Nowadays when you upgrade your phone, your first thoughts lie in a swish new phone case and in kitting it out with apps and widgets to make things feel a bit more you.
I’ll confess, I am shamelessly obsessed with achieving the perfect set-up for my phone. Head out for a coffee catch-up afternoon with me and I’m pretty likely to bend your ear about my new XYZ. An avid Android fan, currently pursuing a quest for the ideal Nexus 5 set up for my blogging, work and leisure needs, here’s my mini guide to your Android essentials, tailored for the wisened blogger:
Go SMS/Google Hangouts – The Messaging and text functionality for Android by default is very basic and user friendly. No qualms about that, but I’m a huge fan of the aesthetically pleasing. Enter Go SMS, a fully customisable app that pushes texts and all that shebang through with pretty themes aplenty. You can pop over to the Play Store and download hundreds of free themes too! Heads up: my favourites include the Pepe family and ZMilk themes.
Google Hangouts is your ‘something new’ – newer Android phones are already installed with these in place of Messaging and I l o v e. Essentially, Hangouts lets you text as per usual in a Hangout formula, letting you easily video, message, etc. in one place. A combined creation of Whatsapp and classic texting.
Dodol Launcher/Pop – My current launcher of choice is the Dodol one, which overwrites the default interface on Android phones. It’s a bit more slick than Go Launcher (another popular choice!) and has lots of themes to fully customise the phone. I believe it’s a South Korean app, so there are plenty of Kpop themes too!
Gmail – The Gmail app for Android is a bloggers’ essential. The app is super easy to navigate, lets you archive emails in one swipe, organise into folders and generally keep you on top of blog comments, projects, collaborations, PR conversations and all the extras. The app pushes everything through in real-time and reminds you about emails you’ve glossed over. (We’re all guilty of that.)
Blogger/Wordpress – A bit of a ‘duh, you don’t say’ inclusion, but make sure you’ve got the appropriate blogging app for your platform. Having been through many teething problems with both of these, they’re now pretty darn easy to use. The Blogger app is almost exactly the same as the desktop version and it’s great for putting posts together on the go. If you’re travelling and a snippet post comes to mind, why not post it there and then, instead of waiting until you’re home where the World of Procrastination lies? There’s still a certain beauty in the immediacy of blogging for me, despite all the schedulin’ that happens weekly!
Wunderlist – Chronic list-makers, assemble! After trialling lots of different list apps, Wunderlist is my go-to for making lists and keeping track of things. On mine I have a daily to-do list, a weekly to-do list, a list of outfit post titles (true story!), a books to buy list, a food shopping list and a list for outstanding blog projects to be considering. You can also ‘star’ points on the list and add dates and times.
Dropbox and Dropbox Backup – A lifesaver for people with LOTS to store and retrieve, I’m sure you’re already a Dropbox user. This handy app means you can set it up to automatically Dropbox any phone/Instagram photos you’ve taken, making for even easier access when editing. The Dropbox Backup is also golden for swapping over phones – you can ever backup and restore text messages, if you’re a sentimental soul like me.
Zedge – Zedge is another great app/service for customising your Android. Choose from hundreds of ringtones, wallpapers and more, for a super easy way to make your phone more ‘you’.
TubeMap – … and one for the event goers! This free Tube map makes navigating the London Underground oh so easy. I use it nearly daily, especially the Route Planner that literally takes you from A to B with either the fastest route or the one with fewest changes for the more faint hearted. A must-have, even if you’re not a regular Londoner!
Photography and Camera Tools via Aesthetic Online
Cymera – A reigning favourite of mine, Cymera is an all-in-one camera app that creates soft finish images. Not to be confused with soft focus (we’ll come on to that later), the app allows you to shoot, edit and process photos within the same app. The crop and collage tools are especially useful, but the editing spectrum is where Cymera comes into its own. With a plethora of filters akin to Instagram, as well as light options, borders and stamps, Cymera is just right for girlier users.
LINE Camera – A popular app in South Korea, LINE plays host to a few apps but our attention has been captivated by LINE Camera. The app is similar to Cymera, but features bespoke LINE stickers that are ridiculously cute and funny at the same time. One to watch…
InstaSquareMaker – Ever wondered how to square off a rectangular photo for Instagram? This app is a one-stop shop for those who enjoy white space. You’re welcome.
Pudding Camera – Pudding Camera is a long-standing favourite. Before Instagram for Android appeared, Pudding existed to add filters, pretend to be a Diana camera, create soft focus images, allow special effects, fish-eyes and more. The camera also goes hand in hand with an online community that is small, tightknit and intelligible.
TextCutie – Not quite a camera, but perfect for text based Instagram photos once in a while, TextCutie has pages and pages of backgrounds, typefaces and stamps to get a simple message across when a selcajust won’t do the job.
WonderCam – Perhaps our office favourite, WonderCam is a unique camera app that beautifies, softens and brightens the face. Complete with all of the now standard editing tools, WonderCam has a crazily fun wink cam tool which means the front-facing camera is activated by your wink. Yes really.
Paper Camera – Another similar girlish and fun camera, add effects, crop your photos and run your photos through post-processing before letting it loose on Instagram. A firm favourite amongst all with a simple yet pretty user interface.