Android Apps

One of the initial complaints the reviewers of Android handsets underscored was that the number of apps (applications) available for Android was minimal compared to the number available for the iPhone, and most of the reviewers theorized it would take years for their to be a substantial number of quality apps.

Today, there are a tremendous number of apps; but like the apps for the iPhone I’d say most of them are of questionable quality… a few though are keepers.

Last week a joint survey conducted by Appcelerator and IDC found that 59% of developers said that Google’s Android had the “best long-term outlook” compared to only 35% who picked Apple’s iOS.

Additionally, 72% picked Android for hardware other than phones (set-top boxes, etc) while less than 25% choose iOS.

Though Apple maintained 84% of the interest in tablets (that may have a great deal to do with the fact that no mainstream company has shipped an Android based tablet yet and is very likely to shift soon).

Anyway, regardless of who’s the most popular (ie McDonald’s thinking), here’s my “short” list (categorized) of apps for Android that I like (and use).

Communications

  • Google Voice
  • GMail
  • sipdroid
  • Call Block
  • Opera

Utilities

  • Explorer
  • ASTRO
  • ASTRO Bluetooth Module
  • Spell Checker
  • GPS Essentials
  • Spare Parts
  • DynDns
  • Barcode Scanner
  • ShopSavvy
  • Tricorder
  • Wifi Analyzer
  • WifiScanner
  • Terminal Emulator
  • ROM Manager (only useful on a rooted handset)
  • Superuser (only useful on a rooted handset)

Games

  • 205+ Solitaire Collection
  • Mahjong 3D

Eye Candy

  • Sense Analog Clock
  • Mickey Mouse Clock
  • Tricorder

Everything on the list is FREE (as in free beer; some of the current versions are ad supported).

Tricoder is in two categories (it’s actually useful — though it only qualifies as useful because it will do with several other utilities in combination are needed for — though it’s gotta be considered eye candy).

I’m not a gamer, so the only games I’ve listed are ones that are pretty good for just whiling away a little time… there’s a ton of free games — have at it, you can uninstall them fairly easily (though if you install a lot of apps you’re going to want something to help manager / organize).

One of the major reasons for having a smart phone is to use it to make calls; certainly Google Voice lets you take advantage of any ability you have to call specified numbers air-time-free (plus it gives you text messaging without incurring any charges from your carrier).  If you have a very limited voice plan, but a flat rate data plan — you might find sipdroid (a SIP/VoIP client) extremely useful; at least when you couple it with a free SIP service.

One of the major reasons you might consider rooting your Android device is so that you can remove pre-installed apps or re-theme the device; with older devices you might consider it so that you have access to newer kernels and fixes.  For the average person, you probably don’t want to root your device.

If you have other favorites that do something useful, let me know… I’m likely to publish another list of Android apps in a few months; and I’ve decided I’m going to write a few of them (maybe I’ll even publish them).

Originally posted 2010-10-13 02:00:50.