Whether you prefer Android OS, iOS or some other platform the truth of the matter remains that Android is hardly a cohesive, unified experience. This is not a bad thing, of course. Android is slightly chaotic, with a multitude of apps available for everything you could possibly want. Unfortunately though, not all of these apps work on the numerous devices running Android. To further worsen the situation, fragmentation within Android is high as well, with only an extremely small percentage currently enjoying the latest and greatest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. On the brighter side of things, however, Android’s anything goes way of doing things has its own benefits and appeals to masses and people who enjoy messing with their devices, rooting, and other such stuff which enables them to personalize their device and do any number of things which make sit immensely popular.
If you want the most out of your Android device and want ways to improve battery life, get rid of all those annoying ads, and other interesting tweaks and apps, read on:
Boost Battery Life:
A long lasting battery is one thing most people want from their phones. Unfortunately, most people’s smartphones seem to run out of battery more frequently than they would be okay with but they do not seem to realize why. In order to save a bit of cash, people tend to opt for ad-supported apps which suck out battery life. Although of course the displays and other features of Android smartphones hog battery life too, the free and ad-supported apps use a lot of energy performing tasks you wouldn’t be too happy with: tracking geographical locations of users, downloading ads and sending your information to advertisers. The solution is simple; you can cut back on the free apps. If you find it difficult to do so, you may want to check out an optimization tool energy saving apps. A great example of these is Easy Battery Saver which claims to extend battery life and has excellent user rating. The app, available from the Google play store, is free and requires Android 2.0 or above. More advanced users who are willing to flash a kernel to extend battery life can do so by underclocking their Android device when it’s idle. Flashing a new kernel is one of the best ways to improve and enhance your phone’s performance and battery but it isn’t for users with little experience of flashing and such stuff. Lifehacker has written a detailed overview of how to go about it.
Make typing Easier:
Most people find physical keyboards easier to type on than software ones. Although it is slightly difficult, the least you can do for yourself is make the experience easier. For Android users, the best option available out there is SwiftKey 3. The app basically eliminates the need to use the spacebar via its feature Smart Space. A next-level auto correction tool determines when you’ve missed a space or a letter in a word. The tool can also be customized. The keyboard itself is compatible with 42 languages, has an interface that goes with Android 4.0, has a larger than before spacebar as well as smartly positioned punctuation keys. Swiftkey 3 is only available to members of the developers VIP community.
Get A Faster Browser:
Although the stock Android browser is the most popular browser in the world, it is not the best one out there. If you want a faster browser, simply go for Google Chrome- one of the few apps that debuted on Android instead of iOS. Not only is the browser speedy, it also provides synchrony between the mobile version and its desktop counterpart; tabs you’ve left open on one automatically open up on the other. Bookmarks and other such stuff also migrate, which is handy.
Get Connected To Voicemail Directly:
We’ve all been there. We need to make a call but would rather not talk to the person directly. Mobile’s Sphere Slydial offers a solution to this problem by allowing you to bypass talking directly and going straight to the other person’s voicemail. The app itself is free but an annual subscription of $29.95 is required. If you’d rather pay nothing, you can get an ad-supported free alternative. The procedure is simple. You phone the Slydial service, enter the mobile number whose voicemail you want to reach, and listen to an ad after which Slydial connects you. Versions for iOS and BlackBerry are also available. Windows Phone users should go for ‘MetroSly’ instead.
No one likes countless ads. For people who have rooted their device, there are several options but for non-rooters the options are limited. If you have rooted your device you may want to check out AdAway and AdFree Android. For non-rooters: Android Adblock. However, it is pertinent to mention here that developers rely on these ads.
Get A Siri Alternative:
A while back, it was rumored that a Siri alternative by Google is in the works. This competitor, codenamed Majel, hasn’t surfaced but Siri alternatives for Android are still aplenty. One of these, Dragon Go!, was released by the creators of Siri itself. Although Siri is more interactive, people craving Siri-like functionality can also go for Voice Actions. Voice Actions only performs a specific set of vocal directions though. For something that is a little more fun, you can go for Speaktoit Assistant which acts as a virtual friend and answers questions, launches apps when asked and so on. Vlingo is another neat app that lets you send texts and e-mails easily. Facebook and Twitter can also be easily updated.
Fake Incoming Calls:
Need to get out of someplace boring without offending anyone? Call Faker is the app for you. You can add the app’s call widget to your homescreen. Long-pressing it causes the app to make a bogus call to you which can act as a perfect excuse for you to get up and leave. Alternatively, you can set exactly when the app should call you, with what name, number, ringtone etc beforehand and the app will then call you at the right time with pre-determined specifics.
Never miss a game again. You can catch your favorite Major League teams playing live on your handset for free if you already subscribe to MLB.TV Premium for an annual $124.99. Simply get the MLB.com At Bat 12. Non-subscribers can get the app for $15. In case you don’t want to watch the games live or don’t want to spend the money, you can get a free app instead- the MLB.com At Bat Lite provides all sorts of information regarding the games but not the live games. Also check out NBA Jam for Android.
Track Car Expenditure:
If you want to monitor and subsequently control your vehicle costs, aCar (U.S. vehicles) and My Cars (U.K. vehicles) are the apps for you. These apps support numerous cars and makes and help you track mileage, fuel costs, maintenance and such.
Control Temperatures Remotely:
Smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly common nowadays. And they are what may make automation devices, which have been around since a long time, finally mainstream. A good instance of this is how your handset can be used to control devices such as the Nest Learning Thermostat. As the name suggests, Nest is smart and learns with time and adjusts temperatures according to your habits. The free Nest Mobile app that comes alongside lets you control thermostat settings remotely. However, the app doesn’t work with Android tablets just yet.