Utility Apps

Perhaps the most important program in this category is a backup utility for saving important data in case the unthinkable happens. Unfortunately, no "total backup" solution currently exists for Android. But it is only a matter of time until one emerges—and when it does, get it!

■ Astro File Manager—Most of us who work with desktop or laptop computers like to work on the files with an advanced file-browsing program. Microsoft Windows has the Windows File Explorer. Linux has several such programs; many users like Nautilus. Under Android, the Astro File Manager is a premier file manager that does much of what its larger machine's cousins do. You can browse up, down, and around the file system of both Android's internal flash memory and the SD card. You can browse files based on their file extension, and you can send files using Gmail or Messaging. You can also execute file operations such as edit, move, copy, and delete, as long as you have the proper access rights.

A killer app buried within the Astro File Manager, known as the Application Backup, enables you to automatically save backup copies of the executable files associated with all the applications in your Android cellphone. This program is worth it for that capability alone.

■ Power Manager—One of the common complaints against the T-Mobile G1 was its small battery. It can run out of power quickly—too quickly. Although larger-capacity batteries are available, a partial solution for the power drain problem is this program for managing the resources of the device. You can specify various configurations based on its profiles for how you want the cellphone to use battery power. You specify how the devices are powered up (or not), to fine-tune the phone's power consumption. The default profiles are fine for most of us, in our opinion.

■ Terminal—No self-respecting Linux-loving geek would be caught without a Linux command shell nearby. After all, it's therapeutic to "drop into the shell" and issue a few cd, ls, and cat commands once in a while—especially to impress your geek friends who have not as yet climbed onto the Android bandwagon.

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