Google Android Personal Finance App Review

Google G1 Phone


in Review

My current cell phone is an iPhone 3GS but recently I had the opportunity to try out a Google Android based phone the older G1 on T-Mobile. I’ve had just about every flavor of Windows Mobile phone which were great but they just couldn’t touch the iPhone’s interface, and app availability. I was eager to see what Google had to offer and did a run through of the various personal finance based Android Apps. I was impressed by the variety of apps and the phone was not bad, from what I’ve seen of the my Touch it makes me drool. If you are stuck without the possibility of an iPhone or are just looking for a different alternative this is a great phone. On to a high level overview of the Apps. Oh by the way, every app listed is fee to download from the Marketplace.

Android Budget Applications

Loot Review

Other than the painfully long please donate screen on startup Loot is a great little budgeting and expense tracking tool. They call it a bank account ledger application, it’s essentially a slightly more advanced check register. You can do some basic budgeting, it supports multiple accounts and repeat transactions. It’s a good start if you are looking for a way to track your expenses on the go. What it’s not is a comprehensive budgeting tool.

Personal Budget Droid Review

If you are more serious about tracking your categories and then being able to export that data Budget Droid might be a better choice. Once you have entered your transactions and saved by category you can export as a .csv file for importing in any of your standard desktop or online budgeting applications. It allows you to create custom categories and then assign a budget amount for the month. As you enter expenses it will track against your budget settings. Budget Droid has a no nonsense interface and provides good basic budgeting tools. Once again it’s still not a replacement for a good piece of budgeting software on your PC or mac but it does compliment it nicely while out and about.

Android Shopping Applications

Shopulator Review

Shopulator is effectively a shopping list creator that tracks the purchase price of your items. This could definitely be handy on that next trip to Costco to see how much damage you’re racking up on your spending spree. It’s not terribly quick to enter information, and it really only tracks lists of expenses. Your mileage may vary with this one.

Shop Savvy Review

Okay this is bar none one of the coolest apps I’ve seen in a long time. I spent about an hour walking around my house scanning UPC codes just to see what it could find. Life cereal? No Problem: $4.65. The Geforce 6200 AGP video card I just bought for my old PC? Yep: $29.24. Lame that’s $10 cheaper than I just paid.

I could sing this apps praises all day. Once you scan a barcode with the camera it will lookup prices on the web as well as locally. Now arguably the local options depend heavily on where you live, but the database seems to be pretty good. It will certainly find the closest Barnes and Noble for you and give the books price at the store. If there happens to be a review for the product you scanned you can browse those too. This could save you a lot of money when you’re out and wondering whether something on sale is a good deal or not. Now you’ll know. The best part is that it doesn’t seem to be limited to one category of goods, food, books, electronics, office, supplies, pretty much anything with a bar code it will bring up. Seriously cool. If you are doing a lot of comparison shopping you can create price alerts to let you know when a price for an item drops below a dollar amount. All in all a great app and would be worth getting an Android based phone for that alone.

SnapTell Review

SnapTell is a great app that is similar to Shop Savvy but instead of just using a barcode to code items (which you can do) you can also take a picture of the cover of books, DVD’s, CD’s or video games (US only) and you’ll get links to Amazon, Google, and more. It’s a great app but doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of Shop Savvy and is heavily slanted towards Amazon because it was purchased by one of it’s subsidiaries.

Android Stock Applications

Google Finance Review

This was the only one worth reviewing and is a great application for keeping an eye on your portfolio and researching individual stocks. It also syncs directly with your web based Google Finance account if you update any part of your portfolio.  Stock quotes are streamed in the app so you don’t have to manually refresh like some of the other apps out there. The interface is very polished. A very very nice app for those who like to obsess over your investments.

In Summary

I’ve enjoyed my trial time with the G1 it’s a great phone, I do like having a real keyboard as well. I’ve been able to do most anything I can do on my iPhone and haven’t found an app as cool as Shop Savvy yet either. My wife who’s due for a new phone may have found her next handset. Any other Android users out there with app suggestions?

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