Android software

Overview

I'm working on updating this list, it was getting too long, and I want to organize by function.

I recently was able to root my Note 3 with the KitKat update. Whew. Never again will I do a firmware update without knowing I can root again. The few extra features in Android operating system updates is, in my opinion, far outweighed by the importance to limit capabilities of the apps you use, and the performance lost by apps running you don't want or need.

For example, why does an app like the flashlight need to have access to contacts, location, etc.

I have AT&T, and there is a whole bunch of apps they have loaded you cannot stop or remove, and they are either junk or stuff that is duplicated, like a map app, or a wifi app, etc.

So having a rooted phone in this day and age is imperative to me, therefore there is a section on rooted apps.

Rooting tips and apps

What is rooting and why?

First, I will only mention that rooting is basically getting "root access" to the linux operating system of the phone. Normally you are running as a user that does not have all privileges. This allows the manufacturer and/or the carrier to "force" apps on you that you cannot uninstall or stop running. This also means that the access to information of these apps likewise cannot be controlled. Apps can automatically run, using cpu cycles, ram and your battery. Also, these apps can be sending your personal information of too anyone they want.

Warning

If you can root a phone, and how to root, and the dangers of "bricking" your phone are things you should understand and research on your own. If you want to do this, I highly recommend researching it thoroughly and understanding the process, or get a friend to help you. Any more on this is way beyond the scope of this page, and you have been warned, do it wrong and you can "brick" your device.

Why I root

OK, so I root for 3 reasons:

  1. to stop applications from running I don't want
  2. to control those applications I do want
  3. to add functionality not normally allowed
  4. to stop data mining, and

Basic root software tools/apps

Titanium Backup - BUY this! It makes backups of your system. If you don't understand why to do backups of your device, stop reading now, and take a walk on the freeway, seriously. The other thing it does, which to me is the main usage (since there are lots of backup programs) is the ability to not only uninstall, but "freeze" an application. So you can "debloat" your phone safely, you can freeze an app, and if it was really needed, just unfreeze it. Uninstalling a "factory" app can be dangerous. Buy the "pro" version.

SuperSU - replaces the stock SU (Super User) utility, allows selective granting of root access to apps, forever, or for a limited time. Another must have. Notice that the latest version is not always on Google Play.

Root Checker Basic - use to make sure root access is enabled

Nandroid Manager - makes and restores nandroid backups, and handles recovery.

Root permission tools

So a big reason to root is to control permissions of apps. There is a permission manager, but it is hidden or lacks control. You can find various apps to fire it off:

App ops (icon is a gear)
Permission Manager (icon is 3 blue vertical sliders)
etc.
 

I found some other tools, like Permission Manager (icon is like a red globe with a diagonal banner that says "GRANTED"). This product also analyzes apps for "dangerous" permissions. This app crashed every time I went to "manage".

The Ultimate tool is XPrivacy, which really controls these things, and can search by app name. It uses the Xposed framework, which is a framework for all kinds of tools that get "into" the system. You start by downloading the Xposed installer (not on the App store!!) and it walks you through the configuration and setup.

The level at which you can control permissions, and the ease to do a "first" cut at restricting an app, down to the most granularity and tightest control is just amazing. It also gave me a great feeling that I am back in control of my phone. When starting it, be sure to go through the tutorial, there are a couple of ways to restrict/control apps.

 

My list of softwares I like (and dislike!)

There are also tips in usage,

Be sure to scroll down past this text list to see a list of what is in my phone today.

bold : I have tried/used it

$ means not free

RED - junk (or worse)

GREEN - I am using

 

Note: this list is was developed for Jelly Bean and KitKat so some of these may be old.

