There are so many great free Android apps out there, but here are some of my personal favorites. I decided not include games for this post. For your convenience, I have included QR codes for quick downloading to your phone for most of the apps. Just get a QR code reader (such as Google Goggles, Barcode Scanner, ShopSavvy, etc.) and point it at the QR code.
#15 – Secrets
I know I have way too many username and password variations to remember for the countless web-based services, online bank accounts, etc., that I use. Hmmm… this password needs 5-7 characters, one uppercase, one special character… ugh. This Google-authored app has a master password that unlocks your list of usernames, passwords, and other custom data. All your secrets are encrypted and can be backed up to the memory card and restored if you wipe your phone or get a new one.
#14 – GTasks
I have tried a number of task management apps for my phone and web-based apps on my desktop. However, I’ve found that I am most likely to use a task system that is just naturally part of my normal routine. Since I already spend a lot of my time in GMail, the Google tasks widget has been my task system of choice. And the GTasks app for Android syncs pretty seamlessly with Google Tasks. It has task categories for separating work, personal, next things, someday tasks, etc. While it may not be as fully featured as apps like Astrid, Remember the Milk, or Things for Mac/iPhone, it works fine for me.
#13 – ConnectBot
For anyone who administers Linux servers for their websites, databases, etc., this app is a must. You’re out to dinner and get a call that the web server just ran out of storage space? No need to rush to the office, just pull out your phone and fix the problem before the food arrives. And yes, something like this has happened to me before 😉
#12 – BeyondPod
My favorite app I’ve found for subscribing to, downloading, and streaming podcasts. This app has been a lifesaver during some long car rides when I had forgotten to sync my iPod beforehand. Listening to the latest episode of This Week in Startups is a great way to make the ride fly by!
#11 – FlightView Free
Keep track of your flight numbers and times and even get notified of delays and terminal changes while you’re at the airport.
#10 – Amazon Kindle
I love reading on my Kindle. My Android phone is certainly no replacement, but it is convenient to pull my phone out of my pocket (the Kindle doesn’t fit very well in my khakis) while I’m waiting in line somewhere and pick up right where I left off on my Kindle at home.
#9 – Pandora
Free streaming music that is catered to your likes. I love this app!
#8 – WordPress
Great for checking up on my blog and moderating comments while I’m away from the computer.
#7 – Yelp
Yelp is great for finding a place to eat when I am exploring a new town. It uses the phone’s GPS receiver to locate places nearby and provides ratings and reviews for each suggestion.
#6 – Twitter
What a great way to kill time reading tweets while you’re away from the computer.
#5 – Facebook
Contact synchronization and messaging capabilities are what I tend to use the Android app version of Facebook for the most. It is also great for looking at photo albums.
#4 – Google Shopper
Compare prices in the store with prices online by scanning the barcode or just taking a picture of the object. It did feel a little weird to scan the barcode of an Epson ink cartridge inside the store at Best Buy and complete my purchase at Buy.com while I walked down the store’s blu-ray aisle, but I saved over $20!
#3 – Mint.com
Mint does an outstanding job of pulling in all your various bank accounts, loans, investment accounts, and credit cards, and giving you a summary view of where your money is going. It breaks things down by expense type, details out your total assets, liabilities, and net worth, and even alerts you of things like ATM fees you may not have been expecting. The Android app is very well built, just like the website.
#2 – Chase
If you haven’t already seen the commercials on TV and Pandora, this will blow you away (at least it did me). You can deposit your checks from your phone. Really, right from your phone, no need to go the ATM at all. Just snap a photo of the front and back of the check with your built-in camera, verify some account and routing numbers, and you’re done. Plus do things like check balances, sign up for alerts, etc. This app is a major time saver!
#1 – Evernote
Evernote’s tagline is “remember everything.” What I love about Evernote is that it is available for pretty much every platform imaginable — Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, web-based, Palm Pre, Windows Mobile. If used extensively, it can become your external memory by allowing you to take pictures with your camera phone, record voice memos, write text memos, take photos with you MacBook’s webcam, clip web pages, etc. It works seamlessly across devices, everything is stored in the cloud, and everything is automatically OCR’d and geo-tagged (if you want) so it can easily be retrieved later. One of my resolutions for this year is to integrate Evernote into more of my life.
This list only scratches the surface of useful apps for Android. Please comment on this story with other Android apps you can’t live without.