Android, Google and T-Mobile

Application Sources

Android Market - the official website for the review of Android applications - limited to the "top" applications - how/who determines the definition is unknown, but all applications featured here do seem to be of high quality.  Unfortunately, it doesn't show all possible apps or have search functions, etc.  Very limited.

AndAppStore - an independent Android webstore with it's own set of applications and ratings.  Therefore Android applications here may be rogue as they are not approved by Google nor do they require the Android Market license agreement.  Has it's own android app to browse the andappstore right from your phone (or any Android device).

AndroLib - The website is synced in with Google Market better than Google's own Android Market website - it's much easier to find applications, reviews, and links to developers websites - additionally, has a menu selection of "Top of the day" which lists the top 150 selections and their movement up or down the chart in the past 24 hours.  Provides a barcode to scan with your phone for instant search in the market application.

Cyrket - Another website synced in with Google Market better than Google's own Android Market website - very clean interface, links to developers website, along with barcode to scan.

MobiHand - various applications for the Android based phone organized by category and subject (special offers, best sellers, etc.).  You have to download the application and install through the SD card.


There are thousands of applications, but the following applications are suggested as useful. If you have a favorite application that I don't have listed - send me an e-mail at rick at and tell me why I can't live without it!


With the release of Donut - Android 1.6 operating system - there's a new widget called Power Control.  This provides a slick menu bar on your home page that turns on/off power hungry features such as wifi, bluetooth, gps, synchronization, and backlighting (brightness of the screen).  Find a bit of real estate on one of the secondary home pages for this menu bar.

Barcode Scanner

Developer:  ZXing Team
Website:  Barcode Scanner
Price:  Free
This is a must application and quite honestly should be part of the basic Android operating system.  On the application sites AdroLib and Cyrket, as well as on most application developer websites (and this site!), is a two dimensional barcode - what's called a QR code.  By scanning the QR code with your mobile phone, the application can be installed directly from the Android Market.  Besides scanning QR codes, the Barcode Scanner software can scan a standard one dimensional barcode and send the results to Google Product or Google Search via the built in mobile browser. Additionally, other products such as ShopSavvy and CompareEverywhere use this technology to provide comparison shopping results with more features.

Documents To Go

Developer:  DataViz
Website:  Documents To Go
Price:  Free (word & excel viewer only), $30 - but look for discounts
While Google Docs is a great tool for most of your needs, not everyone is on it and there are times when you're going to receive e-mails with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files as attachments.  Additionally, the Android device is lacking a PDF reader and I've tested a couple of the freebie readers and they're not high-def resulting in blurry images when zooming.  Documents To Go is the only legitimate solution - I used to have this application on my Palm device and they've ported over an Android version that works very well.  The free version of Documents to Go includes a Microsoft Word and Excel viewer.  The retail version includes Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint viewer and edit capabilities as well as the PDF viewer.


Developer:  WildArt
Website:  GDocs
Price:  Free

Great application for those using Google Apps and the Documents functionality.  GDocs allows the user to view, edit and create documents in sync with your Google Documents - basic concept is the document is copied into local mobile memory - make edits - then upload changes back to the Google server.  Nice feature is that it allows synchronization with multiple Google accounts - so you can create and edit personal documents with a Gmail account as well as business documents in a Google Apps account.  Couple of notes - viewing of documents and spreadsheets is possible, however you can only create and edit documents.  If you attempt to edit a spreadsheet, it will bring up the file within the mobile browser.  Great feature is the ability to convert and send documents - as an example, a document can be converted into pdf and sent via e-mail.


Developer:  SSI
Website:  Gtasks
Price:  Free
Another missing application for the Google phone is direct integration with tasks located in your Google account's mail and calendar.  While there are a whole bunch of task applications in the Android market, only one has integration with Google Tasks.  Why have separate task data when it can be all integrated together either via the mobile device or the desktop computer - that's the power of computing in the cloud - one database.  GTasks to the rescue with a simple interface to sync with all of your Google tasks lists.  Uses your mobile's Google login which simplifies setup, but doesn't allow for multiple Google accounts.

