My first Android powered mobile phone was the T-Mobile G1. Gosh I loved it. With its love or hate plastic build, easy to use functional QWERTY keyboard and all the social networking tools I could shake a stick at Android powered phones were definitely for me. Moving over from the likes of the iPhone 3GS, I jumped at the opportunity to go with an OS which was to me, for the customisation alone, better.
I now have a HTC Hero running Android 2.1 and love it — HTC Sense is no longer there, but some of the perks do remain. I can also cross use my apps which I love so much, that if they were to self delete themselves, I would cry — because quite simply I need them all. And so after testing out apps, Android powered phones and the whole shebang, I have drawn up a list of the top ten free Android apps you should have.
Therefore, if you’ve got an Android mobile phone such as the Nexus One, here are the all important apps you should take a look at…
1. Twidroid (Twitter)
Twidroid is quite simply the best Android app for Twitter usage. The free edition, which I have used for 4 months, has many of the features you would want from a Twitter app — with the paid version offering even more features, but not necessary ones. If you have an Android powered handset, and use Twitter — whether for personal or business use, then get this app! It is crazily good, and the UI is pleasing to look at.
Click here for Twidroid website
2. Google Sky Maps (Star Gazing / Astronomy)
Okay. This is admittedly not a practical app. A GPS app. An game app or an app which you would use to solve your lifes little problems, but boy is Google Sky Maps fun to use! For the novelty effect this app has on people you should really try it — people who already have it know what I am talking about, it is the one app which, show it an iPhone user, they will be pretty miffed about. Your mates will love it too. Point your phone at the sky, and it’ll map every single constellation imaginable.
3. Note Everything (Note Taking / Organisational)
Note Everything does exactly what is says on the tin! You can pretty much note anything using this app. You can note things in the format of text, paint, voice, checklists and photos. On top of this, shortcuts are very easy to create and you can link them to home, search, send notes, encrypt, reminders and Note Everything even runs with live folders! A must have app for the forgetful type.
4. Meebo IM (Instant Messaging)
Meebo IM is possibly the best instant messaging integration App. It is compatible with all IM account types — whether they be Google Talk, MSN, AOL, Yahoo or Facebook. Fairly fast yet it can be unreliable, but Meebo IM is great when it does work. In fact, it is an IM necessity.
5. Advanced Task Killer (Task Manager)
Admittedly Android powered handsets can be a little sluggish sometimes, and sometimes take up to 3 seconds to close an app or web page. That’s because there is so much going on! But, if you are not feeling the love, then you could always download the free edition of Advanced Task Killer. It will display itself as a gadget, and after two clicks will free up your internal memory and rearrange files on your phone a little bit like a defragment! You will definitely see an improvement in performance, and it should reduce the lagginess Android comes with.
6. AP Mobile (News Aggregator)
Ap Mobile is a news App. And a brilliant one at that. It updates itself regularly, bringing you the latest headlines in every category imaginable — from nature, to technology, to politics, to business > you name it, they’ve got it covered. Free to download, and lots of fact binding up to date articles at your fingertips.
7. Metal Detector (Fun / Novelty)
Yep. It is another un-practical app. But oh how you should try this. I bet you thought that your mobile phone compass was only good for, well, being a compass — right? Wrong! Download the Metal Detector App and you’ll be very surprised by the effectiveness of this app. It works for me through a wooden table top!
8. Chomp SMS (Text Messaging)
Ahh! You are thinking, isn’t that the app with the exact same interface as the iPhones? Well, erm, yeah it is. But that is a good thing! I mean, it is very clean to look at and most of all is free ! I’m really not selling this one am I? Damn it. Okay, just try it — you’ll see it is a great app! Don’t know what it is? It turns your SMS interface into an iPhone replica. Yep, and don’t act like you do not like the iPhone interface.
9. Layar (Augmented Reality)
It is a strange app Layar. I use it for fun — as a gimmick, but it could be so much more. Basically, Layar uses your GPS, handset compass and camera to display information on your surroundings in real time. You can hold it in front of you, and see details on landmarks and points of interest, or search for something like ‘toaster’ and all the relevant locations will be up on your display quick time. Nice eh?
10. Phonebook (Contact Manager)
Last but not least comes Phonebook. What list would not be complete without it? It is really good for managing your contacts, the UI is very slick indeed and sthe app syncs your contacts with pictures and contextual information such as birthdays, missed calls and unread text messages. A nice management app which is totally free!
Click here for the Phonebook website
So there we have it, a complete list of the top ten free Android apps you can get. Do you guys have a favourite app? If so, then let us know! ;).
This has been a guest post from Jakk Ogden – The creator of Technology Blogged | The Technology Blog with a human face, be sure to take check it out!
UPDATE: You can now check out Zath’s latest list of 11 Best Android Apps for your HTC Desire / Nexus One (May 2010), be sure to check them out too!
Simon Barker is the founder and editor of Zath and has over 25 years worth of experience of using computers and technology in general. He can normally be found researching or testing the latest in technology products.
He has provided IT consultancy services to both home and small business users for over 15 years, building PCs, fixing hardware/software problems and providing comprehensive training.
Simon always likes to get the best out of the technology he is using, by both making informed decisions of what products to purchase and also optimising how it is then used to get the most benefits possible.
If you’d like to follow and/or contact him on Twitter, please feel free to do so – @SimonBarker.