Anyone who’s been around me for more than 5 minutes knows that I actually love talking about Android. Not surprisingly, I’m always interested to talk to folks that have recently purchased an Android and are still in that puppy love what-should-I-download-right-now mode. This is part of the reason that Android Static releases our list of the top 45 must have Android apps for your shiny new phone.
A Format Shift For Our Must Have Android Apps
If you’re a regular reader, you know that usually this list is geared towards those with newer Android devices that really have no clue what to download. So while we made minor changes to our list from month-to-month, our regular readers were a bit bored with most of our choices.
So instead of regurgitating the same droll picks each month with minor variations, we’re starting anew with recommendations that show off apps we’ve not only usually reviewed but are much more on the fresh, recently released side of the spectrum.
As always we invite you to comment, argue or complain in the comments below and, well, get to downloading.
Facebook and Twitter Apps
Friendcaster For Facebook
We’ve formally ditched Facebook for Android since the performance always seems to blow ass. Friendcaster is a 3rd party alternative from OneLouder Apps (one of our favorite app studios). Friendcaster is faster, cleaner and, in general, better than Facebook for Android. Plus, this app is a must have for anyone with an Android tablet, since it’s basically the only option for an app that handles all of your Facebook needs on that larger screen size.
Unlike Facebook for Android, Friendcaster comes in both free and paid flavors with ads being the main difference. Since I’m not a big Facebook person, I’d still go with Facebook for Android, but if you’ve got the cash and want to upgrade your experience Friendcaster For Facebook is the way to go.
While pickings are slim for Facebook apps, Twitter apps for Android are a dime a dozen (as evidenced by our Best Twitter Apps For Android post). If you’ve searched around for Twitter apps you’ve probably already discovered Twitter For Android; a restrictive, lethargic bastard of an app.
Good alternatives include Plume, UberSocial and Tweetcaster — which are among the most popular Twitter apps for Android. However, due to popular demand we’ll also include Twicca, which just made our best Twitter apps list back in March.
Most of these social apps are ad supported for the free version or require that you purchase a paid version. The paid versions are usually pricey as far as Android apps go (around $5.00). As to which Twitter app you choose, let’s just say it’s complicated. The best way is to simply download, try it out for a few hours and move on to the next one if you’re not happy.
Free: Plume (Ad Supported)
Free: Twitter for Android
I love some Reddit; it occupies a large majority of the time that I should be working each day. Lucky for you there are some kick ass options for getting all your Reddits on Android.
We originally reviewed Reddit Sync a few months back and while I loved it, it still couldn’t replace some of the other full-featured Reddit apps on the market. Since then, Reddit Sync has got a few updates and an ICS inspired design refresh. Now the app supports commenting, voting and a slew of other features.
BaconReader is an absolute no-brainer when it comes to picking out a Reddit app. This oddly named app is produced by a studio that knows how to design simple and easy-to-use apps. BaconReader lets you sign up with your account, automatically favorite all your favorite subreddits and, of course, has support for animated GIF files.
Reddit By Brian
This guy named Brian. He made a Reddit app. It’s pretty good. This Reddit app is as minimal as it gets. If you want a no fluff, simple as pie Reddit app… This is what you should download.
Free: Reddit By Brian
After waiting patiently for almost over a year, Android users finally received Instagram for Android. Instagram is a cutesy photo filter app that can turn everything into your own hipster moment. It’s also a big social network, so try it out. You’ll like it.
We’ve featured Droidin on the site before — it’s an alternative to Linkedin that focuses on all the things the Linkedin content you actually care about. Droidin is much faster than the official Linkedin app and comes in free and paid flavors.
Paid: Droidin (Around $1.99)
I’ve discovered so many apps via AppBrain it isn’t even funny. I featured AppBrain in my guide on how to discover new apps for Android.
I’m a big fan of Steam. It always sort of works and, well, I’m addicted to Portal 2. If you also use Steam then having the official app is a must have for chatting with friends and keeping up on specials.
1Weather is still the most impressive weather app for Android. If you haven’t heard of it already, 1Weather is a minimal and uniquely styled weather app. I reviewed 1Weather a few months back and fell in love (and you will too).
Free: 1Weather (Ad Supported)
I’ve used various financial apps over time but I’ve only recently given Mint a try. Mint is an all-in-one personal finance app that integrates directly with your bank account. Not only does it come with snazzy little charts to help you track your spending, but it automatically categorizes expenses for you.
