10 Android apps you can’t live without

Apr 14, 2010
Tech

The past year has been huge for Google Android, as the 2-year-old mobile platform has finally begun to gain some major traction.  As a result, Android has filled its Market with over 9,000 apps, creating an array of choices for smartphone users. The growth has attracted some apps that were already popular on the iPhone, […]

The past year has been huge for Google Android, as the 2-year-old mobile platform has finally begun to gain some major traction.  As a result, Android has filled its Market with over 9,000 apps, creating an array of choices for smartphone users.

The growth has attracted some apps that were already popular on the iPhone, and others that take advantage of Android’s unique features.  Here are some of the top Android apps I’ve found to be difficult to live without.

Utilities

EasyNote makes the list because of its multi-use capabilities. Create shopping lists, track daily tasks, or simply jot down your thoughts. Folders offer organization, while custom options make nearly every aspect of EasyNote able to serve your needs. Any note or list can be turned into a home screen widget, making for even easier access to your content.

ShopSavvy’s free app was one of the first bar code scanners for Android, and is still one of the best. Scan or manually search for an item, and you can find local and Web results, complete with retailer details and price filters to help you get the best deal.  A huge time saver, ShopSavvy makes running errands an easier chore.

PDAnet really comes through in a clutch, tethering your Android phone to your laptop for Internet connection.  Free, the Android app is generous with its features, compared to other premium services. Access the Web at a decent speed, and have your text and chat messages rerouted to your desktop, nearly avoiding your phone all together.

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Buddy Runner is a free app that wants to be your workout buddy. Track your routes, their distance, calories burned and workout pace via GPS, visualize your work and progress with maps and charts, and easily access your history. Listen to music, and get social with Facebook and Twitter integration.

The future of mobile

Locale is pricey at $9.99, but it lets you create geo-specific settings for your phone.  Automatically turn your ringer off when you get to work, or reserve battery power by only enabling Wi-Fi when you’re at home. With third-party integration, other apps and services can tie into Locale for auto-tweets or calendar updates, all based on your GPS position.

Google Maps is becoming a useful way to orient yourself and your social life. Free, this Android app rolls out frequent updates, such as voice navigation and an option for viewing nearby friends. Search for nearby venues, see contact details, ratings and reviews.  As part of the Google Apps family, we’re likely to see Maps integrated with other products for mobile use in the future.

As mobile phones become our life companions, Personal Assistant tops the list as a service utility. Access many of your accounts, from banks to video rental queues.  Have mobile access to travel itineraries, pay bills, and do just about every other tedious task you can imagine, all of which are made less stressful through PageOnce’s free Android app.

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Entertainment and social apps

As Twitter is highly popular and highly mobile, an Android app that meets these needs is a necessity. Seesmic is one of the best in the Android Market, and it’s free.  Access lists, multiple accounts, and your profile. View conversations between yourself and other users, quickly search and access the content you want to see, and share media from your phone or the Web.

Pandora brings you streaming radio, no matter where you are. Free, this Android app lets you star with an artist, and creates a radio station with similar music. Additional information on playing artists, including links for purchasing songs, is provided through the app as well. In its simplicity, Pandora’s mobile app still sticks to what it does best.

Already popular on the iPhone, Doodle Jump is an Android app that incorporates many highlights of mobile gaming. For $3.99, you get an adventure game with good graphics, a story line that can be picked up or dropped at any time, and a good example of how well games can work on the Android’s touch screen. Unlike other popular Android games, Doodle Jump is playable across most versions of the platform and devices.

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