Since I focus more on hacking, slashing, and pushing your Android past what it was designed to do, I thought I’d focus on my top five apps that are a must-have for any Android power-user — though if you don’t consider yourself part of that group you should still get quite a bit of utility out of what I’ll show you in my video.
1. ROM Manager (basic version: free; premium version: $4.99)
If you are interested in flashing ROMs, recovery images, backing up your device, or any number of other low-level tasks, ROM Manager is the app for you. It takes much of the risk out of flashing your device, and makes the processes much easier — though for those of us who are used to doing things “the old way” this seems a lot like cheating.
2. Theme Chooser (free with CyanogenMod custom ROMs)
T-Mobile created an awesome app for distributing with their phones called Theme Chooser. They later released it as opensource and the CyanogenMod team picked it up and included it in their custom ROMs. Using this app you can customize the look and feel of your Android-powered device. The app lets you install themes which can change a lot of the UI elements in the operating system including your status bar, icons, wallpapers, backgrounds, and even icon sets and widgets.
3. Launcher Pro and ADW Launcher EX (Launcher Pro: free; ADWLauncher EX: $3.18)
Replacing your stock launcher (which includes your homescreens and app drawer) is a great way to make your smartphone faster, add a lot of cool new features, and customize the look and feel of your device. It’s also one of the easiest ways an end-user can customize their device. What’s more, it doesn’t require any low-level hackery, so even “normal” people can use these power-user apps!
4. Terminal Emulator (free)
A graphical user interface (GUI) is a wonderful thing. It takes complex tasks and makes them easy to do using pictures and icons that virtually anyone can understand. For us purists, there really is no substitute for dropping down to a command-line and typing in instructions. In the case of power-users, there are somethings that you can’t do through the GUI. For those things you need a terminal emulator. It’s not pretty, but the power you wield when you’re in terminal, let’s just say “use it wisely”.
5. Benchmarking Utilities (free)
It’s difficult to compare two different devices to see which is faster, and what the speed difference is just by using the device. To help compare devices with different specifications benchmarking tools are used. They run a series of tests and spit out a number based on how fast the device completed them. That number can then be used to compare one device to another.
My last “bonus app” is Set CPU for Root Users which lets you both over- and under-clock your unlocked and rooted device. This can help your phone either run longer on a charge, or such the battery down fast by running your Android super-fast.
So, there you have it! My comprehensive list of Android apps for power users! Are you a power user? Do you use these apps? Are there other apps that you’ve got installed on your device that I didn’t cover here? Let us know in the comments below!