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Best Android apps to keep your phone up to date

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I was really enthusiastic when I bought an Android smartphone (HTC Legend), in November last year. Then a few weeks later, I noticed that with the HTC Desire HD, HTC started a whole new trend in smartphones; gigantic screens and >1Ghz Processors. I was still really happy with my new phone, but you can imagine I was a bit less happy realizing I didn’t even got “the best phone out there” and in a few months, support would disappear followed by apps which would not be compatible…

10 months later I still enjoy my HTC Legend a lot, but it also made me aware of lots of flaws of smartphones these days. I want to share these tips with you, for those who also have a phone which is getting older each day, and are willing to use their current phone longer than year ;) Things that bother me, after using my phone for +/- 1 year, specifically for my HTC Legend, but also applicable to any other Android device:

  • Battery use; when having a phone for +/- 1 year, battery capacity seems to go down
  • Storage, installing and deleting apps created lots of different caches and seemed to negatively influence my internal RAM, which isn’t even that big anyway
  • Support, you can be sure that after a year, support for your Android powered device has reached it’s maximum of updates, even though you feel it could benefit from an extra update

Well some things I can help with, but others I cannot. Here is a list of apps, which will most certainly help you in maximizing performance on your phone.

JuiceDefender

Juicedefender logo

Install Now! That’s all I have to say.. JuiceDefender automatically adds all kinds of tweaks to the power management of your phone to make sure you will not use more power then necessary. The free version contains different settings, but with the paid version you can even add conditional rules to maximize efficiency at particular places or during different times of the day. A nice extra, you can constantly monitor how much longer the phone lasts with JuiceDefender activated. Mine sticks around x1.67. My battery is able to last two days without charging, and including some email checking and facebooking.

Download JuiceDefender

LauncherPro

LauncherPro is a replacement of parts of the HTC Sense skin. Don’t get me wrong, I like what HTC did, integrating Facebook and Twitter into contacts and integrating that into a big fancy widget on my homescreen etc… But I have the feeling my phone was never able to smoothly process all that information.. So, time for a replacement! LauncherPro brings an adjustable number of home screens, customizable animations, and lots of features to make the whole thing perform super fast, even on really old smartphones :) Next to this, it shuts down the default launcher, which frees up a lot of RAM.

Download LauncherPro

Advanced Task Killer

Why the task killer? You might ask. Didn’t they tell us it didn’t make a difference? Well honestly, I have tried to work without task killers, but what is described at the developers blog, is an ideal situation, nowhere near how you use your phone in daily life. So yes, Android will automatically shut down apps you do not use, but it does not have all the intelligence to select the right applications to kill, and to leave the important applications alone. So most of the time you end up with all kinds of apps still running, without you knowing about it. To make sure something is not running, use this task killer. Furthermore, killing a process that stopped responding is faster via this app, than via the android menu, since building the app list in Android takes ages!

Download Advanced Task Killer

App2SD

My phone is full. Every time I download a new app from the market, I get the notification I almost run out of storage. It’s not only confronting to see how limited my phone memory is, but it also has negative effects on other apps. When this notification appears for example, Gmail stops syncing, even though you know you have new mails waiting for you. This can be frustrating, therefore I advise you to move all your apps to the SD Card! This keeps internal storage available for important stuff ;)

Download App2SD

Not every app can be moved, but there is a trick to move more apps to the SD then you will see initially (you don’t have to root your phone for this). This article explains how you make sure all your apps install on SD, and will enable more apps to be moved to your SD card.

None of the above described apps will help you spend your time in the bus or in the train better, so if you were expecting games and such, look further. But in situations where you are unable to install games or other useful applications because your phone is getting older, you might need these apps to boost your phone and make sure it will reach the finish (the day you can extend your subscription at ‘provider X’)