Android security software notes:

Avast

Locate user phone
Call and sms filter
Track phone
Track data and wifi usage

Avg

Protection from text message threats
Remote wipe

Msecure password mgr

$10

Norton

Remote wipe
Scans sd

Mcafee

Lock apps
Track device
Filter unwanted calls or sms

Lookout

Free popular

Webroot

“find me” alarm

Kaspersky

$15
Device lock
Data wipe

Trustgo

Wrong password 3 times, it takes a picture and emails it

Seek droid

$5
Remote wipe
Track
alarm

Software, in alphabetical order:

  • 4shared - on the play store, allows access to the 4shared database of "cracked" apps.
  • 91 pandahome2 - theme switcher - not impessed
  • admin notifier - new in ics need to check out
  • adobe reader, by Adobe - essential to read pdf files
  • adw launcher, by anderweb  - great launcher that rotates the icons in landscape mode, you might have to get another dialer app if you have the HTC sense dialer, I used Dialer1 see below, included in the CM7 port on the HP Touchpad link for support: http://code.google.com/p/adw-launcher-android/wiki/CompleteGuideToADW, using Nova launcher on ICS now
  • alarm & timer - build in android app
  • amazon kindle - built in android app
  • advanced task killer, by rechild - overuse is not necessary, but can clean things up, can be configured to only try to kill certain tasks, also good way to see all the crap that autostarts on it's own, I found that this is not really necessary any more, was good on earlier android
  • android live wallpapers - built in android app
  • android system - built in android app
  • Aplogd Settings - internal system file
  • astro file manager, by Metago - very nice file manager
  • AT&T Address Book - built in bloatware
  • AT&T Code Scanner - built in Q scanner
  • AT&T FamilyMap - dunno
  • AT&T Messages - will check out
  • AT&T Navigator - the one you don't want to use
  • AT&T Smart Wi-Fi
  • AtCMD Launcher - built in
  • AtCommandService - built in
  • Auto SMS - great auto responder for messages, has whitelist, blacklist, must have!
  • barcode scanner, by ZXing Team - works very well, uses camera to read barcodes
  • battery monitor widget, by 3c
  • battery alarm - another nice one
  • battery widget - geekygroup - shows the battery capacity in place on your screen, tap and it shows what is using the battery, has toggles for wifi and BT
  • beautiful widgets - need to list them but nice set of widgets, I like the curvefish ones better
  • bluetooth on/off, by Curvefish - my favorite widgets for this type of control, shows on, off, and if you are in transition, simple and easy
  • bluetooth share - built in android app
  • bluetuuthDun - internal app
  • bookmarks to sd, by Dolphin - an add in to the Dolphin browser, allows export and import of bookmarks... tip: they go into a directory called "tunnybrowser" on the sdcard directory.
  • bookmarks Widget - check out
  • brightness control - looks like built in widget
  • brightness level, by curvefish - another excellent widget, and one of the few oes that allows the AUTO settng
  • browser - built in ICS browser
  • browserMessage - built in ?
  • calculator - built in app
  • calender - built in app
  • calendar storage - built in app
  • camcard, by Intsig - business card scanner, works ok
  • camera - built in app
  • camera 360 - nice panarama app
  • certificate installer - built in app
  • chargeOnlyMode - built in app
  • chooser - built in
  • City ID - nice built in app, but costs money after trial, not worth the $$
  • colors - by Tim Clark - lets you pick a plain solid color background, good for low res or low brightness displays
  • com.... number of internal apps for the o/s
  • compass & leveler, by Maxcom - simple and 2 functions in one app
  • contacts - built in app
  • contacts storage - built in app
  • contacts sync
  • contactsData
  • contextEngine - built in app
  • converter - v1.2.2 by asif chowdhury - converts many units - nice - has ads
  • convertpad - v2.0.0 by sunny moon - very nice - has ads
  • Cool Down Mode - built in
  • CPU Master free, by anTuTu - sets cpu speed on rooted devices, stock max speed on HP touchpad was 1188
  • dialer - built in app from HTC - the basic phone dialer
  • Dialer1, by Yermek Zhumagulov - very nice dialer that follows screen orientation
  • Dictionary Provider - built in app
  • DLNA - need to see if it is a widget too
