A Dozen of My Favorite Free Android Apps

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Look, I know there are a thou­sand-and-one posts on the in­ter­net about the best smart­phone apps. I’ve a bunch of apps on my phone, and I use some more fre­quent­ly than oth­ers. However, I want to share the ones that I en­joy which might not be so ubiq­ui­tous.

Productivity/​Administrative

  • ConnectBot — This app con­nects you with a Unix ter­mi­nal, re­mote­ly and se­cure­ly to an­oth­er IP ad­dress, and does the same thing lo­cal­ly. It works great if you’re tweak­ing the per­mis­sions of your phone.
  • Advanced Task Killer — This app lets you quit pro­grams that you’re run­ning in the back­ground or for­get to ex­it, with just two taps. It re­al­ly helps me save on bat­tery life and showed me which pro­grams keep turn­ing on all the time. I used ConnectBot to dis­able them.
  • Remote Desktop — Rather than have to plug my phone in­to my com­put­er via USB to down­load pho­tos, &c. or pay for a ser­vice to sync items, this ap­pli­ca­tion lets me con­nect to my phone via IP ad­dress when I’ve got it con­nect­ed to my home wire­less.

Reading/​News

  • Google Reader — This is a well known piece of the Google pie, but this app works so much bet­ter than us­ing Reader on a com­put­er that I find my­self brows­ing through on my phone when there’s a com­put­er with­in arm’s reach.
  • iPa­per — This is the Android app that al­lows ac­cess to InstaPaper, a book­marklet ser­vice that al­lows you to archive web ar­ti­cles for read­ing at a lat­er date. Perfect for when you’re stuck some­place with noth­ing worth read­ing near­by.

Fitness

  • Sit Ups — This app helps you set a sit up goal, as­sess­es your phys­i­cal con­di­tion and then tai­lors an it­er­a­tive and timed work­out to help you reach the goal. Pick a goal, in­put your start­ing abil­i­ty, fol­low the work­out prompts (a gym whistle blows when the rest pe­ri­od is over), and then in­put how dif­fi­cult you found the work­out. The next ses­sion will be changed slight­ly based on your feed­back.
  • Push Ups — Same deal, ex­cept for pushups.

Gaming

  • Star Traders — This is a space trad­ing, turn-based econ­o­my RPG that’s pret­ty bru­tal. Small choic­es have cu­mu­la­tive im­pacts on how you can in­ter­act with the var­i­ous plan­ets you vis­it. It has re­al­ly tough achieve­ments too. The Elite ver­sion is $1.99 and gives ac­cess to bet­ter ship up­grades, more mis­sions and more plan­ets.
  • Scrambled Net — A sim­ply de­signed but ad­dic­tive puz­zle game. Connect the tubes from the server to the mon­i­tors to make sure every­one has some in­ter­nets. I play this all the time.
  • Geared — This is an­oth­er puz­zle game (with very pleas­ing graph­ics). With a lim­it­ed num­ber of gears of dif­fer­ent sizes, and a lim­it­ed amount of space to work with, you have to con­nect the mov­ing yel­low gear too all of the sta­tion­ary blue gears.

Miscellaneous

  • Color Note — Because of this app, I no longer walk about with lit­tle scraps of note pa­per flut­ter­ing about me like moths. The gro­cery check­list is my boon com­pan­ion. I don’t for­get stuff on the list any­more!
  • Toddler Lock — This se­cures the phone so your off­spring can play with it. I lit­er­al­ly have to wrestle the phone away from Abraham when he us­es it. Swiping lets you draw, tap­ping places shapes, and there are pleas­ant chimes play­ing all the while.