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Recommended Android Apps

This is of course a very subjective listing, if you ask two different Android users of what their essential apps are you probably will get two quite different answers. But this is an attempt to point you to some amazing apps, if you don't like these particular ones you can probably find similar ones that will fit your requirements. The list has been divided into categories, the descriptive text for each is from the Play Store.

You can click on an apps name and you'll be taken to its listing on the Play Store. Note: The Play Store keeps track of what device you have and which country you live in. Some apps are not compatible with all devices and some are not available in all countries (can be for legal or copyright reasons). We have skipped games, they are very easy to find anyway.

Some apps are marked as working very nicely on tablets. Some apps only work devices with Android 4 or later. Most of these are free, but they may have an ad-free paid version. The apps are presented in alphabetical order in each category, it is not a priority order. The Rem column shows Remarks, they are:
T - Optimized for Tablets
4 - Requires Android 4.x (ICS or later)

If you look at this chapter on a PC or Laptop, you can just click on any app name and you'll be taken to the apps listing in the Play Store. There you can choose to install the app on any of your Android devices as we described in the Web Play Store chapter.

There are several hundred Android apps in the Play Store, so we can't even cover a small fraction here. The intention of this chapter is to give you some leads to the various categories and some popular apps in each, when you look at them you will see other alternatives too. If you want to go straight to a specific category, click one of these:

App Categories

Essential - Should be built-in

Normally part of any Android Device that is authorized by Google. Some are in the Play Store, some are not, but they will be updated automatically by your device. These apps are all optimized for Tablets.

Calendar, Gmail, Google Search, Maps, Play Store, Street View on Google Maps, YouTube

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Browsers

One of the most common activities with a smartphone is to surf the Web. Android is very flexible so if you don't like the stock browser you can put it one or more alternatives.

App Rem Description
Chrome T 4 The speed and simplicity of Chrome, now on your Android phone and tablet. Browse fast on your Android smartphone or tablet, and bring your personalized Chrome experience with you anywhere you go.
- Browse fast with accelerated page loading, scrolling, and zooming.
- Sign in to Chrome to sync your bookmarks and view tabs you have open on your computer
- Open and switch between unlimited tabs
- Send pages from desktop Chrome to your device with one click and read them on the go
- Browse privately in Incognito mode
Dolphin Browser HD T Dolphin Browser HD is the FASTEST, EASIEST and most FUN mobile Web browser Dolphin Browser is the world's first Gesture, Sonar and Add-on enabled mobile web browser on Android.
- #1 Mobile Web Browser on Android Market
- Over 10,000,000 total downloads
Other Suggestions for Browsers:
Firefox T

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Communications

This is most likely the main activity for an Android phone. In addition to the normal phone dialer and SMS messaging there are other options.

App Rem Description
Handcent SMS Handcent SMS is a powerful free SMS/MMS tool for your Android phone The most popular messaging app on the Play Store, Handcent SMS is a powerful, customizable, and free SMS/MMS app that fully unleashes the messaging potential of Android devices. More than just an unsurpassed alternative to the stock Android messaging app, Handcent SMS features optional, seamless online integration with your My Handcent Online account.
Skype Make free Skype-to-Skype video calls, and call phones at Skype rates on the move. Make free voice and video calls to anyone else on Skype, whether they’re on an Android, iPhone, Mac or PC, as well as IMs to your friends and family.
Viber Be Free to Communicate. Call and text anyone, anywhere. Viber lets everyone in the world connect. Freely. More than 40 million Viber users call, text, send photos and locations with each other worldwide - for free. Viber is available for Android and iPhone.
WhatsApp Messenger Get WhatsApp Messenger and say goodbye to SMS! WhatsApp Messenger is a smartphone messenger available for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Phone and Nokia phones. WhatsApp uses your 3G or WiFi (when available) to message with friends and family. Switch from SMS to WhatsApp to send and receive messages, pictures, audio notes, and video messages.
Other Suggestions for Communications:
Yahoo! Messenger

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Social

One or more of these are usually pre-installed.

