liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
[personal profile] liv
Boring thing to post about, but I have a new shiny Android phone on the way to me. This hopefully means I get to play with apps. What do you guys recommend? I definitely need Twitter and some kind of RSS reader. I might be persuaded to install Facebook and Google+, and I wouldn't be averse to a DW app if there's an LJ app for Android that's compatible. Anything else that makes phones better?

My two-year contract with Orange is due for renewal. What I wanted to do was move to a cheap contract with a minimal bundle of texts and calls (I hardly ever make any), but decent data. And not get suckered into paying twice the market value for a new phone by dividing its purchase into monthly instalments. The big thing that prevents me doing this is that I ended up with a Blackberry two years ago when I was buying in a hurry and didn't do my research properly. Blackberry phones mean you have to use Blackberry internet, so phone bundles with included data aren't usable. I suspect there is probably some way round this, but I was having trouble find out what. So I was sort of thinking I might end up with a new phone after all.

So I went to Carphone Warehouse and asked what they could do for me. Turns out the kind of phone I want is somewhat rare: I want a QWERTY keyboard, preferably instead of but at least in addition to a touchscreen. And I want a decent sized screen, which means having the keyboard on a separate section of the phone from the screen. The one I sort of had my eye on based on internet research was the HTC Desire Z. The salesman explained that that model is no longer in production and isn't being replaced with any equivalent; the newer HTC phones are touchscreen only. The nearest similar thing he could find for me was the Nokia E7-00; I've seen poor reviews for it online and it was only available on packages that cost more than I'm really willing to pay. So I threw out the idea of buying an HTC Desire Z phone outright and getting a cheap, sim-only plan.

At that point the salesman said he could do me the HTC Desire Z as an upgrade to my current Orange contract. Removing the £5 a month I'm currently paying for Blackberry internet, plus £4.50 a month worth of stupid hidden charges that Orange put on to my contract through various underhand practices, this means I'll be paying 30% less per month for the same deal I already had, including a shiny new phone with the features I want. I sort of wanted to punish Orange for that unexpected £9.50 per month they put on me on a 24 month contract last time round, but I admit that I like some of Orange's perks, and they only way I was going to do any better was by buying the phone separately. And given I have become addicted to having the internet in my pocket, I kind of wanted a high-end phone. So I signed on the dotted line; I'm at least glad to give the salesman his bonus for being helpful and listening to what I actually wanted and not trying to upsell or pressure me. Since getting a new phone is not an emergency as it was when I was about to spend three months in a flat with no landline or fixed internet, if Orange try to mess me around this time I will cancel the contract and start again.

Because the phone I had my eye on had to be ordered from the last remaining stock in the warehouse, there may be a transition period between switching off my old (overpriced) service, and activating the new contract on the new phone. Shouldn't be more than a couple of days, but I may well not be contactable between whenever Orange update their system and Friday. I will see emails and DW comments (though not instantly), and you can certainly call my landline. From Friday, assuming all goes smoothly, I will reattach myself to my precious instant data feed including Twitter and email, and I will continue to be reachable by text or phone at the same mobile number I already had.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-03 03:57 pm (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
I remember several stories with a theme of "selling your soul to the devil is maybe a very bad idea, but once you've ALREADY sold your soul to the devil, you've little to lose by selling your soul to the devil over again, as many times as you can get away with..." :)

[Not necessarily accurately :)]

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-03 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pw201.livejournal.com
What's your data allowance like? Android phones seem to use a lot of it.

As far as apps go, the Swiftkey keyboard thing is nice, though I'm not sure if you can just get the predictive text (which is the useful bit) without the onscreen keyboard.

Everyone has Angry Birds, I suppose. Google Sky Map is fun, as is the Tricorder app for messing with the phone's sensors. Google Reader's app is a bit better than the website for RSS reading.

I make a lot of use of Remember the Milk for my lists of things to do. You need to shell out for the premium version of the website for the Android app to work.

I was using Google Maps as an in-car satnav but it's been unreliable on the original Desire lately, I think the phone tends to overheat and reset when it's plugged into the charger and placed in the sun on a windscreen. Googling tells me that the original Desire does have an overheating problem, not sure about the Desire Z.

Re: thanks for the advice!

Date: 2011-08-04 10:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pw201.livejournal.com
Tricorder isn't really an exercise app, it's largely pointless Star Trek gloss (see the screenshots at http://code.google.com/p/moonblink/wiki/Tricorder). Not entirely pointless though: it gives you access to the compass and scans for wifi access points, plus I recently saw a blog entry where someone had used the magnetometer to settle the question of whether it was a good idea to bolt the power supply to the top of a laptop ("no" for most laptop PSUs, as they have quite a field around them and the hard drive probably won't like it).

I know J has found some running apps (mostly using the GPS rather than the accelerometer, I think), so I'm pretty sure there are plenty of sporty apps around.

The Desire has a build in RSS reader, I think, though I've no idea how good it is. I quite like the way Reader integrates with the web site, so I can read either on the PC or the phone and have it remember what I've read. I don't think Google will do anything social with the feed unless you "Like" or "Share" something, but if you don't want to do that even by accident, it's probably not for you.

As for Reader, I like RTM because it syncs with the website so I don't lose my lists if I lose my phone.

