11 Android apps to boost speed, battery life and more

Want your Android device to work faster and more efficiently? These apps can help.

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CPU Tuner

Vogtp

Price: Free

CPU Tuner

CPU Tuner

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CPU Tuner is similar to JuiceDefender, but only works on rooted Android devices. It can regulate CPU speed, data connections and syncing to help save battery life and increase performance. You can configure it to control these settings automatically by creating triggers based upon the battery level and the state of the device: screen locked, call in progress, using battery, using AC power or battery too hot. In addition to triggers, it can also automatically adjust the CPU speed based upon the profile you choose: Performance, Power Save, On Demand and Conservative.

For example, you could set CPU Tuner to under-clock the CPU to save power when the battery is low or over-clock to increase performance when battery life isn't an issue. You can also disable or limit data connections and/or background syncing when your battery is running low. Then if you need to go online, you can still manually enable the data connection and sync.

CPU Tuner is a bit more complex than JuiceDefender. Hidden in the main settings, for example, are ways to save multiple configurations and configuration scheduling. In other words, though CPU Tuner offers a very flexible configuration, it may take some time to wrap your head around the concepts of the profiles, triggers and governors.

Gemini App Manager

Grace.Liu

Price: Free

Gemini App Manager

Gemini App Manager

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Gemini App Manager helps you manage running and installed apps. Though it doesn't require a rooted device, it offers enhanced functionality for those that are rooted -- which is why I'm recommending it. It's most useful if you have a rooted device and want to move or uninstall multiple apps at once.

The Phone2SD and SD2Phone features are similar to the App 2 SD feature of the Android Assistant app, but offer batch moving of apps between the internal storage and the SD card for rooted devices. Similarly, Uninstall offers silent batch removal of apps for rooted devices. You can use these features on non-rooted devices, but you'll have to click to confirm each app move or removal.

The app also offers a Kill Process feature similar to the Android Assistant's Process Manager feature of the app. You can selectively kill running apps, let Gemini choose those to kill or kill all. It offers only basic functionality. For a more advanced process manager, consider Memory Booster that can also do scheduled app killing.

JuiceDefender

Latedroid

Price: Free (basic version), $1.99 (Plus version), $4.99 (Ultimate version)

JuiceDefender

JuiceDefender

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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.

LauncherPro

Frederico Carnales

Price: Free (basic version), $3.49 (Plus Unlocked version)

LauncherPro

LauncherPro

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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.

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