I’m still surprised at how man people don’t use or even know about Google Music. First, Google Music looks F***ing amazing on any device. Second, you can upload pretty much as much of your own music as you like and play it online or through your Android device. To get into Google Music, be sure to check out our Google Music Guide.
Free: Google Music
Normally this is where I’d list TuneIn Radio, but chances are you already know about that. Instead go for the off-the-beaten track Mixest, which is basically just a minimal Internet radio player for music.
While you’re screwed for getting an HBO subscription without cable, those that do have cable should absolutely download this one. HBOGo’s app is as wonderful as it is simple. Recent updates include support for Android tablets.
SoundHound can identify any song that your listening to (it can even recognize music from television shows and movies). Even has an option for humming your favorite song; not sure why you’d want to do this.
Doubletwist is a fantastic music player that also syncs with your iTunes music. If you want to take it to the next level, you can upgrade Doubletwist with Airplay, which lets you wirelessly sync your music without any cords.
If you’re confused about how to set up Doubletwist and Airplay, then check out our guide on making things work together for some awesome wireless syncing action on your Android phone.
Everyone should have a Google Voice account. Free voicemail, free text messaging — it’s pretty much awesome in every way. And if you’re really smart, you can use it as a free alternative for a paid text messaging plan. Plus, the app got a recent update to make it more Ice Cream Sandwich, so… there’s that.
Free: Google Voice
There are a host of VOIP solutions but Skype continues to be the easiest and most reliable. Skype for Android should be available for a majority of Android devices regardless of version.
Tools and Utilities
SeekDroid or Prey
Both of these apps let you do one thing: allow you to find your Android device if it’s lost or stolen. SeekDroid is a great app for anyone that wants a simple, easy-to-use app for finding their Android. If you’re a slightly more advanced user (who says that they can use their phone like a boss) then you might be happier with Prey, which allows you to track multiple devices (like your laptop).
I F***ing love Dropbox! It’s so handy. Like when you don’t have a wireless connection at your work but need to get a photo off your phone, you can set Dropbox to automatically upload your photos into the cloud. This app has seen a lot of development in recent months so if you want cloud support it doesn’t get any better than this.
ES File Explorer
Depending on your level of nerd-ness, you may or may not want a file explorer app to dig into the internals of your device. ES File Explorer, while sort of ugly, provides solid performance along with a robust feature set… for free.
On a side note, if your phone is rooted, you can use the root access feature of ES to change system files, a good free alternative to the many paid apps in the Market that offer to do the same thing.
Free: ES File Explorer
People underestimate the importance of having a barcode scanner on their phone — from downloading apps to playing online games. There simply isn’t a better barcode scanner than Barcode Scanner (funny how that works huh?).
Free: Barcode Scanner
Want a fancy voice talking-to-Siri-like app on your phone? Vlingo isn’t perfect, but it’s probably the best on app on Android that does this. Also check out our post “So you’re having Siri envy?”
With apps like JuiceDefender, there’s really no excuse to bitch about battery life. JuiceDefender periodically toggles your Wifi and Data Connections to save your battery. Of course, if you really want to know, you can see why most of your battery life issues are your own damn fault.
Ever wanted to access your phone from your computer but didn’t have a cable handy? AirDroid creates a mini webpage that lets you access your phone over your WiFi network from your browser — it even lets you send text messages without having to touch your phone. Full Review Here.
Games And Entertainment
You basically have to be on drugs for this game to make any sense. I kid I kid. Gyro is a very beautiful minimal app where you align pieces of a pie chart as ball are being shot at you. They’re supposed to be viruses or something. Gyro is minimal, simple and ad free. Go download it. It’s awesome.
Nodebeat is a difficult app to explain, but I characterized it as a visual music creation app. Nodebeat lets you move around different blocks and circles to generate a quasi-dubstep-like sound in a matter of seconds. I suck at music, but I could start a band with this app. Probably. Full Review Here.
World of Goo
World of Goo has been a popular app for Wii and other platforms for a few years but it’s made a seamless transition to the mobile sphere. World of Goo is a puzzle game with pieces of Goo. It’s a little expensive for an app (nearly $4.99), but is well worth it for you folks that dig nerdy puzzle games with a funny theme like this.
Paid: World of Goo ($4.99)
I looked at Savored not too long ago because it’s such a novel concept in terms of booking reservations. In a nutshell, booking at your favorite restaurant at a certain time will get you so much off your bill. You get a great deal, the restaurant keeps asses in seats. See my full review of Savored here.
