17 Android Apps that Geeks Will Love

Android started life with a fairly geeky image. It was billed as an ‘open-source mobile operating system by Google’, a phrase full of terms that geeks can never get enough of. And yet it was cool because it was new, different, and had potential. Once the phone manufacturers saw this potential and Android became mainstream, a lot of the geek-appeal faded away.

This roundup contains 17 applications which appeal to me, as a geek. Just because Android is no longer reserved exclusively for us doesn’t mean there are no great applications built with us in mind.

AndroIRC Icon

AndroIRC

Internet Relay Chat is and always has been the realm of the geeks. Essentially thousands of chatrooms on thousands of servers, IRC is a landmark in geek-collaboration and banter which has stood the test of time. Despite newer and more efficient online communication coming about, it remains steadfast and shows no real signs of giving up its perch any time soon.

AndroIRC is a fairly fast, well-developed and easy to use IRC client. With this application you can chat through your phone wherever you are, so long as you have an internet connection.

Such an application can be very battery intensive due to fairly constant data transfers, keep an eye on your battery level.

Price: Free
Market Link: AndroIRC
Developer: AndroIRC Team

Ubuntu Countdown Icon

Ubuntu Countdown Widget

The most popular Linux Operating System ‘Ubuntu‘¬†gets a scheduled release with upgrades and new features every 6 months like clockwork. For those people who really love their Ubuntu, you can use a Widget to count down the day’s until the next release.

Enjoy counting down until ‘11.10 –¬†Oneiric Ocelot’ with a large or small counter on your Home Screen!

Price: Free!
Market Link: Ubuntu Countdown Widget
Developer: Roberto Leinardi

Amazon Kindle Icon

Amazon Kindle

Deep down, everybody loves a good book. Whether it is fact or fantasy, our minds take simple curly letters and craft whole worlds using only our imagination. Amazon launched their portable Kindle devices quite a while ago, their Android application is a relatively recent release.

Being free to download and use, it lets you take your eBooks around with you in your pocket. It isn’t quite as flash as the iPhone’s iBooks or a genuine Kindle, but if you are on a bus, train, flight, or just have some time to yourself, the ability to whip out your phone can be far nicer and more convenient than lugging a considerably larger Kindle around with you.

Price: Free
Requires: Kindle Books in your Amazon account
Market Link: Amazon Kindle
Developer: Amazon

Wifi Sharing Icon

WiFi Hotspot

As of Android 2.2, you can share your phone’s WiFi with up to eight other WiFi enabled devices. It is important to remember you have this at your disposal. If you have an iPad, Xoom, Netbook, Laptop, or any other device without a dedicated 3G unit, you are never without internet — as long as you have your phone and a data plan! Open the application and start giving your other devices their beloved networking back.

Remember though, maintaining both a 3G and WiFi connection kills the battery, so make sure you have your phone’s charging cable with you wherever you go if you are an avid Netbook or Laptop user so you can keep your phone topped up. If you have the cable you could always try a tethered phone-to-computer connection instead.

Install ZDBox to keep an eye on your networking to ensure you don’t breach your provider’s data allowance. Make sure that your network carrier does not charge you extra for tethering though. See Connor Turnbull’s article for more information about that.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2+. Some carriers block access.
Developer: Google Inc.

XDA App Icon

XDA Forum

The immensely popular Android and Windows phone developers forum XDA has an Android application! On this forum you can find out and discuss the latest going-ons within the world of Android modification, plus the newest works from the hackers who bring about custom ROMs such as Cyanogenmod.

Price: Free!
Market Link: XDA-Developers
Developer: XDA

My Tracks Icon

My Tracks

Geeks love a walk! Whether in the countryside or just about town, fresh air is only ever good for you. That factor coupled with some exercise means you have gotten off of the screens and given your body some much needed movement.

My Tracks is an application which records your whole journey from start to finish through GPS. It allows the sharing of your route in various ways, plus many forms of trip analysis such as average speed, height climbed, total distance and so forth. You can keep these visual representations and statistics for yourself to have a look at, or show them off when someone asks where you went on your walk. It also works perfectly well in cars and on motorcycles.

Price: Free
Market Link: My Tracks
Developer: Google Inc.

C:GEO Icon

c:geo

Still very much unheard of on a wide level, geocaching is the GPS user’s dream hobby. Millions of boxes or capsules have been hidden around the world. Literally. The global co-ordinates of every last one is stored on the Geocaching website.

The aim of the ‘game’ is to go and hunt some down, claim a trinket, leave one behind, and mark it off as an achievement. It is highly likely that you go past geocaches everyday; I know I did.

If you are ever with free time, whip out c:geo and use the Live Map mode to peruse your neighbourhood or current area. Odd’s are there is one relatively nearby to you. Go and have a good hunt for it!

