On Monday I opened a can of worms with Essential Android apps – part 1, in which I scribbled some nonsense about four must-have apps. Clearly I’ve merely scraped the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Having said that, only a tiny percentage of the 300,000-or-so apps on the Android Market can be considered anywhere near “essential”. There's a lot of crap out there.
As I mentioned in the fine print on Monday, these guys appear in no particular order. However, if you feel there’s something you’d desperately like to see featured, crank it up a notch with a comment below.
APNdroid was truly essential for the brief period that I used my 75MB/month O2 contract with my HTC Desire HD. If my data use was left unchecked, I could’ve easily used that 75MB in just a few days.
You can disable data on your Android phone by manually deleting APNs and junk, but it’s a bit of a pain in the bum. Instead, you can simply use APNdroid, which is free from the Android Market. One tap disables data; tapping again re-enables it. Easy.
Used in conjunction with 3G Watchdog, APNDroid can be set to disable your data connection automatically when you reach a particular limit. There’s also a Pro version of APNdroid for 99p, which presumably removes the ads.
Requires: Android 1.5 or above.
Ok, this one is possibly a tad controversial, as we wouldn’t necessarily recommend indiscriminately “killing” tasks left, right and centre in order to free up memory. Indeed, we could probably pen an entire feature explaining why that’s not a good idea.
However, if you know what you’re doing, Advanced Task Killer is handy for stopping battery/CPU-hungry apps dead in their tracks.
Incidentally, Advanced Task Killer has been downloaded over 10 million times, giving some indication of the extent to which Android users are concerned about battery life and performance.
Requires: Android 1.5 or above.
Phew, I feel like we got all serious there. Time to lighten the mood with some gameage, namely the stupidly popular Angry Birds. If you have a smartphone, chances are you’ve played Angry Birds to death. If not, you probably don’t much like games.
Do I need to explain what Angry Birds is all about? Evil pigs have stolen eggs from birds; birds are angry; launch birds at pigs with a catapult in an attempt to recover eggs. Mechanically, it’s a lot like firing missiles in Worms. But hell, that hasn’t stopped it going on to become a colossal success.
Angry Birds will still set you back 59p on Apple’s App Store, or £1.79 for the HD iPad version, but it’s entirely free from the Android Market. Sweet.
Requires: Android 1.6 or above.
This is the third time I’ve written about Words With Friends at length. I reviewed the game back in May, and wrote a subsequent mini-feature about my continued addiction. One month later, that addiction shows no sign of subsiding. If anything, it’s worse than ever.
I now have a ridiculous 13 games on the go simultaneously, with friends and randoms. I’ve had to enforce a ban on Words With Friends while working, as it’s far too easy to get lost gazing at the boards, contemplating your next move. As such, my phone is usually left in another room.
Oh, Words With Friends is essentially Scrabble (in case you hadn't gathered). It’s free, and compatible across Android and iOS. I’ve been told Wordfeud is even better, but that’s a bit like recommending heroin to a crack addict.
Requires: Android 2.1 or above.