Following only two months behind iPhone 2.0 (but at a significant installed-base disadvantage), Android still has a long way to go. But there is definitely some early potential. Here are our favourite apps of the year.
I still think Android, and its openness toward developers, can do some magical things and give iPhone a run for its money. But as we stated before, a lot needs to happen first–Android devices need to be a lot more numerous in consumers’ hands, numerous enough for third-party developers (along with Google’s first-party talent as well) to have a major incentive to drive the platform forward. It also has some major network power-management issues to overcome; the G1’s battery never makes it through the day for me, and while that may just be because it’s a shitty battery, Android’s always-on approach to network access and background processes surely plays a part.
The Android Market is not yet the iPhone App Store, but here is a taste of what is, hopefully, a lot more to come.
Video Player: Video player plays H.264 MPEG4 clips, making up for a glaring hole left open in Android’s first release: no video player. It gets the job done, and is a prime candidate for something to get sucked back up into the core Android distribution, as is an open source project’s frequent wont.
Locale: In early versions, Locale was cool: it changed your ringtone or a few other phone settings based on your GPS location. Then, the features started coming, like the ability to send Tweets or use several other of Android’s Intents, and it became clear exactly what Locale is–a framework (like Applescript, essentially) for triggering anything on your phone according to your location. When I’m at the office, set Facebook status to frowny face. When I get home and it’s before 4PM, tweet “meet me at the bar” and start playing “O Happy Day.”