Cosmos: A useful free 3-in-1 software utility for Androids

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Updated. Got room for another useful utility app on your Android smartphone? Cosmos is a new mobile app that combines three handy features for Android smartphones: A battery optimizer, a trash cleaner and a very informative security function specific to third-party application permissions. Cosmos officially launches on May 21, but I’ve been using it for a few days and you can too. It’s available as a free beta in Google Play.

There isn’t much new functionality here in Cosmos; I’ve seen a number of apps that offer similar functionality. But I like having all three of these in one small package, plus Cosmos has some nice touches. Here’s a break down of the three main features:

  • Battery Optimizer. Cosmos provides three basic power settings while also monitoring your battery’s health: As batteries get older and are recharged on a regular basis, they eventually hold less of a charge. The three power modes are very similar, but choosing one can certainly get your smartphone run longer on a single charge. The first mode, Balanced, turns off your data radios when the screen is turned off. Even with the screen off, however, the radios will automatically enable for a quick data sync before going back to sleep. Power Saver mode does the same but with a 30 minute auto-sync, while Extreme mode won’t wake the radios at all until the phone screen is turned back on.
  • Trash Cleaner. This function monitors and reports on left-over data in three areas: Your clipboard and browser history, application cache and call logs. There are plenty of other storage areas that could be monitored for sure, but this is a good start. The first time I ran the Trash Cleaner, Cosmos found more than 250 MB of data that wasn’t really needed. One tap removed it all.
  • Privacy Scanner. This may be my favorite Cosmos feature. It scans all of your third-party apps and explains which ones have access to different permissions. For example, I have 11 apps that can track my location, 38 with network access and 9 with access to my personal information. Yes, I should have known this by examining permissions before installing apps, but sometimes I get lazy. Here you can tap any permission group and see which apps have access, allowing you to review if an app should or shouldn’t have such access.

Again, these aren’t unique features for an Android utility app, and in fact, I’d like to see these features expanded. But for a free, first version app, Cosmos is off to a good start for the basis. I particularly like now the app integrates itself into the native Android notifications. By pulling down my notification shade, I can instantly see my handset’s battery level and how many hours it should last on standby or for phone calls.

And in the Battery Optimizer section itself, you can tap a number of different activities to see how long the battery would last for any of these: Calls, music, video playback, YouTube and web browsing. The times provided may not be exact, but they provide a decent indication of how long your smartphone battery will last for these activities.

Update: Cosmos may be wiping out browser bookmarks based on this comment. I’ve noticed that my bookmarks in Chrome are gone on my Mac, so it’s looking like Cosmos is the culprit. You may want to hold off on installing this release; I’m letting the Cosmos team know about the issue.

Update 2: The Cosmos team let me know that on May 15, an updated version of the app was made available in Google Play and fixes the bookmark issue. I tested the new version and I didn’t lose my bookmarks, so problem solved!

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