With a more wide-open app Market and some seriously dedicated hackers, there's all kinds of mischief you can get up to with an Android phone. Here's some of our favourite apps for skirting fees, defeating corporate branding and other kinda-sorta "Evil" manoeuvres.
How does this app continue to fly under the radar? We have no idea, but we hope it continues (even though, yes, we're writing about it publicly). With many carriers offering phone-to-computer data tethering at an additional cost per month, PDAnet offers a one-time $US25 charge for an Android app that connects your phone's data connection to your laptop. The software requires just a touch of configuration on the Windows or Mac computer you're tethering on, but after that, you're good to go with the touch of one button on either end. This editor just used it to tie an Android phone to a MacBook on a six-hour train ride, and it certainly felt a little evil watching other passengers type on tiny screens. [Homepage][AppBrain]
ADW.Launcher & LauncherPro
HTC, Motorola, Samsung and other Android phone manufacturers put a lot of effort into making their phones look distinct — from Google's basic Android, from the iPhone, from each other. In a few areas, they made improvements. In most cases, they made things slower, more awkward or just plain confusing (what exactly is intuitive about an app named "People"?). Take back your phone and wipe away corporate branding with ADW.Lancher and LauncherPro, two apps that replace your phone's home screen and app launching tray with versions that look a lot like what Google originally built, along with adding in some great widgets, shortcuts and other features. It's a minor rebellion but very worthwhile. [ADWLauncher: Homepage, AppBrain][LauncherPro: Homepage, AppBrain]
SuperOneClick, Universal Androot and Their Friends
Using apps like SuperOneClick or Universal Androot to "root" your phone or gain ultimate access to every layer of it is certainly a tad selfish — but in a pretty good way. You open up your phone to apps that you couldn't otherwise run. That includes custom firmwares with lots of improvements, like CyanogenMOD, sure, but also utilities you can't believe aren't already on Android by default, like screenshot utilities. You also gain the ability to move apps to your SD card and run them from there, allowing a near limitless number of apps onto your phone. Rooting loosens the laws inside your own little digital kingdom, and if that's evil, so be it. [SuperOneClick: Homepage (Windows app)][Universal Androot: Homepage]
iTunes was built to sell iPods, and it has offered very few other music devices an olive branch. Crash the gates with your Android and iSyncr, an app that's remarkably good at syncing playlists between an Android phone and a stocked iTunes library. It's easy to set up and can work over Wi-Fi, which makes it better to some minds than the USB-required iPhone or iPad system. There's a man who dresses in black turtlenecks and makes use of "magic" imagery who would rather you play by the rules. This app does a great job at ignoring him. [Homepage][AppBrain]
What's your own favourite "evil" app for Android — the kind that make you grin in a certain nefarious way every time you draw on its powers? Share your dark secrets in the comments.