An Android smartphone is only as good as the apps you’ve installed in it. So whether you have a high-end model or a low-end unit, you can get the best use out of your phone by downloading the right mix of applications.
But what apps should you download, exactly? Well, that really depends on your needs. For someone like me who uses my Droid a lot for everything from downloading files to watching videos, I require applications that perform well without making my phone lag. So, for 2012, here are my current favorites.
1. Boat Browser
Boat is a great free replacement browser that makes it easy to view pages in multiple tabs, manage your bookmarks and downloads, save webpages in HTML format, and lots more. It also supports Flash and even incognito mode. However, the best thing about it is its loading speed, so you can surf on your phone with almost the same ease as on your computer.
2. Office Suite Pro 5
These days, you can’t help but take your work home with you. And if you’re having a particularly busy week, you can even find yourself going through your office documents while you’re on the move. Office Suite Pro 5 lets you do this without having to carry your laptop or tablet around wherever you go. The feature-packed app allows you to view, edit, and share files in formats such as DOC, RTF, CSV, and PDF.
Combined with a good office productivity program, you can work on the go in a way that wasn’t possible before through this app’s cloud storage features. Just upload your important documents to your Box account, share it with colleagues, and access it online from anywhere. You can also sync the files to your computer if you wish to work offline. A personal account gives you five gigabytes of storage for free, which you can upgrade for a monthly fee.
Keep a close eye on your daily expenses with this nifty little app. Manage your personal finances better by tracking what you spend each day and viewing the data in colorful graphs that show you just what’s eating up most of your cash. It has a great degree of customizability so you can create your own expense categories and switch between different accounts.
5. avast! Mobile Security
Make sure your smartphone is protected from viruses and other malware. avast! provides a rich array of security features at the amazing price of free. It’s got one of the most comprehensive protection packages available, which includes the ability to add a firewall if your phone is rooted. Its anti-theft measures are impressive, too, with options like remote memory wipe and GPS tracking.
6. Aldiko Book Reader
There’s no need to get a separate device for reading eBooks when there’s Aldiko. It’s one of the most popular eBook readers around, and with good reason. You can customize almost everything from the size of the font to the cover of your book. It takes a little getting used to at first because of all its options, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll never bother with a Kindle.
Let your inner photographer run wild with the dozens of frames and effects offered by this affordable camera app. Apply different filters to pictures stored in your Android and create images that are as good as any developed in a photo lab. You can even save high resolution photographs so your snapshots will come out looking gorgeous every time.
8. MX Video Player Pro
Free yourself from the hassle of converting your movies to phone-friendly formats. This application has the power to play back a large variety of codecs so you can take your favorite films with you anywhere. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to use and it offers great picture and sound quality.
9. Poweramp Music Player
This is hands down the best-sounding music app for Android. The equalizer is super easy to customize and it plays a great number of formats. The options can be a bit intimidating at first since there are so many of them, but they only allow you to tweak the player’s features until it’s the perfect fit for your listening preferences. It’s definitely worth its price tag.
For crazy fun times, SimSimi is your best pal. It’s a cute chatting robot that you can “talk” with. Users teach it how to “speak” by typing in paired questions and responses. So when you ask it something and a similar phrase is in its database, it’ll give you a reply that’s either spot on or hilariously out of context.
Well, those are my top 10 essential apps. At the rate the Android market is expanding every day, I’m sure there are lots of other applications that I have yet to discover and download.
But what about you, guys? Which apps can’t you live without?