Favorite Android Apps
Google's Android operating system for mobile phones, once an afterthought to iPhones and Blackberries, has become the market's fastest growing mobile OS. Anybody who has purchased or lusted over their friend's HTC Evo4, Motorola Droid, or Samsung Galaxy knows Android is a visually appealing system with lots of available customization, and of course, lots of apps. However, the Android Market is not the easiest place to navigate. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find what you're looking for at times. With that in mind, I thought it'd be fun to share some of my favorite apps for Android.
Movies by Flixster
If you're a movie fan, the Flixster app is amazing. You can easily check out showtimes, buy tickets, read reviews and more. If you're traveling, you can let the phone find the theaters around you automatically. One of my favorite features is that the Rotten Tomatoes score comes up automatically next to showtimes. I also absolutely love the fact that trailers are just a tap away. There have actually been times where my wife and I decided to watch a movie after checking out the trailer in our booth at a restaurant.
Even though I'm not a huge gamer, I had to include at least one, and my favorite is still Bonsai Blast. Back in my iPod days, I had Zuma on my Nano, and this game is very similar. Basically, you're trying to stop a train of colored balls from making it all the way around the screen by matching the same color (at least 3 in a row) to destroy them. There are a lot of intricacies along the way, including powerups, levels that require you to bounce your shots off the wall, double ball trains on certain levels, and levels that allow you to "transport" your cannon to more than one location.
COST: Free of $1.99 for ad free version
Based on the types of articles on Hubpages, I know there are plenty of you SEO types out there. Unfortunately, Google Analytics isn't exactly designed for the cell phone world. Rather than go to the GA website in order to see how my traffic is going I turn to Ganalyticz. Although this app doesn't have many of the most powerful features of GA, it more than covers the basics. You can see your visits, pages views, visitors, bounce rate, and more. You'll also get detailed breakdowns of your referring sites, search terms used to find your site, and the views of your top content. Ganalyticz also supports multiple analytics accounts, so if you've got multiple sites or multiple logins, your covered.
Cost: FREE or $1.98 for pro version
Google's apps are some of the best apps available on the market. Google Maps is no exception to this rule. While some Android phones come with preinstalled GPS software, like Sprint Navigation, it's touch to beat Google Maps. This is essentially the web version of Google Maps with turn by turn navigation built it. It has walking and biking directions as well as driving directions. The satellite view can be really cool when you're in an unfamiliar city. It's also really nice to be able to tap on a restaurant near your current location to read what reviews people have written about it.
If you don't have a Google Voice number yet, you're really missing out. I managed to get my number back when it was still a "by invitation" beta product, and it's now open to the public. Google Voice offers more features than I can go into here. One nice example is the ability to have it ring multiple phones (home, cell, work) when you get a call and instantly transfer the call to whichever one you pick up on. In terms of the Android app, you can listen to your messages without having to sign into your voice mail. Google Voice will also transcribe your messages (often times with some hilarious mistakes). It's not a perfect transcription, but I've found that I can almost always get the point of the message, which is very helpful when you're somewhere that it would not be socially acceptable to put your phone to your ear to listen to a voicemail.
COST: Free except when using for international calls
Previously known as 3Banana, Catch Notes allows you to jot down quick notes for later reference. It's a simple enough concept, but what makes it really useful is that your notes are synced to "the cloud" through a free account at Snaptic.com.
The default text messaging app with Android is ok, but many people choose to change to an app they download from the maket. I like Handcent. It's easy to use and offers lots of customizations. It'll also open a pop up window of new messages as they arrive when you're working in another app. This is great so that you don't have to navigate away from the app you're currently it to read (and respond) to your messages.
OK, maybe you wouldn't think that a web browser is the most exciting choice for this list, but Dolphin HD is really cool. Why? For one, it offers extensions, the same kinds of extensions that you would install on Firefox or Chrome. It may not offer the same number of extensions as a desktop browser, but some of the ones it has are pretty cool like Page Rank and Youtube search. Dolphin also has a really easy UI for opening your bookmarks or extensions (swipe left or right), and even allows you to create your own custom gestures to command the browser as you see fit.
If you're a techie, you've got to download this one. All the gadget goodness of Engadget's website right on your phone. Engadget will keep you up to date on the latest developments in the world of computers and mobile phones. The pictures and podcasts are all there too; as of now, the videos are not.
There are a number of free radio apps available for Android, but I'm suggesting a paid one. I paid for Radiotime and am totally satisfied because it offers channels that you can't get through a free radio app. Specifically, I love the fact that I can get CNN, Fox News, and ESPN News. There are plenty of other channels that you'd find on satellite radio like Disney Radio, CSPAN, and Bloomberg to name a few. The audio does cut out from time to time, but I feel like the devs have done a good job improving that problem in recent months.
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