Groupon or LivingSocial and Google Offers
If you like the whole local deals thing but hate the aspect of getting an e-mail about it each day, then go ahead and download the actual app and save your e-mail box. Groupon and LivingSocial more than likely offer something in your area, whereas Google Offers is still pretty city specific.
Craigslist is fantastic for both being murdered and fantastic deals; I’m hoping that you’ll get the former. This is not an official Craigslist app, but it does a damn good job of alerting you to items posted in your area that you’ve been looking for. To get a closer look at Craigslist, be sure to check out our full review here.
Health and Exercise Apps
Runkeeper uses your phone’s GPS to track your running path and even has some built-in voice coaching. In spite of the app’s name, you can actually use Runkeeper to track of a variety of exercise and fitness activities (save something like Water Polo).
News And Information
BBC News or CNN
BBC and CNN hardly need an introduction from me. Both apps provide excellent information and breaking news notifications in simple but sexy apps. If you’re a real news junkie, then be sure to see our 9 Essential News Apps for Android.
Free: BBC News
Amazon’s Kindle is pretty much the undisputed king of e-books and if you happen to own a Kindle you’ll absolutely want to download the Kindle App for Android. Once you connect your account, your phone will automatically sync whatever you’ve read on your Kindle on your phone; you can even start reading on one device and continue reading the same page on another.
Plus, I hate Barnes and Noble because they didn’t hire me for a job once. Who’s laughing now assholes.
Free: Amazon Kindle
We’ve featured Coton on a site quite a bit. It’s simply one of the most beautiful and, conceptually, interesting apps that I’ve used since it’s all about clouds. Yes, that’s all this app does is teach you about clouds. Try it. You’ll like it.
Paid: Coton ($0.99)
Evernote is the king of note taking on every single platform imaginable. Whether you use it on Windows, Mac or Android — it always seems to work and record notes. It recently got a funky (albeit clumsy) layout change on Android.
Any.Do is the task manager and to-do list we’ve been waiting for on Android. Simple, minimal and compatible with Google Tasks — this is a simple way to stay on track with your day-to-day things. Full Review Here.
If Any.Do is a little too minimal for your tastes and you love color, you know in general, then TinyList makes a neat alternative. TinyList isn’t free, but what get is an incredibly fun and intuitive gesture based to-do list that makes to-do lists fun, instead of kill-yourself worthy.
Free: TinyList ($0.99)
Pixlr-o-matic lets you add all the funky, retro filters and frames you’ve seen on apps like Instagram but with Android. Pixlr-o-matic is a beautiful, fast, and easy to use app that focuses more on the photos rather than having to sign up for a new social network.
Pano is a fantastic app for taking panoramic shots on any Android phone. Now, we’ve known about Pano a while, but the idea of shooting panoramic photos has recently created some buzz with Android 4.0′s panoramic feature. We were big fans of Pano when we reviewed it a few months back, and I used the app to take some incredible panoramic shots while I was in Mexico.
Be sure to check out our Full Review Here.
Ice Cream Sandwich Live Wallpaper
Everyone and their Mum wants a piece of Ice Cream Sandwich on their Android phone and this live wallpaper gives you that in spades. The free version is pretty limited in terms of options, but upgrading not only gets you this live wallpaper, but several more themes including one that very much mimics the famous HTC Sense Live Wallpaper. It’s a super value pack of beautiful live wallpapers that’s totally worth the price.
It isn’t often that I recommend that people buy a live wallpaper, but Luma is an exception to the rule. Luma is a beautiful live wallpaper that looks great on any Android device. There’s a free version you can try out first but, really, I’d recommend upgrading to the full version for around $1.00. Full Review Here.
Exodus Live Wallpaper
If you’re into games like Portal 2, then you may love Exodus live wallpaper that shows your background as a series of shifting, moving blocks that can change colors. It’s like living in the Matrix or something.
Free: Exodus Live Wallpaper
Paid: Exodus Pro Live Wallpaper ($0.99)
iOnRoad still one of the best augmented reality apps I’ve ever seen instead of just being a bullshit app that is more about show than substance. iOnRoad works uses your phone’s camera and GPS to tell you to stop riding the ass of the car ahead of you, which also might help prevent you from rear ending someone.
As a crap driver, I fully endorse this product. See our full review.
If you’re into recommendations then try Alfred. Alfred will look at the places you like to eat based on the questions you answer and recommend some places for you to eat. If you don’t like those things then Alfred will tell you to F*** off. Nah, I’m just joshing ya. He’s a rather nice bloke.