Friday, September 9, 2016

Hermit: an Android app to save on apps

Has the free space on your smartphone alarmingly decreased after installing all the official apps of the websites and social network you use most?
Then a hermit is going to help you. Yes, Hermit (link): an Android app that allows users to create "lite apps" of their own favorite websites, saving them from installing the official (memory and space consuming) applications.

To understand what a "Lite App" is, just imagine your favorite website running inside a custom-made app with the following features:
  • Every "website"/lite app is encapsulated in its own environment, virtually transforming it into a native app: this way each lite app is completely separated from the others.
  • Cookies are isolated, which means that your activity inside the lite app will not be tracked like it would be if you were doing the same inside a browser tab.
  • The sandbox environment makes it impossible for users to get a virus or malware from a lite app.
  • Private browsing is enabled by default, so no history of your browsing is maintained on your device.
  • Each Lite App can have its own independent settings, so that users can customize each lite app differently from the others.
  • Ad blocking (no root needed).
  • Each lite app can have its own icon in the launcher, which will instantly open the website it encapsulates (no need to wait for the browser to be launched, then a new tab to be opened and then finally the website to be loaded).
  • Every lite app has its own set of bookmarks. For example, your Facebook lite app can save links to your favorite pages and groups, so that you can find them instantly when you need them.
  • Lite apps don't run in the background, therefore when you close one, it will be completely wiped from memory. This means it will not consume any resources (no memory, no traffic, no battery)
  • Permissions like the use of the camera or to share the user's location are only activated when the user wants.
Even though you can create lite apps from virtually any website, Hermit comes with a library of very popular apps it can efficiently replace, which include social networks (like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), news sites (like CNN, the NYT, Google News), entertainment apps (like YouTube or IMDb), shopping apps (like Amazon, Groupon or Woot!) and many others.

And lite apps also support notifications!

How much space does your Facebook app take on your smartphone?
My Hermit installation, with its Facebook lite app (and six more lite apps!) only takes less than 20 megabytes on my phone.

But it's not just a matter of space, it's also a matter of privacy: with Hermit, your personal data is not shared with any other apps. And your phone will not run as many apps in the background as it would if you installed as many official apps, thus improving your battery life.

The free version of Hermit is fully functional and shows no ads, but it's limited to the creation of two lite apps.
To create more than two, you will need to purchase the full version: maybe it's not the least expensive app on the market, but -as the developers point out- your privacy is worth more than the price of a sandwich!
And if you are a student, you can even upgrade for free.

You can download Hermit for Android from the Play Store by clicking here.

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