13 May 2010

AppBrain

AppBrain is a web-based utility for users of Android phones.  I first came across it via Gina Trapani (Smarterware.org and TWiG).  It has a number of functions:
  • The phone app automatically populates your list with the apps already installed on your phone
  • It allows you to search the Android Marketplace from its web page (i.e. without using an Android phone), choose what you want to install / uninstall and then sync those choices with your phone
  • Once synced, you can ask AppBrain to Perform Installs - which means it will go to the Market Place for each of your pending installations and updates in turn, and start the process.  You still need to complete the installation yourself.  Once back at the MarketPlace listing, the Back button will proceed to the next app
  • It automatically puts updates to your apps in your Pending list for updates on the phone
  • It's social.  You can see what any Android user with Appbrain has installed if
    • they've made their list public
    • you know (or can guess) their Appbrain user name
  • It has embeddable built-in links to your own app list in various formats, including a widget showing a phone image with all your app icons.


Note that although AppBrain can tell what device you have, it doesn't seem to be aware of the OS version, nor does it have the information to filter for only those apps in the MarketPlace that are compatible with your phone.  This means that if you try to install an app that isn't compatible with your device, you'll get an error that says

There are no matches in Android Market for the search: pname: com.blah.blah
Suggestions:
  • Make sure all words are spelled correctly
  • Try different keywords
  • Try more general keywords 
... all of which is a bit disconcerting until you realised what's going on.

The list of apps seems to be displayed in most-recent-first order.  My list is VERY fluid at the moment, as I keep experimenting and trying to find the best fit for my needs.  They also provide some nifty ways to embed or post your apps on a webpage, such as the one shown above, which is a live "screenshot" of my Apps, and includes a link to the full list of my apps on the AppBrain website.  

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