  • DockComm - built in probably to support the docing station
  • Dolphin Browser HD - best browser so far, better than Firefox for now, faq/blog here: http://blog.dolphin-browser.com/faq/dolphin-browser-hd/ Syncing bookmarks: There is Xmarks, but I had one heck of a time getting just the bookmarks I wanted. I use Bookmarks to SD to import and export. It also has a way to sync with your google account.. have not tried yet.
  • dolphin liscense - separate app that registers your browser
  • DroidLight - flashlight app
  • email - built in app
  • Emergency Alerts - built in app
  • engine driver - works with JMRI - model trains remote control app
  • engineerscalc - thompsonlinear.com - trig, materials density, etc.
  • entitlement - built in
  • facebook - obvious
  • fast reboot pro, by great bytes software lets you reboot without rebooting - (restarts all apps) - has a widget, just does a force close on apps
  • fcc test, by ookla - does speed tests - works on wifi and on broadband cellular
  • featured apps - part of google play I guess
  • file - built in app file browser
  • firefox - internet browser - I get the beta version, best html5 rendition, the android version is pretty much the same level as the pc one now. Still not as good as dolphin, and no flash plugin apparently.
  • fish-o-meter, by convisual AD, aslo aquarium free, by Kittehface software - aquarium theme, fun
  • Flashlights, by hsa - turns on leds at camera on thunderbolt - nice - 3 levels of brightness, flashing, and sends SOS
  • Flashlight, by
  • flickr authenticator - built in
  • FM radio - built in app - works ok, you need to have headphones connected, it uses the headphone cable as an antenna
  • fmradioservice - built in or maybe a widget
  • freedom pro keyboard driver - needed for the bluetooth keyboard I bought
  • Forticlient - vpn client for fortigate routers
  • GasBuddy - great app for finding gas prices, has map display that moves as you do.
  • gmail - preinstalled on thunderbolt, nice way to use gmail on android
  • Go Contacts - experimenting
  • google calendar sync
  • google contacts sync
  • google play books -
  • google play movies
  • google play music
  • google play store - to get apps etc
  • google search - preinstalled - easy search built into android
  • google+ - works on 2.3 and above, has visual chat
  • GPS on/off, by curvefish - another great widget
  • GPS status, by eclipsim - nice way to see more details on your gps
  • GPS test - chartcross limited 1.2.9 nice
  • Handcent Emoji plugin - emoticons for handcent - haven't figured out yet
  • Handcent sms - nicer sms alternative
  • help center??
  • history eraser - nice app that deletes history from the phone
  • hulu plus - I signed up, had to find a modified apk since my device not officially supported, works fine
  • IPSec VPNs - new in ICS
  • jawbone companion - used with jawbone BT headsets, shows battery level on status bar
  • keyboard with Ctl key, by pline.co.jp  - nice keyboard
  • lets golf 2 - preinstalled game - I don't play games
  • light flow lite - great app, lets you pick different colors for the status led to mean messages, email, charged, etc.
  • live TV -
  • live wallpaper picker
  • livestream - can't get to work, too bad
  • lookout - has antivirus scanning, backup, and lost device recovery, excellent
  • LTE OnOff - used on thunderbolt to take you to screen where you can force to 3G, I use because Verizon network does not allow VPN on 4G network, can be used to save battery life
  • magic smoke wallpapers - built in app
  • (google) maps - preinstalled on thunderbolt - google maps with satellite
  • mobile hotspot - preinstalled app
  • mobileCMS - DVR camera utility
  • motocast, motoprint  -
  • motorola dock service
  • motorola services
  • Movies
  • Music store - ?? google ??
  • MusicFX - built in??
  • My Gallery - preinstalled - widget 4 x 2, put in social media
  • My Music
  • my sensors, by kevin fodor - very cool app that shows you raw data output of sensors, 3 axix accelerometer, 3 axis magnetic, angle distance, light sensor, fun
  • my AT&T - can't use because company account
  • network info II, by alt236
  • NASCAR Countdown Widget
  • NascarInfo
  • Network Info II - good app
  • network mapper - by coc - fast
  • news & weather - built in app -
  • Nova launcher - very nice launcher -

