[Update September 2014 – I still use all of these apps and consider them must-haves!]
OK, so these will be ‘in my humble opinion’, but here my top ten android smartphone apps which I will not do without – and I’m even going to put them in priority order! These are the less common apps – I haven’t included GMail, Facebook, Twitter and other social sites, or Google Maps, iPlayers, News apps, games etc as these you know about already and will find very easily. Most of my Top Ten Android Smartphone Apps are free, but some have more options when you upgrade (and they lose the ads too).
At time of writing the apps are either FREE or FREE + PAY which means you can try them for free then stay free with ads or upgrade to get more options and no ads. PAY means there is no free option – but you do have 15 minutes to test it and ask for a refund.
To find the app in Google Play (Store) search for the words in CAPITAL LETTERS.
- GO LAUNCHER and some of the other Go apps. Go Launcher lets you have more 5 screens, so I have set mine up by categories ie Main has the programs I use most – GMail, Alarm, Camera, Calculator etc, one screen has mostly games, another news and similar topical stuff and so on. I also have them set to scroll round, so that when I get to the last one it starts again at the first without me having to scroll back. through them all. Also, pinching two fingers from top to bottom shows all the screens so I can quickly go to the one I want. Go Launcher gives you lots of other features and you need it to run the other Go apps. It’s free, but some of the themes you need to pay for, but don’t have to unless you really like them. FREE + PAY for some of the other Go Store apps.
- SPEEDVIEW is one for car drivers as well as walkers – but in your car you must use a phone holder because you need to see the display! It shows your current speed by using GPS satellites which it asks to be enabled when it starts up (used to do this itself, but Android won’t let it do that now – I have my phone’s gps on all the time anyway). Car speedos are by law (at least here in the UK), designed to read slightly high. When your speedo reads 30mph, you are actually doing anything from 26-29. The GPS speed is more accurate so when that shows as 32mph, my speedo shows 30mph. It has other useful settings too, but the speed reading is the one I use it for on my daily commute and most of my other journeys. Oh, and if you want to experiment, try the HUD (Heads Up Display). You will need a sticky mat to place the phone on top of your dashboard so that it reflects in the windscreen. Clever. FREE + PAY
- BRIGHTEST FLASH is a nice and simple torch app. Has some simple settings which go beyond the ones usually included in the phone software. FREE
- RISE UP! is an amazing alarm clock radio on your android phone. It’s a recent addition for me, (thanks to my SOs recommendation) and the only thing it doesn’t do is have a time projector. It has so many different settings to play with – wake up to tones, music, radio, vibrate as well as the option to have two or more different alarms on the same day for different times. The display can be dimmed down and it’s ideal if you have a phone stand and want to see the time all night as you can keep the display set to ‘on’. A new addition to my Top Ten Android Apps. FREE
- BARCODE SCANNER – a very simple app which sits on my front screen. Scan the barcode or QRcode and you can even go directly to the website it links to. PAY
- SPRINGPAD is a notebook on your phone which is stored in the ‘Cloud’ so can be accessed from any computer as well. Very useful for saving notes, check lists, special photos – all kinds of things. I tried other similar apps like various To-Do lists, Evernote etc, but Springpad works well for me. You can set up all kinds of categories. FREE
- ES FILE EXPLORER is not something I need to use very often, but it proves very useful from time to time. It links to my home network as well, so I can find music on our server and move it across to my phone (and vice versa). Let’s me look at my SD card contents more easily too. FREE
- XE CURRENCY is a great app for checking different currencies. I needed it to check Euros against GBP, but have ended up using it for work where I need USD, CDN$, AUS$, NZD$, HKD$ as well. I can have my main currency at the top and all the others underneath and be able to switch between them all and see the different rates when I change just one. FREE
- EASY PROFILER or PROFILE SCHEDULER (only one at a time!) are both excellent for setting up your mobile to change things at certain times of the day or under certain conditions. PAY.
- UTILITAS is another of my SOs recommendations. Has 16 useful gadgets on it including a spirit level, ruler, plumb line, and sunrise/sunset calculator. FREE
So there you are. My Top Ten Android Smartphone Apps which I won’t do without. Of them all, I would say the profilers at no 9 are the most complex to set up, which is why I have them both shown here. They work in slightly different ways and I can’t make up my mind which one I prefer!
I also use some of them on my Android Tablet, but I’ll save writing about that for another day.