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Favourite Free Android Apps for Orange San Francisco

Updated on April 7, 2012
Orange San Francisco is prime for modification, and can look and perform much better with some new Android Apps
Orange San Francisco is prime for modification, and can look and perform much better with some new Android Apps

My Favourite Free Android Apps, Some even speed up your phone!

The Orange San Francisco is the best budget Android phone you can buy. It looks great, feels solid, features Android 2.1 with high resolution 480x800 capacitive touchscreen.

Its a pretty smooth machine stock, however you will be shocked how much of an improvement you can make with a few free apps straight from Android marketplace. You read that right? Android apps that not only make your Orange San Francisco look better, and easier to use, but also faster! Sure you can ROM it and debrand the phone, however if you are nervous about that kind of thing there are ways you can improve the phone dramatically.

Below are some of my favourite Android apps that I recommend to help you get the most out of your Orange San Francisco phone. They are put into categories, STYLE & SPEED, FUN, and INFORMATION. If you enjoy this hub, please link to it or comment, I would really appreciate your comments on your favourite apps.

The phone has been out for a while now, and the San Francisco II is now available. If you are looking to upgrade your phone then you can normally find the cheapest price phones and deals online.

NOTE: These Android Apps will work on any Android 2.1 phone or later and probably earlier ones. They are free to download so just try them on your Android OS.

Fancy Widget at the top
Fancy Widget at the top

SIDE NOTE: Fancy Widget

A great addition to Launcher Pro is another free Android app called Fancy Widget. Basically it gives you a HTC Style clock and Weather widget for your homescreen. However it is smaller and in my opinion cleaner looking than the HTC. it has a clean and simple design which grabs your location via GPS, and updates your weather. A simple click of the icon gives you the next 5 days. Adding this is a real improvement over the Orange clock and weather widgets. So much faster to load too!

STYLE & SPEED - Android Apps to Give you a boost

Launcher Pro - Price of App FREE

GET THIS APP RIGHT NOW! Launcher Pro is quite possible the most important app you can download for your Orange San Francisco or other Android phone. It replaces the stock Orange launcher with a slick interface, which not only looks better and more expensive (very similar to HTC Desire style), but it considerably smooths and speeds up swipes across homescreens. It truly is an amazing app. Not only does it speed your phone up for everyday usage, but it can give you up to 7 home screens. Making it more than a match for Android 2.2 on that front. It can do more than just improve your homescreens, it also modifies the app screen. It can turn your app drawer list into a fast 3D swipe fest. Its really impressive how they can make these changes, offering more homescreens, a 3D environment yet still improve the speed of the phone over the Orange stock layout. That is how you program! See it in action below

Advanced Task Killer - Price FREE

My one gripe with Android is a lot of the Apps stay open, and can even open themselves in the background. This sucks juice form the battery as well as slows your phone down. Enter Advanced Task Killer. It has a simple interface, and due to its name is usually at the top of your App Drawer allowing you to cancel off Facebook, Orange Apps, and others which love to saps your battery dry. Its such a simple app but great to use. It is not intrusive in any way and a great piece of kit. Look for the little guy in the Android Market place.

SwiftKey for Android
SwiftKey for Android

SwiftKey Trial - FREE

The Orange San Francisco features the standard Android keyboard and TouchPal. I personally find the standard keyboard hard to work with in portrait, which the TouchPal one is frustrating with how it handles predictive text, whilst also looks rubbish. SwiftKey features the best of both keyboards for Android whilst fixing a lot. It has a superb predictive text feature in which it shows three words above the keyboard which you can click to add, however they even feature words that start with letters next to the one you may have pressed by accident. It sounds clumsy but it really works well and sped up my texting within about 3 messages. It even predicts phrases like How > Are > You > Feeling >?. So you can type that in 5 key presses. Impressive stuff, and it also look great! Only problem is its only a trial. I may have to purchase this one unless there is a clone around.

Unofficial BBC Sport app for Android. Features great easy to navigate menus that load up fast.
Unofficial BBC Sport app for Android. Features great easy to navigate menus that load up fast.


Designed to get you the news you want straight away, without needing to browse the web. These are personal choices and not everyone is into what I am, I know, however I hope you find some of these useful.

BBC SPORT Android App (BBC Sport News Centre) - FREE

An unofficial app, this grabs the RRS feeds from the BBC for the football, F1, athletics, MotoGP and many more sports. There are many around that do this, but from what I tried this is my favourite. Look for the yellow BBC Sport icon on the app store as many are similarly named. this is called BBC Sport News Centre. It does everything you expect, and even has small images which are nice and fast to download if you are on 3G.

Barcode Scanner - FREE

This is a superb app, and one of the free scanner apps that are for the UK. It works very accurately and in conjunction with Google Shopper you can do price searches in £££! It's one of the better apps too as you dont need to take a picture, it auto focuses using your San Francisco and scans without you needing to press anything. Great app that does exactly what you want it to and more. You then get links to Google Shopper, Image search or Google Search. Nice and free, yet can save you money when out and about.

