When you first get a new smartphone, it's hard to know where to begin. Learning your way in and out of the menus and pages will eventually come with time. But one of the first things every newcomer will want to do is peruse the application stores for the coolest and snazziest apps and games available. In a sea of hundreds of thousands of applications, where do you start?
I have been using Android for nearly two years now and I've come to love and rely on many apps. It's tough narrowing the list of roughly 100 applications on my phone down to just ten, but here goes:
1. Google+ (Free)
Chances are, if you haven't heard about Google+ yet, you probably haven't logged into Twitter or checked any major tech site lately. Aside from being a strong contender as a social medium, the Google+ Android app is phenomenal. It is the epitome of what all networking clients should be. Unlike most things Android, the Google+ app is very polished and pleasing to the eye. The app is also very smooth and fully functional. Notifications are a little buggy at the moment, but hey, the service is still in beta and the app released just days ago.
2. Plume for Twitter ($2.89 or Free, limited version)
Although I'm not currently using Plume as my main Twitter client for Android, Plume is one of the better ones out there. I've really taken to Twitter for Android as of late, but Plume is simply more user customizable and polished than the official client. If I had to pick one as my favorite, Plume would easily take the cake – I just like to switch it up every now and then.
3. Wave Launcher ($1.99)
I miss webOS and some of its second to none multitasking features. While there is no way to get webOS cards or a left-to-right (or right-to-left) swipe to switch apps on Android, Wave Launcher is an easy way to get the webOS quick launch wave on your favorite Android handset. First, open the app to setup the launcher with the apps you desire. Next, simply slide your finger from the bottom edge of the display to the middle. The wave will appear and when you release your finger, the selected app will launch.
4. Read It Later Pro ($2.99)
I do a lot of web browsing from my phone when I'm not at home. Sometimes I come across an interesting article that I can't finish or don't have time to even start. I could set a bookmark to save the page, but before long, I would have hundreds of unorganized bookmarks. This is where Read It Later comes into play. Simply share the page with the Read It Later app and it will be saved in your cue. Mark it as read when you're done, and it's removed from your reading list. As an added benefit, you can also view your reading list from your PC and use Read It Later as a reverse Chrome To Phone service.
5. TuneIn Radio Pro ($0.99)
I used to be a major fan of Pandora Radio. For the most part, I still am. But I often get tired of listening to the same things over an over. Using TuneIn Radio, you can browse local radio stations with online streams, talk shows, and my favorite, Radio Paradise. There is a Radio Paradise app available, but the stream tends to skip and stop to buffer often. TuneIn allows me to listen to a variety of radio stations with ease and without fault. There are also features like a sleep timer and alarm.
6. Camera ZOOM FX ($4.80)
I recently switched from using my ThunderBolt as my main phone to the G2x. The stock camera software on the G2x is okay and the stock Android camera software could be much better. After buying the G2x, I turned to Android Market to find a software alternative. I tried out several different cameras and finally settled on Camera ZOOM FX. It's a touch-to-focus camera app with hundreds of tweaks. It takes some getting used to, but it is well worth the money spent.
7. PicSay Pro ($4.34)
While on the iPhone, I downloaded tens of image editing applications. The possibilities were endless and I took picture after picture, just to tweak and edit them. After switching back to Android, I felt a little lost without a decent photo editing app. There are several in Market and I've been playing with many of them. PicSay Pro is one of the better ones out there. The interface isn't exactly pretty, but hey, it gets the job done.
8. Dropbox (Free)
Everything is moving to the cloud. I've been using Dropbox for nearly two years now and I can't live without it. I use it for everything from transferring pictures and files between devices and making backups of all of the photos I take on my phone (with the aid of another application) to sharing files with friends and family. Dropbox is a must-have tool for me.
9. URLy (Free)
This one isn't an application that I imagine a lot of others will use or like nearly as much as I do. I use URLy multiple times per day, probably more than any other app. URLy is a link shortener application. I hate long URLs so I always copy and paste into URLy to shorten them before I send a link anywhere. This app gives you control over which link shortening service you want to use, too, like bit.ly, is.gd, goo.gl and many more. You can also use it to upload files and to post updates to Twitter.
10. Amazon Appstore (Free)
Last and certainly not least is Amazon's Appstore. This one you will not find in Android Market. It is a third-party application store which you have to install on your own. I don't purchase any applications from Amazon, as I prefer all of my purchases to be in one place – I buy all of my apps from Market. But Amazon gives away one paid app for free per day. If it weren't for this app, I would never had gotten many of the applications above (for free). Many of them are paid apps that I would not have paid for otherwise – I'm a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to apps.
So there you have it, folks. Here are my top ten Android apps after two years on Android. Let me know your top 10 apps in the comments below. I can always use more apps!