The best free Android apps list, these are what made the Google phone so useful apart from its tight integration with the various social networks. Having used my Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro for some time now, I have narrowed down to several must have Android apps, and some which are nice to have but due to tight memory constraint of my X10, I have to do away with the less used Android application. Oh well, I could always trade up my Android phone, but it is still rather new, and I haven’t found a better replacement for my X10 mini pro with a reasonable budget and physical QWERTY keyboard just yet!
Some Android Apps comes free preloaded with your Android mobile phone, so you are pretty much stuck with it even if you don’t like it at all. For the rest, you could pick and choose to download from the Android market many of which are free. Of course some of the app authors in order to recoup their time and effort do insert some ads just like my blogs and website! Well we gotta eat and free is not a good business model!
And of course in order to use many of these free apps for Android, you do need a good data plan; else you would rack up a hefty mobile phone bill! If not, then set up WIFI at home and at work to download from the Android market and use those free apps!
By the way, all the Google Android apps list below are free! Some are ad supported. Here’s a tip if you don’t want to see those advertisement, switch off your data or WIFI connection for those Android application that don’t require it.
Social Android Apps
So let’s start the Android app list with some social apps.
Facebook for Android by Facebook.com, this is surely a must have if are into facebooking a lot. This is a good way to keep in contact with your friends and family members. You can set it to run in the background but it will bug you whenever there are messages and updates.
So far Twitter hasn’t come out with their own Android app, however there are many good coders out there. I opt for a somewhat commercial one by Seesmic by Seesmic because it doesn’t have ads. Plus you can set up multiple Twitter accounts too! TweetCaster for Twitter by Handmark is another good one. It loads up the timelime pretty quick and has an input box for quick Tweets. Unfortunately it is ad supported. So between the two, I went for Seesmic.
Blogger Droid by Anders Hedström. For those who use Google’s Blogger / Blogspot for blogging, this Android app should just be the tool for you. You can sign up multiple blogger account, list down your posts, and it has control over your digital camera which you can reduce the picture size before posting. Not too bad. But you do know you can post your blogs via email right? So if you need a specialize Blogger / Blogspot Android App, this is for you. By the way, this Blogger Droid is ad supported and the advertisement do get in the way of your blogging. I find I could blog just fine by setting up the blogspot blogger account to receive blog via email.
WordPress by WordPress. The best blogging software is now connectable in your Android phone. With this Android app you can use it connect to your WordPress account or on your own self-hosted WordPress account. It is able to edit comments, post and pages and of course publish blogs too.
There are many more social apps around like HelloTxt, Posterous, Tumblr, etc, etc. If you have memory constraint in your Android phone like I do, you can do away with them and just use your email to post.
You can search for the below application in the Android Market by typing the title only or narrow your search by including the author.
Utilities for Android Apps
Here is a list of some best free very useful Android Apps which is a must have:
Some software after launching still remains in memory taking up valuable memory space which would result in your Android phone slowing down. I guess in terms of memory efficiency Android is just as bad as Windows. So you will need some handy task killer to close those unneeded running programs. The simplest is Mini Task Manager by Mini Guy which has a small memory footprint. Killing programs are done manually. It has an ignore list for programs that you don’t want to kill. Quick and easy. There are many other types of task killer in the Android market including some automated task killer, but I find this to be the best.
MySettings by JQ Soft. This Android software provides a quick shortcut to all your Android essential settings such as ringer, brightness, WI-FI, unlock, GPS, bluetooth, auto sync, screen timeout, airplane mode, cell location and network selection. Plus it displays your SD card and internal memory and battery percentage. Keep a shortcut on your main screen to this app and you have a one-stop setting for your Android phone. Best Android app ever!
No Lock by BoD. Find it irritating to unlock your Android phone every time it screens out? Download this simple No Lock file. You will like it!
