New old phone! I’ve got a new phone which happens to be my girlfriend’s old phone. Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! I feel like the living embodiment of the recycling Möbius triangle. I now get to acclimate to the idiosyncrasies of a device that my girlfriend has well worn in. Am I excited? Well, that’s not the right word for it, but it’s gonna be a step up (2: The Streets or 4: Miami? I can’t decide).
It’s always an adjustment. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a super smooth transition. No matter how technology progresses, shit seems to get left behind. Maybe in the end though, it’s me who’s getting left behind. My ritual with each subsequent phone upgrade has been to reach back for all of the same apps. It’s very possible that everything I use is outmoded. Of course the apps get upgraded, but there are probably far more efficient ways to do the same thing. They were top of the line back when I got my Samsung Galaxy SII, but that was waaaay back in 2011. The world has evolved in the past six years. What kind of apps am I talking about anyway?
- GO SMS: I’ve always liked this little texting app. It’s got a bunch of useful functions that I rarely use. You can blacklist numbers, have a private password protected text area (neither of which I’ve needed). The prime function that I’ve always loved was scheduled texts. You can set the date and time and it’ll automatically send the text off then.
- GO Launcher: It’s basically a super customisable launch screen. I use possibly 2% of the functionality, but now it’s so familiar that I find it hard to operate without it. I could, if I were that inclined, mess around with screen transitions, custom icons, widgets, etc. Instead I keep it so simple I should probably avoid the app altogether.
- Alarm Clock Plus: Hugely customisable. I like being able to set multiple alarms that trigger at certain times on certain days. The gently rising alarm is a blessing on rough mornings (though the first vibration is normally enough to rouse me). It’s got all kinds of neat features like making you solve a math equation before it’ll turn off. There are a ton of variations on snooze (which I disable. No snooze for me).
- Swipe Pad: It sets up any number of hot spots around your screen’s periphery. I use the top left hand corner. When you activate these hot spots, a customised menu of apps, etc pops up. The best part is you can activate it no matter what you’re doing. Say you’re scrolling through Facebook, you can activate your hotspot then cut to a notepad. Then say you see something silly, you can switch to camera, all without having to revert to your launch screen. It’s all kinds of neat.
- 1 Weather: It’s a weather app, no doubt like any other. If you’re going on holiday it’s pretty nifty to be able to create a bunch of zones to check out how the everyday weather is over that side of the world. It sits permanently at the top of your screen to give an indication of temperature and launching the app has a host of useful functions. Forecast, UV index, precipitation levels, sunrise and sunset. It’s often pretty accurate.
- ES File Explorer: It used to be a handy file directory system. Now in its quest to Swiss army knife directory functions, I feel like it’s become the epitome of bloatware. It has a space saver/analyser, all kinds of subsidiary apps and probably an anti-virus thrown in there. It also may be a virus on its own.
- Swift Key: GBoard has taken some decent strides in recent years, but it still has nothing on Swift Key. By simply giving up your right to privacy and letting it read your emails/Facebook, etc, it’ll analyse how you write and offer helpful suggestions for your next word. While I spend most of my time in GBoard deleting its predictions of my swyping, Swift Key is accurate and quick. It’s one of the few paid apps I’d say is well worth the money.
So in case you were wondering what apps were the height of fashion and functionality in 2011, I’m happy to have delivered. My Nexus 4 will now feel as good as old.