XDA-Developers is a great community, famous for all sorts of mobile hacking and development but with a particular focus on Android and Windows Phone. It provides great resources and information about all things developer-related, with a wiki and a large forum that has over 4,000,000 active users. It is due to those active developers and forum members that XDA is considered a leader among all dev communities. Most of the custom ROMs ever built are made by the experienced developers over at XDA.
These developers often create apps and software which are not suitable for the Android Market – some of which are even against the Market’s Terms of Service. Here are a few great examples that I find to be very useful and one of a kind. Some of these can be found on the Android Market, but many can’t; all are made by members of XDA-Developers.
LifeDropper is a real life eyedropper tool that allows you to pick up a color anywhere with your camera. Once a color is picked up, the app gives you the Hexadecimal, RGB and CMYK color codes. This color can also be saved with a specific name so it can be recalled at a later time through the app. It’s a very handy app if you are in the designing business and want to sample a color and share it with people on the go.
Google has yet to release an official goo.gl URL shortening app, which is a real let down. But XDA member nathanpc has created an unofficial app that does the job pretty well. It’s pretty simple: you just enter the URL and hit the ‘Shorten’ button, and almost instantly a shortened link is displayed at the bottom. In the latest version, the developer added the must-have Copy feature it was lacking before.
Android Screencast is an open-source screencasting and remote controlling software. Once you open this software while your phone is connected through USB, you can see all the contents of your phone screen on your computer. It is great for taking screenshots, and for recording screencasts (for which it has a built-in feature). If you are a root user, you can stimulate touch with your mouse and use your keyboard for input. You can also stimulate hardware buttons like Home and Back.
Android Screencast is one of a kind in that its runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. However, in order to run the app, you’re first going to need the Android SDK. Also, make sure you have the Java Runtime Enviorment installed on your computer. When you have downloaded and installed each, open ‘androidscreencast.jnlp’ and you should have Android Screencast running.
Android Injector lets you install APKs on your Android Device without actually having to copy them onto your phone.
Make sure you have your USB drivers installed and have ‘Unknown Sources’ checked in your phone’s settings, which would let you install apps for sources other than the Android Market, then just drag and drop an APK onto the Android Injector and press “install to device”. You’ll see the installed app on your Android device instantly.
Prox is a unique app that performs actions when you pass your hand over the proximity sensor. It can perform one of four specified tasks, depending on the position of the phone when you do this: the phone can be flat, facing towards you, tilted left, or tilted right. You can use this to run a specific app, open your notifications, and so on. It works pretty well.
Make sure your accelerometer is calibrated right by going to Settings>Display>Calibration and put your phone on a plain surface and press Calibrate. This should help you get going if Prox doesn’t sense your device’s position at first.
Price: Free | $2.99 Pro Version
XDA Link: Prox
This circular battery indicator looks nice and works without being a hindrance. To use this, you usually have to have have a rooted device that is using a ROM other than the stock. But XDA member irkan has made a great app that is very small in size and does what its supposed to without the need of a custom ROM, or even root. It’s quick, it’s small, and it does what it is supposed to; what else could one want in a battery indicator?
HTC Sense has this great feature that if your phone is ringing, you can flip your phone upside down to mute your phone. I, being on a Samsung device, don’t have this feature. But, this great app Flip4Silence does that, and in a very effective way.
There are plenty of apps that do exactly the same thing, but they are battery gluttons and make sure your phone drains out pretty quickly. This app specifically targets that problem, and has a lot of people helping Luminger in making it even better and more optimized. It runs in the background and I have never even noticed it is there. It hasn’t have any noticeable effect on my battery life, either.
SuperOneClick is the most popular software for rooting an Android device. It is the most tested and bug-free software there is for this purpose and has very little chance of bricking your device because it uses a special ADB exploit that works on absolutely every Android device there is.
I have personally tested it and found it to be working perfectly. It’s also great if you are new to the process of rooting and don’t want to do something risky like manually applying an update zip through recovery. SuperOneClick works on Windows (requires .NET framework, Mac, and Linux (requires mono).
This app allows you to calibrate your battery with your Android OS. Sometimes, we get wrong readings of the battery level, like when it claims to have charged up to 100% but the charge falls down to 90% or 80% within minutes of unplugging. This happens because the battery is not calibrated with the software, so the software displays incorrect information.
Battery Calibration deletes your battery stats; after this, the system is forced to generate a new set of battery stats, which displays the right information. It isn’t mandatory to recalibrate the battery every time you flash a new ROM, but it is generally considered a good practice to do so.
This app requires root.
ButtonRemapper lets you reassign other functions onto your hardware buttons. In this way, you can assign a function like ‘Music Forward’ to your camera button.
This app requires root.