Android Phone App Utility Roundup: Call Log, Dialer Replacement, Contacts, Messaging, and More to Help You Call or Text
Android phones are perfectly capable phones with its messaging, call log, contact list, and other capabilities. However, Android is easy to develop for, and thus, there are plenty of free applications that are better than the "stock" apps. Here is a roundup of various phone-related utilities that you may wish to try over your stock apps.
These are obviously not a full list, but rather just a representative sample of each "genre". And they are all free.
Utility: Call Confirm
Ever heard of "pocket-dial"? That's the name given to the phenomenon where your phone actually dialed a number while it was in your pocket. That's why there is call confirm: you must confirm every call, no more "accidental" calls.
Dialer / Contact List Utilities
The built-in dialer / contact list / call log is workable, but not exactly the best to use. Here are some apps to try that should work better than the built-in one.
Dialer One was one of the first replacement dialers on the Android Market. It has a lot of options, supports search via a lot of languages, in both call log and contacts. It has both light and dark themes, ability to use its own wallpapers, and more.
NubDial is the best option for phones still on Android OS 2.1, as it almost matches Dialer One. It just doesn't do themes and such, and has no landscape mode. However, it works quite well within those constraints.
SuperDial (by Episode6)
If you go all the way back to Android 1.6, then this may be better for you. It seem to be abandoned, as it does have a few bugs, but it works fine for the most part. Beware that it doesn't work that well on Xperia X10 Mini due to its tiny screen.
Coverflow dialer is certified for Android OS 1.6, but it seems to work on Android OS 2.2 thus far. If you turn the screen to landscape, it flips through the contact pictures similar to the iTune "coverflow" look. In portrait mode, it looks just like a normal dialer.
It's actually the same dialer, albeit with improved and cleaner look. It works quite well, esp. if you like that look.
AContact is more of a "phonebook" metaphor. Use the buttons (along bottom or side), simply slide and stop on the right letter, and all the contacts that start with that letter will be moved to the top. Then tap to open.
Download AContact from Appbrain
TouchPal Smart Dialer
TouchPal Smart Dialer is part of the TouchPal family (their keyboard was reviewed earlier). It was a Chinese app that was later translated into English, so it is designed mostly for a Chinese mobile phone system and their dialing needs. It doesn't work that well for American phones, but it may be worth a try.
Call Log Utilities
Call Log utilities backs up or analyzes your call logs so you will never lose a call, and know who you call or get calls from the most.
CallTrack backs up your call log onto your Google Calendar, as individual events. Your phone only keeps track of last 500 calls, so this essentially turns your call log into UNLIMITED size. You can even specify which type of calls to log (incoming, outgoing, missed).
NOTE: Also see SMS Backup+ in the SMS section.
Phonalyzr and Call Analyzer
Phonalyzr, and Call Analyzer analyze your calls and determine your call patterns. Who do you call most? Who called you most? How about text? With this, you would know, and perhaps, change your phone plan for better discounts.
Call Meter / Phone Usage / DroidStats
These apps lets you setup a "graph" or "bar" that shows you how close are you to your quota so you can avoid overage charges. They work for voice, text, and data.
Messaging (text, picture, etc.)
Text Messaging is handled by the built-in app, but there are always better apps around.
Handcent is like *the* Text App replacement that everybody uses. It supports various styles of conversations, fonts, different styles, replacement of smilies with emoticons, and more. You can even customize the styles. Definitely worth a try.
Go SMS is another SMS client that is fully competitive with Handcent SMS, and seem to match them feature for feature. They also offer various free themes for download. Definitely worth a try.
ChompSMS is the third most adopted SMS client on Android, and they also have a special feature: they offer their own SMS network which you can access at a reduced rate, or you can text between ChompSMS users for free. It may be worth a look if your carrier charge a lot for SMS.
SMS Backup / SMS Backup+ / SMS Backup and Restore
These three apps are from different authors, and they all backup your SMS some how.
SMS Backup copies your SMS into your GMail account, usually under the SMS label.
SMS Backup+does same as SMS Backup, but also backs up your call log to Google Calendar like CallTrack (mentioned earlier)
SMS Backup and Restore backs the stuff backup to your SD card in XML format so they can be restored later.
Just beware, the pictures in MMS messages will not be backed up.
One, or perhaps several of the utilities here should be very useful to you.
If you want a good dialer, try DialerOne
If you want a good backup, get SMS Backup+
If you want a good analyzer, get Phonalyzr (or the other app)
At least try them. As they are free, you can download them again any time, and it won't cost you a penny.
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