The Apps Your Docking Station Makes Sense With. Part 2. Android
OK, here we come with Android. Yes, this OS outnumbers iOS in pieces and names, but does this affect the docking stations popularity? Yes, it does, and not for the better.
The problem with Android is its hardware variety. While iPhone and other apple devices are easy to position the only possible way, Android devices may have their Micro USB or Type C sockets on any edge and in any orientation. So docking stations for Android are not that versatile, though some vendors pack their devices with 100% compatible ones. Just the same situation as with other accessory types.
How to use your device while it’s standing in the dock? We’ll suggest some ways, both usual and creative. The developers provided a lot of home and office ways to make the most use of your phone standing and charging constantly, so use this force!
My Alarm Clock
Despite its name, My Alarm Clock both suitable for office or home usage. The app displays the necessary minimal info: a clock with a customizable view, current weather, active alarms and battery status. It looks pretty good and makes the app great both for home and work usage.
My Alarm Clock is also rich in additional features. You can set multiple alarms and reminders and select tones to wake up to. The brightness is adjusted by vertical swipe. Double tap on the screen will turn on the flashlight. The app will help you fall asleep with beautiful relaxing sound. It works way better if your dock has built-in speakers or an audio output.
My Alarm Clock has a lot of selectable clock modes, but the selection is limited in the free version. Besides that, the app is ad-supported and thus not so greatly minimalistic. But the premium version is so cheap that even a devoted freeware fan may think of supporting the developer financially. The coffee cup rule doesn’t apply this time: a good cup of coffee will cost you much more.
Splashtop Extended Display HD
When your tablet is standing in its docking station at your PC, there’s always a dream to connect it to your computer and expand your monitor. At the same time, you can use touch input on it. The Splashtop app is just about that. The app is connected to your PC wirelessly, and your tablet becomes a second monitor. Of course, you can use it with a smartphone as well, but it doesn’t look like much help.
Splashtop supports a lot of features work would be a torture without. The tablet can play audio and video from your PC, it supports Windows interface schemes, detects orientation automatically. The position of the second display can be set manually.
Of course, you’ll have to install some specific software on your PC to get the system working. But that’s a common thing for this client-server relation. And after spending some time on initial setup it won’t bother you again.
Still, this one is not that free as we could hope. The free trial period is limited to five minutes – five minutes, Carl! And then you're to decide whether it will affect your productivity as much as it costs. Anyway, at least, you can try it.
This one is for those always listening to some music on the radio. Today’s online stations provide a great variety of genres and styles, so there’s no problem to find yours. The problem is that, first, streaming and playing drains your battery, second, built-in speakers can’t stand the competition, even if you own that famous HTC One M*.
That’s where docking stations come out. You’ll appreciate it with a station that has built-in speakers, but even if you play music out over Bluetooth or cable connection, you’ll need to charge your phone or tablet constantly. And if your station is positioned on your desk or by your bed, it’ll be easier to control playback.
There’s a great lot of Internet radio aggregating apps, but radio.net has some specific features useful with a dock. It has a built-in alarm clock and a sleep timer, so you can fall asleep to music and wake up to the sounds. The interface has a special docking station mode with swipe-based controls. That’s why you should try it to sweeten the air around with your favorite music.
Again, radio.net is not the only one with this feature set, it’s rather a representative of its class than the ultimate winner.
Next Lock Screen
Lock screen apps for Android may be as informative as screen allows physically. The Next Lock Screen is a Microsoft’s project, and it seems to have more promising than the whole Windows Phone ecosystem lately.
So put your phone or tablet into the docking station and let it always be on as long as the power is plugged. The app will display beautiful backgrounds, big and clear clock and fate, the current weather and the nearest forecast, your battery status and some tools in the programs dock. The splashing notifications will also appear on the screen, and you can open them immediately or just swipe away.
My Next Lock Screen is informative and adjustable. You can select 9 apps you need quick access to, and their shortcuts will be always displayed. The pictures in the background are changed dynamically. The app displays your music player widget, so you don’t even have to unlock your device to control playback.
Once again, we consider Next just a good example of what a lock screen app can be with a docking station. Other lock screens may suit your needs better, but it’s worth to look at the whole class of apps.
While you stream your video from an IP camera, you should care about two things: your camera should stand still and have its power plugged. If you have a docking station, you can consider both problems solved and start setting up your remote video control.
All you need to watch your stream on another device is web connection and any browser. Streaming can also be viewed with VLC Player for any platform. And if you watch the camera from the same network, you don’t need the Internet connection at all. This app can also save its video to cloud drives like Dropbox or FTP servers, send it via email (is your inbox large enough?), stream video in background while you’re doing some work on the device’s screen.
The only trouble may be caused by right positioning. The camera is usually positioned at the ceiling to embrace the most space. But maybe you’ll be good with the view from your desk’s height.
Again. It’s not the only webcam app in our catalog, it’s just the most popular free one, but this time “free” means “free”, with no in-app purchases at all. You may prefer an alternative app, but the basic functionality and usage principles will remain the same.
Of course this list could have been expanded. But these apps taken alone may already set your mind on using a docking station with your Android device or unpacking your unneeded and forgotten one.
When we collect the critical mass of the apps left overboard, there will be another article on these apps. Don’t hide your docks, they should be always around.