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Listed below are a few Android apps that I’ve found useful - I haven’t tried many. Unless stated otherwise, the links go to the official Google Android Market site - https://market.android.com


As far as I know, you can only download the apps from the market.android.com site directly to the android device. You will need a Google Account to do so.



All the android apps have permissions which are set by the app author (although, occasionally, an app may not have any permissions). A permission allows the app to do certain things to your mobile. There are a wide variety of permissions and the app may need to access various parts of the phone in order to do various things. There can be a big security risk in this. Unlike i-Phone etc. apps, the android apps are not tested by Google. When you click on an app in the market place, you will see a Permissions tab. This lists what permissions the app wants to use. When you go to install the app, you will also be shown a list of the permissions (check - occasionally they may be different to what you’ve seen on the tab. If you’re not happy with the permissions, don’t click on the install button


Always check the permissions to see what the app wants to use. There are usually genuine reasons why the app needs certain permissions, even if they don’t seem relevant. E.g. a calculator app may require permanent access to the internet, even though it doesn’t need the internet to work. This is probably because (especially if the app is free) it is showing adverts and needs to access the internet for the adverts. Be especially aware where the permission allows the phone to dial numbers. Depending on the app (especially if it’s related to interacting with your contacts), it may need the dial out options of the phone. Or, it could be a means of making the phone dial premium rate numbers.


Unfortunately, because of the way the android system works, permission will often be requested to access the personal information of the phone (such as phone number, IMEI number etc.) even though the app doesn’t need it. This is because it needs to access a certain thing (such as to detect whether you are on the phone for example-perhaps to mute, say, a media player when the phone rings). Unfortunately several things are all bundled in the same permission which means that even though the app only needs permission to see if the phone is in use, it will also be granted permission to do other things. However, it will only do anything else if the app is programmed to do it. Just because the permission is there, it doesn’t mean that the app is using it.


The other thing is that, due to compatibilty reasons, an app that is made for android v1.5 or below will automatically be given certain permissions whether the app author wants them or not - see the first link below.



A useful site dealing with android security, it covers a range of issues and gives some good advice. It also has a good section on what the permissions are. This site is a must if you have an android-based phone. The security information is also available as a PDF from the same link:

http://alostpacket.com/2010/02/20/how-to-be-safe-find-trusted-apps-avoid-viruses/


A guide to the main permissions and how important each one is - based on the above site:

http://techpp.com/2010/07/30/android-apps-permissions-secure-private-data/


This is a detailed explanation of all the permissions - technical, more for programmers:

http://developer.android.com/reference/android/Manifest.permission.html



There is just a brief description / review of the app below and the length of this is no reflection on the app - see the app page on the market and the app Developer’s Website for fuller details, reviews etc. Unless stated otherwise, the apps are free at the time of writing. Some are supported by (generally unobtrusive) adverts and you may be able to buy an additional “donation” app that can be run that will then remove the adverts. Or you may be able to make a donation (normally via Paypal) on their web site.


Personally, if I find that if free software is useful, I like to make a small donation. Whilst many people probably create apps etc. for the fun of it, a donation is always nice. Even if a few people donated a pound, it would add up to a few pints :-)



Apps are listed in no particular order and the length of the review is no reflection on the app :-). Click on the icon to go to the app page on market.android.

Android

Acrobat Reader

The standard acrobat reader, designed for a mobile. I’ve found this faster than the reader that came as part of the office app

GPS Essentials

If your phone has GPS built in, this is a very useful addition. Comes with various tools including a compass, the ability to record tracks (showing where you’ve been) to export for display on Google Earth etc., programmable trips, and a wide display of information extracted from the GPS such as exact location co-ordinates, speed, distance covered, number of satellites etc. See the full details on the apps page

Altitude is also shown. However, this is not always completely accurate. This is not a fault of the app, but is due to the way that the GPS system works out the height. If you want to record the height for future use as you go along, just record a track and then export it into Google Earth. Open the track and click on “Show elevation profile”. This will bring up a display at the bottom of the screen and will show you the elevation as you move the cursor along the track. This is a better way of getting the height as Google Earth is more accurate than the GPS.

Electrodroid

A useful electronic reference “book” for those times when you’re out and about and you need some info. quick. Far too many things to list here, see the Gallery on the Developer’s page for lots of screenshots.

There is a wide variety of information, including: various formulae, component codes, tables, setting a component value in a circuit, calculating battery life, connector pin-outs, wire size, logic gates, circuit symbols, symbols and abbreviations, etc.

Can you remember what resistor you need for a LED?, or the correct colour order for a network plug?, the R/C values in a capacitor charge circuit? - it’s all there!

ElectroDroid

A useful electronic reference “book” for those times when you’re out and about and you need some info. quick. Far too many things to list here, see the Gallery on the Developer’s page for lots of screenshots.

There is a wide variety of information, including: various formulae, component codes, tables, setting a component value in a circuit, calculating battery life, connector pin-outs, wire size, logic gates, circuit symbols, symbols and abbreviations, etc.

Can you remember what resistor you need for a LED?, or the correct colour order for a network plug?, the R/C values in a capacitor charge circuit? - it’s all there!

Fing - Network toolkit

Shows various network - related information and tools, including:

Network discovery and show devices connected to the network, TCP port scan, Ping, Traceroute, DNS lookup.

Can be customised.

I found this very useful in identifying the various devices connected to my network. It also allows you to name the devices and also add notes.

A handy tool to keep with you.

SqueezeControl

Review to follow

Pubtran London

Review to follow

Horaires Me !

Review to follow

RATP : Subway Paris

Review to follow