Android's Dumbest Apps

Sales of Android phones are soaring and are paced by the growth in the number of apps--more than 60,000--that are available in Android Market.

Quantity, however, doesn't always mean quality. We took a dip in the app pool and came up with 19 really dumb Android apps.

They range from the ridiculous to the downright dangerous. Some of them appear to be based on good ideas, but fail badly in implementing them. Others, well, let's just say that words like "misleading" or "underdeveloped" apply here. All are pretty much guaranteed to waste your time.

Let's dig in.

Get Moving

Type N Walk
Type N Walk app.
Type N Walk (free) is "the new, smarter way to type while walking. Lets you see what's in front of you while typing and walking." This app uses your Android phone's camera and superimposes your text message over the view as you type and walk, so that you can more confidently fall into a hole (or other hazard of your preference) that is outside of your camera's viewing area. As an added benefit, this app rotates the camera view sideways so that you can more conveniently fall into a hole.

Priceless.

FlightDeck-Artificial Horizon (free): The developer of this app says, "Being a private pilot, I developed this tool as a back-up artificial horizon while I'm flying. It uses the built-in orientation sensors on your Android phone to provide you pitch and yaw information in real-time."

Nice... IF you have always wanted to die in a plane crash.

CarSafety (free): "If you ever get into a car accident, the emergency alarm on your phone will go off. If this alarm is not turned off within 60 seconds, CarSafety will send an SMS with the GPS coordinates and address of the accident to a pre-determined number. -- do not work in sleep mode at some phones!" It attempts to use your Android phone's accelerometer to detect if you are involved in a car accident.

Oops, I dropped my phone; now my family thinks I've been in a traffic accident and is dialing 911. This app also runs in the background, eating up your battery life while waiting for the relatively unlikely accident to occur.

Pocket Agent (free): "Pocket AgentTM lets you contact your agent, submit a claim, check balances of State Farm Bank and Mutual Fund accounts, view insurance policy information, search and locate State Farm Select ServiceTM Repair Facilities, hotels, rental cars, emergency contacts and much more!" You need to create an online, password-protected account in order to file claims with the app. If you mess up your log-in three times (easy to do when using a touchscreen keyboard), you will be locked out of the app and invited to call a toll-free number to reactivate it.

That's almost as convenient as... just calling your insurance agent in the first place.

Time Bandits

My Perfect Egg Timer app
My Perfect Egg Timer app
My Perfect Egg Timer (free): "My perfect egg timer calculates the exact time for boiling eggs. Taking the egg diameter, egg temperature, and how hard or soft you want it into account, the app starts an egg timer once the egg is in boiling water. Shortly before the egg is done, you will be notified to take it out of the water." It also uses your phone's built-in GPS to detect your altitude and adjust the cooking time necessary to boil an egg to your desired doneness. If you are obsessed with boiled eggs, have a lot of time on your hands, and frequently change altitude, then you might like this app.

Or you could live dangerously and just put an egg in a pot of water and boil it.

GTD Timer (free): "Easily distracted? Or have a long list of tasks but not knowing how to begin? The idea from Merlin Mann may help you: Work for ten minutes with single-minded focus on moving toward completion on a single task. Then get a 2-minute break to do whatever you want." This app times you for ten minutes, then for two minutes. You can get really crazy and change the time increments.

Try installing a real timer app, such as MultiTimer, which can do the same thing, plus a lot more.

USA TV Guide (free) claims to be a "timezone based 3-day TV Guide." In fact, it simply opens up the Spanish-language Google Mobile page (Google para moviles ).

Wow. If you speak Spanish, now you can search for a real TV guide.

Get a Camera!

Share Your Board (free): "Application for capturing, processing and sharing whiteboard data. Save every idea that pops up in a meeting, a brainstorming session, or a class." With this app, you can photograph and share the whiteboard from your office meeting.

Alternatively, you can do the exact same thing with a marvelous piece of technology built into your Android phone. It's called the camera. (You might assume that Share Your Board does something extra... but it doesn't.)

Less functionality than your smartphone's camera!
eScrap Free (free) provides "document scanning with phone camera. Functions: * Fix geometry, contract, brightness. * Share documents with other apps (Gmail, Evernote, etc). Limit of free version: * Not support large size." The free version limits your "scan" to 800-by-600 pixels.

Yes, that's right: this app actually has less functionality than your phone's built-in camera and camera app. That's a negative-value-add, in marketing-speak. In English: Worse than a waste of time.

Next: Business and Beauty Apps

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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