by Scotty Brown
Have you ever seen one of those lists on a tech site giving you this list of apps that they claim are the end-all-be-all of lists? The type of article that swears up and down that what they are telling you is for your own good, and that the author knows everything about all of the apps in the Market? Yes? Great! Here’s another one!
After weeks of exhaustive research (and by “weeks” I mean 20 minutes, and by “exhaustive research” I mean I asked a couple of my buddies), I’ve compiled what I believe to be an excellent list of apps that everyone should give a shot. I’ve divided these apps into three different categories for your reading and browsing pleasure.
For the purpose of this article a utility program is one that doesn’t fit into one of the other two categories. See, it’s good to be the writer, I can make things up as I go along. Actually, these are general purpose applications that would include social networking apps, enhancements to the user interface, or apps that allow additional functions.
You may know HootSuite as a main stream iPhone application, but recently they’ve launched an Android version. This app is easy to work with, graphically appealing, and has a web interface as well. Some users with smaller screens may find it harder to navigate the menus, but if you’re running Droid or Nexus One you shouldn’t have any issues. This app comes in a free (limited functionality) version as well as a paid flavor. From the HootSuite Website:
Now Google Android device users can enjoy HootSuite from anywhere with a choice of full-featured and lite versions of the popular social media dashboard. Built to utilize Google open web platform, Android users will now enjoy the same benefits iPhone user have raved about, including:
- Managing multiple identities and accounts
- Creating custom views for tags and searches
- Understanding reasons for trending topics
- Scheduling messages for the future
- Adding followers to lists and accounts
- Sharing photos and shortening URLs
- Plus HootSuite Android version includes a few new tricks including background notifications so messages keep on coming even when you’re browsing elsewhere.
Choose between two versions – including a free option. The full-featured allows unlimited Twitter accounts plus on-board, click-through statistics tracking. The Lite versions – available for no cost – are limited to three accounts.
Already using HootSuite on the web? Tight integration means a single import gets you rolling so you are synced up on the go, and at your desk with help from a powerful wizard.
Get your fingers on this Owl to outreach to audiences, track conversation, spread messages and track statistics from anywhere you choose and let the robots work for you.
PdaNet is a handy little app that allows you to tether your device to a laptop, netbook, or desktop PC. The tether will work either with USB or Bluetooth without changing any settings on your PC/Mac. But, that’s not all… the greatest part about this app is that it doesn’t require root access. So, if you’re like me and you don’t want to void your warranty but still want to tether, here’s the app you’ve been waiting for. From the PDANet website:
PDANet has been one of the most popular software for Windows Mobile phones, Palm OS phones and iPhones. It is now ported to the Android system! PdaNet provides you with FULL Internet access so all your email, instant message programs will work without any setting changes. Supports both USB Tether and Bluetooth DUN.
PDANet does NOT require root access or hacking your phone’s firmware in order to work. It is just a regular Android application that works on all Android phones as-is. Tethering is fast, secure and USB mode will also charge your phone at the same time. Your phone can either connect to 3G data, WiFi, or even through VPN and PdaNet will share the connection with your computer.
New! Version 2.41 adds an SMS Agent for sending/receiving SMS on Windows.
Likely the most widely used Weather app in the Market is the Weather Channel. This is a full featured app (for free) that provides you with up to date localized weather, videos, maps, and even alerts for severe weather issues. This app is graphically appealing and contains a lot of detailed info. Also, this is a must-have if you’re doing any travelling!
What AndroidGuys list would be complete without me plugging our own app? You can listen to our podcasts, view our articles, join in on our poll, and pretty much inundate yourself with AndroidGuys. It’s kinda like carrying us all around in your pocket… only, not nearly as creepy. Yes there is a free version but I’n not plugging the paid version because we’re money hungry (ok, we are… but that’s still not the reason!). You want the paid version for one reason: the desktop widget. Yes, it’s very attractive and updates frequently showing a stream of our latest stories. That, and you’re friend will be jealous because AndriodGuys is awesome. From our website:
Get it while it’s hot! That’s right, we’re serving up fresh and hot Android Guys News and Podcasts right on your phone! We understand your need to get Android gossip, news, and reviews and we’re more than enthusiastic to give it to you.
Now available for download on the Android Market and on SlideME.org is the Official Android Guys App. Coming in two versions we have the ad-supported version for free, and the ad-free PRO version for $0.99 as well.
Official feature list for the app is as follows:
- Read Daily News from Android Guys
- Read comments on all news articles
- Share articles with friends
- Listen to the most current and older Android Guys Podcasts
- Weekly Polls from Android Guys
- Staff Application Picks, linking you directly to the Market
- Changeable themes and backgrounds, 3 currently available.
- Homescreen Widget to view the day’s top articles (PRO version only)
Grab yours now and become part of our great community. In addition to all these fun things I do suggest you read our End User License Agreement and General Public License that the application is being released under. Please be kind and rewind rate it on the market!
Music Apps would be an application that’s primary function has something to do with… you guessed it, music!! Gold star for you! But not all music apps just play music.
