The 36 best Android apps
With more than 20,000 apps available through Google’s Android Market, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the mountains of chaff. We’ve downloaded and tested hundreds of Android apps to bring you the definitive guide to the best paid-for and free apps available.
(Note: application prices and availability are subject to change)
1. AROUNDME (Free)
AroundMe puts the GPS radio inside your phone to spectacularly good use, helping you to find everything from cash points to cardiac wards in the local vicinity.
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The app has 18 pre-selected categories, and don’t be put off by the Americanisms: searching for “gas stations” will still point you towards the nearest BP station.
It also accepts free text searches: ask for “sports shops”, for instance, and it will hunt down the local Nike stores, Foot Locker and even non-specialist retailers such as Argos. Results are presented as a list (nearest result first) or as pins on a Google Map, allowing you to gauge exactly how far you’ll have to travel to find what you’re looking for.
2. PICSAY (Free, Pro version €1.99)
Photoshop Mobile may have grabbed the headlines when it launched on iPhone and subsequently Android, but PicSay is a far more powerful picture editor. It’s crammed with tools that you’d expect on desktop software – exposure, contrast, saturation and hue modifiers sit alongside a variety of tints, colour tweaks and distortions.
It uploads pictures direct to your Facebook, Flickr, Picasa and Twitter accounts, and the Pro version adds more effects and distortions, such as colour extraction, finger painting and photo filters, as well as geotagging.
3. SPOTIFY MOBILE (Spotify subscription required)
If avoiding the irritating ads isn’t enough to tempt you to pay £10 per month for a Spotify subscription on your PC, accessing its vast library of music on your mobile could well be.
Spotify Mobile streams music over 3G or Wi-Fi, and there’s also the option to store playlists locally for when reception falters – although these have to be re-synched every once in a while. But that’s a small inconvenience for having access to practically any song you can think of wherever you are.
4. 3G WATCHDOG (Free)
If you don’t have an unlimited data plan, it’s vital to keep track of your monthly allocation – 3G Watchdog will make sure that you don’t incur any hidden charges.
Tell the app your data cap and monthly rollover allowance and it will do the rest, displaying a colour-coded icon in the corner of your screen: a green icon means you’re safe; orange indicates you’re nearing your limit; and a red symbol means you should probably reign in your downloads.
5. ALOQA (Free)
Using your phone’s GPS, Aloqa scans the surrounding area for a huge range of attractions, landmarks and places of interest. The software adds intelligent extras: search for cinemas and it will bring up what time films are showing, for example, while clicking on a restaurant will also unveil a phone number.
It’s possible to customise your feeds with dozens of filters – from cash machines and comedy clubs, to local Wikipedia pages and trendy bars.
6. BACKGROUNDS (Free)
Use the Backgrounds app to spice up the boring homescreen on your Android phone. Thousands of images are on offer and, to make wading through the options easier, they’re neatly categorised. Dozens of images stretch from basic patterns and abstract art to sports teams, games or movies, and you can also browse through the most popular images.
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