(I just re read this and my writing is horrible in this article. I will edit it later – it was bedtime when I finished it, but real work calls now and editing will have to wait.)
A (long) while ago I opined that Ubuntu needs some serious Android integration into the OS in order to forge a market niche for itself as a complete computing package.
Well, after some digging and troubleshooting I discovered that a lot of what I mentioned in that post is already available and possible if you are an Ubuntu (and in most cases Any Linux) user.
Below I have listed seven Apps that will make your computing experience so much better if you have an Android Phone. They are divided into Five Categories. And they are all FREE.
So without further delay, 7 Killer Android Apps Every Ubuntu User Should Have:
1 – Music Management and Remote Control
I stumbled across this one early on during my Android Adventures. It is not in the ANdroid Market any more – or I could not find it, but you can download the server component (for your PC) from the developers website, and the App is available via a QRCode on the same page.
What makes URemoteDesktop so cool is that it is really simple and does what it says on the tin – you can manage your media player via a WiFi connection from your Android Device.
One thing I really miss on it is that you cannot view your playlist on the Phone, but that is made up for by the reliability of the software. Other remote media player controls like DAAP Player and other DAAP protocol based players may allow you to view your playlist on your phone, and even to play your music on the phone instead of the PC but Banshee does not have a DAAP player built in AND they were unreliable – often crashing mid playlist.
Add to that URemoteDesktop’s capability to not only manage your media player, but also control your desktop with a rudimentary mouse and keyboard capability and it has my vote.
You need to install and run the server component on your PC in order to connect with your Phone.
Available from: http://www.guatedroid.com/?p=46
2 – Notifications and Phone Control
I often miss calls while I am working – most often because I have my earphones on and do not hear the phone ringing. Remote Notifier solves that problem by popping up a message on my desktop whenever certain events occur – I can now see WHO is calling, or get notified of an incoming SMS, among other things.
Remote Notifier requires a server component installed on your PC in order to connect to the Phone.
You can get Remote Notifier from the Android Store Here: Remote Notifier (The link to the Server Component is on the Marketplace Page)
This is a killer app. AndroidPC Lite (and it’s non free sibling AndroidPC Premium) allows you to make calls and send SMS’s via your Android Phone from your PC.
Keep in mind that while you originate the call from your PC, you have to do the actual talking on the device. This is very nifty if you have your phone in your pocket and a bluetooth headset on while you are working on a laptop.
You can transfer your contact list in the App to your PC – but I have not found a way to migrate your contacts from the app into Evolution, for example. An added bonus is a rudimentary File Transfer capability. It requires a server component to operate.
AndroidPC Lite is available HERE: AndroidPC Lite Again the link to the server component is on the Market Page.
3 – Browsers and Browser Functionality
Chrome to Phone
This one requires a plugin to be installed in Chrome, and happily works with Chromium as well. It allows you to send a URL to your phone for reading later.
Once you have the browser plugin installed and the Android App installed and both set up it is a simple matter of clicking the icon on your browser and the link will be sent to your phone.
This is especially helpful if you are looking for an address on Google Maps and want to send the map url to your phone to open when you are on the road.
Get the Android App here: Chrome To Phone
A mention goes out to Phone to Chrome, which does the exact reverse of what Chrome to Phone does. It is in the Android Market as well.
I am facing a bit of a conundrum here. As good as Firefox 4 is, I am not using it as my default browser on my laptop any more. I still have it installed and use it from time to time, but Chromium has become my default.
The reason Firefox gets a mention here though is this: Firefox is the superior browser on Android. If you want you can give Opera a spin as well, but Firefox gets my nod due to Firefox Sync.
What Firefox Sync does is synchronize your browsing history between your various devices. I found it a bit finicky to set up, but once you have it running it works well.
Firefox is available on the Android Market HERE: Firefox
4 File Synchronization
Ubuntu One Files
I am starting off with Ubuntu One Files because Ubuntu One is built right into Ubuntu itself.
Ubuntu One Files is a free app that you can sign onto and access your files as you would with Ubuntu One, and synchronize files from your laptop to your cloud folder. You can also choose files to upload to your cloud from your Android Device. It is all very nice and polished and is the premium Cloud Storage App for Android except for it’s lack of streaming audio capability – more on that later.
Ubuntu One Files does have a nice feature – Image Backup. It automatically backs up your images to Ubuntu One. Do not fret about your mobile bandwidth going to the clouds either, you can set it to only upload images when you are connected to WiFi.
A honorable mention goes to Ubuntu One Music – the paid version of this app which also gives you the option to stream your Music to your device from the cloud. The subscription is rather steep though.
Get Ubuntu One Files from the Android Market.
DropBox has been the standard in Cloud Syncing services for a very long time. One of the gripes I have is that you cannot – like with Ubuntu One – choose multiple folders to sync. The Android App is basically a mobile interface for your DropBox Online Folder, but you CAN choose a file or files to upload from the App interface.
It only gets a “Honorable Mention” here because your DropBox folder is the only folder always synced with your online account.
This would be my file synching tool of choice to keep my PC and Laptop in sync if it were not for two issues:
One, it failed to install in Natty Narwhal, and that kindof kills it right there. On older versions of Ubuntu I have used it heavily, and it has DEB and RPM binaries available for other distributions. I hope it gets fixed soon.
What gains it the Honorable Mention is it’s ability to stream your music from your online music folder. This is a paid-for option in Ubuntu One Music, and is not supported in DropBox. Add to that the ability to synchronize any folder on your PC with your Zumodrive and you have a potential winner.
I love Tomboy Notes. I love how I can keep a mirror of them on-line in my Ubuntu One account, and I use them extensively. Unfortunately Tomboy Sync is not supported in the Android Ubuntu One Applications, and this is where Tomdroid comes in handy.
It lets you read your Tomboy Notes from Ubuntu One on your Android Device. Unfortunately it is not capable to create new notes, but for now it does the job of letting me read my notes on my mobile device.
You can get Tomdroid in the Market from HERE.
There you have it. Seven free apps that adds to the “Ecosystem Experience” of Ubuntu and Android.
If you know of any others drop me a line and I will include them in this list.
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