Make Gmail on Android even better with these helper apps

Gmail on Android is darned good, but has a few holes. Android developers have fixed nearly all of them, for free.

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Yet again, though, some smart Android developer has a work-around. Gmail Attachment Download is a kind of beneficent imposter, installing itself as an app that can supposedly handle tons and tons of file types. In reality, that’s just to let Gmail know that it can pass off files it doesn’t recognize (but you do) to this app, which will then ask you to save it somewhere on your accessible storage space or pass it off to another app (like, say, Dropbox, or onto your Google Drive space). It’s a hack, but it’s effective.

The other way around: send any file through Gmail

Gmail Attach, picking up an attachment on Android

As its skimpy attachment download abilities, Gmail normally doesn’t let you attached anything except a picture or video to outgoing messages. That’s why Anuj Tenani created Attachments, or “Gmail Attach”. Like Gmail Attachment Download, the app “pretends” to be a photo-choosing app, but once you pick Gmail Attach from the attachment dialogue, you’ll have access to all the files on your Android device for sending. You can even rename the file you’re sending before attaching, which can be helpful, given the way some files are named by Android apps and processes.

Grab a new adddress book

Sure, your Android has its own address book built in, and you’ve filled it out over time with your Google contacts and other collections. That doesn’t mean you can’t load those names and details into another app. Searching the Google Play Store for address book apps, however, yields lots of results of varying quality. Thankfully, there is a solid recommendation for Smartr Contacts from Lifehacker, and a few solid alteratives (my former full-time-ish writing gig). What Smartr Contacts does is take your existing contacts and give them lots of contacts. It figures out how you know peoplee across different networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. Smartr lists all the conversations you’ve had across those networks recently. And Smartr edits contacts directly, so you don’t need to shuttle back to your phone’s default app to fix those quirks that pop up in any oft-synced list.

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