As someone who works for one of the big carriers in the US, I run into the same question on an almost daily basis. What apps should I try out and download? This is something that is asked by even those tech-savvy users when they switch from iOS or Windows Phone to Android. This got me thinking, “Why not try to compile a list of some of the best apps for Android users?” So, whether you are a beginner or if you’re Steve Kondik, we’ve got some apps to put you up on.
We’ve collected some of our favorite and must-have apps that go on every single device we one. You know, those titles that we simply can’t live without and which go immediately onto our smartphones and tablets. Without further ado, here’s our Essential Apps for Every Android User.
When it comes to sharing basically anything between my computer and my smartphone/tablet AirDroid is here. But that’s only a top of the iceberg when it comes to this app, it could take a while to list everything it can do. Let us just put it this way, when you connect AirDroid to you computer you can turn of your phone’s screen and control it via web browser from your computer.
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I save a lot of links during my day and that’s where Pocket comes in. It’s sort of a cloud bookmarking, you just click that share icon and tap “Add to Pocket” in order to save something. You can save some articles, videos or whatever you want from a certain website in order to check it out offline or just be able to access it from wherever you want.
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Nova Launcher Prime
Nova Launcher is simply an amazing Android launcher. It’s fast, fluid extremely customizable and it offers soooo much functionality. This is basically the first app I install on my devices. There is a free version, but you will end up purchasing the Prime license for even more functionality than the free version.
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chomp SMS is a highly customizable third-party SMS app. I like my SMS conversations and app in general to look like a want it to look and chomp SMS comes in handy when it comes to that. You can customize pretty much anything and that’s why I love this app. Plus it offers extra functionality.
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Pixlr is a great app for editing photos. It’s easy to flip through filters, borders, and other options to make your pictures look just how you want them. It’s got a nice layout, and beautiful design. It’s one of the most useful apps I’ve used!
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Being a musician, Google Drive is essential. Uploading large files and documents is simple, and anyone you choose can view or edit them. Its easy to share important files that need to be kept safe, and collaborate on different things. An infinitely useful app.
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QuickPic is my go to gallery app and has been for years now. It blows the stock gallery out of the water as far as features and speed. And currently the app is going through a major over haul to allow you to view images from cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and many others. One of my most highly recommended apps and definitely one of the first 2 or 3 apps that I install on any brand new or freshly rooted device.
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All phones come with a stock alarm and timer Timely brings alarms to a whole new level. With a beautiful interface and options to choose how you wake up this is a must have for me. Google has purchased Timely so it’s now free on the Play Store and I see it becoming a standard in Android eventually.
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Perhaps the first name in cloud storage, this is the official app for storing and sharing all of your media. Yes, many Android apps tie into the service, but only this one allows for the full functionality. And, thanks to the sharing intents with Android, it’s drop-dead easy to share your pictures, music, videos, and other media to your personal cloud.
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Google Opinion Rewards
Google Opinion Rewards provides you surveys and reward you with Google Play credit. Who doesn’t like free money. The surveys are totally random and usually short. Most surveys pay small amounts some pay up to a $1.00. Google also keeps you on your toes by asking bogus surveys time to time to weed out people that aren’t reading and just looking for credit. This is a must have as it adds up fairly quickly and lets you explore new apps and other play services you otherwise wouldn’t have taken a chance on.
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Spotify recently introduced a free ad-supported version of their radio and its great! The suggestions are a little off at first, but once it learns what you like, the song selections get better and better. Its far better than Pandora in terms of song diversity. The design is beautiful as well, which is never a bad thing!
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Muzei Live Wallpaper
I’m an icon addict, and with that comes the constant changing of wallpapers as well. Muzei Live wallpaper allows you to set intervals at which your wallpaper will change automatically, as well as numerous different sources to choose from to pull some absolutely beautiful images from. Created and developed by a Google employee, Roman Nurik, Muzei has blurring and brightness options in case you want to have blurred wallpapers or want to see them dimmer or brighter. Because of my icon addiction, Muzei is one of the first apps that gets slapped onto any and every device I own.
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Because I’m a huge fan of changing up the home screen layout with new widgets, I am always quick to add Ultimate Custom Widget to my Android. Sure, the app itself comes with plenty of pre-configured designs and widgets, but it’s the community creations that really make things fun. If you’re looking to spice things up and don’t want to get your hands dirty, this is one you’ll want.
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This is where I go to see all the news I want to see. Pulse makes it easy to gather up all the things you are interested in and will display news headlines from tons of sites that provide the news you like.
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Soundcloud is for musicians and listeners. I use it to follow some of my favorite artists, as well as post my own music.You can follow artists, similar to how you follow people on Twitter, and then stream or download their music.
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GasBuddy is definitely a great app in today’s economy. Users report the gas prices at different stations near your location. All you need to do is find the cheapest near you, and head over to fill up! It can be a life saver when on the road, and especially on long trips.
