Five must-have Android apps
If you’ve just gotten a new Android phone, you might be dazzled by all the apps there are for it.
The temptation will be to download lots of apps, especially because there are so many available for free.
Go for it.
If you’re anything like me – well, let’s hope you’re not. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll download apps because they sound like something you’d use, or like something fun, but you’ll wind up using many of them only rarely. That’s actually a good idea, in my view, because it lets you refine what you want from an app and how to go about testing one out.
I reviewed several a year ago, and I still think those are all good apps to have.
Here are five more that I love, and use all the time:
The Amazon Appstore. It’s a whole second market separate from the Android Market. (Which is one of the cool things about Android – there can be two markets and it’s OK.) But what makes the Amazon one cool is that one paid app is free every day. Most of the free apps have no appeal to me, but this year I’ve gotten Documents To Go and OfficeSuite Pro for free. Plus, if you get one of the apps and you have more than one Android device (I have a phone and a tablet, for instance), you get the app on both devices, but only if you want it. You get to choose whether to download and install individually by device.
You have to have an Amazon account to use the Appstore. The store is really good for potential users, too, in that you get to see screenshots of the app, a description from the app publisher, and brutally honest reviews from people who’ve already downloaded it.
IMDb. I put off downloading this, because I could just use my phone’s Web browser to get to the Internet Movie Database. But the app saves time. It opens to a mobile version of the home page with a search button right there – and isn’t that why you’re going to the database in the first place, because you can’t remember what other movie Gretchen Mol was in?
Backgammon Free, by AI Factory Ltd. This is a great representation of the board game by a company that makes several board-game apps, including chess, checkers and reversi. I love backgammon and I play this every day. If you don’t play backgammon, I don’t expect you would download this. But whatever your favorite of the traditional board games, I bet there’s an Android version. To me, free is always worth a try.
DirecTV. (There are apps for Comcast and Dish, too, but I have DirecTV.) We were visiting some friends a few weeks ago for a long-planned euchre tournament. As we sat down, I realized I had forgotten to set the DVR to record Game 7 of the World Series. No problem. I launched DirecTV’s app, and set my home DVR to record the scheduled show as well as the next two shows on that channel – good thing, because after the Cardinals won their 11th World Championship, there was a postgame show with a celebration and I wanted to have all of that. The DirecTV app is well thought out, allowing you to browse listings a number of ways – by channel, by date/time, by program. From there, recording is a snap.
Kindle for Android. I still haven’t bought an e-book, from Amazon or anywhere else. But with the Kindle app, I can load a whole lot of public-domain literature. I don’t have this app on my phone, but it works great on my tablet. I have a lot of Mark Twain and Sherlock Holmes, plus several other books. And it will sync your library across devices – I also have the PC version of the app loaded on a tablet PC.
If you’ve discovered a cool app, I’d love to hear about it. Please use the comments below to share your experience.