There’s a host of Android apps that every user should have. As such, I dub this part 1 of what will inevitably evolve into a multi-part feature. Damn straight.
Incidentally, I thought about calling the series The Best Free Android Apps, but figured a few cheeky paid ones might sneak in at some point. Maybe. Not that I’ve paid for any Android apps. Er, other than Asphalt 6: Adrenaline Rush when it was £1.
Right, let’s do it. Essential – and mostly free – Android apps, part 1.
I reviewed 3G Watchdog a couple of weekends ago. Indeed, 3G Watchdog gave me the idea for this very feature. Not that I’m the first person in the world to list must-have Android apps, but… y’know.
With multiple home screens filled with widgets and apps, your Android phone will consume data like there’s no tomorrow. 3G Watchdog monitors your data use, and you can set it to warn when you go over a certain amount, or even disable data completely. Sweet.
The basic app is free, but there’s also a Pro version with advanced features for £2.
Requires: Android 1.5 or above.
Free calls to other Skype users with cross-platform compatibility, cheap paid calls, instant messaging… why wouldn’t you have Skype? It’s a no-brainer.
If you’re not a big fan of Skype for whatever reason, you might be interested to learn that Viber – currently rocking the free call scene on iOS – is coming soon to Android. A beta version is being tested as we speak.
Requires: Android 2.1 or above.
I used the native Notes app on iOS on an almost daily basis, so I was surprised to find that Android doesn’t – by default – have an equivalent. Fortunately, there’s a plethora of free notes apps on the Android Market.
Personally I use Catch Notes, though I’m aware that people also swear by the massively popular Evernote. Ach, they’re all much of a muchness. Or so I imagine.
With Catch Notes, I was really just after something to jot down notes for work-related stuff, create shopping lists… the usual. But there’s a ton of fancy junk in there too, should you need it. You can add voice, images and even location info to your notes, and back up your scribbles to Catch.com for free. Sweet.
Requires: Android 1.6 or above.
You know that annoying thing where you hear a song on the radio and you wait patiently for the DJ to tell you what it is, but instead the station cuts to an advert? Well, said annoying thing will happen no more with Shazam in your pocket. Just hold your phone up to the music source and – in just a few seconds – Shazam will tell you what it is.
That’s the meat of Shazam, but there’s loads more to it, such as tagging, reading reviews, buying tracks, watching videos… all sorts of crazy.
Shazam Encore weighs in at £2.99, offering unlimited tagging and a few other exclusive features, such as Play in Spotify and Recommendations. I believe the free Shazam is now offering unlimited tagging till the end of the year anyway, so… meh.
Requires: Android 1.6 or above.
Right, that’s a modest four apps to get things started; clearly there are loads more to come. Oh, and these bad boys are in no particular order. If there’s anything you'd like to see included, hit the Comments section below.