Update G1 Post and Apps Review

It’s been some time since I last wrote about my beloved G1 phone. Since my purchase when it first came out in October 2008, I’ve flip flopped many times from loving to hating it. Android version 1.6 stabilized a lot of issues. Then once it got turn by turn navigation, I’ve been completely content. I don’t think any device can be great at everything, and the G1 is good enough at the things that matter to me to keep me happy.

But there are still bugs:

  • The gmail app still opens up to deleted e-mails, instead of the inbox.
  • If the phone goes to sleep while sending an e-mail, sometimes the e-mail will be stuck in a sending state. It’s not in drafts either, so I have to rewrite and resend.
  • The camera is horrible, but I can live with it. I put this as a bug because it’s so bad that it could not be working as they originally wanted it to.

Those are my only real annoyances. Quite an improvement from what I’ve written about before.

And I still have a wishlist:

  • Integrate Gmail’s tasks with Android’s calendar.
  • Let the mobile version of Picasa show more than 100 pictures per album.
  • Integrate Google Bookmarks. This one has me completely baffled. Google Bookmarks should sync with Android’s bookmarks, and be available as an extension on Chrome. Seems like a no brainer, but it seems like Google is abandoning their Bookmarks. Will it be a casualty like Google Notebook?
  • Allow Android browser to edit Google Docs. I’m not sure what’s technically involved, but this one is another stunner.
  • The native Gmail app should be able to save attachments. Luckily there are apps available to do this.

This is also a smaller list than it was in the past! Is Google listening to me!? If so, please hire me. Oh but please let me work from home. I like the East Coast. But you do have an office in NYC right? Who am I talking to?

Now on to my apps reviews! To conserve space, I had to remove a lot of apps I didn’t use often or were there just for show. I ran into the out of space message too many times. It was time to make some cuts! $ indicates paid.

Google Maps: It’s listed as an app, so I’ll mention it. This could not be better. I love the new “labs” feature that has an arrow that points to the direction you’re facing. Turn by turn navigation is great. It’s very easy to punch up a location and get directions to there. I don’t know anyone who uses Latitude of Buzz besides my wife. So they are never used.

Advanced Task Killer: Kills apps that run in the background when you don’t want them to, which saves battery. Works like a charm.

AK Notepad: Decent note app. I hardly use it though. I prefer a pen and paper. Sorry. But it’s a keeper in case my pen ever runs out of ink.

Aldiko: Nice e-book reader. I just have to find good books to read. The free public domain offerings don’t cut it for me. I like modern fiction and non-fiction. So I have to find e-pub books to buy to really give this a true test.

AndFTP: I’m sure this will come in handy one day as I have 3 websites that I maintain. I kicked the tires. It works well. I just haven’t used it for real yet.

AnyCut: Uninstalled. I’m pretty sure earlier versions of Android didn’t have the shortcut making ability it does now. Now most handy shortcuts can be made my long pressing on the home screen. All the ones I need anyway.

aTrackDog: Uninstalled. Same fate as AnyCut. This was a great app for a long time to find apps with updates, but the Market app is now better at identifying apps that have updates.

Beelicious: Good app for saving bookmarks to Delicious. Works well. This would not be needed if Android would snyc with Google Bookmarks. E-mailing myself bookmarks I want to read on my PC later was becoming a chore. Dear Google, you are forcing me to use another service!

BistoMath: Great tip calculator. A keeper.

Bookmark Manager: Does the job of allowing you to rearrange the order of your browser bookmarks. Mark this down as another head-scratcher as to why this isn’t part of Android.

C25K: Awesome app to let you follow the couch to 5k running program. It worked wonders for me. I completed the program with help from this app. I fell off the wagon so hard, that I’ll need it again once the weather gets nicer!

Countdown Alarm: Pretty useful.

$ Car Locator: You mark your spot where you park your car, then help you find your car with a radar like map. I bought this app and haven’t used it yet. I know I will though. I had been using Google’s My Maps Editor to perform this function, but it was clunky to use and a space hog.

CardioTrainer: Another beauty for running training. It tracks your running route through GPS, gives you audible messaging on your pace and distance while letting music play in the background. When your done, you see how far you ran, the pace, and the map overlay. You can then save the routes to their website. Again, this will come in handy when I get back on track this upcoming spring!

Car Mode: The simplest yet most useful app. When enabled, it turns on speaker mode for all incoming and outgoing calls for hands free talking. I’ll never ever use an ear piece. Ever.

Compass: Pretty much a show and tell for me. It doesn’t take up a lot of room, so I’ll leave it.

