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Were you the lucky recipient of a new Android phone over the holidays? If you were, you are in for a real treat. What you are holding is a device with more computing power than NASA had for the space shuttle program. Just think of what you could do with it! (Disclaimer: I don’t think that’s true. I just made that up, because it sounded good.)

First, you’ll need to install some Android apps to help you harness that power and put it to work in your everyday life. Here is a breakdown of 5 Android phone apps that you must install right away! Enjoy.

1. avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus – Free

You wouldn’t go on the Internet without having security software installed on your desktop or laptop, would you? So what’s so different about your Android phone then? It’s a computer, and all computers have vulnerabilities to viruses and malware. Avast! is arguably the best security app out there for the Android and it’s free, so there is no excuse to go out without protection into this big old scary world.

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According to testing by AV-TEST done in November 2013, Avast! detected 100% of their test viruses, with zero false-positives. It doesn’t get any better than that. Add to that accomplishment, features such as Anti-Theft, Call Blocking and Message Filtering and you’ve got one sweet deal for free.
Alternatives:
Lookout Mobile Security – Download, Review
360 Mobile Security – DownloadReview Is 360 Security for Android One of the Best-Looking Security Tools? Is 360 Security for Android One of the Best-Looking Security Tools? Considering downloading 360 Mobile Security? Read our full review of it first. Read More

2. KeePassDroid – Free

In keeping with security being the number one concern with computers, KeePassDroid – the password management tool, is the second Android app you should install. Especially if you are already using KeePass to manage your passwords on your desktop or laptop. By combining your desktop KeePass, KeePassDroid, and a cloud drive service like Dropbox or Google Drive, you can have secure access to any of your username and passwords anywhere that you have Internet access Manage Your Passwords On The Go With KeePassDroid [1.5+] Manage Your Passwords On The Go With KeePassDroid [1.5+] With a 4.6 rating out of over 13,000 reviews and with over half a million installations, it is no wonder that KeePassDroid founds its way into our coveted list of Best Android Apps. If you... Read More .

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Plus, if your phone should happen to get stolen, your password list is heavily secured by the KeePassDroid application. Even sophisticated computer users aren’t going to be able to get your most important information.
Alternatives: Dashlane – Download, Review
Pocket – Download Pocket - A Handy, Free Personal Information Safe With A Desktop Counterpart [Android] Pocket - A Handy, Free Personal Information Safe With A Desktop Counterpart [Android] Pocket, is a free information “wallet” for Android, and one of the most recent entries in our Best of Android page. Pocket can be used for managing passwords, but also other information. It has built-in... Read More , Review Pocket - A Handy, Free Personal Information Safe With A Desktop Counterpart [Android] Pocket - A Handy, Free Personal Information Safe With A Desktop Counterpart [Android] Pocket, is a free information “wallet” for Android, and one of the most recent entries in our Best of Android page. Pocket can be used for managing passwords, but also other information. It has built-in... Read More

3. WhatsApp Messenger – Free

Since the Android phone is about communicating with others, an instant messaging app is an ideal third choice for a must-have app. WhatsApp is free to use for the first year, then costs 99 cents a month after that. By installing an app like WhatsApp, you get the benefit of text messaging all of your friends for free (though data charges may apply), chatting with groups of friends, and sharing media without incurring MMS message costs. Staying in touch and saving money is always a top priority for anyone.

whatsapp

Setup is a breeze – WhatsApp imports all of your contacts from your phone and any other service you choose, like Facebook or Gmail. Chances are many of your friends are already using it, so why not you? Even better than regular text messaging Better Than Text Messages & Free - WhatsApp For Android Reviewed Better Than Text Messages & Free - WhatsApp For Android Reviewed A moment of introspection, please: What do you do more often - call people using your phone, or text them? I would bet it's the latter. For many people, texting is more convenient than calling.... Read More , you can also have group chats. That makes planning the night out a lot easier.
Alternatives:
BlackBerry Messenger – Download, Review BBM Still Has Fans! [We Ask You Results] BBM Still Has Fans! [We Ask You Results] Read More
Viber – DownloadReview Viber 4.0 For Android & iOS Introduces Push To Talk & Sticker Market Viber 4.0 For Android & iOS Introduces Push To Talk & Sticker Market Read More

4. Trigger – Free

Trigger is a task automator to help perform different repetitive tasks, like turning off mobile data when you connect to WiFi. Even more importantly, Trigger makes good use of  your Android phone’s NFC capabilities. What’s NFC? What Is NFC & Should You Buy a Phone That Has It? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is NFC & Should You Buy a Phone That Has It? [MakeUseOf Explains] If you’re in the market for a new phone in 2013, you’re probably going to hear about something called NFC, and how it’s apparently changing the world. Don’t be fooled by the sales talk though.... Read More The short answer is Near Field Communication – a method of making special tags and other NFC-enabled phones communicate with your phone when they are in close contact with each other. Trigger (formerly known as NFC Task Launcher) helps you use NFC to create any number of responses to different NFC tags and phones. Set up an NFC tag in your car, so your phone’s Bluetooth automatically turns on and your WiFi turns off. Set up another one at home so it automatically turns Bluetooth off and WiFi on. These two actions alone add a world of convenience to your phone AND save battery life.

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Trigger can also detect other events such as the presence of a Bluetooth or WiFi signal, making it even more powerful and programmable. You can also use Trigger in conjunction with Tasker NFC Task Launcher: Make Your Phone Smart And Location-Aware [Android] NFC Task Launcher: Make Your Phone Smart And Location-Aware [Android] For me, a big part of a smartphone being "smart" is about automation - my phone should know when to switch Wi-Fi on and off on its own; it should be smart enough to be... Read More to do, well, almost anything really.
Alternatives:
Llama – Download, Review
TaskBomb – Download, Review How To Automate Your Android Smartphone To Do Just About Anything How To Automate Your Android Smartphone To Do Just About Anything Having a smartphone can make your life a whole lot more convenient. When you're lost, it can help you find your way home. When you're in a strange town that you don't know and want... Read More

Summing It Up

There are roughly 2 bazillion apps for Android phones and devices that are both wicked-cool, and honestly useful. Narrowing it down to 5 must-haves was no mean feat, however these 5 will address the primary needs of security and expanded functionality. Beyond that, it’s up to you to decide what you want to put on your Android to make it your flavour. Of course, you can always refer to our list of Best Android Apps for some well thought out suggestions.

What are your must-have apps for your ‘Droid? Which ones could you simply not do without? Besides being a phone, what features of your Android are most important and most used by you? Let us hear about it in the comments below. Your comments plus our articles makes for greater knowledge for all. After all, we’re all in this together.

Image Credits:  New Android Phone via PlaceIt.

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