Well, good question. I got my first Android device when the original Motorola Droid came out. And since then, I’ve had a Samsung Charge, Samsung Galaxy SIII and now, I’m rocking the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Since this is my 4th Android device, let’s just say that I’ve had plenty of time to figure out which apps are a must to install when your get your phone and which apps you should probably pass on.
As a general rule of thumb, only download apps that have good reviews and comments. If an app has only 1,000 downloads… pass. There are many, many apps out there that have viruses, malware and madware on them. So, be smart and diligent when installing any Android apps. It’s a jungle out there. I’d definitely recommend checking into some mobile security for your Android device.
There are tons of sites that recommend Android games, but I won’t be doing that here. I try not to waste much time playing games on video consoles or my phone. So here goes, 35 of the Best Android Apps! Enjoy and please share!
Best Android Apps for Social Networking
We all love social media. It’s taken the world and business by storm. So, we need to keep up on our tweets, shares, likes, comments on the go. We are breaking no new ground with this section of apps. :-)
Facebook - No brainer. It doesn’t come preinstalled… chances are this is the app most downloaded first when people get a new Android phone. I think I downloaded Twitter first, though. :-)
Twitter - Tweet Tweet. I loves me some twitter. If you are a twitter user, feel free to connect with me @teedubya. If you install this app, you can magically tweet to people from your phone! OMGWTFBBQ!!! It’s amaaaaaazing.
Instagram - You love taking pictures? You love looking at other people’s pictures? Snag this Android app and join the smartphone photography revolution!
Google+ - This is probably preinstalled on your Android phone already. But, it’s a great social tool to have in your arsenal for social networking, especially if you take a lot of photos… this app can auto upload them to your Google+ account.
LinkedIn - I love LinkedIn. My profile on the site was one of the top 1% viewed in 2012. And I love to connect with anyone that I meet… immediately on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to increase your social influence and build real connections.
SnapChat - This is a relatively new app. But, instead of texting… you send pictures. Parents beware… pictures of boobies have been known to occur on this app. So, if your children have this app, keep an eye on them.
Skype - This is only the best video chat and texting platform on the whole interwebs. And now, with the powerful processing chips in our Android devices, we can have live video chats from virtually anywhere in the world! Connect with me at: teedubyaw
Best Android Apps for Photography
I don’t that there is an Android app that compares to Camera+ by Lisa Bettany on iOS and so that is the one area that saddens me about the Android platform. I can make images pop with Camera+… these apps are the best camera apps, IMO, that Android currently has to offer.
Snapseed – This app used to be phenomenal… then Google bought it. It’s one of the best photo editing apps out there, but it is lacking in some key features. I still use it whenever I want to edit photos as you can typically luck your way into a cool image or two.
Photoshop Mobile – Adobe Photoshop on the fly? Yes, please! Pretty decent app, if you know a thing or two about photo editing and graphic design principles. If you don’t have an understanding of graphic arts, some of the features may be lost on you… but if you know what’s up, this app is boss. ( I know this is the CS3 icon, but I like it better than the shitty Android icon.)
Vignette – This is a relatively new app that I recently picked up, but in my short time that I’ve used it, I can say that I’m impressed with its vast options. It has more than 70 customizable filters and 50 interchangeable frames in any conceivable combination to create many photo effects. Vignette is also a full-featured camera application, featuring digital zoom, time-lapse, and self-timer for when you want to take that perfect bathroom mirror photo.
Best Android Apps for Content Curation
These news aggregator apps make me more productive in my social media content curation.
Zite - Love. Love. Love. this app. Especially since they got rid of the stupid owl icon. This app takes all of your keyword interests and helps curate some of the web’s best content for your reading and sharing needs. If you like to share valuable content, check out this app.
Feedly - This is a super-power souped up version of Google Reader. It allows you to easily read your news feed and find interesting articles from your top blog subscriptions. It seems to work best, if you have categorized your news sources effectively within Google Reader. IMO, this app is a must.
Pulse - I don’t use this app as much as I used to, but it is a great aggregator of content. The only issue that I see with it is that I already have these news sources in my Google Reader, so it’s a lot of duplicate content. It’s great for digesting media on the go, though.
