Welcome to the Android
Here to help you put [stuff] on your phone/not-a-phone-with-a-big-screen.
Don't have one of the Android phones yet
? You will ... soonI for one welcome our Android overlords>tips
The deal with task killer
apps and why to avoid them:
Applications 'running' in the background are not necessarily running
but in a sleeping state (for example: apps like gmail that check every x minutes for new mails). Killing these sleeping apps can decrease
performance: the app needs to be restarted which brings it back into an active state - or it's not started anew at all and you lose functionality like mail notifications
There is a possibility some badly written app some does unnecessary polling of hardware in the background. You can try to spot these using 'monitor' apps like Watchdog
so in short: Task Killers: not a good idea in general
the longer story:Android Developers Blog: Multitasking the Android WayThe effect of task killers on android
: 'what's the deal'? Do I have to root? what do I get/lose?
'Do I need to root my phone to use my phone?'No.
Android is a very open mobile OS, you can change all aspects ranging from homescreens to keyboards just fine without any kind of root unlock. Root is required if you wish to unlock certain permissions (e.g. adjusting the CPU speed) and/or install custom ROMs.
A custom ROM is a community-made modification of the Android OS, customizing it more in some way. Additional functionality (like joining ad-hoc wifi networks) or more sleek set-up (speed, control over battery life) can be gained. You're no longer reliant on your manufacturer or carrier to push android updates to your phone. You could for example run a modified gingerbread (Android 2.3.3) on your ZTE Blade phone instead of Android 2.1 eclair.
Root also opens the door for automatic battery modifications by automatically underclocking your CPU when your phone is idle or screen turned off. Some ROMs have kernels that support advanced 'governor' settings so you don't have to tweak with profile settings either.
'How do I get started?'
You will need to gain root access on your device and use a ROM specifically suited for your phone model.
Check the XDA dev
forums, scroll down to the forums of your device and check out the Sticky threads. Be sure to follow them with care, backing up where they ask you to back-up your original stuff and using the right instructions for your device versions.
a few basic terms:
ROM: this is the OS you'll be flashing to your device. Examples include official ROMs, Cyanogenmod etc.
Recovery Mode: when you boot your phone to recovery mode (usually volume down + boot) you hit recovery mode. Rooting your phone installs a custom recovery mode (usually either clockworkmod or amonra) from which you can flash .zip files to your phone, such as the ROM you want to install
Nandroid: in Recovery mode you can make a complete system image back-up of your phone to which you can restore to. It is recommended to _always_ do this before wiping your phone and flashing a rom. This way you can return your phone to the complete image state it was before.
Radio: The firmware of the cellular radio can also be flashed, check the ROM page for which radio version is recommended.
when flashing a ROM of a different version (custom ROM or android version) you should wipe your device in recovery mode first. As such, you'll need to make a back-up of your messages, call logs, contacts etc first. Titanium Backup pro works (but requires root first, so root first, then back-up, then flash the ROM).Rooting has its risks! Be prepared to have to tinker with your device in case shit goes wrong.
Also, before you do anything to your phone in recovery mode (you'll probably have to go there as part of the rooting process if you decide to, as well as if you are flashing any custom ROMs) make sure your battery is charged! If you're plugged in it won't charge while in recovery; this is probably the quickest way to brick your phone.
While flashing your device it's recommended not to charge the device - it may fool battery calibration a little bit (although that can be re-calibrated later).
Note that while rooted you may not be able to receive official OTA updates, or if you can - they will make you lose root. If you install a community ROM they will most likely incorporate the official update in a newer version.
Recommended root apps:
SetCPU, Titanium Backup, ROM Manager, ADFree Android, ShootMe (Screenshots)
Some example pimped homescreens
from the thread:
>install some apps!
You can check out some apps on the web and queue them for install on either the official market.android.com
See the bottom of this post for the appbrain profiles of other PA forumers (see what they have installed).
Check out apps made by 'Google Inc.' for official Google apps like Google Goggles
and Google Translate
some other recommendations:$APPS FOR FREE!
Custom Homescreen & widgets:
- On Getjar paid apps are added to their 'Getjar Gold' list for free every week. Downside is you lose out on auto-update.
- Amazon Appstore has a free daily app. US Only
- Home screen replacements: Both Go Launcher and ADW Launcher are very solid customizable launchers.
Snowstorm - Popular weather widget replacement
- Multicon - Widget to place 4 smaller icons on the widget space of just 1 icon. If you really want to stuff your home screen.
- Digital Clock Widget - Another popular homescreen clock widget most peeps here use.
- Star Trek Combadge - Choose an action to launch when you click the fancy combadge. Engage!
- Beautiful Widgets - Includes some widgets like clock/switch controls with skinning support. Available for free on Getjar
- Texting replacement: Go SMS Pro or Handcent SMS - Both replace SMS and add extra customization options for lay-out and feautures like pop-up windows.
- Skype - For Android 2.1 and up. Call skype friends over wifi.