Tip: Sometimes geocaches are hidden in undergrowth or up tree’s. Make sure you have casual clothes on before setting off.

Full Review: c:geo review
Price: Free
Market Link: c:geo
Developer: Carnero

ConnectBot Icon

ConnectBot

The application ConnectBot gives you console access to your SSH servers from absolutely anywhere.

A clever user interface allows you to send Ctrl, Alt, and Escape signals to the remote server, thereby allowing you to send commands that the normal Android keyboard could never do. Sessions can be left running in the background and common ones are saved to remove the hassle of typing credentials in every time you log on.

The interface, despite being clever, does take some getting used to. Once understood and familiar, it is a fantastic companion to regular secure shell users.

Price: Free
Market Link: ConnectBot
Developer: Kenny Root and Jeffrey Sharkey

Google Talk Icon

Google Talk

If you love instant messaging then Google Talk is worth a look. This application is installed by default on newer Android phones and allows instantaneous messaging through the Google Talk/Jabber chat protocol. Signing up to create an account is easy, and the application is fast and simple to use.

This application acts as a mobile extension to users who already have a desktop Google Talk or Jabber account!

Price: Free!
Developer: Google Inc.

SMS Popup Icon

SMS Popup

Own a phone that doesn’t support message pop ups? Well this application is a simple and extremely minimalist addon that appends this functionality.

It works especially well with the HTC messenger application: rather than opening the whole application to send a response, you read the message in the popup, type a response in the space provided, and click send.

Definitely a timesaver.

Price: Free!
Market Link: SMS Popup
Developer: Adam K

IP Webcam Icon

IP Webcam

This is a quirky application which allows you to enable video transmission of your phone’s video camera over a web connection. You point your computer’s browser to your phone’s IP address and have a variety of streaming methods to choose from.

There is no obvious use for this except practical jokes I suppose, but things without practical uses are often the most fun! That being said, setting it up may take five minutes to get used to and it is another battery glutton.

Price: Free
Market Link: IP Webcam
Developer: Pas

Google Goggles Icon

Google Goggles

Google Goggles is a curious application which allows you to take a photograph of something and then search for references and similar pictures through Google Images. It also recognises handwriting and printed text, allowing you to use writing that you scan in applications with copy and paste.

As if that isn’t already cool enough, try taking a photo of a Sudoku puzzle; the software will recognise the grid and numbers, and then complete it for you! Definitely an application for the Sudoku loving geeks. [Ed: and the Sudoku hating geeks…]

Price: Free
Market Link: Google Goggles
Developer: Google Inc.

Google Sky Map Icon

Google Sky Map

Geeks have always been fascinated with the space, stars, and so forth. Google Sky Map is an awesome application which combines your phone’s GPS, compass, and accelerometer together. This combination of senses lets you ‘see beyond’ your own, by pointing your phone at the sky.

This is a fantastic application due to its novelty for stargazers and serves well as an educational timewaster.

Price: Free
Market Link: Google Sky Map
Developer: Google Inc.

Epistle Icon

Epistle

Epistle is a great application to use for taking quick notes.

Geeky uses include taking notes of lectures and speeches, storing code snippets, … let your own improvisation be the decider. You can send any notes you make to Dropbox, email, and so forth.

Full Review: Epistle review
Price: Free!
Market Link: Epistle
Developer: kookLab

How Stuff Works Icon

HowStuffWorks

The popular website HowStuffWorks has released an Android application that lets you read the articles and watch the videos the site offers.

This application is an excellent cure for boredom, and a fantastic source of free knowledge. The full review of this application will come to Appstorm soon.

Price: Free!
Market Link: HowStuffWorks
Developer: Discovery Communications

Relax and Sleep Image

Relax and Sleep

Regular all-nighters (which geeks can be prone to) can really mess up your body clock and make you unable to sleep at night, leaving you wanting to fall asleep whilst everyone else is hyperactive from your perspective.

An application which may help is Relax and Sleep. Over 35 looped sounds are available which you can mix together to create a personalised soothing mix. White noise or the sound of a washing machine are suprisingly relaxing if you close your eyes and listen. Hopefully it will be enough to tip the scales over and help your body begin to wind down.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.5+
Market Link: Relax and Sleep
Developer: Mizu Software Solutions

Thinking Space logo 

Thinking Space

Thinking Space is a mind-mapping application. If you ever have one of those flurries of thought but have nothing decent to use to note them down, use Thinking Space.

With a clever user interface, clear looks, and easy exportability, it should be a great sidekick to any deep-thinking geek!

Full Review: Thinking Space review
Price: Free
Market Link: Thinking Space
Developer: Developer Name