I think because I have been using a Palm device over the past few weeks I have not really dived into the Android Marketplace too much. That plus the fact I’m somewhat loath to spend a lot of dosh on a platform that I quite possibly may abandon. I think I have finally learned from previous platform debacles, such as splashing out a fortune on apps for Windows Mobile which seemed like a good idea at the time but with hindsight was a mistake. Still, we are all experts with hindsight I suppose.
Anyway, I have resisted the temptation, for example, to splash out nearly $30 on the likes of DocsToGo just to get office document editing capability. What is the point when I have that application already for the iPhone and Palm? There is a big choice of stuff on the Android store but much of it is a bit….flimsy. There are not that many heavyweight applications and what I have noticed so far is how relatively basic a lot of software is compared to that available on other platforms. When you go into the Options menu there is, more often than not, a paucity of options and you end up trying the software but then dispensing with it as you can’t customise it via the options to get it looking and working the way you’d prefer. That is not to say there are not any good apps, far from it as there as some gems out there.
I have bought some though. My favourites so far are ChompSMS, which is free and which is a brilliant SMS application modelled, looks wise, on the iPhone text application. However, the customisation options lift it to a far superior level. Anyone with an Android device should check it out. I also like the DoggCatcher podcast software which I think cost about $6.99. It calls itself a podcast and RSS manager but the RSS capability is near abysmal. I use FeedR for my RSS needs. It is okay but does not provide true Google Reader syncing nor does it provide a way to flick easily through feeds or posts, navigating through it, compared to iPhone apps like iRSS and Newsstand, is a veritable chore and quickly grates. Back to DoggCatcher though…the podcast side of things is great and I prefer it to BeyondPod which I also tried out. Finding podcast feeds and then downloading and listening to them is simple and I prefer the set up to that on the iPhone’s native application. It is good to be able to do everything within the one bit of software and there are lots of options to set it up the way you wish. It really is a nice bit of software. Throughout the application there are shortcuts to listening to podcasts quickly, it picks up where you left off for example plus on the opening screen, at the bottom, it lists the last podcast listened to plus you can start it again from there and see how much longer is left. The pic on the left demonstrates this nicely.
As mentioned before though the RSS side of it is appalling. It just gives you a snatch of the post and links to the website instead. What is the point of that? I thought the whole point of RSS was to provide a self contained application that contains all the post content without having to go to the website…doh.
I also bought a stand alone Twitter programme called TwitDroid which I really like to the extent I prefer it to the iPhone Twitter apps I have used. It is quick to load up Tweets and has a simple but very useable interface. It also offers full Twitter functionality, the sort of things that hard core Twitterers would look for.
What is nice about the Android platform and the Hero, with its HTC Sense interface, is that getting around the device is simple and quick. The widgets available make finding things easy, notifications are well done and can be accessed quickly, apps and settings are only a swipe or two away and following the recent updater the device is very quick. I’m not sure why I would want a Pre now, apart from the curiousity value. The Hero is a low maintenance smartphone which I like.