Social
App Rem Description
Facebook Share and stay connected with your friends with the Facebook for Android app. Facebook for Android helps you connect with your friends and share on the go. Upload a photo, keep up with friends’ photos and status updates, look up a phone number, and more – right from your Android device.
Foursquare Join the 15 million people who use Foursquare to explore the world around them! Keep up with friends, discover what’s nearby, and save money at places you love.
- See what your friends are up to and share your experiences.
- Get personalized recommendations for where to go and what to get, based on what you and your friends like.
- Save money with discounts and freebies from businesses.
- Discover insider tips and suggestions from local experts, brands and celebrities.
Google+ Share and keep up with people no matter where you are.
- Turn on Instant Upload to sync photos from your phone to a private Google+ album
- Video chat with friends with mobile Hangouts
- Chat with a friend or all your friends at once with Messenger
- Check out the What’s Hot stream to see trending topics
Twitter Official Twitter app for Android. Follow your interests: instant updates from your friends, industry experts, favorite celebrities, and what’s happening around the world. Get short bursts of timely information on the official Twitter app. View trends, browse your interests and see suggested users in several categories, including fashion, entertainment and travel, or search to find out what people are saying about topics you care about.
Other Suggestions for Social:
TweetDeck (Twitter, Facebook)

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Multimedia

These apps perform a range of multimedia tasks, some of them are a must on an Android device.

App Rem Description
Instagram A beautiful way to share your world. It's fast, free and fun! Pick from one of several gorgeous filtered effects to breathe a new life into your mobile photos. Transform everyday moments into works of art you'll want to share with friends and family. Share your photos in a simple photo stream with friends to see - and follow your friends' photos with the click of a single button.
MoboPlayer The best video player on Android! Watch any of your videos on a phone without conversion. Our video player supports:
- All video formats (need to choose "software decoding" mode in most cases)
- Popular subtitle formats such as SRT, ASS, and SAA
- Subtitles built in MKV, MPV, MOV, and others
- Multi-audio streams and multi-subtitles
Paper Camera See the world through a new, original, stylish and captivating lens, have a wonder in your own home and discover how cool is now your world in cartoon! This is the ultimate collection of cartoon/sketch/comic book/half tone/noir/neon and many other effects painted directly in your camera, no more boring post-effects, it's all real time.
QuickPick Quicker and clearer view your photos! The best picture viewer/browser/gallery! The best photo gallery and picture browser & viewer in Android.
Shazam Hear a song you don't know? Shazam identifies it instantly. Free and Unlimited. Faster tagging. Now discover, explore and share more music, TV shows and brands you love in as little as one second. With free and unlimited tagging use Shazam as much as you want, and experience more of what you like, faster.
Spotify (Not available in all countries). Spotify brings millions of tracks to Android. Your music is always with you. Get free access to Spotify Premium now! With Premium you'll get access to 15 million tracks from thousands of albums and artists on your Android device.
TuneIn Radio Browse and listen to radio -- live, local and global. TuneIn is a free way to listen to music, sports and news from every corner of the earth, with over 60,000 radio stations. With TuneIn Radio, you can:
- Search for a song, artist or show to find radio stations around the world playing it live
- Pause and rewind any stream
- Add stations, songs, and shows to your presets
- Plays in the background while you use other apps
Other Suggestions for Multimedia:
Adobe Photoshop Express, Camera360, Camera ZOOM FX, Pandora, RockPlayer Lite, SoundHound

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Augmented Reality and Location Services

These apps use your Android's camera and/or GPS to together with "cloud" Databases yo provide exciting services.

App Rem Description
Google Goggles Search by taking a picture. Goggles uses image recognition technology to recognize objects and return relevant search results. Identifies products, famous landmarks, storefronts, artwork, and popular images found online. Goggles can translate words in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese & Russian.
Here I Am 2 Let people know where you are! This application can send SMS or email with your coordinates and link to Google Maps. This link also opens in Maps application on Android and iPhone, and can be used as an endpoint for driving directions.
Layar Layar is a mobile app for discovering information about the world around you. Using Augmented Reality (AR) technology, Layar displays digital information called “layers” into your smartphone’s field of vision. With the introduction of Layar Vision, these layers can now recognize real-world objects and display digital AR experiences on top of them. Interact with the world around you by scanning images, such as magazines, restaurant menus and advertising posters with Layar Vision.
Where Discover nearby places and offers; get recommendations and share your favorites.
- Find nearby restaurants, bars, stores, and more with just a few taps.
- Get access to special offers and deals at local businesses.
- Save your favorite places and share them with friends.
- See your friends’ favorite places and get suggestions for where to go together.
- Get personalized recommendations for places you’ll love.
Other Suggestions for Augmented Reality and Location Services:
Wikitude World Browser

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Travel Services

There are many great apps that will help you plan and execute your trips.

