Beth’s Summer list of ultra awesome android apps: UA3 ™

With the hazy, lazy days of summer upon us, I’ve put together another list of Awesome Android Apps to help you pass the time while working on your tan. Enjoy!

Glympse: With possibly one of the best tag lines I’ve heard in ages, Glympse makes it possible to “Share your Where” with anyone who needs to know where you are, and how long you’ll be. The scenario is a familiar one, you’re on your way to pick up a child from school/meet a friend for dinner/an important business meeting or any other situation in which someone might be waiting or wondering where you are. Just fire up Glympse on your G1 or myTouch, open a window of time for your location to be viewable, and choose who to send it to. Say, I’m running late to a friend’s house and she doesn’t want to start the movie without me. I open up a 10 minute Glympse to my location and send it to her; she receives an SMS with a link to a web page that shows a map with my location and a predicted time of when I might arrive based on GPS and average speed. Talk about never having to answer the question “Where were you?” again!

Caller ID: White Pages: White Pages Blog If you are at all like me, you rarely answer your cell phone when a number pops up that you don’t recognize. With there being a 50/50 chance it’s a telemarketer, letting the call go straight to voicemail is how I usually roll. What’s frustrating, however, is to check the voice mail and realize that I really did want to talk to that person and now have to call them back. Caller ID by White Pages has a database of 600 million numbers that can ID who is calling you even if that number is not in your address book. But it’s not just about letting you know who is calling, it’s also being able to then add that number to your address book either by creating a new contact or adding to an existing one and looking up the location of the caller (no more looking up area codes to guess location) and getting directions to that location using Google maps. Finally there is a nifty reverse look up for figuring out who belongs to the number you had scratched on a post-it note a few weeks back.

BrightKite: Described as a location-based social network, brightkite is similar to the very popular Twitter service. The difference with brightkite is that not only can users post their 140 character missives for all to see, they can also “check in” at a location, post photos, and view various place streams. A place stream is a list of posts and photos from a variety of brightkiter’s who had all at one time been at that particular location. For example here is the place stream for the American History building at the Smithsonian.

Catalista: Do Good. It’s Easy. Available only on Android, Catalista is a location based application that shows volunteer opportunities in your local area. You can browse entries, get more information, look up locations, add to your calendar, and check back in after you’ve participated. With the recent call to all Americans to get out and volunteer in their communities; this application brings those opportunities right to your doorstep.

Tag ToDo: Tag ToDo Features There are quite a few applications in the marketplace that focus on either list or task building and tracking. This one is my favorite because it has some extra little features that make it a fun app to use. Possibly the coolest feature are the “smart actions”; based on the item in your list, the application tries to predict what it is most likely you are trying to do. For example, a task like Call Dad, would open your contact list to the entry “Dad” so you can dial straight away; or say a friend tells you about this great book called “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and all you jot down is “get Racing in the Rain” – the app will open with a lists of results based on the title. The developer has open sourced the application; so it will be interesting to see if the community starts to iterate on more of these integrated features that take advantage of the other onboard Android apps.

Daily Stuff Widget: One of the things I’ve always had on any of the personalized start pages I’ve used over the years are those little factoids that make me look extra cool or smart at cocktail parties. Whether it’s a pithy quote, a historical happening of the day, or a 50 cent word that I finally get to use in a sentence; having a dose of daily stuff widgets on my home screen makes for a great deal of good fun. For example, looking at my home screen today I know now that Disneyland opened today back in 1955, that Eriophora is a species of orb weaver spiders, and that J. R. R. Tolkein once said “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like: and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve” (ouch). The bonus of this application is that it showcases how dynamic and flexible the home screen can be with Android.

Tea Time: Sometimes the simplest of apps can be the most delightful, which is the case with Tea Time. As the name suggests, the function of this application is to help you brew the perfect cup of tea. You first select the type of tea (Oolong for me) and then the strength (middle of the road medium is my taste); and then kick off the timer. A little tea bag icon shows up in your notification bar that “dings” when your tea is ready.

GphoneManager: Similar to Toggle Settings which I mentioned in my previous list; Gphone Manager is application about pure utility. It lets you check the state of your onboard memory, shut down individual running apps, and manage the content on your device including the SD card. It is one of those applications that is not necessarily for the masses, but for the power users in the house who like to be able to manage all aspects of their G1 or myTouch, this app will hit the spot.

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