Price: Free (basic version), $1.99 (Plus version), $4.99 (Ultimate version)
This app helps reduce battery drain by regulating your data connections and by syncing schedule, screen settings and other device components. You configure it by enabling the profile for the level of juice-saving you desire: Balanced, Aggressive or Extreme. The Balanced profile is fully automatic and doesn't require your input. The Aggressive profile automatically disables data connectivity when the battery is low, which you can turn back on when needed by clicking the shortcut in the notification area of Android. The Extreme profile keeps data connections disabled by default; they can be turned on manually and you can whitelist apps that always need connectivity. For example, it can automatically disable the Wi-Fi if you aren't connected to a network or you aren't nearby networks you frequently use.
The Free version of JuiceDefender supports the Balanced and Aggressive profiles and offers limited mobile data connection controls and sync scheduling. The Plus version ($1.99) offers more setting customizations for the Aggressive profile and adds support for the Extreme profile. It also adds Wi-Fi control and more customization for the sync schedule. The Ultimate version ($4.99) adds AutoSync, screen timeout and screen brightness controls and offers additional sync scheduling customization. If you have a rooted device, it also lets you control CPU speed, GPS control and 2G/3G switching.
You can customize the functionality even more with the Customize and Advanced profiles. All versions of JuiceDefender support these profiles, but there are limitations on what settings you can configure in the lower versions. However, you can still see and review the settings to understand what the app offers in the higher versions.
Despite the rather confusing number of configurations and versions, I found JuiceDefender to be straightforward to configure and use. Sorting through the differences between the three versions was a bit of a mind-boggler, but it does offer a comparison table via a button in the app to help. Remember, if you can't change a setting, it's probably because it's disabled and only included in a higher version.
Price: Free (basic version), $3.49 (Plus Unlocked version)
LauncherPro isn't really a performance boosting tool -- it's more of a replacement launcher that typically loads and works quicker than the native Android launcher. If you're getting long delays and lockups when navigating your home screens and apps page, it can potentially help. It also has additional memory features to keep screens in memory to speed up loading.
LauncherPro adds a Preference menu to your main menu that offers a bunch of settings to customize your interface. You can add more screens and docks, change the number of columns and rows for icons, change dock shortcuts, hide apps, customize behavior and appearance, and change themes.
During testing, LauncherPro did indeed help the performance of my Android device, a Sanyo Rio. My only gripe is that doesn't import your existing shortcuts and widgets from the native Android launcher, so it can take a while to set up. However, it doesn't delete the native interface or launcher so you can revert back to it if for some reason you don't like LauncherPro.
Price: Free (basic version), $2.99 (Full version)
Memory Booster kills any running apps that aren't necessary. Like Android Assistant, it features a Quick Boost button that automatically chooses the apps to kill; you can also manually select which processes or apps you want to get rid of. However, Memory Booster has an extra added attraction: it lets you add user and system apps to a white list so they won't be accidentally killed.
The full version of Memory Booster ($2.99) adds the ability to schedule the killing of apps. You can choose the interval at which to kill them, set the memory threshold if you only want it to kill them when memory is running low, and set it to kill them every time you lock your device. The full version also adds another, more aggressive level that can help free up even more memory by killing more apps.
Memory Booster was easy to use, but I wish it also had the ability to edit startup apps/processes -- if you're worried about memory, it's better to prevent unnecessary apps from starting in the first place.
Apps can take up a lot of space on your phone, and while some protected/system Android apps can't be moved to your SD card, others aren't movable just because the developer didn't do the extra work to make them movable.
Move2SD Enabler, which requires a rooted Android, changes this -- it enables most apps that aren't movable to the SD card by default to be movable. Even better, it can change the default install location of apps from internal storage to your SD card.
When you open Move2SD Enabler, it prompts you to make sure you have USB debugging enabled and offers a shortcut to the Android Application settings screen. Once enabled, Move2SD Enabler is easy to use and requires only one setting change in the Move2SD app: selecting External for the default app location. Keep in mind that it enables only existing apps to be movable; you will have to manually move them via Android's Manage Applications screen.
SD Speed Increase, which requires a rooted Android device, tries to speed up your SD card's file-transfer rates and general read-write functions by increasing the default cache size of the SD card.
All you have to do is open the app, set it to a higher cache size and hit a button. Since the cache size isn't kept after reboots, SD Speed Increase has an option to automatically reset it every time you start up your device.
As the developer advises, this app may not work on all Android devices. You may not see any noticeable differences in the SD card speeds -- I didn't -- but it's worth a try.
Price: $2.12 after 7-day trial
Is your audio too low when you're using headphones or ear buds? Well, this app can boost the volume; a great feature if you're working out or are in a noisy environment.
You can manually activate the volume boost or set it to automatically start when booting your Android device. It also offers a widget that you can add to your home screens to quickly turn it on and off with a single button click.
When I tried it, I did notice a slight audio increase when using this app. It boosts the volume just enough so you can better hear Pandora, MP3s or whatever you're listening to. It includes a 7-day free trial and then you must purchase it for $2.12 to continue using it.
Since I go on regular bike rides and have a hard time hearing audio with my ear buds, it's certainly worth the two bucks and change.
This story, "10 Android Apps to Boost Speed and Battery Life" was originally published by Computerworld.