Jul, 14 2013

helium

Uniquely Android is a series we started that shines the spotlight on those apps that take advantage of the unique capabilities of the platform and provide an experience that you wouldn’t find in most other phones. Previously, we have featured Plug In LauncherAirDroidShushLlamaSwiftkey 3SwipePadWidgetsoid2.xUnified RemoteAirCalcWiFi KeyboardPuzzle Alarm ClockNotif Mac RemoteEverything.me LauncherReadItToMeAutomateItFriday and Wave Control.

By popular demand, this week’s Uniquely Android features an app by possibly one of the most important developers in the Android community, Koushik Dutta. If you’re regular on XDA or follow a lot of the Android talk on Google+, you might know Koush, as he’s more commonly known in the community, as the developed behind Clockworkmod Recovery and ROM Manager.

When he isn’t working with the CyanogenMod Team, he is (as you can see from his various apps on Google Play) building something that is typically geared to power users like us, with apps such as Superuser, Loggy and various Recovery Bootstraps. One of his most recent pieces of work that stand out, though, is Helium. Or Carbon, as it was initially called until he received a Cease and Desist.

helium screenshotHelium provides users with the ability to backup all their apps and their data, much like Titanium. However, Helium stands out because the interface is simple enough for anyone to be able to use the app unlike Titanium which, let’s admit it, can feel like a puzzle the first couple of times. The simplicity is important, too, since Helium doesn’t require root and hence has the less technically-inclined users to cater to.

The highlight of Helium, however, is it’s app data syncing capability across your devices. In essence, you can sync settings, data and accounts across your various devices for your apps, which can be really useful for games in particular. This functionality is something I would love to see make it’s way to Android by default, handled by the OS itself. Google did announce at I/O in May that developers could leverage Play Services to do so for their apps, but that depends on developers taking advantage of their offering.

If you are a new user looking for your first backup solution, you should definitely skip Titanium for Helium. It does everything Titanium can, including scheduled backups and integration with cloud services like Dropbox, but it goes quite a few steps ahead. Besides the much simpler UI, you can also create groups of applications and also easily download your backup files to your PC over Wifi.

For older users who are happy with Titanium, you may not need to make the switch, but I would certainly suggest giving Helium a try.

Visit this Google Play link to download the app. And, as always, if you have a suggestion for the Uniquely Android series, I’m all ears.