15 Free Android Apps I Can’t Live Without

Ever since I got my G1 Android phone, it has been a love and hate relationship. I still hate the fact that the phone is lacking the standard audio jack but A2PD support pretty much replaces it since I can use a blutooth headset instead. The battery life is as bad as it was, but a couple of spares help me get through the day.

One thing that is gradually getting better over time is Android Marketplace. It’s been constantly adding apps and over the past year I have installed quite a few of them, all free so far. The introduction of GPS Navigate functionality to Google Maps has been the killer event (and was highly publicized). Below is the list of 15 lesser known apps that I love and use daily.

Advanced Task Manager


As I make use of more apps, my phone will occasionally run down to a state when buttons don’t click as well and windows don’t open as fast. This happens if the OS is not keeping up removing the apps on time. Advanced Task Manager is a free app that allows you selectively kill or quickly uninstall the apps you don’t need. Another cool feature: “Shake-to-End-All”. Yes, it literally does that!



Love books? Aldiko is the best Android app for bookworms. There is a decent collection of public domain books plus you can order a variety of great titles online. It is nothing like the zillion books you will find on Kindle but it does one thing Kindle cannot do - it will let you export and read an ePub e-book you get from any other place.



Task management is an essential part of my daily activity. As a previous user of a Windows Mobile phone I got used to the fact that task manager is a built in part of the phone. I was a bit surprised when I didn’t find a Todo application on G1. Astrid is a little but powerful app that does just that.



ConnectBot is a powerful SSH & Telnet terminal for Android. I use it a lot to monitor my websites when on the go. Being an open source project, Android enables easy porting of apps from other platforms, something iPhone users can only dream about.



I actually just discovered EasyTether last week. It took me just a few minutes to install the free version and off I go browsing the internet via my wireless connection. The speed is decent, it actually feels faster than when I do it directly on my G1. The paid version will open up the sites that require SSL connection (anything that starts with “https”).



GoogleListen is currently my most used application. Whenever I have a few minutes, or if I drive somewhere, I turn it on and listen to the latest news coverage or the Marketplace podcast from NPR. Another NPR’s show I love is Car Talk. Google Listen allows you to search and manage podcasts in a similar way like iTunes however you are not restricted to any specific directory and can add any podcasts available on the web.



This is my daughter’s favorite app. See the stars and planet as they appear on the sky in your geographic location at the current time. Move the phone around and see the picture change to reflect the part of the sky directly behind the phone screen. Tilt the phone down and see what the sky looks like on the opposite side of our planet.



I have been a Google Voice user since when the service launched as GrandCentral and naturally I installed and have been using the app ever since it launched on the Android platform. A free phone number with call forwarding and voice mail, this is what Google Voice essentially is.

Key Ring


You can do it on a piece of paper, you can do it on iPhone, now you can do it on any Android phone too! Store all your rewards and loyalty cards in one place and slim down your wallet. Adding cards is easy too, just scan them using your phone’s camera one at a time, and pick store names from the list.



I have not been using PointInside as much as other apps, probably because I don’t go out shopping very often, however I can see where this app can be very useful for someone not familiar with the mall layout or the stores it hosts. The app basically allows you look up any shopping mall by location and will help you find any store you need, or that restroom you are desperately looking for.



Has this ever happened to you - you are listening to radio and really love a particular tune, but then the song changes or a commercial break starts, and you keep wondering what was that song and who performed it. Wonder no more! Shazam is an app that will listen to the tune for you and will find it in Amazon MP3 store or YouTube.



I previously reviewed this great application for comparison shopping. ShopSavvy let’s you scan the product bar code and check prices in the stores around and online. The application keeps the history of products you previously checked, set price alerts, and automatically share your scanned products via Twitter.



I used this app when we went on a cross country skiing trip this past winter. I am sure avid skiers and runners have more advanced tools at their hand however for a rookie like me seeing the distance I ran each day and my average speed was an enlightenment. The ability to see my trail on a map is a plus too.



Twidroid is the best Twitter client for Android I have tried. Sharing photos, easy re-tweets, search,.. you got it! I wish the Twitter itself has lived to my expectations as much as Twidroid does. So far I have been puzzled on what exactly Twitter is and how I can use it.



WaveSecure is an advanced application for backing up your phone data and locking/locating your phone in case you lose it. I just signed up last week and have not had a chance to really use it but the feature list and the online support site looks very impressive. The service is free if you install the app before the end of March 2010, and $19.99 after that. So hurry up, only 5 days left!

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4 Responses to “15 Free Android Apps I Can’t Live Without”

  1. 1 Alex F Mar 26th, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I can’t believe the EasyTether… 1.5Mbps downlink/.5 Mbps uplink. This is enough to watch Internet TV. Too good to be free ;) Enjoy while it lasts.

  2. 2 Alex F Mar 26th, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Measured with Speakeasy on Moto Droid/Verizon 3G. How about G1/Tmobile?

  3. 3 Alex F Mar 26th, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    BTW, Borders WiFi is .7/.5 Mbps

  4. 4 Yan Mar 26th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Borders internet sucks. Panera Bread has decent speed but all that smell of food makes my head spin. I need to find a better place for my telecommute from home. :-)

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