A special Android edition for this week. As we become increasingly mobile and cloud technology spreads wider and further than ever before, mobile app developers are integrating traditional digital media and internet connectivity with our smartphones. there has never been a better time for WAP technology and those that use it. This week’s post is a list of my favourite Android apps.
All of the packages below are free of charge unless otherwise stated:
Evernote: For me, on the mobile is where Evernote is at its most useful. I used to carry a notepad and pen around with me wherever I travelled. When I had a BlackBerry I found the notepad function, as useful as it was, not very versatile. Taking photos separately and then e-mailing them to yourself is just so time-consuming and inconvenient but with Evernote installed on your laptop and synched to a mobile app means that the photos get saved straight to the cloud and therefore, already for you when you next switch your desktop/laptop on. At the moment I do not use it as much as I could or should but when I’m out and about, I suspect that it will become an invaluable tool. It can do everything that the full software can do but on a much smaller device.
Writer: is a basic wordprocessor for Android. I mostly use it to create lists “books to check out”, “places to see when you’re next in this area”. Stuff that basically I would always need to access when out and about but would serve me no real purpose keeping it synched in Evernote. Kind of like Wordpad for Windows but on a mobile. Useful, but no bells or whistles.
WordPress: Sorry guys, I know that this has more frills than the BlackBerry version, I know it is more stable, diverse and useable than BlackBerry and I know that the RIM version is unlikely ever to be updated again but there are some features omitted on the Android that were invaluable on BB that I will never understand are not being utilised here. For example, the ability to edit a comment. Why can I approve a comment or unapprove it or delete it but not actually edit it? If I make a typo on a comment in reply to one of my readers, why can I not go back and change it? Perfect example here is Roger the Surf who spammed the climate change threads on my other blog last month. He persistently provided links to his own blog despite that I asked him not to. Because I could not edit his comment to remove the offending link, I had to unapprove his comment and wait until I have access to my laptop to edit it. I find this bizarre. The BB version, for all of its failings had this basic functionality and I’m sorry to say, in a lot of respects it was more user friendly for its simplicity. What I do like though is the “read” function where you can look at recent updates from the blogs to which you subscribe. As somebody who also reads The Guardian Android app daily and sometimes uses its content in this blog, it is also useful to have a “Share to WordPress” option.
Kingsoft Office: A surprisingly comprehensive office package for your mobile that seems to have all the functionality of the MS Office Suite. Though it comes with only three packages (Writer, Presentation and Spreadsheet), they have all you could want: the ability to format in MS formats (including 2007–>), the ability to add passwords to sensitive documents, email from the app or save documents in the cloud. Again, this will serve you best on the go when used in conjunction with a full desktop software package.
Kindle: You don’t have to own a Kindle device to be able to use the software. If you do own a book reader, you can access your archive, buy new books and administer your account from your mobile phone. If you don’t own a book reader, there are still benefits to having the app. For example you can still download the free books (or even pay for the chargeable books) to read on your mobile. The only complaint is that there appears to be no “daily deal” page, something I check religiously.
Others you might like.
I do not have these apps on my device but they have received good reviews on the Android Play Store.
My Writing Spot (currently £1.85): A novel writing programme. I make too many typos to ever consider writing fiction on my phone but this looks to be a nifty tool. Might be better suited to Android tablets if you are willing to fork out the small charge and there isn’t already a better option on your device.
Writing.com prompts (currently £1.49): If you like to write on the go and you get the flash of inspiration, you may wish to pay for this simple writing prompt app with a large database of ideas. It is attractive to look at and has plenty of ideas for your muse. Again, might be better suited to tablets than smartphones.
If anybody with an Android device has other recommendations that will be useful for writers, feel free to list them.