With over 700,000 applications available for download in the Google Play store, how do you even begin to determine which of these is worthwhile, let alone which function properly? Luckily, I’ve spent my fair share of time with Android-based smartphones, and have downloaded more apps than I care to admit. Oftentimes, I’ve been left in varying states of frustration, from the simple head scratch to the rare desire to throw the device out the window and into the road. But, alas, when you’re offered as many applications as Google has provided, you’re bound to have a solid number of quality apps. The question is, which apps should we all have on our Android devices? Here are ten of the most useful applications every Android user should download today.
If you’re tired with the basic Android home screen layout, this is the app for you. ADW.Launcher, a free application, is a home screen replacement app that launches when you press your smartphone’s home button. Allowing you to organize your phone just how you want it, ADW.Launcher also provides users with thousands of themes and skins. Add the abilities to mix skins, docks, folders and even icons, and you’re finally able to customize your phone with no limitations. For the cherry on top, you can program gestures to provide you quicker access to the apps you use most often.
Are you on top of your finances? Are you amongst the fortunate minority who has a grasp on your debt, and are actually improving your credit score with regular payments? Better yet, do you have a budget in place that you actually stick to each and every month? Luckily, if you answered no to any of these questions, there’s a budgeting program that was made with you in mind. Mint’s Android app, when used with a Mint account, does more for your financial budgeting than any other source I’ve come across. Allowing you to create budgets for standard and custom categories, you can know exactly how you’re doing with your monthly budget, keep an eye on your bank account totals, and know where your money is going when you realize you have less money remaining than you initially thought.
Have you found yourself wishing your phone could predict your typing more accurately? This is one of the main reasons I switched from the iPhone; despite having the same phone for over two years, it never recognized which words I used most frequently, and as a result, left me with plenty of ammo to put online to show just how badly Apple’s device failed me. Well, if you’re an Android user, you’re in luck. The SwiftKey Keyboard app not only speeds up the texting and typing process – it lets you switch between tap-typing and gesture-typing – offering you the quickest and most convenient method you choose to use. But the greatest feature is that this keyboard studies
I don’t know about you, but I prefer to use an internet browser that is simple and efficient. The Opera browser is quite impressive, and is one of Chrome’s biggest competitors. With its Discover feature, Opera provides you a personal news feed, showing you the newest and most popular content based on your browsing history. If you have a list of sites you visit regularly, you can bookmark them in Opera’s Speed Dial to easily access them. Best of all, when you find yourself in a more remote area where you have a weaker signal, you can switch to its Off-Road Mode, which will compress pages so you can download web pages faster when you can’t afford to waste valuable bandwidth.
Aptly named as the sidekick to your Batman (or phone), Robin is a properly functioning version of Siri for Android. Offering assistance with GPS navigation and communication, as well as location-based information, Robin provides you with directions so you never have to look down at your phone and take your eyes off the road. Robin also provides users with information on traffic, parking, and other driving needs to help make your commute less stressful. If you’re an avid social media user, Robin will also read you all of your latest Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Avast! Mobile Security
If you’ve ever installed an application that wasn’t particularly reputable, you may find your smartphone operating at slower speeds than usual. If this is the case, you may need to search for malware and see what viruses your phone may have. Queue Avast! Mobile Security, one of the best anti-malware apps you can download – and it’s free! Even if you play it safe and only download your apps from Google Play, you’re still going to love this app, as Avast! will completely wipe your phone clean if you need it to, and can help you locate your phone remotely, should you ever lose it.
App Cache Cleaner
Whether you know it or not, your apps can store a significant amount of data through caching. This cached data can not only slow your phone down, it can essentially make it a brick that you can’t use to make calls, send texts, or even browse the web. With the help of App Cache Cleaner, you’ll be able to clear all of your applications’ cached files, freeing up vital data that will keep your Droid blazing along. Allowing you to clear every cached file on your phone or by the individual application, this app will automatically shut down once it does its job and will list your apps in order of the size of their respective cache sizes.
If you’re looking for an application that can back up all of your data, look no further. Go Backup can provide a secondary bank of your phone’s contacts, call log, messages, and can even back up the apps you have installed on your phone’s SD card. Better yet, you can choose whether to do a full back up or if there are certain things you’d like to have saved, you can make individual selections. Offering users the ability to merge individual backups, automatically merge duplicate contacts, and providing a storage space indicator, Go Backup is the ultimate app for your vital backups.
If you cannot function without keeping an active to-do list handy, this is the app for you. Any.DO is the ultimate to-do management application that keeps all of your tasks organized by importance of completion. With a simple and easy-to-use interface, there is virtually no learning curve for this app. Offering cloud syncing, alerts, Google task syncing, speech recognition, and more, you can’t afford to go another day without this organizational application.
Whether you’re a business executive or not, you could probably benefit from having a personal assistant. Whether it would be in keep you on schedule, help you find directions to meetings, or just for the sake of keeping you on top of your game, Speaktoit Assistant is the best virtual personal assistant for any Android device. Able to answer your questions, perform and manage your tasks, notify you about the day’s important events, and organizing your every move, this app is truly in a league of its own. Using natural language technology, Assistant can launch apps for you, and can even connect you to social media and search engines to find just what you need. Remembering your favorite places, learning your speaking patterns and offering proactive assistance where it feels you need it, it’s about time you had the assistant you deserve.
Bradley Derringer is a blogger for TechBreach.