Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Must Have Android Apps!

When I'm not on the computer, chances are I'm on my phone or it is within an arm's reach. I use it a lot these days, sometimes I use it even more than my computer. I've been using Android phones for a few of years now. Currently we're deciding what to get for our next upgrade, another Android or the new iPhone, this time around we want to shop around in advance and get something really good. Until then- I've been kind of annoyed with my Android lately and finally updated it, sometimes those don't go so well, but in my case this was a huge help with performance. Since then I've decided to get on the ball again with more apps that are fun or just make life easier. So, I thought I'd compile my MUST have list for Android.

  • AirDroid- This makes life SO much easier. Connect to your phone through your browser, wirelessly. You don't even have to type in a verification code if you don't feel like it, simply hit the camera button and it instantly take a shot of the image (integrated into the app for easy access). It is great because you can access everything without the hassle of a cord, access texting, files, applications and more. I love it!
  • Flipboard- One of my last few posts was boasting on this awesome app. With it you can combine so much reading material, RSS feeds for many sites are only a search away. If your a reading junkie, like me, this is a must have. You can stalk all your favorite websites and bloggers in one place. I read sites like massively on it, my feed for blogs, facebook (when the login works- fix is in the works), and twitter- to name a few . A wonderful tool to combine your favorite feeds and sites into one app for easy access. Plus it looks fabulous and runs much better than any other app like it, I've tried many and this is the best looking with a fluid feel. Your very own personal magazine
  • Assistant- This isn't so much a must have for everyone. If you can't have Siri, well, this is the next best thing. I've used it for quite some time and it runs well, learns things like your name, home location and do other tasks for you, with the use of your voice. If anything else it is humorous, a great assistant with choices on voice, you're able to choose between male or female, British or American accents. I love this app and recommend it to anyone looking for a good assistant for Android. I've tried many, many, many and this is the only one I like. You can name your assistant and they will respond to it. I named mine Anders, he's a gem ;) 
  • Opera Mini Web Browser- Very smooth, fluid and fast! I used the stock browser for ages and I kick myself now for not researching other options.This browser loads fast while also saving on data, I have unlimited data but if I changed my plan this would be the only one I'd use. The way it works is everything is compressed, so it also loads much faster. I have to say it is fantastic! There is also a home page for easy access to your sites, bookmarks and tabs, cycle through them with the touch of a button. 
  • SMS Popup- I cannot live without this!! My brother showed me this feature with his iPhone, while trying to convert me. It isn't a build in feature on his, so I decided to see if I could find it for mine too. Basically the message pops up over anything you are doing, reading, browsing, or whatever. Instead of leaving what you are doing, you can simply read it right there in the window, then reply back- all without having to stop what you are doing. That is something that always drove me nuts, replying to texts while reading or checking mail, now it makes life much more simple! So far it is the only one I can find that works so well. 
  • Advanced Task Killer- One of my first android apps. This is a touchy topic. I've read that killing tasks isn't always a good thing for Android, as it can slow things down needing to open apps over and over, which ends up wasting your precious battery more than helping- Android is a Linux based OS and isn't running as your windows computer would- but for those pesky apps that you do not want or need running, I think it is sensible to use it. It definitely helps 'unbog' things with my phone. Mine isn't rooted, so some of the stock apps like UNO (which I've never opened), or Photobucket always seem open up, this program is great for those. I'm still a huge fan of this one, others claim to work better but I always prefer this. Simple and effective. WatchDog Task Manager (free and paid available) is also a decent alternative, it will keep an eye on what apps are misbehaving instead of killing everything.
  • And last but not least a few fun ones I wanted to add- Wattpad- Great library of free books. Zedge and Coverroid- Great places for neat ringtones and backgrounds. Pandora- I absolutely love Pandora when it comes to music, I use it on my computer the most, but the app is fantastic for when I'm not home!

Tips? That's it as far as apps go. I've spent a lot of time trying to tweak out my phones, figuring out how to have them running smoothly, trying a lot of apps and different things, some advice I can give for droid users would be- keep it simple. Show your style with the launcher and backgrounds, maybe a keyboard or screenlock. Widgets can bog down your phone, slow it down a lot, keep tabs on how many you add. While Android is highly customizable, you don't have to tweak every little thing out. Stock launchers can sometimes bog lower end droids down too. Less is more, check out different launcher programs that offer more simplicity, cut down on screens, do you really need six? I use two. Then again that is all I need at the moment, the most I ever use is three. On a final note, I've not found any battery saver app that I actually like, I mostly make sure to keep tabs on what is running and turn off WiFi when I'm not at home. Best advice I can give there!

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