There’s a few apps I’ve been running since way back in the day with my imported G1. Some apps are just mainstays for me. But in the last 1-6 months I’ve been using these fours apps a lot more heavily and in that time I’ve seen an impressive work ethic and level of customer focus. Let’s break it down:
Plume (formerly Touiteur) – by Levelup Studio
Most people would be familiar with Beautiful Home widgets from Levelup Studio, but they also produce what is, in my opinion, the best Twitter app for Android: Plume. Levelup constantly iterate Plume with bug fixes and features, sometimes several times a week, sometimes a bit slower. They also run an excellent Beta program which provides great real-world feedback on all new versions. Additionally Levelup utilises a voting system to prioritize feature requests, and even renamed the app based entirely on user voting.
Dropbox - by Dropbox Inc
It seemed to take a while to get Dropbox on Android, but once they did it immediately seemed pretty complete. In spite of the massive user uptake (over quarter of a million downloads) Dropbox are still iterating the app through a great Beta testing group, focusing on speed and reliability across multiple devices. I already use Dropbox almost daily, and it’s become essential for me to move image files quickly while theming, so it’s really impressive to see continual development on this already fantastic app.
Catch Notes – by Catch.com
I found AK Notepad when I first got my G1 and realised, to my surprise, that Android had no default notes app. AK was simple, functional and worked well. Eventually I got on to 3Banana/Snaptic (Catch’s old name) which synced notes to a web service. It was effective yet clunky and the web side wasn’t as intuitive as it could be. Enter the relaunch of Catch.com (I wonder how much they spent on that domain name?). The notes app was rebuilt in line with the new Android design guidelines, and functionality has become richer with each new update. It’s great to see where Catch has come from, and their hard work in iterating Catch Notes gives a good indication of they’re headed.
Swiftkey – by TouchType
These guys work hard. I use a ton of keyboards and often switch between them but Better Keyboard has been my mainstay for a long time. Swiftkey looked like it should be great, and many users found it indispensable, but I quickly learned that different people need different things in a keyboard, and I needed word correction not word prediction. I just couldn’t use Swiftkey full time, but they just keep yapping at my heels like a hungry puppy! The last major update saw HD support and continued refinement and improvement in word prediction algorithms and back-end function. But it’s the current Beta that has me excited and impressed. I can’t review or detail the beta as per the terms of the VIP Beta agreement, but I can say that even in this early state, the new version of Swiftkey addresses all my personal user issues with the app, and it has immediately become my fulltime keyboard. As evidenced by the feature set in the Beta, Swiftkey obviously care a ton about user experience and their talent and hardwork has made me a believer.