What’s the best thing about Android? It lets you tweak around and customize your phone in endless ways because it’s an open source operating system. Open source means that users and developers around the world are actively engaged in making the device their own. Along the way, people have created some pretty mind boggling applications and have found amazing new ways in which to use this device.
Here are some of those applications and things.
1. Kick someone out from the WiFi network
Sick and tired of someone sucking off all the bandwidth in a shared wireless connection? This app was made for you. Though it’s a bit notorious and hence not available available in Google Play, so you’ll be installing it at your own risk. All you need to do is join the network with this app installed on your phone and kick off any user you would like to in the same subnet. The blocking works till the phone is connected and the service is running.
2. Wear your phone around your wrist (almost)
The SmartWatch by Sony is the perfect partner for your Android and is probably the coolest gadget you can get for that kind of money. It comes with an OLED screen and straps of various colors. With an operating range of about 10 meters, connectivity with your phone should not be a trouble unless you’re Yeti and your hands are 30 meters away from your face. Allows you to read message, accept or reject calls and even stay updated via social networks.
3. Instantly measure your heart rate
Need to quickly measure your heart rate without buying clunky Bluetooth monitors? Just install this app and place your finger on your phone camera, it senses the minute difference in skin color caused by blood passing through the capillaries and returns the heart rate. Though you can’t really use it while you’re exercising. It’s still a great app if you need to keep track of your heart rate.
4. Continually erase your content on Facebook
We all know what a privacy munching monster Facebook is, and though there are steps you can take to ensure to keep your data secure — there’s still endless amounts of it left for Facebook to run its slimy algorithms on. If you’re the kind of person who likes to keep a low profile and doesn’t want ad networks hunting you around every corner of the Internet, you’re going to love Exfoliate.
Once you install it and set your preferences, it will automatically delete your old data on Facebook as you go along, keeping your digital traces clean.
5. Send data from your browser to your Android
This nifty little app lets you send almost anything you see in your browser to your Android. Websites blocked at work? Possible NSFW link? A mobile number you need to dial? Just right click, send it to your phone and let it handle the rest. All you need to do is install the app on your phone and get the extension for Chrome.
6. Turn your Android into a computer
Inside every dual or multi-core Android phone, there’s a computer waiting to be unleashed. In what is the possibly the most ultimate app of all, you can now run Ubuntu right off your Android phone; all you need is a display. As for Ubuntu, it’s the most popular free desktop operating system in the world with about 20 million users. It features a slick user interface and you can do almost everything with it that you can with a Windows or a Mac (well, almost). So what are you waiting for? Go free your Droid!
7. Turn your Android into a multi-tool kit
If you’ve ever needed to measure the distance between walls or the height of an object beyond your reach, this is the app for you. It’s a paid app but it more than justifies its price. It includes a compass, a measuring tool, a metal detector, a tool to find angles and slopes, a sound level meter, a vibrometer, and a flashlight. New tools like a speed gun and a magnifier are in the offing.
Other than the fact that this app is actually loaded with practical tools, it’s just off the charts on the awesome scale.
8. Make your Android remember where you parked your car
It sucks when you can’t find where you parked your car, doesn’t it? Sometimes we end up spending hours hunting for it in never ending rows and columns of parked cars. With Carr Matey, you’re never going to have to worry about it ever again. With a compass, map and walking directions to your car at your disposal, you’re only as far from it as you are. And it comes with a really cool pirate theme, ARRR!
9. Study stars and constellations
Whether you’re just a astrophysics enthusiast or a bored person staring at the night sky, your Android has something to make the experience more fun for you. The Sky Map is a free, open source app by Google which allows you to point your phone towards the sky and know exactly what you’re looking at — planets, stars, constellations, and even meteor showers.
If you’re looking for something even better, Star Chart app even tells you facts about the things you’re looking at and displays a 3D model of the Universe.
10. Remote control almost everything
If you’re the sort of person who likes the idea of controlling everything at your fingertips, you’re going to love this app. Though there are a lot of specialized remotes available for Android like the iTunes remote, the All In One Remote is the only app that kind of does everything. You can use it to hook up to a Windows, Mac or Linux machine via WiFi or Bluetooth and from thereon, your desktop is in your palms.
Control the volume, change tracks, switch PowerPoint slides, use it as a gaming controller, or even type from your phone and use it as a mouse. You will need to do a one time install of its service on your desktop though. But really, the best showoff app, ever.
11. Manage your Android from your browser
We’ve covered how you can control your computer from your Android earlier, now you can work it the other way around too. AirDroid is a free app that enables you to wirelessly manage your Android from your favorite browser. Manage every aspect of your phone from apps to photos contacts to music without ever having to pick it up. The latest update features drag and drop support, making things a breeze.
12. Wirelessly print documents from your Android
That’s right, no need to send your emails with attachments to print documents. If you have a WiFi enabled printer, just install this app and send a command for printing any document from any application in your Android. With support for 2800 printers, this simple and straightforward app makes printing your Instragram pictures and emails a simple affair.
13. Setup a home video surveillance system
Worried about what’s happening at home while you’re away? Need to set up the next Fort Knox to hide away your billions? It’s all possible with dropcam. You will need to buy the camera from their website and then download their Android app. It’s more than just a passive camera though, there’s night vision, a two-way audio interface for communication, motion detection, and the ability to play back recorded video.
14. Look through the obvious in your surroundings
Bring the power of augmented reality in your hands and view the details behind the world that you walk around in with the Layar app. You get about 3,000 layers to choose from, where each layer adds a data set of information to your screen when viewing the surroundings with your camera. For instance, there’s a layer for discovering Twitter users in your vicinity, there’s another one to check restaurants nearby. You get the idea.
15. Make your Android your personal training coach
There are endless fitness apps available for Android now — helping your manage everything from your diet schedule to teaching you Yoga. Browsing though the fitness section on Google Play will help you choose the best for you. The two worth mentioning here are Noom CardioTrainer, a free app that logs your progress as you exercise, also comes in a premium version. The other is the Editor’s pick at Google Play called Endomondo Personal Trainer.
16. Change your Android from the inside and outside
One of the main thing Android has going for it is it being open source. Thereby allowing developers to make mods and custom ROMs to literally slap on an entirely new user interface and change the way the device functions. Of course, you’re going to have to root your Android before you can take advantage of any of these custom mods, but once you’ve done that, you can improve both its looks and performance.
The most popular one among users is CyanogenMod. Another great one if you’re looking to just revamp the interface is MIUI. Find one that works for you and say goodbye to the stock installation.
17. Remote control your torrent downloads from your Android
Before RIAA shuts everything down once and for all, and till such time you’re still using torrent networks for sharing files, why not control your queue from your phone (like a boss)? If the only torrent client you use is uTorrent and you only use it on one computer, the remote provided by uTorrent is your best bet — it even comes with a web login.
If you’re looking for something more comprehensive, give Transdroid a try, it supports almost all major torrent clients and lets you control every aspect of your transfers.
What did we miss?
How do you customize your Android? Are there any things you know that deserve a spot on this list? Let us know in comments!
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About Vishveshwar Jatain
VJ is the associate editor of wireframe. He loves writing, cooking, technology, life hacks, weird people, strange things, and his alone time. When not creating a ruckus about the rampant misuse of apostrophes, he can be found writing stories about startups, entrepreneurship and social web.