10 Android Killer Apps
So you have got your great new Android smartphone but, aside from taking pics of the people in line at Walmart and playing Connect 4, you have no idea how it can help you to actually get more done in a day. The choices can be overwhelming, but with so many developers creating software for the Android platform there are now tons of good options, both free and paid, for killer apps that will turn your smartphone into something truly...smart.
Letâ€™s start with my favorite, Dropbox. I use this to swap files across the three computers I use almost daily, and it is indispensable for the task. Essentially it just creates a folder on your computer that, whenever you drag a file into it, it syncs across all platforms. Just released as an app for the Android platform, it brings the same file-sharing convenience to your phone. And itâ€™s free!
Documents to Go
Of course, if you start sharing files across platforms, you need to make sure you can read and edit them. Documents to Go for Android is an app that lets you read the Microsoft Office suite of products on your phone, as well as Adobe .pdf files. There is a free version, but if editing functionality is at all important to your business then the paid version at $14.99 will be well worth it. Perfect for last minute tweaks to .doc files or spreadsheets youâ€™ve created on the computer.
Gdocs for Android
If you like the functionality and convenience of Google Docs then Gdocs is exactly what you need to make it truly portable. It stays synced with your docs account and can even be used to read Word and .pdf files. If you are a confirmed Google Docs user it might just be all you need, virtually replacing Dropbox and Documents to Go in functionality, since Google Docs itself is remotely hosted on the Google servers.
Astrid is a free app for the Android that is the best starting point if you want to transform your phone into a productivity aid. Featuring to-do and task lists in a simple to use interface, Astrid is often the only organizer app that people really need. An open source project that is supported by many independent developers, Astrid is one of those core programs that will always prove its worth. Location sensitive, Astrid syncs well with our next entry.
Remember the Milk
For $25 a year Remember the Milk will be that string around your finger that makes sure you do not forget all the things you have to do over the course of a day. With more advanced options than the Astrid app, Remember the Milkâ€™s main purpose is to integrate your goals for the day with a navigational aid that lets you know when you are near an objective or location that will enable you to get them done. If your life is always on the move, Remember the Milk might be worth the investment.
With an increased ability to do so much with your smartphone comes the increased risk of losing important data. Some sort of backup program is necessary, and MyBackup Pro is developing a reputation as the best Android app in this category. With the option to save data to the phoneâ€™s SD card or MyBackup Proâ€™s servers, you never have to worry about losing your contacts and settings again. Simple to use -- just set an automatic backup routine and stop worrying, or backup manually whenever you complete something mission-critical.
Slidescreen aims to put more data at your fingertips by replacing the standard Android homepage with a sliding list that displays everything you would expect on your phone, with plenty of customizable quick launch options for the apps you use most often. Can also run in â€˜applicationâ€™ mode, in which case you retain the standard homepage and simply launch Slidescreen as you would normally. Takes a bit of getting used to, but it is a quicker way to access all of the most common tasks you perform on your Android phone.
With its newest version, Evernote has really come into its own as a great memory and task list app. Itâ€™s based around the ability to take notes -- whether written, audio, web bookmark, screenshot, or photograph -- and organize that data in searchable lists. Data is backed up on remote servers, and the full version of the app does require a monthly fee of five dollars. Syncs across all platforms so all of your notes are always available when you need them.
Sometimes an app is a productivity aid because of how it lets you manipulate data or interface across many platforms. In the case of Voice Actions, itâ€™s the time you save using your phone that is the real productivity boost. An app designed to make as much of your Android experience controllable by voice commands as possible, Voice Actions lets you call, text, email, search, open a playlist, and get directions simply by speaking the command. Now comes standard on many Android smartphones.
Similar to Evernote, Springpad takes a somewhat different approach to organizing your notes. The two do overlap in many ways, so the best course is to try them both (and since Springpad is completely free that makes a trial run very easy for existing Evernote devotees). Springpad better integrates your notes with your daily life, as it meshes with Google Calendar and pings you with reminders. It also hunts information for you based on your interests and what notes you have taken, or reminders you have set for yourself. In a way, you could say it behaves more like a personal assistant versus the file cabinet that is Evernote, though that does mean it has a steeper learning curve.
With so many ways to enhance the mobile Android experience it can be tough to know in which apps one should invest their time. These ten are a good place to start if you are looking to do more with your phone and increase your overall productivity in the process.