Flipboard - This app is bad ass. You can connect your Twitter account, Facebook account and LinkedIn accounts and it will showcase the top posts from your networks in a sweet magazine format. You can also use curated lists from Twitter and other news sources to really make this a valuable tool in your content sharing arsenal.
Best Android Apps for Productivity
These apps help you get shit done. And don’t we all just want to get shit done… so that we can then just go drink a beer and relax?
Evernote - I am an Evernote Whore. I love it. It’s such a valuable tool. Anything that you find online, can be saved and easily retrieved. There is a bit of a learning curve, but with as many ideas and jokes as I tend to come up with, there is no better app on the market to help me store and retrieve info. This is available on Mac, PC, iOS and Android… and others platforms that nobody uses.
Astro File Manager - You know when you download a file and you want to retrieve it again someday? Well, this tool actually allows you to do that! ERMAGHERD! It is a file folder system that makes total sense for this mobile platform. If only iOS had something similar… but, who cares about that, you have an Android device. Woot.
Dropbox - This is the best cloud sharing tool on the interwebs. You can share files cross-platform on Mac, PC, iOS, Android, etc… and the files stay in the cloud available to retrieve from ANYWHERE. It’s a beautiful thing. Don’t forget to install it on your home computer, as well. And your work computer… and…
BufferApp - This is one of my go-to tools. I have it on my Mac’s Chrome browser, on my iPad and on my Android devices. This allows you to share content to your social media networks and Buffer will find the optimal times to share them for you. You can store up to 10 articles in the free version and it will tweet them, create a Facebook or LinkedIn status for you and make it look like you are on the interwebs 24/7, like a boss.
WordPress - Do you have a blog? I do. Duh. It’s TravisWright.com. Wooo. With this app here, you can manage your wordpress.com or your self-hosted WordPress site from your mobile phone. It’s the fuuuuuuuuuuture, man.
TapaTalk - Maybe this isn’t a productivity tool… but perhaps an “anti-productivity” tool. This allows you to use your mobile phone on most of the major web forums out there. I use it on Chiefsplanet.com, as I’m a Chiefs fan. In fact, that’s the only forum that I use it on. See, it’s not that productive.
Best Android Apps for Videos
Sometimes, you just want to watch some videos. These apps help you do this. Your eyes, ears. and brain will do the rest.
TED - TED stands for Technology, Education and Design and if you’re not familiar with them, by now… LOL, you sux0rs at the interwebs. This is only the greatest repository of speeches and presentations by the most brilliant minds, most fascinating people, education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus, and music legends of our time.
Netflix - If you have an Netflix account, this app allows you to login to it and watch shows streamed to your Android device. If you have kids, like I do, then your Netflix queue is completely f*cked up and only recommends Nickelodeon and Disney crap.
Hulu Plus - I loves me some Hulu+. I hate the commercials, but I digress… if you have an account with Hulu then this app is a must, as you can watch TV shows while you simultaneously drive and text your friends! What could possibly go wrong with that?
YouTube - Again, this is a preinstalled app… but it just didn’t feel right having a list of video apps to use without including YouTube. I mean where else are you going to watch the latest “Gangnam Style” parody or “Call Me Maybe” horrible karaoke?
WatchESPN - ESPN on your phone? Holy shit, yes please! This app has saved my ass so many times, it’s not even funny. If I’m at an event or something and my Kansas Jayhawks are playing… BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE… this app is for you. Rock Chalk Jayhawks, bitches. ESPN. Duh nuh nuh Duh nuh NUH!!
Best Android Apps for Music Lovers
What app list would be complete without apps to jam to some tunes with, bro?
Pandora - This app used to be my go-to music app. Spotify is that now… but nonetheless, Pandora is a great music discovery engine. You pick a song that you like and Pandora will go out and find songs similar in tone, tempo and mood. It’s quite impressive. But, beware… if you add a shitty song and create a playlist with it… chances are, all of those songs will be shitty. FYI.
Spotify - Oh, I love Spotify. Now, keep in mind that this app will only work if you have a paid Spotify subscription. Since, I’m such a balla’, I have a premium account. I’m not sure why, though… because I seem to only listen to the same 50 or so songs. Hmmm. Maybe I should buy the freaking songs?
