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meerkt
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Good alterative Android apps for dialer, SMS?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:51 am

I'm looking for trustworthy and good apps for phone-contacts and SMS.
I'm not sure there's a reason to assume one can trust the common popular alternative. Any suggested ones?

Google Messages is a disappointment on all counts.
Google Phone doesn't show up in a store search. Maybe it's not supported on phones from other brands.

While at it, any suggestions for...

Calendar. Google's isn't all that great (and the widget is dead ugly).
Weather. MacroPinch's in-app looks nice and is sensibly organized, but the widget part has issues and is missing functionality (and is ugly). Multiple other ones are just either spartan to a fault, or a complete mess with nary a hint of design.
 
DancinJack
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Re: Good alterative Android apps for dialer, SMS?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:49 am

Which phone/model are you on? What OS version are you on?
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meerkt
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Re: Good alterative Android apps for dialer, SMS?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:52 am

Android 7 on some Xiaomi (good price/hardware ratio, bad software and unlocking).
 
DancinJack
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Re: Good alterative Android apps for dialer, SMS?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:21 am

So, a lot of apps are going to depend on your OS version (7 is getting pretty old - 9 is current and 10 is coming in the next couple months), your region (not sure if you're in the US?), and some other stupid BS Google imposes very likely. You're also not likely to get some updates for a lot of apps via the app restrictions Google has recently imposed on developers (i make that sound bad but it's a good thing for security). Here are my suggestions though. Let me preface this by saying that I have checked out most of the developers on this list and all seem to be legit and cool, but as ever, be wary of orgs that get your data.

These are in no particular order
Weather:
AccuWeather
Dark Sky
1Weather - best widgets IMO

Dialer/Phone: I very much prefer Google's (at least that way I know who sees my contact/call info - plus they have spam support and stuff like that built in), but here are a few options.
True Phone Dialer
Contacts+ (works across mobile and desktop)

SMS/MMS: Again, here I prefer Google's Messages. It works fine for my needs (much of my text communication goes through Hangouts or other services so SMS/MMS is less important to me).
ChompSMS
Textra

Calendar: Annnnnnnd again, here I use Google's. The recent addition of dark mode has kept me on it, plus it syncs with everything I do across my desktop/phone so I just stick with it. Alas, here are a few options I have used/tested/etc.
aCalendar
Any.do
MS Outlook - obviously this isn't just cal but Outlook as well
Today Calendar
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Prestige Worldwide
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Re: Good alterative Android apps for dialer, SMS?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:32 am

To get google dialer on a non-Pixel / Nexus, you can go to 3rd party apk sites to get it.

https://www.apkmirror.com/apk/google-inc/google-phone/ or google "download google phone apk" and choose your download source.

I did that on my HTC one M8 years ago and didn't have any problems


For secure SMS, try Signal
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... s&hl=en_CA

I generally liked it, but use Google Messages on my Pixel 2 because it's better integrated with the rest of things on my phone
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DancinJack
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Re: Good alterative Android apps for dialer, SMS?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:39 am

Prestige Worldwide wrote:
For secure SMS, try Signal
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... s&hl=en_CA

I generally liked it, but use Google Messages on my Pixel 2 because it's better integrated with the rest of things on my phone

I was going to suggest Signal/Telegram/whatever other E2E SMS/MMS app, but the person(s) on the other end have to be using the same app to ensure the messages are encrypted, otherwise you may as well use Messages/Textra/whatever other SMS app (which generally have more features than Signal and its ilk). So, while I still think E2E SMS/MMS apps are wonderful, they do have their drawbacks.

edit: I would like to emphasize one part of PW's post though. If you can't get these apps from the play store, APKMirror is generally every good about having new apks up very early after release and they are, in my experience, safe to install. So definitely check there if Google Play won't let you install the usual way.

https://www.apkmirror.com/
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meerkt
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Re: Good alterative Android apps for dialer, SMS?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:22 pm

Thanks, I'll check these out in more detail.

AccuWeather I tried before, didn't like. Outlook requires an email set up even just for calendar, and require me to jump thru hoops to use a Gmail address, so that's down too.

Dialer. Didn't know unmodified Google Phone can run on non-Google phones. I'll check if that works here.

Any opinion on Drupe for a dialer? It's apparently a notable player, and there's call recording integrated. But there was a security issue semi-recently, and in general, despite a firewall, I'm uncomfortable with dialers that integrate internet functionality.

File Manager. Another thing I now realized needs research. Any good file managers, with a dense and detailed file list, and at least ZIP support? Apparently ES File Explorer has been taken down by Google due to some wrongdoings, potentially that started a few versions ago. I could try to use an old version, but is there a current on-store darling file manager?

I didn't mean SMS encryption. Just good ol' SMS, but an app from a company that you can reasonably assume will not collect your messages.

I'm aware of repositories such as APKMirror, but try to avoid them whenever possible. Both a question of trust, and also because in multi-variant APKs you have to figure out which one will work on your device, if any.
 
DancinJack
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Re: Good alterative Android apps for dialer, SMS?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:29 pm

meerkt wrote:
Any opinion on Drupe for a dialer? It's apparently a notable player, and there's call recording integrated. But there was a security issue semi-recently, and in general I'm uncomfortable with dialers that integrate internet functionality (despite having a firewall).

Never used it previously but the reviews look OK. Worth a shot, at least.

meerkt wrote:
File Manager. Another thing I now realized needs research. Any good file managers, with a dense and detailed file list, and at least ZIP support? Apparently ES File Explorer has been taken down by Google due to some wrongdoings, potentially that started a few versions ago. I could try to use an old version, but is there a current on-store darling file manager?

Astro

meerkt wrote:
By "trustworthy" SMS app I didn't mean encryption. Just good ol' SMS, but an app from a company that you can reasonably assume will not collect your messages.

I'm aware of repositories such as APKMirror, but I try to avoid them whenever possible. Both a question of trust, and also because in multi-variant APKs you have to figure out which one will work on your device, if any.


Re: Trustworthiness - yeah I figured that was your view. The ones I suggested work well and have a good feature set. Textra has been great for me in the past.
Re: APKMirror, as I said above, it's better than you might think. I have used multiple APK's from there for a while now and have never had issues. Also, Google APK design practices have changed. A lot of apps have "nodpi" now and that's the version you should try to install first.

For instance, for phone, try this one: https://www.apkmirror.com/apk/google-in ... -download/
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bthylafh
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Re: Good alterative Android apps for dialer, SMS?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:08 pm

I like Total Commander for Android file management.

Another option for apps the Play Store thinks you shouldn't have: Aurora Store. It will let you spoof your hardware so Google thinks you have e.g. a Pixel 2, and if your phone is rooted you can still install Netflix via it.

https://forum.xda-developers.com/androi ... e-t3739733
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Prestige Worldwide
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Re: Good alterative Android apps for dialer, SMS?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:57 pm

Amaze file explorer. Free, no ads, simple material design

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... r&hl=en_CA
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meerkt
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Re: Good alterative Android apps for dialer, SMS?

Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:13 pm

Thanks, I'll try these.

BTW, Drupe is unattractive. Creepy, even.

And Google Phone v33, both nodpi and 320dpi, won't install because it "isn't compatible".

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