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The non-smart-phone world seems so distant now after being connected to The Hive<tm> around the clock for a little more than a year with the HTC Dream/Android G1. It’s not the best of phones, but it was the first and I can’t really say any other Android-based phone has impressed me much. There is some hope for the rumored Motorola Shadow but nevermind, this post is about the applications I’ve grown to love.

There are a couple of applications in my daily life, but some applications stand out more than others.

  1. ConnectBot
    This is hands down the best SSH-client on-the-go that I’ve ever used. It supports keys, multiple concurrent sessions, it hooks up one of the hardware buttons to switch between the windows in GNU Screen. Gesture support involves scrolling Up/Down in the buffer or sending Page Up/Down depending on if you touch the left or right part of the screen. The trackball is Ctrl which makes using a shell with high latency a breeze. There are bookmarks, and you can even tunnel ports to the phone which is really nice if you have some web-page hidden inside some network or something. Simply put, pure awesomeness. It’s not uncommon I start my work day on the bus with this application.
  2. Google Listen
    I never really cared about podcasts before, but this completly changed when I found this wonderful application. With flat rate data subscription, and the podcasts being downloaded to the phone, or streamed as you listen, this sweet application makes podcasts really accessible. The only annoying thing is that it continues to play new podcasts in queue with no way of stopping after only one, which causes me to wake up with strange voices in my head in the middle of the night. Another feature some iPhone fanboy friends of mine have in their podcast clients is the ability to increase speed, which would be very nice when listening to The Economist podcast. My current list of poison can be found here.
  3. Twidroid
    I wasn’t really into twitter until I found this application. Haven’t tried many other as I don’t feel limited with this one. It’s not mega awesome, but it’s well written and does its job well. It supports all the features you’d expect, it updates tweets in the background, it supports URL shortening services, photo sharing services, it hooks into the Share-feature in Android etc.
  4. Google Sky Map
    Using the accelerometer to navigate, GPS to fetch your position, it presents to you with a 3D map of the universe around you. As a typical Swede I could only spot the Big Dipper and perhaps Orion’s Belt so for me this app is a big +1. A dark night last summer I found myself amazed by having augmented my reality with the ability to see the stars that were right under me, only visible from other parts of earth. A must see at least.
  5. FxCamera
    A pretty simple but neat camera application that applies some fancy filters to your otherwise crappy photos. It’s a nice addition when you snap a photo and upload it to Facebook or Twitter directly from your phone. Features Toy Camera, Polaroid etc.
  6. Google Reader
    Ok, not really an Android application, but it is a custom version for mobile use, and I use it a lot while I travel by bus, or just being too lazy to grab my laptop. Very effective way of getting your daily dose of from The Hive<tm>.

So with the mentioned applications I’m pretty satisfied with the whole Android experience. The only area that’s currently lacking is in Tower Defense games, but that’s probably just a matter of time, and it’s probably good that there aren’t any worth playing yet ;).

As for firmware customizations I’ve done some experimentation. At first I used the JesusFreke firmware, which got discontinued, next up was CyanogenMod which was all the rage the whole autumn, and I recently switched to OpenEclair which is a rock solid Android 2.1 version for the G1 that I’m really satisfied with.

It’s nice to see that such a large community of hackers have spawned around the Android project and I hope it grows even more. I haven’t had the time to get involved myself yet, except for some half-assed attempt to play with Scala, and a small XMMS2 client just to get the feel for the API. Hopefully time permits future adventures into Android-hacking, I still have hopes, and it looks like Android is here to stay.

So to sum it up, I’m really satisfied with Android, although I find it a bit sad that no manufacturer have yet to come even close to the iPhone touchscreen performance  (although S-E X10 Mini is pretty close, unfortunatly with a molested UI).

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