21 Must-Have Android Apps

by Skyler Huse on March 16, 2010

Android

Welcome to my must-have list of Android Apps! The list includes replacements for existing/included Android apps, social media apps, games, audio/video apps and a bunch of other helpful apps.

To install these, click on the name of the app. This will take you to AndroLib where you can scan a QR code. This will launch the Marketplace app on your Android device and take you right to the app. For help using QR codes with your Android device, see this tutorial. Alternately, you can just search for the app name in the Marketplace.

1. Replacement Apps
2. Internet / Social Networking Apps
3. Media Apps
4. Games
5. Miscellaneous Apps



Replacements:

Handcent SMS

Handcent SMS is a great app that can replace the default messaging app. It is highly customizable and just way better looking. It lets you easily set different notifications for different contacts, change the background for texts, change the color of bubbles for different contacts, and so much more. Check out the FAQ to make sure you only get one notification when you get a text.


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Dolphin Browser

Dolphin Browser is a replacement for the default browser. It has some great features like easy to get to tabs, gestures, and, of course, pinch to zoom. I find the interface a bit clunky, but if you’re wanting more than the default browser, this is your best bet.


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TuneWiki

TuneWiki is an alternative to the default music app. It has some nice features, like automatically downloading album art, displaying lyrics along with the song, music videos, etc. I do not use it because I found it a bit buggy, and it downloaded the wrong album art and failed to find lyrics for some of my more obscure music. However, you should give it a try if you have been let down by the default app.


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Handycalc

Handycalc is like your built in calculator on steroids. It does everything you could want it to. It can graph and it has a unit and currency converter built in. It also comes with a good tutorial to show you what all it can do.


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Advanced Task Killer

Advanced Task Killer allows you to end all the apps running in the background, which slow your phone down and drain the battery. There are plenty of other apps like this in the market, this is just what I like. If you’d like to try something else, try Advanced Task Manager.


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Audio Manager Widget

Audio Manager Widget doesn’t work too well as a widget for me, but I find the app very useful for quick access to manage all the audio levels of my phone. It recently updated with a much friendly interface, so if you had it before and uninstalled it, why not try it out again?


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Mototorch LED

Mototorch LED is a Droid only app that lets you use the camera’s flash LEDs as a flashlight. It also has has a strobe setting and even an option to flash Morse code. The widget allows fast access to turn on the flashlight. If you don’t have a Droid, there are plenty of flashlight apps in the market.


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Astro File Manager

Astro is a file manager that will let you view and edit the files on your SD card. It does everything you could want it to do. Copy, paste, delete, move, create folders, open files, you can even install .apk files if you enable unknown application sources.


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Internet/Social Networking:

eBuddy

eBuddy is a great looking IM client that supports many different protocols. This includes Facebook, MSN, Yahoo, AIM, Talk, and possibly more. One thing that it does lack is Skype support. If this is something you need, check out Fring.


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AnyPost

AnyPost is a ping.fm app for Android. If you don’t know what ping.fm is, it’s a site that allows you to update your status to multiple social networking sites at once. The app is simple and looks nice. It also allows you to add pictures or locations to your post.


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Wapedia

Wapedia is great for those who use Wikipedia frequently. Basically, it’s just a really fast way to access Wikipedia articles. It comes with a widget and it formats the pages to load fast and look great on your phone. I also like the option to switch it to a dark theme. I find that option great for looking up info about a movie while watching on in a dark room.


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Media:

Last.fm

The official Last.fm app could probably also go into the internet/social networking list, but I thought I’d add it here since it is for music. If you don’t know what Last.fm is, it’s a website that keeps track of what you listen to and offers recommendations of music you might like. The app lets you access Last.fm’s online radio system and also scrobbles all the tracks you listen to with the default music app. If you want something just for streaming music, check out the Pandora app.


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Aldiko

Aldiko is the perfect app for book lovers. You can download thousands of public domain books right from the app and you can import your own if need be. The only downside is that it only supports epub books. If you have a collection in some other format, Calibre is a great free ebook manager that can convert to epub.


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Movies by Flixster

Movies by Flixster is my favorite app for finding out what movies are playing where. It is teamed up with Rotten Tomatoes for reviews and can sync of with your Facebook to let friends know what you think of a movie. One feature I really like is being able to favorite movie theaters so you can quickly look up what is playing at your favorite place.


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Games:

Bebbled

Bebbled is a great puzzle game with a bit of a twist. It plays a bit like Bejeweled, only you can turn your phone upside down to reverse the gravity! It’s a lot of fun and pretty challenging at times. You can also press a button to reverse the gravity if you don’t want to be flipping your phone back and forth.


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Bitblocks

Bitblocks is the best Tetris-like app I have been able to find for free. It looks good and works well. What more can you ask for?


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Cestos

Cestos is what I would describe as a marble battling game. It’s a multiplayer game where you set your marbles against another player’s marbles. You try to destroy each other or knock each other off the stage. Everything about this game is great. You even level up and can customize your look. It’s made by Chicken Brick Studios, who I think make some of the best multiplayer games for Android phones.


