Sunday, March 06, 2011

Best Android Apps and Customizations

I have just got rid off dirty HTC Sense UI and changed every default stock applications like launcher(homescreen), email, sms, dialer, gallery, music player, lockscreen, to custom apps. The default HTC Sense UI was not that attractive with the curved phone dock a the bottom and absolute no customization to any stock apps. I hate the tiny fonts that show up on the HD Phone and you cannot increase fonts at system level or Apps level. HTC Forget that. The default android fonts looked so small in dialer, contacts, email and everywhere. There is no option provided by HTC to increase font sizes anywhere in their apps. I had no option, but to get rid of all HTC Shit. So here are the list of apps i have brought and replaced default stock HTC apps.
After using Jailbroken iPhone where you can customize all stock apps, I found Android also offer similar function with more user control then iPhone. On Android phones you can complete change all the stock apps and have your own choice of applicaitons. I am going to highlight issues with base/stock Android apps on my HTC Desire HD and what i have replaced it with.
The customization drive for me started with the incapabilities of HTC Desire HD to change lock screen wallpaper. I had previous HTC Wildfire and it allowed to choose lock screen wallpaper. But i was shocked and disappointed to find out this HTC Desire HD dosent have this, even with its running Froyo 2.2. I searched Android Marketplace for lock screen apps and found WidgetLocker Lockscreen App.
 WidgetLocker Lockscreen ($1.99)

This app can help you customized more unlock buttons and customize wall paper. Also, it can activate on calls so that by mistake your chick dosent touch the End button. The app said, you can show if you instal ADWNotifier which intern needs ADWLauncher EX . I was introduced to whole new customization sets of app.
Before settling on this app, I had also brought Screen Suite Lockscreen & Lock 2.0 - Full  but i didnt find them good.

ADWLauncher EX (€2.30).

The application that manages your homescreen and list of all apps on your phone is called Launcher. This  ADWLauncher does the same effectively. It offers you to have a iPhonesh homescreen with bottom 4 icon dock, screen transitions and animations like Nexus, etc. You can define rows and column grid for number of icons to be displayed on homescreen. You can have customized backgroun and dock layout. I am loving this and I have replaced the default HTC Sense UI. 
There is another competitor Launcher app called as LauncherPro. I have not tried it. But i read its very easy and popular too.

ADWNotifier (free). Only works with ADWLauncher

This is very good app to notifiy you with badge number like iPhone. If can alert you about number of missed calls, no of sms, no of email, etc. But it need ADWLauncher installed. 

K-9 Mail (free)

The default email client on HTC Desire HD was horrible. The super tiny fonts, not customizations and bad integrations. After trying many email clients finally i gave a try to this free client. I thought free apps are not good. But i was wrong. This is one of the best email client i have seen developed by 3rd party. I was using ProfiMail for symbian but the UI was horrible. This app is just B&W and cool. It offer customization on color, font sizes, preview lines, alerts, etc. I have yahoo, gmail and personal imap email configured.

Go SMS  (free)
This is the ultimate SMS app. The default HTC sms was horrible. This Go SMS offer lot of customization and cool themes. It can show pop up sms on arrivals. You can send batch sms, group ringtones, contact sync. You should try this.

Dial One (Free)
Dial One is the best dialer which is fast and easy. Its very simple and customizable.It offers - Speed dial, Call log grouped by contact, Send contact, Customizable, Swipe between screens, Tone dial, Export calls, Simultaneous search on calls and contacts on two languages
I have also tried  RocketDial Pro (Smart Dialer) . Its an interesting dialer with only Hand writing recognition method search. There is no keypad typing support. 

Gallery Pro (¥180)
The stock HTC Desire HD image gallery app is just a big shame on HTC. Its so horrible and just plain thumbnails. This Gallery Pro app will make you happy. I had Samsung Galaxy S and this app is pre bundled on it.

Contact Group Manager ($9.99)

The base HTC Contacts(People) app is another horrible thing. This expensive Contact Manager is a worth try. I wish they had a dialer built in.

Other apps that I have brought and Like are -


SystemPanel App / Task Manager

Camera ZOOM FX
App Protector Lite

twicca BETA

MyBackup Pro

DroidIn Pro

AutoRotate Switch


Note Everything

Quickoffice ConnectMobileSuite

Seek Droid

ES File Explorer

Quick Settings

Quick Battery


eBuddy Messenger

Contact Widget DEMO

Simple Note

Thursday, March 03, 2011

HTC Desire HD and HTC Wildfire - Hands on

Having fed up with unusable and non innovative Nokia N8, I decided to get rid off it and buy an Android. Nokia N8 has most outdated OS(Symbian), Nokia thought making big buttons on Symbian will make them Touch Screen OS Leader. But finally they accepted their incapabilities and collaborated with Microsoft to build Windows 7 OS phone. 

While searching for an immediate replacement for Nokia N8 with minim cost, i came across HTC Wildfire. I brought that at the price of Rs13500/-. 

HTC Wildfire

Pros -

  • Affordable Android phone with 5mp Camera and Flash.
  • Good speakers quality. 
  • Option to set picture as 'Lock Screen Wallpaper' or Home Screen Wallpaper (missing in Desire HD).
  • Track ball for precise cursor movement and text selection. 
  • Light weight and good battery.
  • 600 Mhz process was enough.

Cons -

  • Very low screen resolution resulting of text pixelation. 240 x 320 pixels, 3.2 inches.
  • Many times in the chat applications the send buttons were hidden behind the keypad due to small screens
  • The video recording is very bad and tiny size. CIF@15fps video recording (352 x 288 pixels) . This is below average standards of any regular phone. 


HTC Sense UI

Lot has been talked about the Sense UI. These are Android modifications done by handset manufacturers to maintain their uniqueness. The things that are currently lacking in android are the integrations of social feeds with contacts. Also any contextual information of email, sms, call log is not shown against the stock contact apps. The HTC Sense UI makes this possible with its Friends Feed widget, home screen navigations and skins. There are couple of HTC widgets like clock and weather. 

Well, there is a account you can create and they say you can sync contacts and photos etc. You can even track your phone from their site. I tried with no luck. Their site is quite buggy and after writing to their support they accepted that is not working. What a shame on HTC. 


HTC Desire HD

Finally i sold HTC Wildfire and brought HTC Desire HD at a price of Rs27,000/- . 


  • Very large screen of 480 x 800 pixels, 4.3 inches
  • Internal memory of 1.5 GB; 768 MB RAM is good for multitasking 
  • microSD, up to 32GB, 8GB included
  • 1 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon
  • 8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash, Video recording at  720p
  • The apps were very responsive. The email scrolling was smooth. I had Samsung Galaxy S. IT was a pice of shit with all bugs and it use to hang. But HTC was very good. 

Cons -

  • Pathetic speaker quality and volume. I mean, you cannot hear any ringtone or any music. The sound of speaker is like cheap 3rd rate company product. I was shocked to see this. I had to set a polyphonic old tring-tring ringtone. 
  • The screen is not quite visible in daylight. 
  • Being large screen, the battery drains in a day. May be 10hrs max. 
  • Because of high resolution screen, the system fonts look tiny and unreadable. The default apps like email, sms, dialer have no option to increase fonts. This is a biggest disadvantage which made me to install 3rd party apps for every stock client. I am writing a separate post on Android Apps. 

Having limitations with HTC Sense UI, I have totally changed all stock apps to new Android Market apps. Now on my HTC Desire HD, there is nothing about HTC Sense UI left. Read my next post. 










Posted via email from Sameer Chavan's Design Blog