Essential Android Apps

A friend of mine recently got an Android phone and ask me which apps I recommended. After putting together a list of essential Android apps for my friend, I realized that realized to the list might be of interest to the wider Internet community. So, I’ve decided to share it here. For each app, I’ve included a short description of it followed by a link to the Android market place which will allow you to install it directly onto your phone. I decided not to include apps like Google Maps since most phones come with it already installed and I wanted this list to help people find new apps to install.

MyTracks is one app I highly recommend. It uses the GPS to track your location and then presents you with both a sharable map showing where you’ve travelled and statistics such as total distance, average speed, max speed, max elevation, etc. It’s especially nice to use during a hike or walk so that you know how far you’ve walked and where you’ve been.

Another good app is Google Goggles which, among other things, will allow your phone to read those increasingly ubiquitous QR codes.

If you listen to podcasts or want to start getting into them, Google Listen is worth trying. It does a fairly good job of managing and downloading podcasts.

OI Shopping List — This is a simple shopping list application but one I use quite frequently. Whenever I’m low or out of a particular item such as paper towels, I start OI Shopping List and add the item to my list. That way, the next time I’m at the store I just pull out my phone and get reminded about the item. Occasionally, I will also use it to make sure that I obtain all the ingredients for a complex meal.

Kitchen Timer is a simple but useful app. As the name implies it’s basically a kitchen timer. One nice feature is that it lets you have 3 independent timers on one screen.

Amazon MP3 — This app is often installed by default on phones so you may already have it. If you choose to purchase music over the Internet as opposed to on CD, Amazon is a reasonably good choice. Their MP3 store is fairly complete and their prices are competitive. An added feature of Amazon is that your music is available in the Amazon Cloud player. Additionally their MP3s are DRM free.

Finally, the regular Amazon app can be useful. Among other features, you can scan the bar codes of an item to get the Amazon product page. The ethics walking into a book store and price comparing with Amazon are very debatable and not something I’ll discuss here. But a very legitimate use of the Amazon App is to read product reviews. Reading product reviews on Amazon will often give you more information than simply reading a book’s dust jacket and flipping through it. Similarly, reading Amazon reviews is likely to be much more useful than simply reading the box of an electronic item.

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