- AndChat - IRC client for Android
- Google Voice - US only - Google Voice number on your phone, offering a different interface for your texting and calling needs. See the intro vid on the site for info.
- Alternative keyboards: Android supports keyboard replacements. Recommendations: Swype (not yet available on Market, but here is a beta), Swiftkey X (Free on getjar.com)
- K-9 Mail - popular e-mail client, in case you don't use gmail or don't like the stock gmail client.
- Kakao talk - Text iphone/android friends with this app over the internet rather than regular text. See also: WhatsApp which is free for the first year of use.
- SMS Backup+ - (Automatically) back-up or restore your SMS to your GMail.
- Soundhound or Shazam - Have your phone listen to any song playing and identify it for you.
- Mp3 players - Doubletwist or Mixzing
- Pandora - Similar to last.fm radio. Search for an artist, stream radio of similar sounds
- Ringdroid - Easily turn any part of any mp3 into a ringtone.
- Internet browser replacements: Dolphin HD, Firefox, Opera Mini
Text & References
- Call Confirm - An extra prompt window to confirm you want to call someone.
- Estrong File Explorer - File explorer, browse internal/sd memory - install apps. Alternatively: Astro File Manager
- PDAnet - Free tethering: sharing the phone's internet connection with other devices. (Built-in in Android 2.2)
- Audiomanager - Home widget for easily managing all the different sound levels (alarm, ringtone,media) as well as vibration in one place.
- No Lock: enable/disable (widget) the 'slide' lock whenever the phone wakes up from standby.
- MyPhoneExplorer - This is a PC application to back-up/restore/manage your Android phone contacts/messages/etc.
- Spare Parts - Unlock easy access to some system options that can't be found in the default menus like wifi sleep policy and animation/font settings.
- Quick Settings - Quick access to some of the most-used settings like sound/wifi control. One screen accessible from search button.
- aLogCat - View logcat messages on your phone. Basically shows all the warnings/errors going on in your phone, convenient if you get force close windows to track down the issue.
- Tasker - ($) Automatize some actions like turning on wifi when you open some apps, read out SMS messages if you're in the car etc.
- App 2 SD (move apps to SD) - App will notify you which apps you have that can be moved to the SD (2.2 Froyo only). It will notify you when you install new apps that can be moved.
- Titanium Backup (requires root) - Make a back-up of anything, avoid the red apps. For non-root users, you can find back-up apps for other data (call logs, contacts, messages in particular - stuff you want to keep when you do a full wipe of your phone when switching ROMs) on the market or included in other apps like your messaging app.
- SetCPU (requires root) - Donate version also available on the android market. Underclock your phone to save battery when you don't need the extra processing power. Depending on your ROM kernel it may support some automatic profiles (governors) so you don't even have to define some (like 'underclock while screen off' etc).
- Wapedia - Wikipedia in mobile form. Alternatively: Quickpedia or mobile.wikipedia.org
- 3banana - Take notes and sync with your snaptic account
- RSS readers: Newsrob is a Google Reader client with offline sync. Google Reader has an official app with nicer interface but lacks the offline cache. Pulse has a fancy image interface but only for select feeds (like engadget). GReader is another google reader app (with offline sync).
- Epicurious - Cooking guide, search for recipes from Epicurious.
- Many newspapers like NYTimes have their own android widgets.
- Evernote - take mental notes. If you want a more simple note app: Colornote
Useless but nerdy cool stuff:
- Barcode Scanner - Essential - use the phone's camera to scan barcodes/QR codes.
- Easy Spirit Level - Your phone is now a spirit level, congratulations
- Cardiotrainer - Useful for fitness exercises. Turn on your GPS when you take a run around the block and it will save your trajectory which you can view on your stats page. Plenty of alternative apps out there.
- Astrid - Personal task manager (to-do lists)
- Gmote - Stream music from your desktop to your android or use your phone as an input device via Wifi (useful for presentations).
- Chrome to Phone (Android 2.2 only). Install chrome to phone from the market, install the chrome extension (Firefox exention is called FoxToPhone) - send URLs, maps etc directly to phone through the android internets cloud.
- Handycalc - Scientific calculator including unit conversion, graphs etc.
- Alarm Clock Plus - Extensive alarm clock replacement with options like setting dates, crescendo volume, snooze & math question settings etc.
- Dropbox - Access your Dropbox folder easily from your phone, share taken photos etc easily by sending them straight to your dropbox.
- Google Sky Maps - Point at the sky, see star names. Sure to impress your ladyfriends.
- Solaris - Is there an electromagnetic storm in your area? What's the auroral activity like in the north? See it on a 3D earth.
- Tricorder - Congratulations, your android phone is now a tricorder. Measure the magnetic field around you among other things.
If you want to find and explore more apps or discover which apps PAers use it's recommended you take a look at:> appbrain profiles
Find out which apps PA forumers have installed:
(post yours in the thread to have it added!)
> other questions
I want the cheapest accessories for my phone!
But what if I want something more expensive?
-Check ebay / your carrier shop / xda forums
of your phone with recommended accessories