Top 20 Best Android Apps You Need To Get (That Aren’t Games)

0 best android apps intro   Top 20 Best Android Apps You Need To Get (That Arent Games)The Android Market has come a long way since its initial release a couple of years ago. With more than 80,000 apps, including MakeUseOf’s Android app, there’s something out there for everybody.

Here at MUO, we’ve covered Android apps extensively. Just off the top of my head, we’ve written articles about apps for students, busy moms, runners, movie fans and even programmers. We’ve also shown you the best finance, voice and health apps, as well as how to write your own application.

But, what are the best Android apps?


In this article, I’m going to cover the top 20 best Android apps that aren’t games. If you’re looking for a clear cut list of the most useful apps that belong on your phone, this is it.

Communication & Social Apps

Since this is your phone we’re talking about, communication and social applications are probably a good place to start.

1. Facebook For Android

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If you’re like most people, you spend more time on Facebook than any other website on the Internet. If you’d like to be able to keep track of all of your friends on your phone, the Facebook for Android app is a must. You can even sync your Facebook contacts with your phone.

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2. Twitter

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With the Twitter app, you can do everything you can do online with Twitter. Send tweets, DMs, share photos and video and view the real-time search, maps and trending topics.

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3. Foursquare & Gowalla

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Since both of these apps pretty much do the same thing, I decided to include them together. Foursquare and Gowalla let you explore your city, see where your friends are and check into venues to receive prizes and rewards. Honestly, they’re both great apps. I routinely use them both.

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4. Google Voice

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Place calls and send text messages showing your Google number. You can find a lot of creative ways to use this app, including having your Google calls forwarded to your phone.

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5. Meebo IM

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An all-in-one chat client, Meebo IM lets you chat with your friends on AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Myspace, Google Talk, Jabber and ICQ, all at the same time. Not using Meebo? Here’s 8 reasons why you should.

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Entertainment & Multimedia Apps

Now lets take a look at some apps for your entertainment. This section is mostly comprised of movies, music and sports applications.

6. ESPN ScoreCenter

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If you’re looking to follow all of your favorite sports teams or the day’s latest action, the ESPN ScoreCenter app is all you need. Whether you follow the NFL or the Premier League, ScoreCenter is the most comprehensive sports app for the Android. Use it to keep track of stats for your fantasy sports teams.

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7. Movies

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If you’re a movie buff, you should check out the Movies app. Made by Flixster, this app helps you look up showtimes for the top box office movies, view local theaters, browse 65,000 DVDs, read reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and even manage your Netflix queue.

If you want to look up even more detailed movie information, the IMDb Movies & TV app is good also.

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8. Pandora Radio

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Pandora Radio lets you stream your favorite music on your phone (in the US only). This is the ideal way to listen to music because it allows you to hear all the latest tunes without having to continually upload them to your phone and take up space.

If you’re a fan of Grooveshark (like I am), you can also find their application on the Android Market.

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9. Last.fm

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Like Pandora Radio, Last.fm can also be used to listen to streaming music. What makes it different, however, is the ability to learn about your favorite artists, find nearby concerts and share your music tastes with the Last.fm scrobbler.

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Lifestyle Apps

In this section, you’ll find a few useful lifestyle apps. These can be used when you’re out looking for something to do in your town.

10. Urbanspoon

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Urbanspoon is a very useful app for when you’re out on the town and can’t decide where you want to eat. Shake your phone and Urbanspoon recommends restaurants near you.

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11. Groupon

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Groupon is the best site to help you find daily deals in your city. The daily deals concept is a hot topic right now and has been generating a lot of buzz. Get in on the savings while you can.

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12. Yelp

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Yelp not only lets you search for places to eat, shop, drink and play, but it lets you leave/read reviews of all of the places around you. Very helpful if you’re looking for that perfect place to stay or eat dinner.

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News & Reference Apps

Need to find something? With these apps, you can locate just about anything.

13. Yellow Pages

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Yellow Pages might be one of the most underrated apps out there. It does exactly what you would expect it to, but it does it so well. Speak or type a business or service and receive locally relevant results.

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14. USA Today

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Behind on the day’s news? Use the USA Today app to catch up on the latest news, scores, weather and photos you would normally find in the USA Today newspaper.

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15. Google Maps

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Since I recently moved to the city, this app has saved me countless hours of being lost. Use it to find your way around and get walking, driving and public transportation directions to find the quickest way to get somewhere.

One feature I really like is, when signed into your Google account, how you can look up directions on your computer and, when it’s time to leave, you open the app on your phone and it remembers your search history.

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Tools & Utilities Apps

There are a lot of great tools and utilities apps on the Android Market. To round out our list, lets look at the best ones.

