I recently reviewed my current mobile phone, the Orange San Francisco aka the ZTE Blade and since what makes smartphones so desirable are the apps they run I thought I should mention my top 10 android apps. Now I’m not claiming that other android users would agree with my list since my personal top 10 android apps reflects my hobbies and lifestyle and how I use my phone.
My Top 10 Android Apps
- MM Tracker. Hiking is one of my main hobbies and I also have a keen interest in gadgets. Just as many car drivers moved from paper maps to GPS devices, the hiking community has to some extent done the same. There is still a place for a paper map and compass skills but once you have used electronic versions of Ordnance Survey maps it’s hard not to be impressed. Now before the ‘luddites’ slag off technology I acknowledge that battery life on smartphones is an issue when using the GPS, as is weather proofing. Both these issues will be addressed though with external battery packs and special cases. One of the first companies to produce electronic OS maps for the UK was Memory Map. Other companies have since followed but each company uses it’s own format. Viewranger was one such company who responded to the huge increase in smartphone ownership, whilst Memory Map was slow. With so many people owning Memory Map maps, unwilling to buy the same thing again in another format, it was only natural there would be a demand for apps that would allow us to use these maps. The app that did this for Android owners is MM Tracker which works perfectly and only costs £4.99. Finally Memory Map produced an app for iPhone users at a price of £19.99. Finally lots of smartphone owners can use their Memory Map maps! For a keen hiker like me this has to be one of my top 10 android apps.
- Gmail. When compiling a list of your Top 10 android apps it’s hard to ignore the Gmail app. Since Android is a Google operating system you would expect it to integrate well with other Google services….and it does! I probably use my phone more for checking and replying to emails than I do for making calls and sending text messages. Like all the best apps they have been designed to work well on the reduced size of a phone screen. The Gmail app is a good example, it does not look exactly the same as Gmail on a laptop but the app is intuitive and retains all the important features including labels. I have 3 email addresses in total, my Gmail address, and 2 domain email addresses I own including motorhomevagabond.com. All three are setup to be read in Gmail and using this app I can reply from any one of these 3 email addresses. It’s great to be able to answer emails on the go when on public transport or in a queue etc. I love this app!
- CalenGoo. Now the android phone does come with a pretty decent calendar app but I deleted mine by accident when rooting the phone. Until recently I did not really use calendars much but I now prefer them to using a paper filofax or relying on memory! I’d read good things about CalenGoo and I liked the design on it. There are various views including Day, Week, Month and my personal favourite, Agenda. It syncs with my Google Calendar perfectly and after installing the Google Calendar Sync on my work PC, my outlook calendar is also now visible on the CalenGoo app. The app costs about £4.00 but I think it’s worth it and better than the free app.
- Dolphin Browser. A recently installed app but it makes it into my top 10 Android apps. I’d been fairly happy with the default browser and I also download Opera. I have a huge interest in search engine optimisation and I like to check on websites’ pagerank and alexa ranking. On the PC I use Firefox with the search status plugin to do this. The Dolphin Browser for mobile phones, like Firefox offers lots of plugins. Now I use Dolphin almost exclusively and can check on pagerank and alexa rank on the go.
- Dropbox. Dropbox is like an external hard drive where you can store your important files. The free service initially comes with 2GB which is plenty as long you as you don’t want to use it to store videos or your entire music mp3 collection. By having versions of dropbox on my PC and my phone I can look at and edit excel files or word docs on either device which has proved helpful more than once. You can share access to some of your folders too. Easily makes it into my top 10 android apps.
- Paypal. I use the internet all the time and like most who do I have a Paypal account. Like all the best apps that have a desktop equivalent what you see on the phone app has been designed differently to make best use of the screen size of the phone. All the important options are available and I’ve found it really useful to be able to quickly logon and transfer funds from my Paypal balance to my bank account while I’m on the move. One of the apps I use the most and therefore had to make it into my top 10 android apps.
- PowerAMP. One of the few criticisms I have of the Orange San Francisco (ZTE Blade) phone is that the volume when listening to music files is not loud enough. The answer for me has been the PowerAMP app which is a music player with an attractive interface and graphic equaliser. By changing some settings on the graphic equaliser I’m able to get a sound acceptable to me that allows me to use the phone as my mp3 player too. There is a free limited version of the app but I bought the full version which costs £3.21
- WordPress. For the last couple of years I’ve been converted to WordPress which represents everything that’s great about the internet. Open source software that is free to use, you can find attractive themes for free and have a really good website up in no time. What really makes WordPress one of the most popular platforms for web design though is the plugins that extend the functionality of the website without having to do lots of coding yourself. The Android app means I can now do a quick post on the move! Definately one of my top 10 android apps.
- Pubtran London. Apps like these are invaluable when travelling in a large city like London. When you need to get somewhere they can tell you how to do it, what forms of transport to use and where you need to change. The app also seems to know about closures and engineering works and as such will often advise of replacement bus services. Technology really is clever and this had to be in my top 10 android apps.
- Out of Milk. A simple app but it makes it into my top 10 andoid apps nonetheless. When you launch the app you are presented with three icons, Shopping List, To Do list and Pantry. I use the shopping list the most as I hate paper lists and I was forever going food shopping and fogetting at least one item I was supposed to get. When creating your shopping list you can either type in the items of scan the barcode of the packaging of an item you are about finish. Being single this does not apply to me but the Pro version has another clever feature where you and your partner can sync shopping lists so you don’t both end up buying the same items on the way home from work.
My Top 10 Android Apps
I settled on the above apps because they make my life easier and allow me to be more productive on the move. It was hard to decide on which 10 apps to pick from and I may do another top 10 android apps list in the future to tell you about other really clever or useful apps.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my top 10 android apps and I welcome your comments about the apps that you love!