    Much like many Google apps/services, Nova has a "labs" menu that makes available some useful tweaks which aren't quite ready for prime time (get it?).

    Within this hidden menu, you'll find things like the ability to increase the maximum grid size (from 7x7 to 16x16), toggles to add any size widget to the dock, force 180 degree orientation, UI Lock, and a couple of widget restore and resize options.

  • Ocean HD - really nice underwater background 3D
  • Open Signal Maps - shows direction and strength of cell towers
  • Pandora - great free radio station, customize your own station
  • Phone - build in phone app
  • Photo Editor -
  • pdf utility lite - will let you split, merge, extract and insert images
  • ping by ilmobileapps.com - can ping list of addresses - has ads -  
  • ping by firedale - another ping - can have lists - continuous
  • pingrange by srcguardian - will ping range of ip's - fast, returns mac addresses
  • Quadrant Standard - benchmarking program
  • Quickoffice - preinstalled from HTC
  • rescue security
  • scanner radio -
  • settings - preinstalled - android operating system settings
  • setup - preinstalled - first time setup for phone, like language, etc
  • slacker -
  • skype -
  • slingplayer - streaming video player for a slingbox at your home
  • smart actions - preinstalled, set up triggers and actions and rules, turn off GPS when phone not in use, etc.
  • smart dock
  • smart viewer -
  • smart eyes - dvr viewer
  • sound recorder - preinstalled
  • spare parts by droidgram - does various system settings - I need to evaluate further - has ads, spare parts pro is free, and it lets you get blade buddy for rooted phones
  • speedtest.net, by ookla - one of the best speed tests, keeps a history, works wifi or wireless
  • spotify -
  • sticky note -
  • street view - google maps addin
  • Sudoku Free - the only game I play
  • Suggestions -
  • Swype - alternative input - preinstalled
  • Talk - I think this is from google
  • Tango - video chat works on iPhone and Android, great, easy to set up
  • Tape-a-Talk, by Marcus Drosser - nice voice recorder that lets you email the voice recording
  • Tasks
  • Telnet, by clockworkmod - telnet program, if you don't know what it is, you don't need it
  • (Android) Terminal emulator, by Jack Palevich - terminal emulator, if you don't know what it is, you don't need it 
  • Text messaging - built in app
  • The weather channel - one of the better weather proggies, - has ads
  • Thumb Keyboard 4 - excellent keyboard for a tablet
  • Tricorder - cute program that actually is pretty useful in reading all your sensors
  • Tweetcaster - Twitter reader - either I'm not using this right or it's a pain in the butt
  • Twitter widget - for twitter
  • Ultrachron lite - stopwatch
  • Unzip by android-wallpapers.com - does file unzip, if you don't know or use zip files, you don't need this
  • vConvertit, by verdebreuk
  • vCOrganizer pro - best Outlook sync tool I have found
  • Vehicle mode - should be car dock app
  • Video editor lite - preinstalled
  • voice commands - preinstalled
  • voice search
  • Vtok  - supposed to be Google video chat, have not gotten to work yet
  • Weather - preinstalled
  • Weatherbug - nice app
  • Webaccess A - used by buffalo storage drives
  • Webtop - built in from using an external dock on motorola atrix
  • What's my ip?, by mgd / Mr. Beat - simple app to show your ip address
  • WiFi Analyzer by farproc - excellent graphical representation of all freqs in use with signal strength - has ads
  • WiFi OnOff - by curvefish - another great widget
  • WiFi Speed Test - by Zoltán Pallagi

download from play store

go here to get the server software https://bitbucket.org/pzolee/tcpserver/downloads

go here for documentation http://pzoleeblogen.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/wifi-speed-test-for-android-how-to/

  • World clock - preinstalled - 4 x 2, shows 2 cities
  • Xmarks for Dolphin browser - really kind of a pain, you get another folder in your pc browser, not easy to manage
  • Youtube - preinstalled app on thunderbolt - if you don't know what this is, you have been living under a rock
  • Youtube Search - ok, not great, but saves time, sits as a widget on your screen, if you youtube a lot, may be worthwhile, but you have ads all the time on the widget
  • YP Mobile - preinstalled - Yellow Pages mobile app to find businesses
  • Zebra Utilities - free app from Zebra to test zebra brand barcode printers
  • Zedge - preinstalled - ringtones, wallpapers, nice free stuff

 

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