App Rem Description
FlightTrack T Get real-time flight status and map tracking for airline flights worldwide. Optimized for your tablet too. Track flights with beautiful, zoomable maps or get real-time departure info, delays and gate numbers at a glance. Full international coverage. We’ll even update you on cancellations and help you find an alternate flight..
KAYAK Flight Hotel Car Search Compare flights, hotels and rental cars, track flights, get cheap travel deals. The #1 Mobile Travel app includes flight and car search, hotel search and booking, Flight tracker and My Trips, so you have your itinerary at your fingertips.
TripAdvisor Hotels Travel Millions of traveler reviews, photos, maps from TripAdvisor. Plan and have your perfect trip with TripAdvisor. With over 50 million reviews and opinions by travelers, you'll find the best places to eat, sleep, and play, wherever you travel.
- Find hotels, restaurants, and attractions in any destination
- See millions of candid photos by travelers
- Use Near Me Now to discover options near you or any address you enter
Other Suggestions for News:
Expedia, Orbitz, Tripit

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News

You may want to pick several of these to get easy-to-access news on your Android Device.

App Rem Description
CNN - phones

Tablet version: CNN - tablets

T America’s Choice 2012 Election Center for Android Phone and Tablets now available! Experience what happens when storytelling meets the latest technology with the new CNN App for Android - a smarter, sleeker way to experience a world of news and insights. Now available on all Android powered mobile phones.
Google Currents T Google Currents delivers beautiful magazine-like editions to your tablet and smartphone for high speed and offline reading. Editions are all free and include:
- Publisher editions
- Google trending editions
- Your favorite blogs and feeds
Each edition is available for high speed offline reading, and provides quick-touch sharing. Your subscriptions are synchronized across devices.
News360 for phones

Tablet version: News360 for tablets

T A next-generation news aggregator, that gives you all sides of every story. News360 for Android Phones and Tablets aggregates more than 20,000 different news sources around the web to bring you news stories in a concise and useful stream, along with photos and video covering the story. The semantic analysis technology behind News360 allows you to tailor your feeds to your exact interests and location, and get background information and dossiers about all the companies, people and locations that make the news.
Other Suggestions for News:
BBC News, Google Reader, Pulse News, World Newspapers

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Financial Services

Here are some apps ranging from small and simple to more complex. Pick the ones that will suit your needs.

App Rem Description
4Ever Current Commodities Energy, Metals, Grains, Livestock among other market prices at your fingertips! This app provides you with prices of energy, metals, grains, livestock & softs from Yahoo! Futures or Bloomberg.
Bloomberg - phones

Tablet version: Bloomberg - tablets

T Get business news, market data and portfolio tracking tools from Bloomberg. Get business/finance news, market data and stock tracking tools from the most trusted source financial professionals around the world rely upon. Get comprehensive news coverage along with easy-to-understand charts and graphs that illustrate the impact of important business trends and issues..
Currency Convert among 160+ currencies, review latest exchange rate trends and more Now with historical and real-time charts. Convert among 160+ currencies and commodities using up-to-the-minute foreign exchange rates. Also includes charts, daily forex rankings, a pocket travel guide and an integrated tip calculator.
Global Stock Markets Track all leading US, European and Asian Stock Market indices, including Dow Jones, Nasdaq, FTSE, CAC, DAX, Nikkei, Hang Seng and many more. View the full details of any individual market index
Other Suggestions for Financial Services:
Yahoo! Finance

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Educational & Reference

These apps are not in the games category, but more serious and educational for children and adults alike.