PatternControl by LeveloKment. You do want to screen lock but don’t want to swipe the security unlock pattern every time your screen timeout? Then add this PatternControl app. You can set how long before your security unlock pattern will activate after your screen timeout. Very handy tool!
Auto WiFi Toggle by Hideki Kato. This can help to conserve your battery power by auto disable your WI-FI and auto enable. Unfortunately it cuts off WIFI more than detecting WIFI hotspot and keeps the WIFI enabled. This Android app is still not perfect. But it might be useful for auto shutting off WIFI to conserve battery power.
3G Watchdog by Richard Gruet. You got a limited data plan? I sure do! I only have a Maxis 100MB data plan. This is the cheapest plan available at RM18 (US$6) per month. I didn’t want to pay through my nose and besides there are many available free WIFI around which I can connect. In order to keep an eye on my data usage, this 3G Watchdog helps you to ration your data plan.
Quick Battery by Sergej Shafarenka. The small battery icon in the top right corner that came with your Android phone does not give very clear indication of the power you have left with your Android mobile phone. So this handy little widget shows your battery power in percentage on your phone desktop. Simple and nice.
Android System Info by Electric Sheep. This one is for the geeks. If you want to know the internals of your Android phone, this is it! Otherwise, give it a pass.
ES File Explorer by EStrongs Inc. An alternative to the built-in File Browser. Comes with a text editor.
appInstaller by Gregory House. An alternative to the built-in Application Installer. It has the ability to save your application in case you want to install directly from your micro SD card. Also good if you want to revert to a previous saved Google App when you find the latest updated Google Android App to be less user-friendly, buggy or the so called update felt more like a step backwards.
This is purely for fans of Palm, the Graffiti for Android input by Access Co. Ltd is not for everybody. Only those who have been using Palm Graffiti and want some nostalgia in their Android phone should install this free app for input. I find it rather useful for my X10 mini pro and quite a good replacement to the X10 keypad input method in portrait mode. Press and hold the input area to select your input method.
Productivity Apps from the Android Market
ColorNote Notepad Notes provide simple colourful notes. You can password protect individual notes too. But if you delete this app, so goes your notes too. So…
TxtPad Lite by Patillo Software. Use this to store text file notes in your SDCard. You can transfer out to your PC and readable any text reader such as your Notepad in Windows.
SMS to Mail-Box Lite by Koller. Do you do business using text message? If you do, you may want to archive the text messages for record and future reference. This Android Apps saves the incoming text messages to your Gmail account for archiving. Unfortunately it only saves your incoming messages, so I found another better one…
SMS Backup+ by Jan Berkel. This one saves both your incoming and outgoing SMS text message into your Gmail account automatically or manually. Good!
SMS to Text by SMeiTi. And if you want a softcopy, you can export your SMS text message to a text file for transfer to your PC readable by any text reader like Notepad.
Documents To Go by DataViz. If you receive document attachments and want to view them in your Android phone, you will need this app. The free version can’t edit, but that is good enough if you just want to view only.
Calendar Pad by MoaiApps. Provides a detailed view of your calendar items. Much better than the built in Calendar app. It has a Widget function too but lack an agenda display. So…
Android Agenda Widget by Everybody all the time. This is one of the best agenda widget for Android. So far I have found none that matches this!
KeePassDroid by Brian Pellin. Have too many passwords to remember? Use KeePass to store all your passwords. This requires the desktop version to store your password and then transfer the KDB or KDBX file over to your Android phone. You can’t edit your details in Android which is good and bad. Good in the sense that you will know your copy is always in sync with your desktop whenever you transfer over from your desktop; bad in that you can’t edit it.
Apps Just For Fun
Well not in games but in some ways for its usefulness.
Compass by Catch.com and GPS Test by Chartcross Limited. Good for finding your bearings, checking you altitude and speed. Sometimes the bearings points the wrong way when not calibrated properly so don’t rely on your Android phone to catch your bearings!
