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Best Android apps: an ongoing list of recommendations

  macslocum's Photo
Posted Mar 22 2010 04:41 AM

The Android Market has upped its success rate in recent months. When I search for an app I've used on the iPhone/iPod Touch side, I typically find an equivalent Android application around 50 percent of the time. That's an enormous improvement from last fall, when the rate was closer to 30 percent.

So now that Android apps are moving up in the world, I thought it would be fun to aggregate app recommendations from colleagues, friends and the Twitterverse. This is an ongoing list, so please offer your own suggestions through the comments. I'll be tweaking this in the months to come as the Android landscape matures further.

Note: All of these apps can be found by accessing the Android Market on your device and then searching for the specific app by name.

AldikoAldiko -- A very nice ebook/e-reader app. It hooks into a number of catalogs, including Feedbooks, Smashwords, O'Reilly and public domain titles. (Recommended by @LambdaCalculus and @MatthewDiener)

DroidLightDroidLight -- This app does one simple thing: it turns the LED flash on a Droid (and only a Droid) into a flashlight. It's not functionally better than other flashlight apps, but you have to give it points for creativity. (Recommended by @sm_rose and @theillien.)

Ear - Easy Settings ProfilesEar - Easy Settings Profiles -- This app offers an easy way to switch between ring/volume profiles. The upcoming Pro version will reportedly sense if you're indoors or outdoors and automatically adjust your profiles. (Recommended by @markusklems and @BosomOfAbraham.)

SeesmicGoogle Goggles -- Ever wonder what that weird building is? Want to know which landmark you're staring at? Fire up Google Goggles, snap a photo and Google will use the image as a search query. Goggles hasn't achieved killer app status just yet -- far too many queries go unanswered -- but the promise and sheer coolness of this app offsets a lot of the early bugs. (Recommended by Mac Slocum and Adam Flaherty.)

Sky ScreenGoogle Sky Map -- Sky Map is a jaw-dropper app because it elegantly connects constellation knowledge with constellation reality. Just point and learn. (Recommended by Mac Slocum and Adam Flaherty.)

K-9 MailK-9 Mail -- O'Reilly editor Brian Jepson explains why K-9 is his favorite Android app: "Jesse Vincent (@obra) was unhappy with Android's built-in IMAP/POP3 client (not the Gmail app, but the app for all your other email). So he took the source code for the mail client from Android, and made it better. He's attracted contributors to the project, so it's got a full head of steam. It's been through a few versions, and it keeps improving." (Recommended by Brian Jepson and Adam Flaherty.)

MLBMLB At Bat 2010 -- The iPhone/iPad Touch version of this app has been out for a few years, and each season it gets better. First came video clips, then live audio, then streaming. The Android version offers much of the same functionality, but not all of it. That and the $14.99 price tag are detriments, but die-hard baseball fans will probably get their money's worth. (Recommended by Mac Slocum.)

My TracksMy Tracks -- Keep track of your athletic exploits -- running, skiing, hiking, etc. -- with this app. It monitors speed, distance and elevation. Results can be visualized via Google Maps and ported into Google Spreadsheets. (Recommended by Mike Hendrickson.)

SeesmicSeesmic -- Seesmic for Android hits all the Twitter high points: fast load times, support for multiple accounts (you don't realize how important that is until you don't have it), cross-posting across accounts, and you can resize the timeline font size. (Recommended by Mac Slocum.)

ShazamShazam -- Shazam started as a music discovery tool (a very cool music discovery tool at that), but it's added a number of purchasing and sharing tools to its feature set over the years. (Recommended by @theillien, @piratevsninja, and Mike Hendrickson.)

TaskillerTaskiller -- Android tends to get sluggish when it's been running multiple apps for a while. Taskiller offers an easy way to fix that; click the icon and all processes shut down. (Recommended by Mac Slocum.)

TwidroidTwidroid -- Another full-featured Twitter client that can handle anything you throw at it. Choosing between this or Seesmic comes down to personal preference alone. (Recommend by @pteetor, @MatthewDiener, @sm_rose, @theillien, and Adam Flaherty.)

Now it's your turn: What are your favorite Android apps? Please post them in the comments.

Best Android Apps

Learn more about this topic from Best Android Apps.

With so many Android apps available, it's been difficult to find the best of the bunch -- until now. Best Android Apps leads you beyond the titles in Android Market's "Top Paid" and "Top Free" bins to showcase apps that will truly delight, empower, and entertain you. The authors have tested and handpicked more than 200 apps and games, each listed with a description and details highlighting the app's valuable tips and special features.

See what you'll learn

8 Replies

 : Mar 22 2010 06:51 AM

After spending the past three months writing the O'Reilly book on The Best Android Apps, book page here, I find myself using these apps the most.

Tasker [script maker, app joiner, and macro-like app]
MyTracks [trace your tracks as you run, walk, drive and upload to gDocs]
Celeste [AR app that shows you the solar system and your relationship]
Shazam [find the elusive music you are hearing -iPhone app too]
Qik [stream video to the cloud - very cool]
Hoccer [share business cards, files, info, with a Frisbee-like motion]

We will be publishing more information on the catalog page in the next few months.
 : Mar 22 2010 11:17 AM
Some more:
Photoshop mobile
FiOS Mobile Remote
Meebo I'M
Key Ring
  aza_acca's Photo
Posted Dec 09 2010 08:51 AM

I downloaded Santa Booth on Android and it was awesome!! You can find it on Santabooth.net, it was similar to Chunky booth which takes a picture and make the person look like they are huge!!! I also like Harbor Boat Master which is on the Android market and is by far the best game out
  Marc Donner's Photo
Posted Feb 20 2011 07:29 AM

I have been using the K9 email beta for quite some time to read my imap email. The one real problem I have had is that I can not figure out how to turn off the notification vibration when an email comes in. I have turned off vibrate at the master level for the phone, but the app seems to ignore this.

The gmail app ignores the phone-wide command, but it does have a setting that lets me turn the buzz off when email comes in. K9 also ignores the phone-wide command, but I can't find any setting that lets me turn off the vibration. I've had to remove the app and switch to the native imap email client (which seems adequate ... when I got my first Android phone I don't remember finding it).
  ScorpioDroid's Photo
Posted Nov 10 2011 06:47 AM

I changed default android browser to Opera and am very happy with it. Also, installed AHG mCatalog from http://www.mobilecatalogs.net and like it a lot; it's a subscription to get notification of the specials and deals on the products and services you are interested. in. Also would recommend GoKeyboard as a keyboard replacement and Stitcher (http://www.stitcher.com) if you want to listen to radio you like.
  tandem8's Photo
Posted Sep 01 2012 10:30 PM

check out Drumr on google play! This is pretty cool. You can drum with your fingers on the table and the app recognizes the sound and plays real drum sounds.

Drumr Free
  alexrj's Photo
Posted May 21 2013 02:58 AM

I have been using the K9 email beta for quite some time to read my imap email. The one real problem I have had is that I can not figure out how to turn off the notification vibration when an email comes in. I have turned off vibrate at the master level for the phone, but the app seems to ignore this. Check This
  wasan sotikul's Photo
Posted May 23 2013 06:18 AM

That some app is not much useful. But I like the ดูหนัง more than it helps us to see the app's okay, we just use that one.