Android App Suggestions

As new Android users, many of my friends and family have asked me what Android applications I would suggest/endorse. Here is a brief list of some of my favorite and/or most used applications.

Android App Suggestions

 – Vinny DeFrancesco

Audio/Alerts/Volume

Browser Replacement

Keyboard Replacement:

Password Management:

Bookmark Managment:

Music Players/Streamers/Management

Photos

Notes

MISCELLANEOUS

Remote Desktop

File Managment

 

Audio/Alerts/Volume

AudioManager Pro

Market Link: http://goo.gl/etWZ5

If there is one Android application I can’t live without, this is it. This app puts all of your volume management sliders in one place. I don’t know why Android does not do this by default. I was seriously surprised that I needed to adjust the volume in several different screens for Media, Calls, Alerts, and alarms. This app also allows you to create preset ‘shortcuts’ and put those on your home screen for one click access to a particular volume profile. I can’t recommend this app highly enough and it’s Google’s fault for not having a better way to manage Android’s volume.

Browser Replacement

Dolphin Browser™ HD

Market Link: http://goo.gl/uZ9qI

Yes, there was a privacy fiasco with the dolphin browser. Yes, it has been fixed. The Lastpass and Xmarks integration make this my goto choice for the default Android browser replacement. (more on LastPass and Xmarks below)

Info about previous privacy concerns: http://goo.gl/fWCmX

Keyboard Replacement:

SwiftKey X Keyboard

Market Link: http://goo.gl/eTLtl

If you don’t like the stock keyboard, give Swiftkey X a try.. After using it for a few weeks it’s word suggestion begins to get scary accurate. (and sometimes hilarious)

Password Management:

LastPass Password Mgr Premium

https://lastpass.com/

Market link: http://goo.gl/vsVfL

If you’re saving your password in your browser, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re writing your passwords down on pieces of paper, you’re doing it wrong. I’ve wrote about this before. If you want more info I’ll be happy to again. There is no good reason NOT to use lastpass as your defacto password management tool. (Unless you’re extremely distrustful of cloud services, in which case you get a pass; pun intended, suck it. That being said, you should be utilizing some sort of password management like KeePass; http://keepass.info). Lastpass securely stores your passwords for you and makes them accessible wherever you have an Internet connection. (And even when you don’t, via your mobile phone). You need to set up a lastpass account and purchase a “premium” account. (Last time I checked, it was $12 a year). Purchasing premium accounts allows the Lastpass company to run the secure servers that syncs up your password data. In my opinion, $1 a month is well worth the service.

Bookmark Managment:

Xmarks for Premium Customers

http://www.xmarks.com

Market Link: http://goo.gl/PZg6y

Xmarks syncs your bookmarks across any browser with xmarks installed. This includes the Dolphin HD Browser. You’ll need to set up an Xmarks account via their website. Xmarks was recently acquired by lastpass. I believe your lastpass premium subscription also covers the Xmarks premium subscription. I need to double check this.

Music Players/Streamers/Management

Disclaimer: I prefer “cloud storage” music players like Google Music and Amazon MP3. I like to support the Artists I listen to by digitally purchasing their work. If you’re into online radio streaming, check out Pandora, Slacker and/or Spotify. I do however, have not so nice things to say about Pandora, so I’ll mention them here for no other reason than to rant.

Pandora

http://www.pandora.com

Market Link: http://goo.gl/awLQD

If you’re into customizable streaming internet radio, Pandora is the way to go … that is if you can deal with their limited number of song skips (Even with a paid subscription). Pandora never fails to disappoint at the most inopportune moments; Like on that last mile of a really long run, Pandora will inevitably decide to play something like ColdPlay’s “Yellow”,  completely ruining  any gained momentum you might have hoped to achieve for the last bit of your workout.  “No worry” you think, I’ll just skip it … WRONG. You’ve run out of skips. You are now relegated to the most de-motivational music on the planet for the worst run of your life. F^&* you pandora.

Google Music

https://music.google.com/music

Market Link: http://goo.gl/4gvLl

Google music stores all of your music “in the could” (on Google’s servers) and allows you to stream that music to your phone via WiFi or over your cellphone network. If, like me, you have too much music to cram onto your phone, Google Music is a good solution. So is Amazon’s MP3 player/Cloud Player/Storage. More on Amazon below.

