In the wake of Trump’s Google ban on Huawei cellphones, here are Witchdoctor’s top picks for Google, YouTube and Drive alternatives.
There’s been a flurry of speculation around what the next Huawei phones will look like now that they are unable to use Google apps. If you’re curious, the good news is that you don’t need to be Huawei to experiment with Android app alternatives to those supplied by Google. Here are our top picks.
Outlook is a surprisingly good email app. It’ll not only work with Microsoft’s freemium email service, but can play nice with Gmail and other email services including Pop3 and IMAP. The Android version of Outlook was originally an app called Accompli, which was acquired by Microsoft and relaunched as Outlook. It has a slick material design aesthetic as well as features such as Swipe To Archive, Reschedule or Delete Messages. Outlook also has an inbuilt calendar, filling the vacuum left by Google’s calendar app.
Newton Mail features the same swipe-to-archive capabilities as Outlook and is also tightly integrated with cloud services such as Evernote, OneNote, Pocket, and so on.
This takes the form of cards that appear on the body of an email, allowing you to send the email content to a variety of cloud services with just a single tap.
Blue Mail will work with Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, Yahoo, iCloud, IMAP, and POP3.
Looks-wise it resembles Gmail’s Inbox. As well as offering the same swipe actions as Outlook, BlueMail is highly customisable. You can even set how often certain folders sync, create quick replies, and choose what happens when you swipe emails.
APP STORE ALTERNATIVES
One of the biggest selling points of Android is its massive ecosystem of apps. Unlike a certain other fruity OS, Android doesn’t lock you into just the one app store. To use these alternative app stores, you may first need to enter the Settings menu. Tap on Security and then enable download from Unknown Sources.
Amazon gives away a paid app for free every day. Aside from freebies, the Amazon App Store has a huge selection of books, movies and songs and as a bonus is one of the more affordable stores around
Mobogenie Market is bursting with free apps. The large range on offer also means that it’s a go-to for finding an app that is no longer available in any other Android store.
If adware-laden apps, hidden charges and dodgy in-app purchases drive you mad, head to F-Droid. It only has free open source apps and operates as a non-profit organisation.
While Google Play Apps is like an online shop, Aptoide is more of a mall as developers manage their own stores.
YouTube is hugely popular as it’s a great way to kill time. While the stock YouTube app will do the job, these alternatives also offer some incredibly handy features.
NewPipe is a Freeware YouTube app that adds a few handy wrinkles to what the stock YouTube has on offer. First and foremost it’ll allow you to download both video and audio at various different resolutions. It’ll also play clips in a pop up window for split screen multi-tasking. Its lightweight design also means that it’s pretty frugal when it comes to system resources.
OGYouTube’s claim to fame is that it’ll play clips with no annoying ads. It also offers download and can play clips in the background. OLED screen-equipped phone owners will also appreciate its battery friendly dark mode. And because it has an interface that’s mostly the same as the YouTube App (with a few subtle modifications), there’s also no learning curve.
GOOGLE DRIVE ALTERNATIVES
Dropbox is probably the most well-known cloud storage app. It’s a doddle to use, and is secure as it also encrypts data and offers two-factor authentication. A basic, free Dropbox account comes with 2GB of cloud storage.
Dropbox has security features, but Tresorit takes security pretty seriously. According to the folks from Tresorit, military-grade encryption and public key cryptography is used to scramble files before they leave your device, meaning that not even Tresorit staff can read any data you store on their servers. Security also comes into play when you use Tresorit to share a link to your files. This sees a secret key generated for the person you’ve shared the file with. You can check when and who downloaded the file you shared and you can also revoke access. Tresorit’s servers are located in Europe so they have to comply with GDPR rules and regulations. This has the added benefit that nothing can be done to your data without you giving the okay first.
The Box is a good Drive alternative for small and medium sized businesses. In addition to remotely storing your data, you also get some useful collaboration tools. Using Box, files shared with your workmates can be edited and annotated in real time. It’ll also play nice with Office 365, Salesforce and Adobe Sign. Detailed version tracking is also included so you track every synced version of the file as well as any changes made. Box also uses machine learning to make task assignment, deadlines and progress tracking more automated.
Mega is both free and secure. It’s also Kiwi-based and bundles a generous pile of storage (you can also purchase more as needed). Data is encrypted in transit, and there are collaboration and file sharing tools. Mega might be based in New Zealand but they comply with GDPR rules. It’s also built with public source code, allowing curious types to have a wee peek under its hood.