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9 More Apps to Help You Get More Out of Your Android Phone

9 More Apps to Help You Get More Out of Your Android Phone

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    With new android phones just out and even more on the way, I thought it would be a good time to release another list of neat-o Android apps. My last Android post (part 1 and part 2) focused on apps specifically for increasing your productivity; this post includes all manner of apps. Some will help you be more productive, some will just help you have more fun.

    (Note: Some of these are paid applications. As with iPhone apps, an initial rush of free applications in the Android store seems to be giving way to higher-quality, low-priced applications that allow developers to devote more time and effort to upkeep and support.)

    1. AK Notepad

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    AKnotebook

      AK Notepad is a basic memo pad for Android, with a few niceties. The interface color and text size are nicely customizable, and it can be set to automatically convert email addresses and URLs into clickable links (useful for remembering websites you see in ads or magazine articles while you’re out and about). Since Android doesn’t sync to a desktop the way Palm and Apple devices do, there’s no direct way to get notes off your phone, but individual notes can be sent by email (or other programs that allow it) and all your notes can be exported to the SD card and opened from the device when you plug into your PC’s USB. (Text files from your PC can also be placed on your SD card and opened in AK Notepad.)

      2. Dial Zero

      dialzero

        Route your calls around pesky (and slow) voicemail systems with Dial Zero, a database of workarounds for hundreds of companies. Each entry includes the company’s main phone number (which it will pass to the dialer if you press the green “phone dial” button), a description of how to reach an operator or agent, and comments from others who have used the app.

        3. Hi-Hiker

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        hiker2

          Meant for wilderness explorers, Hi-Hiker also functions as a great fitness app. Functions include a GPS tracker, pedometer, stopwatch, weather information, maps, an altimeter, a compass, a flashlight, and a quick-dial button to call for emergency help. Most of the functions use the GPS, so make sure you have a full charge before leaving “home base” for too long!

          4. Greed

          greed

            Greed is a Google Reader application for Android phones, which does a much better job on the small screen than Google’s web interface for Reader. One important feature is the ability to cache your feeds on the SD card for later viewing – great for when you’re about to get on a plane or driving cross country (well, riding cross country – don’t drive and read, kids!) and will be without cell-tower service for a while. Although not a specialized podcast app, you can also subscribe to podcast feeds and download the files so they’ll show up in your media player. Greed is good.

            5. Places Directory

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            places

              Places Directory was designed by a Google employee, so you know it’s good. It offers location-based search to help find nearby restaurants, post offices, comic book stores, or whatever. It can get your location either from the GPS or from the nearest cell tower. Give it a long-press to dial a phone number or open a map, or a short-press for info and user reviews (each press opens a different contextual menu). A compass needle will tell you what direction you’re headed and what direction to go, and you can save a list of your favorite places (to quickly find a Starbucks in a strange town, for instance).

              6. Qik

              qik

                Shoot and stream live video from your phone with Qik. You can have Qik send out a tweet whenever you’re recording, and you can embed your video in other sites using the automatically-generated embed code. The only downside is that you will burn through your battery at a pretty fast rate – but it’s useful for catching quick clips on the go if you don’t have a camcorder handy.

                7. Skype Lite

                Skype all you want on your Android phone using Skype Lite. Works fine over 2G, and imports all your Skype contacts and other account information. If you have SkypeIn, you can even get Skype calls on your Android phone!

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                8. Taskiller

                taskiller

                  Android phones multitask, meaning that there are often several applications still running in the background when you open an ew one – or even when you aren’t doing anything at all. Unfortunately, Android makes it difficult to know what’s running in the background (and using up your battery). Taskiller opens a list of all running apps and allows you to close them individually or all at once. You can also switch between apps easily using a long-press.

                  9. Wertago

                  wertago

                    Wertago offers location-sensitive nightlife search coupled with social networking functions (friends, status updates, profiles, messaging, picture sharing) so you can find out what’s going on right now, where your friends are at, and what the best place to hang out might be. Nightclub listings include ratings from other users, distance from you, mapping, and search by tags (like 18+, dancing, dressy, etc.), and how many of your favorite Wertago users are there at the moment. If you’re a clubber, this is an essential app.

                    Got any other cool apps that Lifehack readers just have to install on their shiny new Android phones? Let us know about them in the comments.

                    More by this author

                    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) How to Admit Your Mistakes How to Take Notes: 3 Effective Note-Taking Techniques How to Learn Something New Every Day and Stay Smart Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

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                    Last Updated on January 13, 2020

                    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

                    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

                    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

                    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

                    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

                    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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                    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

                    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

                    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

                    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

                    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

                    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

                    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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                    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

                    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

                    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

                    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

                    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

                    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

                    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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                    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

                    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

                    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

                    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

                    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

                    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

                    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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                    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

                    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

                    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

                    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

                    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

                    More on Building Habits

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Reference

                    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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