Amazon Mp3

https://www.amazon.com/gp/dmusic/mp3/player

Market Link: http://goo.gl/wKvUO

Before Google Music was widely available to the public, Amazon MP3 offered what is now essentially the same service. I find myself still using the Amazon MP3 app more often than Google Music, primarily because it’s so easy to purchase music right from my phone. Additionally, when you make a music purchase from your phone (or computer), the purchase gets synced to your Amazon Cloud Player. What this means is that you do not need to download your music to your phone (Though you can if you wish) but instead can stream it from Amazon’s servers. for $20 a year you get unlimited music storage and 20GB of ‘cloud storage’ More info: http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=2658409011

Photos

The default Gallery app on Android sucks. Some manufacturers have rolled their own photo management applications into Android. If that works for you, great. You can skip this. If you find that you need tighter Picasa/Flickr integration or want to try something else, then I suggest;

JustPictures!

Market Link: http://goo.gl/YuJ0Q

https://picasaweb.google.com/home

I’ve found this app to be faster and easier to use than any of the default photo applications installed on Android phones. I used Picasa (and now Google+) almost exclusively for my online photo storage and sharing. I did have a little fling with Flickr when I first purchased my Droid Incredible (because that’s the only service HTC’s Sense UI would allow you to interact with), but since rooting my device, I’m thankfully back to Picasa (online photo storage and management. Interfaces directly with Google+) .

Notes

AK Notepad

Market Link: http://goo.gl/FVU5s

Android does not have a standard ‘notes’ application like Apple iOS. I don’t know why. AK Notepad is essentially the same as Apple’s Notes. It’s simple and it works. Great for shopping lists, Todo lists and murder lists. … oh, are you still reading this? 

MISCELLANEOUS

Kitchen Timer

Market Link: http://goo.gl/BoV9v

A simple countdown/up timer. Plenty of options for what it is. Again, your phone may already have a timer app via HTC Sense or Moto-crap … i mean Moto-blur. If you’re running stock Android, this app gets the job done.

Relax and Sleep

Market Link: http://goo.gl/y7qoJ

I require this app to function normally. Seriously. I can’t sleep without some sort of white/ambient noise equivalent. This app is real simple and does exactly what I need for generating background sleep noise. Additionally, it has a timer on it as well. You can configure it to play a noise or fade itself out when the timer ends. This is really useful for meditation sessions (if you’re into that kind of thing).

Kindle

Market Link: http://goo.gl/KrlUq

I don’t mind reading books on a digital display. Then again, I sit in front of a computer screen almost 24 hours a day. let’s just say I’ve ‘adjusted’. Even if you don’t have a kindle, the kindle app and Amazon’s ebook services are very cool. I’ve been known to own both a hard copy and a digital copy of some literature. I can leave the hardcopy on my shelf for collection purposes and “Look at what I read!” purposes, while making notes, highlights and links in my digital versions. There’s also just something cool about being able to carry an entire library in your back pocket.

Pure Grid calendar widget

Market Link: http://goo.gl/XoqCU

Android’s default Calender widgets are not good. They aren’t very configurable and they look like crap. This application solves both of those problems. At first, it can be a little confusing to set up because it is so highly configurable. Once you have it the way you like it, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

Netflix

Market Link: http://goo.gl/8yFb6

If you don’t know what Netflix is then you probably don’t have any business reading this article. I suggest you read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet and this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZC67wXUTs

Just remember, this is NOT a big truck.

Remote Desktop

PhoneMyPC

Market Link: http://goo.gl/TqgGc

I’ve been using this application since it was in Beta. Most of the time, it works. Most of the time. even over 3g connections. I’ve never had 100% success rates with any remote desktop software except for GoToMyPc, and unfortunately, that is not available on Android and is also a subscription service.

Splashtop Remote Desktop

Market Link: http://goo.gl/AaoZo

I need to admit that this application works A LOT better on my iPad than on my Android phone. However, if for some reason I can’t connect to my computer using GotoMyPc or PhoneMyPC, I’ll try this guy.

File Managment

ASTRO File Manager

Market Link: http://goo.gl/gHTWg

If you ever need to view the contents of your Android’s filesystem this application works very well. There is a free version available. If you need more features like Network share access and root prvileges, take a look at:

ES File Explorer

Market Link: http://goo.gl/TqgGc

A file explorer with advanced features like FTP, Root and network shares.

 

 

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