SiriusXM - If you have Sirius/XM in your car or pay for the internet version, you can also install this app and you will automagically get the songs delivered to you on your Android handset. The clouds will part and the sun will shine. It’s beautiful.
Best Android Apps – Battery Management
These apps help you with the vampire-energy sucking apps that Android is notorious for. If you are looking to extend the life of your phone’s battery… this is it.
JuiceDefender - This app is, by far, the most important app to download if you have an Android device. This app has given me 1.73x the battery efficiency over the past week, which is how long I’ve had the Galaxy Note II. It’s literally amazing. Also, pony up the $5 for the “Ultimate” version. It allows you to manage all aspects of your battery and control when you connect to mobile data and many other uses. It’s really a life saver… especially if you use your phone a lot. It’s like have one and 3/4s batteries.
Advanced Task Killer - This is another valuable app for managing your Android processing power. Android allows you to multitask… however, many of the apps that opened recently are still using RAM and hogging your battery juice. This app allows you to see which apps are active and KILL THEM! KILL THEM WITH FIRE!!!
Best Android Apps for Finance
It’s all about the Benjamins, baby. Keep track of your stacks of cash with these apps.
Mint - This is an amazing financial management tool. If you are poor with managing your money, this tool will be a Godsend. If you are already kick ass with your money management skills, can I borrow some money? Actually, this app will also serve you well. You can manage your bank accounts, bills, mortgage, stocks and keep track of what type of expenses you have more of each month to allow you to set a budget. It’s a solid app.
Simple - Oh Simple, how I love you. I got invited into the Simple beta and it really is a “simple” banking experience. With this app, anytime you spend money on your Simple debit card, you get a notification alert. I find this handy. This way I get none of those, “where in the hell did this charge come from?”. Hate those. Plus, no ATM withdrawal fees, no overdraft fees and if you maintain a positive balance for 6 months they send a Victoria’s Secret model to your house for a day. [that last part is a lie]
Your Local Bank app - You may or may not have a local bank that has their own app, but if you do, make sure to download it and check it out. My BMO Harris bank allows me to take a picture of checks with my app and deposit checks without having to drive to the bank. How awesome is that? Now, I just need to figure out how to get more checks sent to me! ??? Profit!
Kitco Gold/Silver App - Yaargh mateys! If’n ye be needin’ to keep an eye on yer gold and silver doubloons, then this ‘ere Kitco Android app be t’ best one for ye. It keeps track o’ t’ goin’ rate on t’ Gold and Silver so you can harness your inner pirate throughout t’ day. Ahoy!
Best Android Apps for Mobile Security
It’s important to protect your Android devices, as it’s been estimated that anywhere from 25%-45% of Android apps in the Google Play app store have some form of malware, madware or virus.
Norton Mobile Security - It’s a great app and it’s definitely blocked some junk from getting through. In fact, there is a whole suite of Norton Android Apps available in the Google Play app store. Currently, there are 10 Norton Android Apps that can help you Protect Your Stuff! I work at Norton, so why would I promote anyone else’s less awesome app? LOL.
Full disclosure, I work with Norton as their Global Social Media Manager… so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how awesome Norton Mobile Security is. (As always do your own research for any apps that you download. Don’t take my or anyone else’s word for face value. Become a good researcher and don’t click dumb shit!)
Best Android Apps – Your Suggestions
There are literally 100s of apps out there to get started, but I’ve noticed that many of them can begin to bog your phone down and make it very slooooooow. So, be careful about which apps you run, especially which widgets, as they are battery draining vampires, typically.
There is a great Reddit app out there, but it sucks the battery juice, so I can’t recommend it. There are many other great apps in the Google Play store… but these should get you going. Feel free to try them out or don’t… I promise that you won’t hurt my feelings either way!
By the way, if you made it a goal to watch one TED Talk each day, it will take you almost 4 years to watch them all.
Enrich your mind. I recommend NOT downloading any mindless games on your phone, unless you have small children that you share your phone with them. Learn as much good shit as you can, folks. Keep curious.
Thanks for reading this 2,711 word blog post. LOL. Feel free to make some suggestions of your favorite Android apps in the comments.