$ Documents to Go: Word and Excel editor. Pretty handy. I got it on sale. I used it a few times, so it was money well spent.

Facebook: Pretty lame for a native app. It takes up a lot of room. I’m debating uninstalling it and just use their online interface. I am holding out for an update–but not holding my breath.

Google Finance: I don’t play the markets so this may come off my phone soon.

Foursquare: I wanted to see what this was all about. It probably stay on my phone long.

Google Sky Map: Show and tell. I can’t wait for a nice clear night to use this to identify all the stars and planets. This might come off soon…

Karl’s Mortgage Calculator: I’m a big fan of this and his site https://www.drcalculator.com/mortgage/. This will come in handy when I go to buy a new car soon.

Live Scores: Beats both Google’s Scoreboard and SportsTap, which I’ve tried and uninstalled.

NYC Bus and Subway Map: Will come in handy when and if I go into NYC. Doesn’t take up much space.

Pandora: Love this app. Matches and plays the music I want to hear. Beats both last.fm and imeem, which I’ve tries and uninstalled.

$ PhoneMyPC: Part show and tell. Part I will need it one day, but don’t know when. I wrote a while back that the G1 needs a gotomypc type app. The name alone should tell you. It allows you to remotely access your computer from your phone. It’s a little rough around the edges, but it works.

Qik: Allows you to livestream video from the phone. I used it once for my mother to see my son. But there was a long delay. This may come off the phone soon.

$ Scan2PDF: Bought and used once. It uses the camera to snap a pic and output it into PDF, which you can e-mail. It might come in handy one day.

Seesmic: Really nice free Twitter app that allows management of multiple accounts. Very well done. I’ve gone up and back, and even paid for twitter apps. All uninstalled in favor of this.

Shazam: Very cool for identifying music. It listens and tells you what song you’re listening to.

ShopSavvy: Never used. You can scan a barcode, then it bring us the best deals in the area using GPS. I actually tried it once in Lowes, and felt like a jerk trying to scan a finishing nailer’s barcode for a good 10 minutes. I think that fiasco was more of a result of the lousy camera, not the app.

The Weather Channel: It is what it is.

Toggle Settings: Love this app. Lets you set up profiles for one click setting changes. For example, work (mute phone, turn off wifi), home (turn on wifi and ringer), etc.

Google Voice: I’m not ready to abandon my cell number in favor of this and let this run everything. But I do selectively give out my Google Voice number, which comes in handy. I like the service and the app, I’m just not ready to go all in yet.

T-Mobile’s Visual Voicemail: Love this app, but does not work when WiFi is on. I don’t know why as that is an annoyance. But I live seeing the voice mail, and being able to click play and delete it without having to dial in to voicemail.

tCalendarWidget: Nice little widget app that displays the date in a small icon on your homescreen. So simple but very nice. Yet another headscratcher why it isn’t built in. The default calendar widget it big and clunky and lacks options.

$ Where’s My Droid: Lets you send a coded text message to your phone if you misplace it. It will then trigger the phone to ring at a high volume. It’ll turn the ringer on if it’s off. Luckily I haven’t misplaces my phone to use it.

Other apps that I tried but landed in the uninstalled heap:

Google Scoreboard – too clunky, sporadic updates.

SportsTap – battery hog

Google Goggles – extreme show and tell. No real use.

$ I Tweet! – Seesmic is better.

$ Keyguard Disabler – ok, but not needed.

$ Any Clip Pro – Good idea, I just never needed it.

$ Quickoffice – Documents to Go is far superior. I think the developer abandoned this app.

$ aHome – fluff

Realty Browser (Layar) – Big time show and tell. I like the augmented reality trend, but it failed to impress me too much.

T-Mobile My Account – I never needed this.

1Cast Video News – Never seemed to have up-to-date news.

Yelp – I like Yelp, but didn’t need the app.

twitdroid – Sessmic is better.

TV.com – not a lot of good content other than previews.

USA Today – likes the app, removed to save room. I use Google News webpage.

Google Places Directory – Would be a home run if the categories were accurate. It finds areas of interest using GPS. The problem is if you go into shopping, it will give you grocery and convenience stores. There are other mis-categorized business listings.

Amazon.com – not needed. Removed to save space. If I want to buy something, I’ll use my pc.

Where – Pretty cool app, just too big to justify keeping.

Evernote – Very nice but goes against my KISS standard for note taking apps.

Phew. Very long winded. I think that’s it. You can see I paid for a lot of apps I ended up uninstalling. None of them were too expensive, so there are no regrets.

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