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yongzh

yongzh makes a great number of emulators for Android phones. All the ones I have used seem to work great. My only complaint is that the image looks stretched, but it’s not really that bad. All the emulators have tons of great options and even on screen keys. I’d like to beg for the ability to load roms from archives though. I need to save as much room on my phone as I can!


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Miscellaneous:

Robotic Guitarist

Robotic Guitarist is a great app for those who play the guitar. It’s a chord guide, emulator, tuner, metronome, and more. I mainly use it for the tuner, which works great.


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Shazam

Shazam is an app that tries to identify a song for you. If you really haven’t heard about it by now, you just put your phone up to a song that it playing, tell it to listen, and it will try to identify the song.


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Torrent-fu

Torrent-fu allows you to remotely control your torrents from your phone. You need to be using either uTorrent or Transmission to set this up. Here’s the great getting started guide.


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  • http://www.joufair.biz/wp Vitalka

    You have done a great analis… Sure, even famous Google Android coming with some ugly things. And only after improving and setting it up, user can get maximum of pleasure from having such a nice mobile phone.
    I am persuaded that soon GA will take a higher position and become a really needed tool for everyday usage.

  • http://Akceptor.org Akceptor

    Need more widgets to this list.

  • http://bossly.livejournal.com/ Oleh

    одну гру пропустили.. (

    розробка української компанії artfulbits: aiMinesweeper
    http://www.artfulbits.com/Android/Minesweeper.aspx

    До речі, це перша гра під Андроїд випущена українською компанією :)

  • Rosman

    Thank you! really, Thank you for this great list! Keep it updated and add more wingets stuff! I bookmarked this page :)

  • Jerome BG

    Thanks!
    Found some vary good apps to try out.

  • Gillian

    This is a great list ! Delighted with book reader and task manager and wapedia and basically everything! Thanks :)

  • Courtney

    I use Shazam all the time! Glad it is included on this list!

  • n1

    thank u so much! i would have probably not have discovered these gems if it were not for this article. much apreciated! there are so many apps, which is great, but it takes a lot of time to find the apps that you really like.

  • Saggy

    I found “a Wallet” to be a must have application too. It is great for keeping handy your personal notes and info like passport no., cards, bank accounts, etc.
    Great app.

  • Nathan

    Thank yu so much for telling me about Handcent SMS! I have the Samsung Intercept from Virgin Mobile(Sprint) and I was so upset that the standard messageing app for Android does not include the option to have Signatures on text messaging. Iv always had Signatures on my phones. I was looking through Handcent SMS and found the option to have Sigs I nearly cryd cause I was so happy! I LOVE HANDCENT SMS. It has little pop up windows when yu have a new text that let’s yu reply quickly without having to exit the App. It let’s yu attach normal things like pictures and videos etc.etc. All with in that little window! AND THE APP IS FREE?!?!?!? They could have charged some serious cash for this amazing thing but they didn’t. It’s my default text app now and for ever. I mean it. Thanks.

  • Sam Tan

    It will be very useful if the link direct for the .apk download is posted as some apps listed above was unable to find from Market Place and the page of respective apps QR Code is BROKEN.

  • Zach

    This list sucks. Instead of advanced task killer use task panel x looks like a gas gauge much better. Instead of astro use Linda manager. 1000 times better. Games you must have angry birds. I will say I’ve never heard of handcent I use SMS pop-up and it’s fantastic.

  • Zach

    Handcent is a good app. I have it running alongside SMS pop-up and they work great together.

  • Takes

    Tv shows stream whould be in this list, Full tv shows episodes for free…

  • http://www.techomaniac.com Robin

    Nice list. Good for new android users. Thanks!

  • JR

    Getting rid of my BB Tour and grabbing the HTC Thunderbolt tomorrow. Thanks for this list!

    Also, great to see Streetlight Manifesto getting a little love on your media player! An old band of mine played several shows with Catch 22 shortly after Tomas left, and I’ve seen C22 and SM probably 20 times throughout the years!

  • Tom D

    The most important app is 4shared. Thats how you get all these apps for free! And sound hound is better than shazam. it id’s songs in four seconds and you can hum or sing a song. It costs five dollars but if you get 4shared its free.

  • http://www.smsspysoftware.net sms spy

    First let me say that the Handcent SMS application is a much better messaging app than the stock app that comes with the EVO. However, the app is a battery hog and was draining my battery at a rate of almost 8 % per hour. Reason I know this is because prior to installing this app, my battery life was great. After installing the app, battery drain was really bad. Decided to uninstall the app yesterday and back to about 2% drain per hour which is what I had prior to installing the app. So for those of you with poor battery life, pay attention to what apps you may have recently installed as some of them are not optimized for battery consumption.

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  • http://www.keithkeirstead.com/blog the top android apps

    I actually have a three day experiment. I download an app that I think could be nice then after 3 days if I didn’t opened it again I delete it. It must not be that important. Of course this doesn’t go for all apps (navigation applications, travel apps) but it seems to work for me.

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  • http://sms-interceptor.net sms interceptor

    I like the netflix app

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