Data: I tend to go a little over 500 MB a month. Giffgaff don't care: their £10 a month goodybag is currently truly unlimited Internet but only from a phone: no tethering or using it in a tablet, say.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-06 01:38 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
How often will you be using wifi? If you are reliant on mobile data, it adds up.

The DW mobile page and light theme means I don't bother with a client.

Opera Mini is a good alternative browser and compresses data too.

(On that, with SwiftKey.)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-09 01:49 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
So, to use up the credit on one SIM, I am paying about 20p/day for internet when I go out. I get charged more if I go over 20M and this happens about one day in three or four. Over a month of going out, that probably means I'd get close to 500M.

Other recommendations:

Cycle Hire Widget - if you ever use a public cycle hire scheme.

Shelves - for managing collections of anything you can buy on Amazon.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-03 05:09 pm (UTC)
crystalpyramid: crystal pyramid suspended in dimensional abnormality (Default)
From: [personal profile] crystalpyramid
Andy-83 is a graphing calculator, if that kind of thing is useful to you. It's basically a clone of the TI-83, enough that the creator got in trouble for it and had to change the name.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-03 09:13 pm (UTC)
rising: a beatrix potter rabbit illustration (the cadre: beatrix potter)
From: [personal profile] rising
The app I use for posting from my phone is ElJay, it works with DW as well and is pretty good, but will force close the app if you try and open it when you don't have internet to start with (if you open it when you do and then lose internet, you're golden).

I am also particularly enamoured of Words With Friends (where I am rowanium), and of ConnectBot, which is a terminal client for your phone so you can do both telnet and ssh.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-04 09:07 am (UTC)
rising: a woodcut-style image of a knife held in a hand. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rising
It is sadly just a posting client. Have yet to find a reading page one, that would be nice, but c'est la vie.

WWF is now both iPhone and Android, and so is therefore 2x the fun. Lets you play with friends as well as letting you start games with random people, which is always interesting (though sometimes if you're winning the random opponent decides to be a dipshit and resign instead of playing the game all the way through). And of course it's not quiiiite Scrabble exactly, as they can't use the Scrabble board without getting sued all the way to Sunday but it's still definitely enjoyable. Turn based, so that each person plays a turn as they look at their phone/notice it's their turn, rather than truly live, but it can be quick paced.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-04 12:22 am (UTC)
beckyzoole: Photo of me, in typical Facebook style (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyzoole
Oh, I have a new Android too! I'm going to bookmark and follow this post, so I can get suggestions as well.

I have not bought any apps yet, but I've downloaded several free ones. And I've also deleted some free ones that didn't work well for me.

Here are the apps on my phone right now:

AngiesList, the app for AngiesList.com. This is a comprehensive consumer review site, members-only. I find it very useful. It wouldn't be for you, because it appears to list American businesses only. However, find an equivalent website that will get you good quality reviews of local businesses, shops, restaurants, service providers -- and if you love using it, get their app.

Facebook

IMDB, because I keep finding myself with people who are discussing movies, and it's very convenient to be able to quickly confirm that Ciarán Hinds is older than Hugh Laurie.

NPR News, that's America's National Public Radio, and the app is more than news, it gives me access to recordings of broadcasts of all sorts. I like listening to it instead of broadcast radio, sometimes.

Out of Milk -- this is the one I recommend the most to you. It's a to-do list and shopping list app. I've been very happy with it so far.

Pandora, for when I want to listen to music.

USAA, which is my bank's app. If your bank offers an app, get it, it makes life so much easier.

YouTube

Zedge, which is like YouTube for ringtones and such.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-05 03:44 am (UTC)
wendylove: Wendy: I know such lots of stories (Default)
From: [personal profile] wendylove
I recently acquired an HTC Evo Shift (which does indeed have a sliding keyboard), and so far I am restricting myself to free apps, including:

NEWS:

Mobile versions of Facebook and Google Plus

Mobile apps for preferred news sources -- I like Slate's.

TOOLS:

The mobile app that goes with your favorite e-reading technology, unless it came preloaded.

The mobile app that goes with wherever you store data online: Google Docs, Evernote, and/or Dropbox.

Flashlight (hey, it could be useful someday!)

ScanToPDF Free -- if I used this a lot I would get the pay version. It works with your phone's camera and then does OCR.

Astro File Manager, if you like to poke around in your phone's file hierarchy, which I do, just on principle.

[Yuri's] Notes (doubles as a to-do list and as a shopping list, since I can also email the list to my husband)

Jewish apps: AndDaaven for an okay (but not great) traditional weekday siddur, Zmanim for exactly what it says, Hebrew Calendar Widget for, um, what it says. We tried out pretty much all the free versions of all these things (there are only a handful), and these are our favorites. I would pay for a good siddur if I could find it!

FUN:

If you don't like your existing ringtones, Ringdroid to make new ones.

Google Goggles tries to identify images (including whatever your phone's camera sees) and find comparable ones -- so far I mostly find it entertaining, and, again, free.

A Tetris-style game of some sort for when you want to waste a few minutes -- my daughter and I both enjoy the free version of Candy Swipe.

If there is any possibility that small children will be playing with your phone, I have additional kid-specific recs, but they are of limited use for those over age 5 or so. Although there is a free app called Toddler Lock that I would suggest downloading just in case you ever need to entertain a small child in an emergency; it's kind of amusing for adults for a few minutes too, and it works in airplane mode.

... like everyone else, I want to see other people's app lists!

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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