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Six of the best free Android apps for geeks

From an RPN-capable calculator to a free SSH client

  • No geek's phone would be complete without an SSH client. [[xref: https://market.android.com/details?id=org.connectbot |ConnectBot]] is free, and it is fairly easy to use. It can be a bit fiddly if you need to use Ctrl, but hey — you're using SSH on a phone. ConnectBot can even cope with multiple sessions.
    Image credit:[[xref:http://code.google.com/p/connectbot/wiki/UserInterface| http://code.google.com/p/connectbot/wiki/UserInterface]]

  • Sometimes, even geeks have trouble with multiplying a couple of numbers in base eight. Enter [[xref: https://market.android.com/details?id=uk.co.nickfines.RealCalc|RealCalc]]: A calculator app that will let you switch between decimal, octal, hexadecimal and binary without pause. It's jam-packed with features, but all you really need to know is that it supports [[xref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_Polish_Notation|Reverse Polish Notation (RPN)]].

  • Okay, [[xref: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.dropbox.android |Dropbox]] isn't strictly an app just for geeks — it probably belongs on everyone's phone, or at least most. Dropbox offers free (and non-free) Cloud-based storage and provides front-end applications across multiple platforms, making it extremely handy for accessing files from several different locations.

  • If you're the kind of guy or gal who never leaves home without your soldering iron, then you may find [[xref: https://market.android.com/details?id=it.android.demi.elettronica |ElectroDroid]] handy. It's an electronics reference application, with features including a series of calculators (think resistor colour code calculator — though of course you probably won't need this), pin-out guides for common connections and a collection of resistors (such as circuit schematic symbols, capacitor marking codes).

  • [[xref: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.mathpad.mobile.android.wt.unit |ConvertPad]] is a free unit converter with an ugly but easy-to-use interface. Sure you might remember how many centimetres are in an inch, but can you remember that 1 metre is (approximately) 118.11023622 [[xref:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_unit#Length|barleycorns]]?

  • [[xref: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.estrongs.android.pop |ES File Explorer]] is — as you would expect given the name — a file manager for Android. It has a straightforward interface and is handy for browsing the contents of your phone's internal storage and memory card. You can also use it for FTP access and accessing files across a local network. We were able to easily stream a music file from a NAS device to our [[xref: http://www.techworld.com.au/article/376235/htc_desire_hd_review/|HTC Desire HD]].

  • There are a lot of things about [[xref: http://www.computerworld.com.au/tag/Google_Android/|Google's Android operating system]] that appeal to geeks. It's [[xref: http://www.techworld.com.au/section/open_source/|open source]], it offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to customising your handset, and, despite not yet matching the [[xref: http://www.computerworld.com.au/tag/iPhone/|iPhone]] when it comes to the number of apps available, the Android Market continues to grow. We've compiled six great geeky apps that you might want to consider adding to your arsenal. Best of all, they're free.

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