Happy Flash Cards Free Edition by DFKJ Technologies Pte Ltd. You got kids? I do. Useful for those emergency times when you want to entertain and teach your child without your real flash card around. This Android app is ad supported. Switch off your data or WIFI if you don’t want to see those ads!
Tuner -gStrings by cohortor.org. This is real good guitar tuner. It listens to your guitar and give an indication whether your guitar is tuned on not. Just like those commercial guitar tuners! Can’t find similar apps like this for iPhone!
Bubble by Ben Zibble. Ok, ok! This Android is totally useless for me, but I kept it because the Android phone level sensor fascinates me!
Graphic Photo Editors
PicSay – Photo Editor by Shinycore. This one is just for fun! Insert talking balloon and other decoration to your photo. Your original is not affected, just save another copy for file.
Reduce Photo Size by Shoozhoo. There seems to be no size selection for your Android digital camera, so this comes in very handy for times when you want to post a photo blog.
There is also a free Android version of the Photoshop photo editor from the Android market, but I’m not big fan of Photoshop. However the Android version is just a basic photo editor, so not much point to for me install.
Bible Readers and References
Talking King James Bible by Tecarta, Inc. Make your Android phone recite the Holy Bible for you! You need to install the speech software, once done, it works flawlessly. There are other bible versions, so dig around the Android market if you prefer other versions.
OliveTree Bible Reader by OliveTree. This is not available in the Android market. You have to install it manually by downloading the installation file from OliveTree. Once you have set it up, you can download free bibles or those that you have purchased previously for your other mobile phone. Best so far for me. I have reused my purchase from my Symbian phone, Windows Mobile, Palm Tungsten, Palm Centro, and now in my Android phone as well as my wife’s iPhone. Best choice so far!
LL English Dictionary with Ads by LangLearner LLC. The dictionary file is quite large to download and stores in your micro SD card, but once done you can transfer that file to other Android phone for reuse. The reference is pretty comprehensive. And if you don’t want to see the ads, cut off your data or WIFI connection.
Protect your Android phone to a certain extent, by using this free security tools. They will scan any app that you download and gives you a report on its possible threat to your security and privacy as well as anti-virus and malware detection. They aren’t perfect, but hey, it’s free! You can always upgrade to paid version if you want more features.
Super Security by Superdroid.net. Simple to use. Not sure about its ability to detect virus and malware. They provide an encryption storage called the Strongbox for your Android phone for secure storage.
Lookout Mobile Security by Lookout, Inc. Looks like a better security software than the above. You need to sign up an account with them where they provide an online backup as well as a location service for your misplaced or lost Android phone provided you switched on your GPS and cell location.
For Mobile Phone using Android 1.6 only
So much for Sony Ericsson Xperia being behind in the Android version. The below are some Google Android app software that only runs in Android version 1.6 only and they came in pretty useful for my Xperia X10 mini pro.
Xperia Flashlight by Telemarks.co.jp. Handy for those black out situation. Note, prolong use will drain your phone battery and you know well that Xperia battery life has very low battery capacity.
aContacts by Yermek Zhumagulov. A much better alternative to the built-in contact management. Somewhat laggy though but tolerable.
ePhonebook (for donut) by e.soft x project team. A simple contact management list with the ability to select by alphabet.
Alternative Desktop for Android
For most users, the current Android desktop should be pretty functional. Unfortunately for my Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro, the desktop is too simplified and only allows for four shortcuts and one widget per screen which is rather a waste of desktop space.
The ADW.Launcher (donut) by AnderWeb is just the thing for Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 minis, you can place more shortcuts and widgets per screen and you can change the way your apps are navigated. But such a powerhouse comes at a cost, oh, don’t worry, the app is still free, just that it is somewhat laggy.
Conclusion of my best free Android Apps list
The above are my list of the best free Android apps in my humble opinion. Of course you may have your own list of free best Android apps from the Android market. The above Google app lists are what have been very useful for me thus far.