.
- Robotic Guitarist – Great accompaniment for your lyrical improvisations.
- Sonorox and Loops – Easy tune composition.
- gStrings – A chromatic tuner.
I have yet to find a decent RSS reader that doesn’t choke on what I want to feed it.
For social networking, I use mobile optimized sites – or even the full one, and I have found that no dedicated applications are needed.
You may have noticed that for some applications in that list, I did not provide a link. That is because it is often very difficult to find the developer’s site, drowned in a sea of spammy application review sites.