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Perfect Screenshot takes your boring home screen screenshots and makes them exciting by adding a device frame around your screenshot. It helps your screenshots look more visually pleasing. Currently there are 16 device frames to choose from, but the creator is very quick at added requested devices. The best part is that this is all free! Other apps only let you do so much before asking you to pay money. This app is free to install, free to use and ad free. It is by far the easiest to use screenshot maker that I have found to date. The app was created to satisfy the creators own need to create the “Perfect Screenshot”, and he is more than pleased to see that his creation is enjoyed and loved by others as well. Currently, he is working on making the app rock solid and stable before adding more features like a TabletUI and other usability features to come!
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X-Plore File Manager
X-Plore File Manager is what it says it is. A file manager, but somehow it is more. Way more. X-Plore has all of the features of most file managers out there. It lets you open files, move files, delete files rename files, but it also does more. X-Plore has given you two windows to make moving files around that much easier. Open the file you want to move in one window and open the desired location in the other. Then all you do is hit copy. X-Plore also lets you open up .zip files and extract them as well. You can open .apks as .zips, you can change the extension of the file. It even works as a root browser. There is nothing that I have not been able to do with X-Plore to this day and that is why it has found its way onto every single on of my devices as the first or second app installed.
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Better looking and more robust with each update, the preferred method of virtual payments is one of my favorite apps. It’s a breeze to send and receive payments, track history, find nearby locations that accept PayPal, and more. If you’re buying and selling online, have a storefront, or like to spread your wealth, you’ll want this app.
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Being a movie and television junkie I can’t resist the urge to pop open this app from time to time so I can learn more about the show I’m watching. Be it news, trivia, goofs, soundtrack details or the rabbit hole of hopping from one actor and show to another, I can’t get enough. IMDb is the first name in this space and the Android app perfectly complements the web experience.
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Google’s $35 dongle is not only a bestseller around the world, but also in my house. I have two of them, one in my living room and one in my bedroom and to be able to connect to them when needed or if they are having problems and to discover new apps for use with it, this app is essential.
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Some people say that instant messaging with one day beat out email and while I don’t think that’s true, IM is the top way I communicate with people daily and with that Facebook Messenger. Although I use the standard Facebook app all the time, it’s the messenger app that I use more than anything. It allows to me to communicate with not only my girlfriend easily, but also my friends and family, plus I can continue chatting on multiple devices, whether my smartphone, tablet or laptop.
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A notetaking app is as simple an app as it comes, but Google Keep is on all my device and essential in my life. Apps like Evernote are great, but I love how Google Keep is tied to my Google account, which I’m already signed into on my device, plus it keeps my notes synced across all my devices as well. I can always have access to my grocery store list, names and emails for contacts I just met, homework for college classes and even just my own random thoughts.
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Ever since I bought my first Android phone, one of the first apps I’ve always installed was Shazam. There’s always the time when I’m out somewhere or listening to the radio and hear a song I’ve never heard before and need to know the name of it. That is where Shazam comes in handy in my life. Google Now may do this as well, but in my opinion, Shazam does it better than anyone else.
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Blocker is an app that will block those unwanted calls or texts and it does it in a very simple way with an easy UI to navigate that quickly adds callers to your blacklist. Blocker will handle your unwanted calls or texts in the way you want them to be handled with built in options on what to do when the spam hits your phone, and you can easily tweak the settings incase you want it to act differently. The app is free with no ads and runs in the background using very little battery.
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I use my phone to a lot to get on the web and Roboform is my goto password manager which is real handy when logging into my favorite sites. The app can sync my account across multiple devices so that I always have access to what I need. The UI is nice and clean and it is very simple to browse my password lists with the option to login to a site from the app using the built in browser. Roboform takes the chore out of remembering or generating passwords and that why I recommend it. The app is free and so is a basic Roboform account for syncing but its best to buy the full version for the best features.
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If you haven’t started using a password manager quite yet, you should. Security is big, and LastPass, I find, is the easiest way to get the job done. Enter in all of your passwords or create new ones at random. Once you click on a text field to enter a password, LastPass will pop up and give you an option to fill it in. Since all of my passwords are in LastPass, this app is crucial for me.
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If you listen to podcasts, Pocket Casts is your go-to app. It’s beautiful, functional, and makes discovering new podcasts easy. It also offers cross-device syncing, which is huge if you want to switch devices mid-podcast. I’m constantly listening to podcasts, and Pocket Casts makes it easy to do so.
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For 7.99, users can get endless hours of entertainment with no commercials or banner ads by signing up for a subscription to Netflix. Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, two popular and award winning shows created by Netflix, are reason enough for the subscription fee. Included in the subscription are hit movies and tv shows from most networks.
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Google Now Launcher
Being a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 user, I am one of the many who do not have an appreciation for Samsung’s complicated and overwhelming user interface. Rather than using the very popular Nova launcher, the Google Now launcher offers a simplified experience with the ability to access the “Okay Google” voice command on any home screen. If you don’t mind Google tracking your search history, you will love Google cards which offer a plethora of quick links to recent topics you may have searched, scores of favorites sports teams, most recent parking location as well as current and future temperatures in your area to name a few.
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That wraps up the first installment of the AndroidGuys Essential Apps Picks. What are some of the apps that you install when you get a new device? Let us know in the comments below, and let us know if you’ve tried out any of the apps that were featured today.