After our exploration of iPhone apps for motorcyclists, we decided to check out some of the many apps available on the Android platform. After all, being a biker is not about fitting in, and who wants the same phone as EVERYONE else!
Although I’ve called it a top 10, the apps are not listed in any particular order, and it is important to note that, since I have written this from a UK perspective, in some cases, equivalent apps may be more suitable if you live somewhere else. If no price is mentioned then the app is free, and in some cases there are free versions of the paid-for app mentioned, albeit missing a useful feature or two.
In case you have not seen them before, the funny black and white blocks are QR codes aka 2D-Barcodes. If your phone has barcode reading software, you can scan these and you will be taken directly to the download. If you are reading this on your phone, the links for each app will likewise take you to the marketplace download. OK, let’s crack on.
Find petrol stations with pay at pump facility, so you can save time and not have to strip off your gear – plus avoid being mistaken for an armed robber when you forget to take off your lid on the way into the kiosk. This is aimed at the UK market, and won’t work too well elsewhere, but there are other apps available that cover other countries.
Everyone needs fuel, and no-one likes to pay more than they have to. This app will help you save money on every petrol stop. It is powered by Experian, which collects data from all the fuel card transactions fleet drivers use, so the data should be pretty accurate. The data comes on an annual subscription, with £4.99 and £9.99 variants, the dearer app gives more details on exact prices. Assuming a 2p per litre saving on each fuel stops low mileage scooterists might struggle to break even, but if you ride a bigger bike, and especially if you run another vehicle too, this app should more than pay for itself. Incidentally, this is blatantly the same app (same developers) as the identically priced AA Fuel Prices iPhone App, but without the annoying AA branding.
The ultimate road trip app. Winner of the travel category in the 2nd Android Developer Competition. Use Trip Journal to record and document your travel experiences and share them with friends and family. You can track your route, record waypoints and photos and geotag everything with Google Maps and KMZ Export. The full version is well worth the €1.99, as it adds Facebook, Flickr and Picasa support as well as a useful backup facility.
This app helps you remember where you parked, and as well as cars, you can obviously use it to find your bike. Parked up at Box Hill on Easter Monday, and can’t remember exactly where you left your ‘Blade? Looking around you can see about 20! This app will guide you right to yours using your phone’s GPS. If you are in a Multi-Storey, you can set the Level, Section and Colour too. Finding your car is simple, with a choice of map or radar view. The paid version at $0.99 removes ads and adds a parking meter feature, so you know when your time is nearly up.
This app is an awesome way to share your own routes with mates. If you have a favourite ride out between two points, it may (unsurprisingly) not be the route Google Maps chooses. And giving directions doesn’t always work out the way you think. But this app goes beyond this, as you can integrate photos of custom waymarkers, (e.g. turn left at this pretty white cottage) and tag points of interest.
Geotag a meeting point and send it to your mate. Then you can go and get a cuppa while you wait for him to turn up. When he arrives, you get a message telling you he’s there.
This app will be a great help to new bikers who are preparing for the theory test. Saying that, those of us with more experience could do worse than to brush up on our Highway Code knowledge. $4.99 (but don’t worry it is for the UK test). There is a car version too.
Ultimate gps speedometer. speed, max speed, ave speed, pace, altitude gain and loss, odometer, map, replay, charts. A pro version adds live tracking…
There are plenty of traffic applications out there, and the RAC, Transport Direct, and some independent folks have decent apps, and you really should have one of them on your phone. But this app shows the future of real time traffic info. This free app takes your regular traffic info and supplements it with some unbelievable extras – live feeds from nearby traffic cameras, traffic and travel related tweets from users near you and speed trap warnings. It speaks to you as well, so you can use it on the move. For when you are not on the road, there is also an augmented reality view that orients you relative to local cameras and alerts. Some features are only available in certain areas, so you’ll need to check out what’s available for you. Incredible stuff, and the UK is fairly well covered, especially around London and Glasgow, along with various North American cities. In its current form, I would use it in combination with a more regular traffic app. The live pictures could really help you decide if it is worth carrying on and filtering, or if you would be better off making a detour.
Finally, time for some relaxing fun. An entertaining game with a motocross theme. Costs $1.99 and has a pleasingly retro feel to it.
I hope you have the opportunity to try some of these apps for yourself. On Android phones, if you delete a paid-for app within the first 24 hours you get a full refund, so there is nothing to lose by trying them out.
If you have an Android phone, and you have found another app that is useful for bikers, please let me and everyone else know via the comments.