Saturday, 11 September 2010

Useful Android Apps

In this post I'd like to share my experiences with useful android applications for travelling. My scenario looks like this: We planned a 3 weeks trip to Canada and I wanted to keep my roaming data as low as possible, means 0 if possible, and only rely on cached data on the SD-Card or sporadic WiFi connections.

The following Apps turned out to be very useful and worked well during this time:
I tried several Mapping applications which promised to be able to cache Map-tiles on the SD-Card. I also wanted to have support for different map-providers (Open Street Map, Google, etc.) and a comfortable way to generate & download the tiles. To make it short: Maverick lite worked perfectly, and I think I really pushed it to the extreme by pre-loading over 1 GB of tiles to the SD-card with google map tiles for car navigation and Open Street Map tiles for hiking trails in the national and provincial parks. With Mobile Atlas Creator, you can easily batch download and prepare map tiles.

Simple & straight forward, QuickDic puts a 25MB data file on the SD-card and provides english <-> german translations for not commonly known words. Works perfect!

Works offline, and does not complain too much if there is no online connection available.

And don't forget to get some casual games for the long flight which also works in an offline situation, my recommendations are:

Some other thoughts on offline / cached data:
Beside the fact that data roaming is horrible expensive and slow, it turned out to be really comfortable to work with offline data as it is incredible fast to access. Due to tha fact that coverage is not always given, your nice online-services will leave you lost in many areas.
No one would rely on an online-only contact list, would you? You'd like to have it synced with an online service, but cached or stored on your device as well.
I hope that we'll see more Apps, especially for maps which supports a smart & easy way to cache data on the phone.