I’m not really a “gadget guy” and I’m surely not one to rush off and buy the new cool thing unless I actually have a use for it. So my decision to upgrade my regular old cell phone to a Droid was a practical matter. As the Director of Interactive Services (IS), I needed to be able to check out our sites on a smartphone. To my great satisfaction, the sites we’ve done at A&W work very well on both the Droid and iPhone.
That said, after checking out our sites what was I to do next? As the IS Director, the only responsible thing to do was application testing. So, I downloaded a bunch of apps and found that suddenly, I’m a geek again. I love the Droid, and I love it mostly because of the GPS and the apps.
So what are the coolest apps? Here’s my fifteen favorite must have Droid apps. All of these are free and all of these can be found in the Droid Marketplace.
- Astro File: A quick and easy way to manage the files on your Droid or SD cards. Has an interface similar to Windows file manager. Find, edit, move, and delete files.
- Google Sky Map: For the star gazer in you, this app uses the GPS, compass, clock and balance detectors to show you a real-time celestial map. Just hold the Droid up against the sky and it tells you what you’re looking at.
- Places Directory: This is a great little app to find stuff near you. Shows you the locations of nearby ATMs, restaurants, coffee shops, banks, etc. It shows the distance to each and can interface with the GPS to give you directions.
- Wave Secure: Misplaced (or stolen) phone? No need to worry. If you misplace your phone text it a secret keyword and it will turn the ringer to max volume and start ringing. Or get a text back with its GPS location. If it has been stolen, you can disable the phone and wipe out all of your personal data. Please note that while the app is free, there is a subscription fee for the service, but one I feel is worthwhile.
- Car Locator: Ever forget where you parked? No more. Use this app to record your spot when you leave the car and when you return, engage “Find my Car.” The GPS will tell you how far you are from your car and give walking directions right back to it.
- Compass: Sometimes GPS is overkill when you just want to know what direction you’re headed. This simple app brings up an old style compass that shows you both true and magnetic north.
- Droid Light: Simple, but very useful. An app that turns your camera light on and off thus making your Droid a flash light.
- Key Ring: Tired of loading up your key ring with store discount or frequent buyer card tags? Take a photo of all the cards on your key ring and scan them into the Droid. At the store, pull up the card and hold the Droid up to the scanner when you check out.
- Stop Watch: That’s says it all. With start, stop, and lap time, the Droid is a full-function stop watch.
- Tricorder: A must-have for geeks like me who know every Star-Trek episode. It has no real practical value, but you’ll impress your (Trekkie) friends.
- Google Goggles: Take a photo – of anything – and this app analyzes the image and tries to figure what it is based on your location. You can photograph a book and get links to buy it on Amazon, or the outside of a restaurant and get links to reviews of that restaurant, menus or even discount coupons. It’s a great app when it works, but it doesn’t always find a good match.
- Movie Phone: Going to the movies? This widget shows you what’s playing at the theatres nearby.
- Photo Shop Mobile: Easy way to edit, crop, rotate and touch up photos on your Droid before you send them out.
- Robot View: This cool app let’s you stitch together photos to create a 360° all-around view. Very cool, but I found it more difficult to stitch photos together than I’d hoped.
- Talk to Me: This app translates from one language to another. Choose the language to speak and the language to translate to, then speak into the Droid and it repeats it back in the language selected. The translation isn’t perfect though, so it’s not suitable for important conversations.
It seems that the variety of apps, from fun to functional, will only continue to grow. Of course, smartphone apps are changing the face of marketing too, whether it’s through mobile advertising or using social media apps to promote your business. In addition, this new and ever-expanding technology can be addicting, and people are becoming more and more reliant on their phones. Do you have a smartphone? Do you have a favorite app? Tell us about it!