 At Bat Beta

Developer:  Major League Baseball
Price:  Free
Wow! - although considered to be in beta - the Android app delivers!  All work and no play doesn't keep the doctor away - this is a must have application for every fan of baseball and surprisingly it's very, very good.  Standings displays win/loss records, trends, and wild card races.  Audio gives you streaming gameday audio - but here's the best part, the user can select broadcast audio for their team!  Video has several featured videos (just make sure connection is 3g).  Preferences allows selection of a favorite team.  Selecting a future game brings up the game preview showing the team logos, team records, starting pitchers and stats, as well as broadcast information.  Selecting a past game (use the arrow keys at the top - my only complaint is in regards to selection - (a) that those arrow touch points are too small and (b) there should be some type of calendar function that allows the user to select a date - having to arrow back several times or more to a past game is a bit tedious) displays the score summary, box score details, field graphic (very cool), all the play by play action, and related videos.


Developer:  JuneFabrics
Website:  PDAnet 
Price:  Free for 14 days then http limited - $29 full featured
Internet tethering for your Android phone without having to hack the operating system!  This is perhaps the most useful application in existence for anyone with a laptop.  Installing the application allows sending data back and forth over the usb cable (tethering) - an application runs on your laptop that looks like a modem and the application on the phone sends internet requests.  Anywhere you have data access on your mobile phone is now your office.  Speeds are decent based upon what type of connection - 3G is obviously pretty good - I wouldn't recommend for intensive data consumption such as video watching; but it's perfect for working with Google's Apps - getting e-mail, writing documents, working with spreadsheets, updating web sites, etc.  Trial version is free for 14 days - after that http requests only - full version is $29.

Developer:  Ookla
Price:  Free
Knowing and understanding your network speed is important for those on the road - what's the best spot for accessing the internet (particularly when you're tethered to a laptop via PDAnet) - what's the difference when your phone shows E, G, 2G, and 3G, etc.  T-Mobile and the network carriers talk about internet speed and who has the best access - will give you quantifiable results and then places it into your personal database along with the long and lat of your location.  This is an excellent application which has been nicely done with a great interface - makes it very easy to use.  My only complaint is it would be nice to be able to edit the database location - in other words, to replace the long and lat numbers with something like home, airport, work, etc.

T-Mobile My Account

Developer:  T-Mobile
Price:  Free (for T-Mobile users only)
Simply the best utility tool for your T-Mobile Google phone.  The My Account program has two sections - device info and account info.  Device info allows the user to tweak the phone by changing wallpapers, ringtones, wireless control settings, display settings, storage information, battery information and a unique help tab that provides answers to frequently asked questions.  Account info displays your activity level (minutes and messages used), alerts (such minutes and messages used, payment reminder, and power saver), billing summary (including payment history), and information in regards to your current plan.  What's missing... the ability to control features of other phones like you can in the T-Mobile web portal.


T-Mobile Visual Voicemail

Developer:  T-Mobile
Price:  Free (for T-Mobile users only)
Another great T-Mobile utility for your Google phone.  The Visual Voicemail program allows listening to messages in any order, respond in one click and easily manage your inbox without ever dialing in to the network.  This is simply one of the handiest programs to place on your Android phone - great for reviewing your voice mail messages and picking out the ones which are truly important while skipping over the others.

The first screen displays the voicemail messages and they're sorted in chronological order - however, if you want to sort by another option, such as sender, simply select the menu key for the sort by options.  Additionally, located in the menu, are the application settings which allows the user to turn on/off various features, setup the pin number and even change your T-Mobile mailbox greeting!

Selecting a voicemail moves the application to the voicemail details screen displaying the sender's name, number, date, time, as well as delete, speaker, call, and play buttons.