TuneWiki combines social networking, music, and connectivity to other social sites. Now you can broadcast to your friends and followers exactly what you are listening to in real time. From the TuneWiki website press release:
TuneWiki, the next generation social media music player, today announced its new app for Google’s Android 1.5, Cupcake. This new version of the app features Blip technology for increased social connectivity, offering to post the user’s current song on their Twitter or Facebook profile. The new social media capabilities come in addition to earlier TuneWiki versions, promoting a social network that allows users to add, edit and subtitle lyrics for audio and video files in all languages.
This new version of TuneWiki is the most advanced and comprehensive social media music player compatible with Cupcake available today. Features found only in the Cupcake version include a home screen widget, allowing users to control TuneWiki without having to launch the full player, and the ability to organize and access different parts of their music collection directly from the home screen through live folders. TuneWiki for Cupcake is Bluetooth compatible and can be upgraded to an ad-free version for $4.99.
- Blip technology to update Facebook and Twitter with current playlist selection
- Android Home Screen widget
- Bluetooth wireless compatible
- Free Ad-Supported or Ad-free version available for $4.99
- Interactive Music Maps showing what other users are listening to around the globe
- Lyric subtitling for both audio and video, including the option to translate lyrics into 40+ languages
TuneWiki is the world’s leader in social media music players, with the largest legally-licensed lyrics database in the world, covering more compositions in more territories than ever available before. The company has won numerous international awards for innovation including the Android Developers Challenge, the GSM Association Best Consumer Application in Asia, and the AT&T Best Consumer Application at the CTIA. Founded in May 2007, by Rani Cohen, Amnon Sarig and Chad Kouse, headquarted in the British Virgin Island with R&D offices in Bellbrook, Oh.
My favorite desktop music player, now in travel size! If you’ve used the desktop client then you’ve got to try this gem of an app. You can log into your stations right on your phone and listen to your streams, vote songs, see song info, and discover new music. From the Pandora website:
Pandora Radio is your own FREE personalized radio now available to stream music on your Android phone. Just start with the name of one of your favorite artists, songs or classical composers and Pandora will create a “station” that plays their music and more music like it.
Already a Pandora user? Even easier. Just log in. Pandora on Android is fully integrated with Pandora on the web. Enjoy all your existing stations – and create new ones right from your Android phone.
Pandora for Android is designed to run on all Android phones.
I love Shazam. Have you ever been driving in your car and hear that awesome new song pounding on your stereo, but you don’t know who sings it or the name of it? Though you bounce in your seat, pound your steering wheel, and mouth along to the lyrics, there is no way you can download the song later if you don’t know anything about it! No longer do you have to Google what you think are the lyrics! Simply load up Shazam, let it listen to the music for a few seconds, and find out that you’ve been doing the car-mosh to the latest Winger comeback song. From the Shazam website:
Create music moments. With Shazam you can identify music tracks, store them, and buy them; plus you can learn more about the artist and connect to their MySpace page. Start your music journey now!
Pretty self-explanatory. Fun stuff!
Need to get your MMORPG fix while on the go? Parallel Kingdom: Age of Emergence is the app for you. But, be careful this game will suck you in and take a great deal of attention if you’re wanting to be good at it. Think of this as World of Warcraft Light. You can fight other players, expand your territory, chat, trade, and many other things. Honestly, this is one of the most in-depth apps on the Market. One of the pioneers in augmented reality, PerBlue has managed to really hit a home run with this app. Yes, I play this game daily. Yes, I will kick your butt if you make me angry. Yes, I highly recommend you download this app now and start playing.
From the creators of the highly addictive Abduction! World Attack game comes the equally addictive Gem Miner. Boasting excellent graphics and an infectious game play, this is one that you can play over and over and not get bored of it. Seriously, The Greatest Girlfriend In The World played it all the way from Seattle to Sacramento on one of our road trips. Download it and give it a shot.
Wrapping up this list is another favorite time-waster of mine, Jewellust. This isn’t your mothers typical gem-swapping game either. The paid version of this game adds a very cool campaign to it where you pass through different levels in Egypt collecting different types of gems. Also, the graphics in this game are incredible. The colors are vibrant and the motion is smooth and you’ll get a lot of replay out of this game. From the Jewllust website:
Your journey begins from the small Step Pyramid and runs through seven Egyptian Pyramids. Each pyramid has several rooms with closed doors. To open each door you must gather a mosaic tiles from mystical lock and put them together. Every pyramid holds a magic crystal. Using seven crystals you will get into the very heart of the Great Cheops Pyramid and enter a Pharaoh’s Treasury. Your jewelry lust will be surely satisfied!
Burst the gems by grouping them to three or more in a row (or a column) before time runs out. Your must take all mosaic tiles to the lowest row. If you’ve burst four or more gems in a row, a bonus gem will appear. In campaign mode new bonuses become available as your journey goes.
So there’s my list… what say you, AndroidGuys readers? What are your “must install NOW” applications? When your buddy get’s his brand new shiny Android phone, what are the first apps that you tell them to download? What apps were you told to download? Let’s get some awesome discussions going in the comments!