A few months ago I got an HTC Droid Incredible on Verizon. It. Is. Awesome.

It is far and away the closest you can get to an iPhone-level device. Speaking of which, I think the iPhone and Droid have completely buried everything else:

a venn diagram showing iPhone and Android overallping with a big circle labeled "awesomeness", and a little dot called "winmo" that is outside the circle

In fact, I think about 75% of each device is definitely in the awesome region, and most of that is overlapping. What’s not awesome is either pretty good, or could be improved (they share weaknesses, too).

This post serves as a brief survey of some of my favorite parts of Android.

DropBox shares files between devices (phones, computers, etc.) so easily it’s like stealing candy from a baby. That, however, is a completely untrue expression. If you factor in the emotional and audible toll of stealing anything from a baby, it’s not easy. But DropBox is. I used it to get all these screenshots onto my laptop, as a matter of fact. That screenshot also captures the fact that you can run multiple apps.

Home screens let you arrange your favorite apps and widgets however you like. We also have the app tray which is more like what iPhoners might be familiar with—it just lists all the apps. Widgets are pretty sweet, I gotta admit, like that candy you stole, creep.

Google’s News and Weather App is pretty slick. I particularly like the trend of temperature (yellow) and chance of precipitation (blue) over the next 24ish hours.

TweetDeck is far better than any of the other Twitter or Facebook apps I’ve used. It does the single inbox thing by mixing all the social stuff together, which is nice. With this app I rarely actually visit Facebook.com anymore. It supports multiple columns and simultaneous posts, just like the desktop client.

The ability to share pretty much anything with applications that support it is awesome, too. In this first pic, I’ve chosen a picture to share and Android is asking how. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to share a screenshot. I just got it working on my device which is how I was able to take all these shots. This is something that iPhone has killed on, hands-down. Interestingly, Pandora doesn’t support sharing, which is too bad. I listen to Pandora easily 20 hours a week through my phone and sometimes I’d like a convenient way to share what I’m listening to. Pandora tip: if you have unlimited data, turn on high quality mode in the settings—it’s much better.

I don’t play too many games but we’ve got a couple of nice ones. I very excited for the final release of Angry Birds. I’m told this is among iPhone’s highest grossing games of all time, and after finishing the beta/demo, I can see why.

I’d been thinking about Kindles ever since they broke the $200 barrier. I like to read but for these reasons, traditional books don’t work that well with me: they are clunky and burdensome to carry around, I like to read multiple books at the same time, and I’m also all that smart with words so I have to look things up all the time. Kindle goes a long way toward solving all of those issues. Kindle for Android makes it about 80% of the way there, picking up big points on portability.

This thing also has the best GPS Navigation I’ve ever seen—it’s much better than our Garmin. Being tied to the internet, it’s maps are always up-to-date (with traffic, street view, and satellite view), as are the searchable businesses. It’s simply beautiful and incredibly effective—much more so in motion as everything is wonderfully animated and intuitive.

It’s no coincidence that these are mostly just apps. That’s the real magic—the Android Market and the iPhone App Store are the real killer apps of these devices.

Have a favorite app or trick to share? Please do!


Unknown said on 2010-09-29

One geeky fun one is Google Sky, Handcent SMS is a good replacement for the stock messaging app, of course Shazam, Silenced is great if you want your ringer and WiFi to be enabled based on location/time of day, and Robo Defense is another fun game.

Unknown said on 2010-09-29

You can have just as many gb’s on an Android phone. My Nexus One as a Micro SD slot, so you can put as many gb’s in there as you can afford. THey have Micro SD’s in 32gb, same as iphone 4

Unknown said on 2010-09-29

Whoops sorry, missed that one, I am usually pretty up to date on my memes.

Plus, it looked like a good opportunity to get into a debate with an iFanBoy, which are usually fun.

Michael Haren said on 2010-09-29

It’s certainly no mistake that Apple confusingly went from “3G” (representing the network and the generation) to “4” which represents just the generation.

It is only exacerbated by Sprint who has an actual 4g phone (which actually only works on 4g in select markets…).

Regarding apps, thanks, @Jason, for your faves. I like Google Sky and will need to give Silenced a look.

Having lost too much of my life to Desktop Tower Defense, I cannot risk installing a mobile version.

I love those videos, though

Sarah said on 2010-09-29

Babe, Silenced sounds like an app idea you had (didn’t we talk about something like that recently?). I like the Zillow app, and recently uninstalled TWL Lookup because I was using it to cheat…err, assist, in WordFeud (but no more! :)).

Michael Haren said on 2010-09-29

@Sarah, yes silenced sounds very similar to what I was thinking of. I wanted something to enable/disable the lock screen, too, though. There’s a program called Tasker (?) that does that, I think.

The Zillow app is pretty amazing if you are in the market or nosy.

I forgot to include Google Voice. I use that exclusively to the point that I’m not sure what my phone’s actual number is.

Unknown said on 2010-09-29

Couple of other quick ones.

Trapster is good if you do a lot of driving. It is a modern android take on the old fashioned practice of flashing your headlights at someone when there is police on the road ahead.

Scanner radio is nice if you like to listen to police, fire scanners, etc.

Urbanspoon is kind of fun as well for picking a restaurant.

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