The best apps for your crappy burner phone

Crappy phone, great apps

Crappy phone, great apps

I recently purchased a cheap pay-as-you-go Android smartphone with no intention to ever use the phone feature.  After removing several non-essential apps from the phone, I installed the following useful (and free!) apps:

  • UTILITY
    • Plane Mode Tweaker by Chislon Chow
      • This app allows you to let your WiFi through the phone’s “Airplane Mode.”  All cell phones, even those that have never been registered with any phone carrier, will periodically communicate with nearby cell towers.  Using this app, I can turn off that ability – while still leaving the WiFi untouched.  By turning off just the cell radio in the phone, I was able to extend the battery life significantly.
    • Tina Time-Lapse by B.nana Technology
      • This is a really great free app with lots of settings.  If you buy the paid app, it seems to have more settings and abilities.
    • Voice Recorder by Mamoru Tokashiki
      • I’ve been using this useful app for years to make notes to myself.  ((And once to record the sounds of a tiger.))1
    •  VNC Viewer by RealVNCLimited
      • Control any other computer running a VNC server.
    • GPS Navigation
  • ENTERTAINMENT
    • Chess Time – Muliplayer Chess by Haptic Apps LLC
      • Great app if you enjoy the occasional chess game.  I use it to play against friends2 all the time.
    • IMDB Movies & TV
      • Sometimes you just have to know the name of the actress who’s playing the barrista.
    • Shazam
      • Sometimes you just have to know the name of a song playing in a movie or TV show.
    •  Netflix
      • It is downright ridiculous to me that I can buy a $20 appliance for watching movies over a wireless connection.

Also, once you install apps on the phone, you’ll want to go to the app manager and move them to “internal memory.”  Although it sounds the phone is asking you if you want to move all the apps to the very limited 1GB of the phone’s internal memory, what you’re really doing is moving the apps to the “internal memory” of the 4GB microSD card.

  1. True story. []
  2. And enemies []

Why You Should Buy a Crappy Burner Phone

LG Dynamic Optimus (LG 38c)

LG Dynamic Optimus (LG 38c)

I recently purchased a cheap “pay-as-you-go” Android smartphone after reading about it on Slashdot.  The phone in question is an “LG 38c” being sold under the name, “LG Optimus Dynamic” with triple “Tracphone” minutes which you can pick up from Amazon for $19.99.

Before you rush out and get one, the processor is underpowered, the screen is small, it only comes with a 4GB microSD card and very limited internal memory, the viewing angle is relatively narrow, the touchscreen is a flexible plastic rather than sturdy glass, and runs an older version of the Android operating system that can’t handle many apps.12

That said, you would be hard pressed to be able to build or buy a device for $20 that is as capable as this little phone.  The phone can use WiFi, can run the Netflix movie viewing app, be used as a web browser, alarm clock, MP3 player, digital camera, digital video recorder, GPS navigator, send and receive email (over WiFi), and run many useful apps available from the Google Play store.  Also, you may not be aware of this or not, but every single cell phone out there – even those without any cell phone plan – is capable of dialing 9-1-1.  ((Obviously, this phone can be as cheap as it is because the phone company is subsidizing the cost, hoping you make it up by buying phone minutes.  Although I’m basically breaking this business model on a small scale, I just don’t seem to feel that guilty about it.))

One Hundred and One Uses for a Crappy Burner Phone
  1. Why You Should Buy a Crappy Burner Phone
  1. One amusing downside to buying a crappy burner phone is that your wife will look at you like you’re crazy.  She’s not going to think you’re a super spy or a drug dealer or anything cool like that. []
  2. Right, Honey?! []