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Saturday, July 3, 2010

10 Best Android Apps

It seems that Android is now the fastest growing Smartphone OS in the market. It has already outpaced Apple's iPhone in terms of growth rate.
The release of Google's latest firmware Android 2.2 dubbed "Froyo" on the Nexus one, certainly gives more compelling reason to try out the Android experience.
With more and more people going Android, let me give some suggestions on the best Applications you can get on your Smartphone. All of these are accessible by searching the "Android Market" on an Android Phone. Here are my Top 10, in no particular order:

1. Google Earth/Google Maps - Google Maps is basic fare nowadays for good Smart Phones. It can even replace a navigation device in your vehicle (if you're decent at reading maps). But Google earth isn't found anywhere else but on Android. It's usually used on desktops or laptops. But on an Android Phone, it's pretty amazing to scale through the Globe on your handheld. It works as well as you'd expect and since it's made by Google, it's also free to download from the Android Market.

2. Chompsms - The built-in Android SMS messenger is fine for normal use. But many people would want options in customization and usage. ChompSMS provides a high degree of customization with font types/colors, screen backgrounds, and images. It also has more functionality settings vs. the stock App. Best of all, its Free from the Android Market. BiteSMS is another popular choice, and it's also good from my experience, but it comes down to a matter of preference.

3. Meridian music player - The stock Android music player is not that robust. Certainly not up to scratch with the iPhone's "iPod App". Most people would want to get a better media player as soon as they have their new Android Phone. Fortunately there are several good options to be found in the Android Market. Unfortunately, most of them are paid apps. Some of the better choices include DoubleTwist, Mixzing, bTunes, etc. I personally prefer DoubleTwist because it syncs nicely with iTunes. However, they are still in Beta stage. So i decided on a free App to tideme over. I chose Meridian as the best free Music player available. Meridian has all the basic good features you would want from a Paid app, it has a nice but simple interface, and basic to advanced controls. It also has a folder that contains all of your videos, and it's own player.

4. Evernote - I already have a more comprehensive review of Evernote here. But in summary, it's one of the best sync-notes application that will allow you to share your notes (reminders, URL's, to-do's, etc.) across all of your devices that have Evernote installed. A must have App, in my opinion, and FREE in the Android Market.

5. Documents to Go - Every now and again, I need to view or edit some Microsoft office documents on the go. Since I have access to email on the Android phone, i can attach those revised files and send it to whomever needs them. On the iPhone, I use Quick Office, but unfortunately they severely stripped down their Android offering. So for my Nexus One, I use "Documents to Go". This handy little app performs as you would expect from a "mini-MS Office", just good enough for on-the-go touch-ups with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and even PDF viewing. It's available in a simple free version (which isn't too useful in my opinion), or the full version at US$14.99.

6. eBuddy - Nowadays, everybody has an instant messenger account with one of the MANY choices out there. Instant messaging would be perfect on an Android phone, since it is connected via 3G networks and its with you all the time. But instead of getting an Android App for all of your accounts, try using eBuddy. This App is a one-stop window that consolidates all of your accounts. Well not all, but it supports most of the popular ones, like Yahoo, MSN, Gtalk, and even Facebook. Once activated, it will remain in the background and alert you of new messages as long as you are connected. eBuddy is free on the Android Market.

7. colorDICT - The built-in spell-check and correction in Android is considered the best in the industry. However, it doesn't have a fully featured dictionary search. For that, you will need a specific App. colorDICT is great because it's an open dictionary App, that allows the user to customize their dictionary. You can load and activate/deactivate different modules aside from the basic Dictionary definitions, such as English thesaurus, slang terms, synonyms and antonyms, foreign translations, etc. For example, of I type in the word "Hello", on my settings I would see the english meaning, similar words to Hello, the history of the word, the Spanish translation, and the Tagalog translation. Great app for the low price of = Free.

8. Shazam - This Android App allows you to record a song playing nearby, playing on the radio, or in the background, and then it will search for the song information, such as title, artist, album, etc. Very useful for people who love music and want to discover great new songs from their day to day life. Another Free App.

9. Beatdown Boxing - Ok, so this is the Top 10 Android "Apps", not "Games". But I just felt like sneaking this one in, since it's too fun and addictive. Also, it's a casual game. Meaning you can play it anywhere you want, and pick up from where you left off easily. Vital to a mobile phone game, which some big hitters might have forgotten. This will cost you US$4, but there is a free "Lite version"available.

10. Flikie HD wallpapers - What's the use of a high screen resolution if we don't have High-Def wallpapers right? Most of the newer Android flagship phones available now have crisp AMOLED displays, so better take advantage of it. In my case, i prefer Flikie HD wallpaper. It's a free App from the Android Market, that constantly updates their selection of high definition wallpapers, that will perfectly match the resolution of your screen. It even supports the panning wallpaper capability of Android. I think the selection is massive, and full of good choices covering a broad spectrum of categories that are updated regularly.

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