In this post, I finally want to develop a little cross-platform Ruby script that will fetch the newest versions of 100 or so recommended Android applications from FDroid and Google Play, then install them on the phone with adb.

Recommended Android applications

This is my list of Android applications that I recommend everyone to have and install on phones for customers. Of course everybody will need more apps for specialized purposes, but these ones should be relevant for every user. The APK column is applicable for copy&paste to feed the below bulk download and install script (in Firefox, use Ctrl + drag to mark cells of a column). Some links have been shortened in the text column, but the link target contains the full text and the link text is a forwarder URL.

Selection criteria for this list:

  • only one selected best app for every purpose
  • any functional open source alternative is preferred to a polished proprietary software
  • decentralized open communication protocols (e-mail, XMPP, SIP) are preferred to commercial centralized applications (Skype, Facebook)
  • communication apps should be privacy-enabled
  • the app selection should enable self organization and group organization, esp. for grassroots movements like social change activists

Still missing are apps for:

  • accessing microblogging services incl. Identi.ca and Twitter
  • App for power saving while travelling: switch mobile network off (airplane mode) while the phone moves by car or train, as determined by GPS from speed and location. And only check every 30 min for missed calls.
  • Find a powerful, high usability text editor for Android. Ideally with hierarchical mode that is compatible with Freemind's double-indent text exports.
  • Find or develop an app that unifies all possible action on clipboard content, can be called from every app and stores clipboard history, and analyzes clipboard content and history to suggest relevant actions (like "send wire payment to").
name
package name
APK URL Google Play description
notes
licence
4EXT Updater http://www.4ext.net/get.php?apk     freeware
AdAway        
Advanced Task Killer Free        
ADW        
Alarm Klock        
aLogcat        
AnaCam        
AndroSS        
AndStatus        
Angulo        
Anstop        
AnyMemo        
AnySoftKeyboard        
ApnSwitch        
APV PDF Viewer        
Arity        
Barcode Scanner        
BLUE LINE        
CamPainter Lite        
ColorDict        
Compass        
ConnectBot        
Cool Reader        
Diktofon        
Evernote
com.evernote
  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.evernote Note taking and organizing system that syncs to desktop and web. Open source equivalent wanted! proprietary
Every Locale        
FDroid http://f-droid.org/FDroid.apk     open source
Fake Dawn        
FAST App Search Tool        
Faster GPS        
Firefox        
FolderSync        
Freemind Viewer        
Gibberbot        
Google Play services        
Google Play Store        
GPS Status        
GPS Test        
K-9 Mail        
KeepTrack        
Ki Freemind        
Maniana        
Mathdroid        
MobileOrg        
MobileWebCam        
Notification Plus        
Obsqr        
Offline Calendar        
OpenTimer        
Opera Mobile        
OS Monitor no-gmaps        
Osmand~        
OSMTracker for Android        
Pedometer        
Blockchain
piuk.blockchain
       
Point     Can be inaccurate. Better replacement needed.  
QuickDic        
Remote for VLC        
Remuco        
Ruler        
Sca Lite        
Search based launcher        
Search Light        
Sensor Readout        
Speech Trainer        
Super Ruler Free        
TallyBee        
Tallyphant        
Terminal Emulator        
Theme Chooser Themes        
Timesheet        
TitaniumBackup     Best backup application. Needs rooting.  
Units        
Vanilla Music        
Who Has My Stuff?        
WiGLE Wifi Wardriving        
WikiDroyd        
Wikipedia        
WordPress        
YAAB        
YouTube        

Process for unattended install

  1. Enable USB debugging on the Android phone. This is needed for adb to work. [instructions]
  2. Install Google Play. We install a minimized version of Google Apps here that contains just Google Play and required libraries. You can install everything else from Google Apps via the Google Play Store later. [TODO: Minimize this further by installing just the three essential apps, saving 70 more MiB].
    1. Download the minimized Google Apps package from  "[APP][MINIMALISM] Google Play 3.10.10 | Market ONLY Gapps for GB/ICS/JB4.1/JB4.2".
    2. Push it to the phone's SD card:
      adb push jb42-signed.zip /sdcard/jb42-signed.zip
    3. Reboot into your favorite recovery:
      adb reboot recovery
    4. Install the ZIP file from the SD card with your recovery software.
  3. Install APKs. For every APK, simply call [see adb command line arguments]:
    adb install filename.apk

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