I’ve been doing this every 6 months for the last couple years, so it’s time for another “top Android app” list. As of June 2010, here are the apps I recommend for those with Android devices (several are also available for iPhone and iPod Touch). These apps are all free or close enough, with the exception of Documents To Go. They can all be downloaded from the Android Market:
Productivity/document management stuff (or “tricks you wish you could teach your smart phone”)
- Blackmoon File Browser (allows all kinds of Gmail attachments, not just images and PDFs). This is a must-have if you want to attach anything other than photos to your emails.
- Astro: A free file manager that lets you navigate around your phone and SD card, unzip files, etc. It also allows an “Open As” option — so you can open word docs as text, etc.
- DroidBox: If you store your files on DropBox, DroidBox is worth the $1-2.
- NewsRob: A nice, free news reader that syncs to GoogleReader. I still like BeyondPod for nice podcast/news reader integration on Android. You can set it up to grab your favorite podcasts on a schedule, or only if there is wifi around. It’s worth the few dollars they want.
- Docs Pics: This app lets you connect with Google Docs and upload/download your latest docs and photos.
- Documents To Go: The free version lets you view and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files (along with PDFs, but that doesn’t matter as much now that Adobe Reader for Android is out). I don’t normally need to edit Office documents from my phone, but it’s nice to be able to pull it off in a pinch so I paid for the full app when I saw it for $10.
- ROM Manager: This app does a nice job simplifying the process of updating new ROMs and backing up old ones for those of us who use Cyanogen Mod and other custom Android system software. CM Updater is also nice, and basically acts as an alternative to the over-the-air updates for rooted Android phones.
Fun and games:
- doubleTwist is an app that allows Android devices to integrate more smoothly with iTunes, including sending existing iTunes playlists to Android. This surely beats recreating the same playlists on Android!
- Movies is a must-have. It pulls in show times, trailers, and Rotten Tomatoes reviews. Plus it also integrates with Flickster, Facebook, and even Netflix. This is the best app I have found for filling up my instant and movie queues from my Android phone.
- Twitter is the “official” app and is pretty nice, although I still sometimes prefer the clean interface of Twidroid. If you are into Twitter you may as well try both free apps and see which you prefer.
- C:geo is a sweet little geocaching app. Probably the best I’ve ever found on any platform for locating geocaches in the field. If you know what geocaching is, you’ll know why this is cool. If not, move on.
- GPS Logger is one I haven’t used much, but it promises to be a favorite. It’s a data logger that lets you record location data while you take pictures with your digital camera. Assuming the date/time of your camera and Android device are the same, you can use the file GPS Logger creates to geotag your photos using something like GPSPhotoLinker (Mac only) or GPicSync (Mac/PC/Linux). Your geotagged photos will look exactly the same, but each one will have hidden location data that Picasa, Flickr, iPhoto, and other apps can use to plot your photos on a map. This is awesome if you like to hike or travel!
- My Tracks is the best tracking app I have found. Allows users to records their hikes, runs, rides, trips, etc. and share the trip via Google Maps, or export the raw data points via GPX, KML, or CSV. RideTrac and Trail Guru are also good apps, but I like My Tracks better for its clean user interface and seamless Google Maps integration. I think I can use My Tracks to record the same data I need to go back and geotag my photos as well, and if this is the case it would be the clear choice.
- Tux Rider only works on newer phones like the Droid and the Nexus One, and I think it’s because it has some kind of 3D graphics acceleration going on. If you have one of these devices, it’s definitely worth a try. It’s the Android version of Tux Racer, and you steer by tipping the device from side to side. I think there is an iPhone/iPod Touch version out as well.
- Gem Miner is a very addictive little game that lets you play the role of a miner, digging gems, buying equipment, etc. Very fun!