Ultimate Stopwatch

Developer:  Richard Hyndman - CTO of
Price:  Free
Stopwatches are useful to time meetings, events, speeches, etc.  There are a number of stopwatch apps, but consistently rated the best and pleasing to use is the ultimate stopwatch.  The ultimate stopwatch displays, yep - a stopwatch.  Touching the screen starts the time and touching again stops the time (or there's a lap bar down at the bottom to take intervals).  Additionally, you can reverse and provide a countdown whereby the alarm will go off and the phone will vibrate.

2009-12-16 - the latest update - v.3.1.0 - was released today and removed support for saved lap times - according to the developer, this was done due to issues with the Droid (which perhaps means issues with Android 2.0) - lap times may get re-introduced in early 2010 - in the meantime, v.3.0.2 is available from the developer's blogsite at

For those people into distance running or track and field, there's a much more sophisticated application called Ultrachon which will be more suited to the needs of runners.

USA Today

Developer:  USA Today / Mercury Intermedia
Price:  Free
I was originally hooked on USA Today while travelling around the country implementing enterprise systems - every hotel issued a free copy for you in the morning.  Now I can get that USA Today goodness electronically in the palm of my hand!  Initially I didn't expect this to make my gotta have it list - it's just an electronic newspaper after all - but after using it for about a month, I've become extremely impressed and hooked with the Android version of this newspaper.  The overall design and user interface of the application is brilliant and it has the things that make USA Today unique - such as their snapshots and their day in pictures. I also appreciate their sports scores tab as the quickest way to see what's going on in sports.

A quick tour of the application...

Headline news - the category scrolls horizontally back and forth and includes Top News, News, Money, Sports, Life, Tech (displayed), and Travel - just like sections of the newspaper.  Within each category is a subsection - select the provided button and a list appears - for example, in Tech there is Top Stories, Products, Gaming, and Science.  The news stories appear with their headline, a blurp, and an enticing image to draw you into the story.

Scores - simply find your sport within the header and all the teams and scores for today appear.  The selection is a bit restrictive - NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAAF, and NCAAB as is the date (today).  But it's up to the minute and if you need an update, just select the update button on the bottom right of the screen.

Weather - a well done colorful display of the local weather - my favorite feature is sunrise and sunset - something that the Weather Channel app forgot!  Additionally, there's a bar for current location (according to your device location) and a national weather map initially showing doppler radar.  By swiping your finger across the map (right to left) you'll receive the ir satellite map (showing cold/heat patterns), precipitation forecast map, current temperatures (f/c set in the menu options), and current surface showing highs, lows, fronts, and precipitation.

Pictures - a conceptual staple of what USA Today is all about - you get the day in pictures, day in sports, day in celebrities, week in science, week in travel, and week in weather.  Select a picture clip and receive the full image - select the menu function for the caption.

Snapshots - another staple of USA Today goodness - those silly facts that they put together in fun filled diagrams.  News, sports, money, and life.  Simply swipe from right to left to get more snapshots in the selected category.

Note also that the weather is always displayed in the header for all tabs - a nice touch.

Weather Channel

Developer:  Weather Channel
Website:  Weather Channel
Price:  Free
Everyone needs to know the weather at some point and having an authoritative source at your fingertips is fantastic - not only that, but the application is extremely well done and professional.  Entering the application provides a selection of locations (you can store multiple locations).  Selecting a location provides weather now, hourly, 36 hour, and 10 day - all the useful information that you need to know.  Additionally, the application makes very good use of the various features of the phone (called a mashup) such as gps for your location, google maps to display the weather, and videos of your local weather forecast.


With the release of Android 1.6, the Google team put out the following videos which are nice shorts on the main useful features of the 1.6 update (known as Donut).

  • Customize your Home Screen. Learn more
  • Run multiple applications at the same time. Learn more
  • Use long press to quickly access more features. Learn more
  • Browse the web and your phone with Quick Search Box. Learn more
  • Get cool applications and games on Android Market. Learn more
There are a bunch of great videos - most under a minute or two on YouTube called Android Peeks - they've been produced by the Android development team and give quick insights into using features of your Google Android powered phone.