The 50 best Android Apps (sort of)


2011.02.20 Update: + Angry birds, Latitude PdaNet, RetroCamera; -Baby timer (Still good, don't need it), bubble (don't do much DIY), Voice (don't use it), El Pais (too heavy)

2010.11.25 Update: + AppAware; - Advanced Task Killer,

2010.09.24 Update: added Nimbuzz (for skype) thx @jennifermjones; dumped RunStar (not using)

2010.09.09 Update: Dumped Fring (skype's fault) + Guardian (too cumbersome) + Contraction timer (Baby arrived), Shake Uninstall (dont use); added Wordpress + GoChat + Mashable +Alarm Clock Plus

2010.07.05 Update: Dumped PDF Viewer; added WP Stats

2010.06.26 Update: I've decided to continually modify this page showing what I've added and what I've dumped, but here's the original entry prologue:

I’ve been using an Android smart phone since Feb 2010 after having previously had pretty poor mobile phones. I’ve never been a big mobile phone user, but having an HTC Desire has transformed me. However, I still don’t use the mobile phone for very many phone calls. Instead, it has become a second computer, often my primary computer, which I use to manage all email, write short articles and search the internet. I’m even playing games on the device and I’ve not played computer games for a few years now. All of this makes me a complete convert to mobile culture, but you’ll still rarely find me actually using my voice to talk with somebody on this phone.

I’ve always resisted the iPhone, in large part because I’m very much an anti-contract mobile phone user. I think the price they charge for contracts is way too excessive for my needs.  So, when 3 offered a pay as you go plan with internet minutes, this was the ideal option. While I use the data allocation when out and about, by far the best use for the device has been in my home wifi zone. This does mean checking email in all the places I imagined would never be invaded by digital technology, but it’s all good. Life is simpler and to not have to take out the computer each time means I’m completely on top of things – even with the new arrival of Ethan.

Anyway, this was a message about the Android applications I’m using, not about my user habits. While Android applications are still outnumbered by iPhone applications, the way that Android is open to many platforms will surely change this soon enough. So, if you’re thinking about buying your first smart phone, I’d opt for an Android phone rather than an iPhone – and this is coming from a committed Apple user. If you're not convinced, at least keep an eye on Android. You'll get there in the end.

So, to cut to the chase, here are the applications I’m using the following (I won’t include the automatically installed apps, like camera and camcorder).

Please let me know if you have any other suggestions of apps that are worth adding.

  1. Alarm Clock Plus | much nicer to interact with than standard
  2. Angry Birds | it's just a time waster, but a fun enough one, until it gets too difficult
  3. Antivirus | scans on download of new software.
  4. AppAware | take a peek at the trending apps
  5. AppSaver | for that all important back up after a hard reset – it takes so long to reinstall all these applications!
  6. Astro | finder/explorer based way of navigating your files on the mobile
  7. BBC Browsecast | I hated having to browse podcasts on the BBC site, glad they built this, as it integrates with Google Listen (see below)
  8. BBC News | one of my most used applications, for latest updates, nice widget too
  9. BigOven | great recipies, including the best chocolate cake ever
  10. Bump | one of those android wow apps. Allows you to exchange files by just ‘bumping’ phones with someone else who has the app. Yes, literally, bump them together and it’s done.
  11. Dropbox | yet to use it, but have it here just in case.
  12. FaBook Chat | for chat in facebook
  13. Facebook | for all your needs (except chat, see below)
  14. FM Radio | I do love the radio.
  15. GDocs Notepad | for me the best note facility as it auto updates with GDocs
  16. Gesture search | another wonderful app, as it says, you use your finger to write on the screen and it finds what you are searching for. Some glitches but an impressive device.
  17. GoChat | facebook chat facility
  18. Google Mail | for obvious reasons, but could do with a widget too
  19. Google Translate | Have yet to use, but it’s there
  20. Handcent SMS | odd name, but a more iPhone sms interface with better notification options
  21. HistoryEraser  | quickly get rid of your histories
  22. Inclinometer | hmm, is this useful – tells you what gradient you are on and when you are level.
  23. Instafetch | seems the only easy way to grab websites as pdf files
  24. Latitude | connect with friends, so u can find each other in crowded places, or make chance connections in places, bit Big Brother, but best used for close family eg. brothers and sisters.
  25. Layar | another Android only app that can wow your friends. Uses augmented reality to reveal information around you about places, eg hold it up to a building and it can tell you about it. Alternatively, find twitter users in your area
  26. Listen | the only podcast application you’ll need, it’s a Google thing
  27. Mail | for my UWS exchange account – can also use an HTC widget for this, which saves even more time
  28. Maps | integrated Googlemaps app
  29. Mashable | all their best news
  30. Mobile | switch my mobile internet minutes on or off to avoid using without intention
  31. Movies | integrates with Facebook, view your local film programme and rate films, etc. Very social.
  32. Navigation | satnav for walking/driving
  33. Nimbuzz | for Skype calls/chat (thx @jennifermjones)
  34. NYTimes | news from across the pond
  35. PdaNet | my first tether tool, easy for newbies
  36. Photoshop mobile | surprisingly powerful
  37. Plink Art | take a snapshot of some well known art and it will give you some more info about it.
  38. Rebtel | use for local priced calls when dialing internationally. Whichever country you are in, it will find the local rate.
  39. RetroCamera | my camera on steroids
  40. Seesmic | multiple Twitter account capability, great for us with split personalities, thanks @audsies
  41. Talk | Google talk chat facility
  42. Tube | London underground map and route planner, live updates of line delays
  43. TV Guide | UK TV guide
  44. Vampires Live | addictive strategy game, sort of. Is it a game? More a time waster/passer.
  45. Voice Recorder | obvious
  46. Voice Search | another wow app from google. To search the internet, just say what you want to your phone. Saves typing and I will use it a lot
  47. Where's My Droid | for those moments when you lose your phone, send a text to your mobile and it'll ring (even if on silent)
  48. WiFinder | pick up the nearest wifi spot
  49. Wordpress | press direct from mobile, works as a 'share' facility
  50. WP Stats | handy stat info for Wordpress blogs, another task I don't need to do on my laptop

Dumped from the top 50

  • Advanced Task Killer | mixed views about these kinds of apps, decided wasn't that helpful
  • Baby Timer |
  • Bubble |
  • El Pais |spanish newspaper
  • ShakeUninstall | another wow app. To get rid of the application, just shake the device
  • Contraction timer (Baby arrived)
  • Guardian anywhere | takes a long time to download, but gotta have the Guardian
  • Fring | integrated instant chat facility, which brings in Skype, MSN and others
  • Cestos | addictive, sort of, marble game - no longer addictive, just repetitive
  • PDF Viewer | nothing special about it, just need one - still fine, just dime a dozen
  • RunStar | saw this advertised on an Android ad, it’s ok, but with my limited data allowance, perhaps not a long term investment. Want something that can export the data.
  • Twitter | seems better than the previous options like ‘swift’. It’s Twitter’s own app.
  • Voice | don't use it