My Favorite Must Have Android Apps
My Favorite Android Apps
I have a Galaxy S Android smartphone. I traded in my Apple iPhone to get an Android phone. I dislike the proprietary arrogance of Apple and was very happy when I discovered the Android is an outstanding OS and Samsung used it to make an incredible phone. Apple fans love to tout how great the Apple app store is, and when I made the change to an Android phone I was concerned that I might not find my favorite apps to use. Funny thing happened though, I found everything I was looking for and have not been disappointed or felt I was lacking any apps at all.
I'm not a huge consumer of apps. I do not sit around on my smartphone waiting to see what the newest application might be. There are a few things that I want to do on my phone and I really do not want to spend my whole existence with my face looking down at the phone. I know what I want the phone to provide and I have the apps that work for me. I guarantee that my favorite must have list of Android apps will differ from yours. You may find my choice for reading Twitter is not as good as what you would prefer to use. That's fine. This is my list. And I really don't care enough to spend money on too many apps either.
I follow a bunch of news sources. I like to keep up to date on the latest political and entertainment news. There are a few blogs that I check almost hourly. However, being at work I do not like to do much web surfing on the network as they block traffic and tend to monitor things. Being on my Android phone I do not have to worry about that. The beautiful thing about Pulse is that I can load up my favorite newsfeeds and read them. It updates easily and when a news item pops up that I want to read more about I simply click on it and the story stays within Pulse. If you have blogs or news sites that you like then you definitely need to get Pulse. It's the best reader I've seen for a smartphone.
When I decided to get a smartphone, the one thing that I insisted it do was be able to stream radio. When I got my iPhone I dumped satellite radio as I found that I could pretty much listen to anything I wanted online. When I decided to dump the iPhone I was nervous that the Android would be lacking in apps to pull in my favorite radio stations. See, many radio stations have iPhone apps that allow you to listen to their station. Not many have Android apps, and certainly the stations I liked did not.
I downloaded a couple of apps like Cherry Radio and was not satisfied. They crashed or did not pull in the station I wanted to listen to. See, I listen mostly to talk radio during the day. Sure if music is your thing then something like Pandora is great. I even have a subscription that I've had for a couple of years to Napster which has an app. But during the work day I want to listen to talk radio and I found the perfect app: TunIn Radio.
TuneIn Radio is a free radio app that allow you to tune in to radio stations across the country. You can listen to music, talk and sports. You can choose the location you want. The station. If you choose talk radio you can click what type of talk you want to hear like conservative, progressive or business. Click the subcategory and choose what program you want to listen to like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, etc. Heck if you want to listen to music you can simply scroll through the station and it will show what song is playing at the moment. Very cool.
Weather apps are a dime a dozen in the app stores. I tried Weather.com and Accuweather. These are the big two and they do a fine job of displaying the information you want to see. For most people they are enough. I never cared for their weather presentation. I looked for other options and came across WeatherBug. I liked it until I recently came across 1Weather. It's a free app that provides a nice view of the basics.
The main screen will show the temp, wind speed and forecast at your location. Slide the window over and you will get the extended forecast. You can click on any of the days in the extended forecast to get more information. Slide to the next page and it will give you severe weather warnings for your area. The next slide will give you precipitation percentages in both text and cool graphic. Slide it again and you get a radar screen. Next slide is sun and moon data. Weather tweets are on the next screen. The last screen is weather photos pulled from Flickr. All in all a really neat package.
If you are looking for a good performing weather app, you should have a look at 1Weather. It never crashes on me and gives me exactly the information I need in a quick and easy to use presentation.
I like Twitter. There are some great personalities and informational Twits that I like to read and follow. I used to use TweetDeck to manage my accounts and read my Twitter stream. It is a good product but when I changed over to the Android from the iPhone TweetDeck it was not an option. I started using TweetCaster. and thought it was great. Until I found Plum which is what I use now.
I have a couple of Twitter accounts so the thing that a Twitter app had to have was the ability to switch easily between accounts. It also had to be free. Plume allows for multiple accounts and it is free but ad supported. The ads appear at the bottom of the screen. Sure it's annoying but the app is worth more than worrying about a little ad that you can "X" out of. The thing that I really like about it is instant viewing of photos that people add to their Tweet. Plume shows a little thumbnail of the photo and if you are interested in seeing it in a bigger size you simply click on it.
The camera on my Galaxy S is quite good. The video is high definition and produces some great stuff. The camera software is typical and allows you to manage your photo taking like most cameras. It has a scene mode, shooting mode and ability to change exposure. But if you really like to mess around with photos then you have to download FXCamera. It has six settings including: Toy Cam, Polandroid, Fisheye, SymmetriCam, Warhol and a Normal setting.
My favorite is the SymmetriCam. It will do the oddest things to people and things.You line up the camera in the middle of the subject you are taking a photo of and it will copy one side of the photo to the other side. The closer you get the weirder things get like people's faces. The fisheye works well and beats buying a fisheye lens when you only use that feature every once in a while. I'm no fan of the Warhol effect but it does what is says. The Toy Cam and Polandroid are pretty cool if you are into taking retro looking photos. It can be cool for some photos like if you are posing in front of an old car or something.
Bottom line is if you have an Android with a decent camera then you really should try out this app. I use it a lot with my Galaxy S.
Advanced Task Killer
The Android phone tends to keep a lot of applications running even when you close them. Some apps will run and you don't even realize they are running in the background. The problem with this is that it burns through your battery life and sucks up memory. There is a great tool that will easily and quickly simply kill applications that are running. You can choose which ones to keep running and which ones to kill. And this awesome utility is free. The app is called Advanced Task Killer and is a must have.
The first time you run this utility you will be amazed at how many apps are running without you knowing it. All you have to do is go through the list and choose which apps you want to kill. You can kill only a few or simply kill everything running. It will also show you how much memory is available and being used. Highly recommended for any Android phone.
My Rig - HTC One
I personally have the AT&T HTC One smartphone. I recently upgraded from the HTC One X to the latest, HTC One. The phone has a great camera, high-def video, beautiful high-def screen, excellent call quality and is convenient to carry. The sound quality from the Beats audio and dual front speakers is incredible. I can highly recommend this phone.