Android and I


Some months ago, I was in the market for a new Smartphone after realizing that my then new Blackberry did not work in Finland. No Blackberry services.
Obvious choice was between iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Nokia had just then launched the 920 and I was very keen. Booked one and waited quite a while. Apparently Nokia could not even give a proper date for delivery of the device.. after 5-6 wks, I went to my service provider and cancelled the order on 920 and chose Samsung Galaxy S3 over the iPhone5. Both were available off the shelf. I chose the Android only coz I could customize it (unlike the iOS) and I’m glad I picked it.

As a device, The S3 does more or less everything I would otherwise use a laptop for. But of course, complex task still need a laptop no doubt.
Over time I started discovering new apps and widgets and played around with them a bit and then noticed the trend..I was only looking for Productivity tools. I am into business development and the most used app is email, task managers and calendar.

I now like the way it looks. all black and with all the quick tools I really need at easy reach. I thought I’d list them all out here.

For the Lockscreen, I stuck to the Stock samsung lockscreen..it does all that I need. I added some shortcuts with which i can directly open respective apps from the lockscreen without unlocking the phone. for eg if I receive an email, I can swipe it open quickly.

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Homescreen Customization – minimalistic Text. – This app will not give you the homescreen..it will give you multiple widgets in all sizes. place widget on screen wherever you want and then assign text to it. the beauty is in how it allows one to customize the font sizes and accents.

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The Best part really is that each widget can then be connected to any app in the phone. I have connected the time widget to an Alarm app/ the calendar widget to google calendar/ next meetings list to Samsung Calendar/ temperature widget to an app from Finnish Meteorological Institute.

This high level of customization is what I found most impressive.

Profile manager – I found this very useful profile manager which lets me create and choose modes as required and I can also control the sounds, vibration, WiFi on or off, Bluetooth ..etc. very useful and quick to use.

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Weather – I tried several weather widgets like Yahoo weather, weather.com, Stock widget from Touchwiz Launcher etc..

they all look good with their animation but then, the information is not accurate. Samsung even has weather linked Live Wallpapers which is pretty cool. but again, not accurate.

The most accurate one is an app from Finnish Meteorological Institute.

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I chucked the rest.

Email – Outlook (of course..work email), Gmail – Obviously synced up with my laptop.

Task manager – Any.do, Google keep – Synced up with laptop. I really like these. I can add tasks or notes, add and receive reminders, check or modify status etc while being device independent. very useful for me.

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Expense Tracker – Expensify

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..does a pretty decent job. I can add my expenses as they happen and take photos of the receipts and attach as well. I can then use the same tool on browser on Chrome and generate expense reports. Cool.

Camera – Focal

Much better camera app than in-built app and gives a decent range of options to play around with. It also gives options to take sphere pix as well as Panorama.

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Although quality of pix is more or less same – avg. its the sensor not the app that is responsible.

Office – quickoffice for all my word, excel and ppt needs.

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I was using documents to go earlier. I could only use it locally and had ads.
Quickoffice is a free google app. syncs up with Google Drive.
I now have access to all my documents on Google Drive or internal storage within the same app. very useful.

I can also edit the documents and that’s rather easy too.

Of course, size of screen is the limiting factor here.

Games – Real Racing 3, Pool Billiards, pin ball, Sudoku.

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News – Feedly, ESPN F1, Twitter, F1 news.

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On Feedly, I have added content from the sources I mostly read from. I start my day see the ‘today’ part of news so I stay updated on global news and financial market.

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Music – Tunein Radio, Soundcloud, Sound hound (to ID songs), Google Play Music

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I use music streaming only when i’m in Finland. I do not use it when I travel and am on roaming.

Video – Youtube. what else..

The Watch later option is pretty cool. I can save videos into a playlist and see my choice of videos on any device.

Phone – For all my international calling, I use Rebtel and Skype.

Rebtel automatically detects if the call is an international call and diverts to the application. costs lesser. I can also choose to make the call via internet or via minutes on my phone plan.

Skype is mostly personal calls only.

Occasionally I use Vonage as well. I use it over a data plan to make calls to US for free. unlimited minutes.

Cloud Storage –

Documents go to Google Drive , Photos go to Dropbox.

Its all setup automatically. When I’m on WiFi, all photo’s automatically move into dropbox.

Browser – Chrome

Launcher – I’ve used Go Launcher earlier with paper theme. Loved the way it looked…

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…..but then, I now chose the simple black theme. Black phone, black backgrounds. simple.

Also, Go Locker used to interfere with my network connections. Network connectivity would behave erratic. Samsung guys pointed me to this app. chucked it.

Others – Linkedin, wordpress, Flickr, Google maps, Google translator

That’s pretty much it.

I know for sure I am missing the cool S Pen feature from Note that takes productivity to the next level. But for now, I’ll stay with the S3.

So how custom is your Android?

All along, there is a trend I have noticed in me..I seem to be moving closer to Cloud for storage of data and therefore, becoming device independent.  this of course is a topic for another post.

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