App Rem Description
Google Earth T Explore the world from the palm of your hand with Google Earth. Use Google Earth to fly around the planet with the swipe of a finger. Explore distant lands or reacquaint yourself with your childhood home. Search by voice for cities, places, and businesses. Browse layers including roads, borders, places, photos and more. For tablet users (Android 3.0 or newer), you can now enjoy a new Google Earth experience optimized for the large screen. With a new action bar, you can get easy access to search, reset-to-north, my location, and layers. Also, on tablets and select phones, you can now explore the same photo-realistic 3D buildings.
Kid Mode: Free Games + Lock #1 App for Kids! Fun, educational games for kids 8 and under. All your child's favorite Android apps in one place. With our Child Lock feature, kids stay safely in Kid Mode!
Sky Map T Sky Map turns your Android-powered device into a window on the night sky. Open sourced and donated by Google. Find us elsewhere:
http://goo.gl/XWjRg (Google Plus)
http://groups.google.com/group/google-sky-map
http://twitter.com/skymapdevs
Solar System Explorer T Take an interactive 3D trip through the solar system with Solar System Explorer Solar System Explorer will take you on an interactive 3D trip through our solar system. Featuring more than 35 planets, moons, asteroids and the spacecraft that have visited them, you'll have a chance to see a different side of our little corner of the galaxy! This full edition delivers all the planets and major moons of our Solar System in glorious HD with extra effects and a special tablet mode, so it will look great on all devices, large or small.
Other Suggestions for Educational & Reference
GEOquiz, Star Chart, Wikipedia, World Atlas

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Cloud Storage

Normally one should be enough but perhaps you're safer with 2 or more.

Cloud Storage
App Rem Description
Box T Box for Android and Android Tablet lets you view and share files from anywhere! Box provides simple, secure sharing from anywhere – letting you easily store files online, send large files quickly, access content from your Android phone or tablet, and collaborate with others
Dropbox Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. After you install Dropbox on your computer, any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, your Android device, and even the Dropbox website.
Google Drive T Keep everything. Share anything. With Google Drive, you can store all your files in one place, so you can access them from anywhere and share them with others. Use the Google Drive Android app to access your photos, documents, videos and other files stored on your Google Drive
SugarSync Have you ever been away from home or the office and realized you need a file that is on your computer? SugarSync puts ALL of your data from all of your computers right at your fingertips…anytime, anywhere from your Android device. With SugarSync, you get free cloud backup that you can use to sync files, share folders, and access your data directly from your Android device.
Other Suggestions for Cloud Storage
Wuala

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File Managers

Normally one of these should be enough. Modern smartphones try to shield the users from the old-fashioned folder and file structures of the type you find in e.g. Windows. But if you come from that environment it can be handy to navigate around your file system, especially when you want to copy data to/from a PC.

App Rem Description
Astro ASTRO helps organize & view your pictures, music, video, document & other files. It's like Windows Explorer or Mac’s Finder for your phone or tablet and allows you to easily browse and organize all of your pictures, music, videos and documents.
ES File Expl Featured File manager & App manager which can explore the phones & computers. 30 millions global downloads in 2011! One of best tools on Android market. Support 23 languages.
Solid Explorer T Solid Explorer brings to you a new file browsing experience. This is the most attractive, eye catching and intuitive file manager for the Android. The application is still in development state and may be UNSTABLE so please treat it with understanding.

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Other Utilities

Some of these are quite technical and isn't for everyone, but they may be useful to track down some system information and other special needs.

App Rem Description
Adobe Flash Bring the FULL web to your device with Flash Player- videos, games, apps & more Adobe Flash Player enables a complete web browsing experience by enabling access to your favorite interactive content.
AirDroid AirDroid is a fast, free app that lets you wirelessly manage your Android from your browser. Manage Files, SMS, Apps, Photos etc on your Android device from your browser.
Android System Info Explore all features of your android device! ASI provides a lot of technical infos(Hardware, System, Telephony...),Task Manager, App manager, logs viewer, battery stats, manifest viewer and more
Barcode Scanner Scan barcodes on products then look up prices and reviews. You can also scan Data Matrix and QR Codes containing URLs, contact info, etc. Also share your contacts, apps, and bookmarks via QR Code.
DiskUsage DiskUsage provides a way to find files and directories on storage card which consume a lot of space. Displays diagram with directories/subdirectories proportional to their size.
Lookout Security & Antivirus Free antivirus, find my phone, and backup app for Android! Protect against loss, hackers, and theft - WITHOUT DRAINING YOUR BATTERY with Lookout's free antivirus, find my phone, and backup features. With Lookout *Everything is ok!* - See why 15+ million users trust Lookout Security & Antivirus to protect their phones and tablets
Other Suggestions for Utilities:
App Protector Pro , Apps Organizer, KeePassDroid, ShareMyApps

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