UPDATE: ShopSavvy - I came across this recently. It is better than Barcode Scanner in my opinion as it lays out the different online retailers in a clearer way. It also has virtually every big online retailer. I havent used the feature but you can also set price alerts so it messages you if a price drops. Again its free so see what you prefer, but I now recommend ShopSavvy over Barcode scanner.

SyncMyPix - FREE

This app is by no means perfect but it is a handy app even if you just use it once. Basically it allows you to sync your friends pictures from Facebook to become their photo for when they call you from your contacts. Sometimes it forgets what you have matched which is annoying, but you only really need to run it once to get a picture of your friends. Handy as Android can be slow in doing this manually.

Auto Express App - FREE
All the latest car news in a simple Facebook style updates. really great app that is updated sometimes several times a day. Features fast downloadable images and the full article from Auto Express. My only issue is that Autocar don't do one as they are my favourite car magazine that I read online.

reddit is fun is a superb Android App and the best Reddit App for Android
reddit is fun is a superb Android App and the best Reddit App for Android


These are great apps that make your mobile fun, whilst some are useful but dont fit in the information category.

reddit is fun - FREE

This is a superb app that looks just like you would imagine an official reddit Android app would. Fantastic clear interface, fast swipes to get around. Easy links to comments or the link. Even login to your Reddit account and subreddits. Fantastic app that should carry a warning for time wasting.

Handcent SMS - FREE

Makes your SMS screen look like the smart iPhone SMS screen. Looks really good, but if you do not like the iPhone look then do not worry about this. It is nice and fast though.

Movies - FREE

Great app that shows you film trailers and reviews. Also looks at your location and you can view your local cinema times and films that are now on. Handy, fast and simple. Like an app should be.

Fancy Making your own Android Apps without any programming knowledge?

Well you can with this program. Mobile Info Product Publisher is a great little program. It's an instant download costing $49 (converts to GBP automatically at checkout). The program itself converts webpage content and other home made material into Android apps, without you having to know all about programming for the Android system. It is very fast to set up and can have you up and running in a few hours. A really impressive piece of kit. Its not free, but it is a really powerful tool for making your own apps. The Ultimate Orange San Francisco / Android customisation! For a free version of making apps, try out Andromo. It is basic but decent.


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    • profile image

      joyce 5 years ago

      how do you go back over a word when you spell it wrong in text.i have to keep deleting the whole message.

    • profile image

      sarah 6 years ago

      will u put some game apps on free aps on for san fransico just got dont know what games please help

    • profile image

      stef 6 years ago

      hi just got the orange san fransisco (unlocked wit android 2.3 added) but having problems with ny bluetooth, been trying 2 send all my files from my old phone... plz HELP :(

    • profile image

      Sarah 6 years ago

      heyy thanks for the tips :) really good site!!

      only one problem, i have downloaded launcher pro and it works. but i can only see three screen and i dont know how to add more screens. as you said in the video there can be up to 7, so if you could tell me how to add more that would be great thanks!

    • profile image

      Plato 6 years ago

      how do I stop SMS messages being converted to Multimedia messages?

    • profile image

      Sebastian 6 years ago

      @Paul - long press on the unwanted icon and drag to the dustbin that should appear below in the centre.

      @Neon Nutter - I'd watch the San Franciscos if I were you; I've had two replacements off them and finally one that works relatively well. I wouldn't necessarily recommend as a child's phone purely because there are SO many ways in Android that they could circumvent the rules on apps/websites to access unsavoury pages - and if you mean younger children, it is probably a bit complicated.

    • profile image

      paUL 6 years ago

      Ive installed fancy widget but the clock doesn't come up how do i get it up an looking like htc? and how do i remove and add new desktop icons? as ive got 2 contacts icons

    • profile image

      Neon Nutter 6 years ago

      Simply amazing site! i really want to get this one now! But one question: Is it suitable for kids?

    • profile image

      es 6 years ago

      it is gd?

    • profile image

      wrighty 6 years ago

      @claire i had the same problem but it fixed itself aster a few days.

    • victor3 profile image

      victor3 6 years ago from Chennai, India

      good work

    • profile image

      Claire 6 years ago

      Hello this looks very helpful..except I have one big problem! I've recently got the san francisco but whatever I do I cannot download any apps from the android market. Please help:)

    • profile image

      Faiz 6 years ago

      Great Video !!!

    • profile image

      Cameron 6 years ago

      great site! my android looks superb.

    • theelhub profile image

      theelhub 6 years ago from UK

      @Danielle - Hold down on the area where the text appears as you type and it will say "Input Method". Choose whatever keyboard you have.

    • profile image

      Danielle 6 years ago

      How do you switch your keyboard type from touch pal back to the basic android keyboard ?^-^

    • profile image

      Karen Foster 6 years ago

      Brilliant site - thanks