16. Backgrounds & Ringtones

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There are 2 things that you surely need to do when you get a new phone: change the background and get a custom ringtone. Since these apps could easily be merged into one I decided to do so on this list. They each house a wide selection of creativity for you to choose from.

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17. Advanced Task Killer Free

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Keep your phone running super fast by killing tasks when you’re done with them. There are a lot of task killing apps out there. This one’s the best.

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18. Lookout

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Lookout gives your phone security with its antivirus and backup capabilities. You can also use it to locate your phone when it’s lost.

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19. Dropbox

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We’ve written lots about the usefulness of Dropbox. Now you can access it on your Android device.

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20. Evernote

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Evernote allows you to jot down notes, clip articles, take snapshots and save recordings for later. Everything you save gets synchronized with your account on your PC.

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[Bonus] Barcode Scanner

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Using the Barcode Scanner app, you can scan all the QR Codes on this page to quickly download the apps on your phone.

What do you think of the list? Is there a favorite app you would like to add?

Image Credit: Jiri Vratislavsky

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35 Comments -

Sors_x

I think springpad is better then evernote, and it does a lot more.

Aibek

great collection of apps

Munkypint

I really like Thinking space, a mindmap tool, and Listen (despite loads of bugs)

Aaron

I have to throw my vote up for Springpad as well – works great for whatever kind of note, todo list, checklist, clipping, etc you want to keep.

Also – Task Killers are not needed on Android. They don’t make your phone run any faster by killing the apps you aren’t using. The Android operating system handles the background tasks very well.

Steve Campbell

Thanks for sharing, Aaron.

Where task killers come in is the running processes on your phone. On Android devices–at least my phone is this way–when you open an app there is no way to close it. You can go back to your home screen but the app will still be running in the background. Task killers are just for killing those apps that are taking up your phone’s RAM.

Robin Burks

The Facebook app for Android is awful! I use TweetDeck instead, which should have definitely been on that list, along with Seesmic (the better Twitter app). I am also a big fan of Angry Birds (must have game) and Color Note. For the camera, Vignette is awesome, too.

Roninpenguin

Android is designed to always have its RAM full so even if you close stuff it will re-open it to fill up the RAM, it will then delete unused programs when you open something new. What you need to do is get “WatchDog” which is an app that lets you know what programs are eating your processor cycles which is what truely slows down your phone. Then you can either close that program or if it becomes truely unrully you can delete it.

Also you exit most Android apps by hitting the “Back” button, that will close them instead of keeping them running in the background.

Roninpenguin

You are right, Android is designed to run with full RAM. The true issue is programs that suck processor cycles while they are in the RAM and to see which do that you should use an app like “WatchDog” which will tell you what apps are truely slowing your phone.

Task Killers are not bad but the way people use them tends to be. They close the apps that they acutally use often and then it takes longer for them to open, or they get frustrated because no matter how often they “kill” an app it keeps re-opening not realizing that is what Android is made to do.

Aaron

I have to throw my vote up for Springpad as well – works great for whatever kind of note, todo list, checklist, clipping, etc you want to keep.

Also – Task Killers are not needed on Android. They don’t make your phone run any faster by killing the apps you aren’t using. The Android operating system handles the background tasks very well.

Steve Campbell

Thanks for sharing, Aaron.

Where task killers come in is the running processes on your phone. On Android devices–at least my phone is this way–when you open an app there is no way to close it. You can go back to your home screen but the app will still be running in the background. Task killers are just for killing those apps that are taking up your phone’s RAM.

Roninpenguin

Android is designed to always have its RAM full so even if you close stuff it will re-open it to fill up the RAM, it will then delete unused programs when you open something new. What you need to do is get “WatchDog” which is an app that lets you know what programs are eating your processor cycles which is what truely slows down your phone. Then you can either close that program or if it becomes truely unrully you can delete it.

Also you exit most Android apps by hitting the “Back” button, that will close them instead of keeping them running in the background.

Steve Campbell

Good to know. Thanks!

Artod4789

I thought there were a lot of issues using task killers and you shouldn’t use them.

Roninpenguin

You are right, Android is designed to run with full RAM. The true issue is programs that suck processor cycles while they are in the RAM and to see which do that you should use an app like “WatchDog” which will tell you what apps are truely slowing your phone.

Task Killers are not bad but the way people use them tends to be. They close the apps that they acutally use often and then it takes longer for them to open, or they get frustrated because no matter how often they “kill” an app it keeps re-opening not realizing that is what Android is made to do.

Joshua Wilcox

Great collection, but when will people stop promoting app killer apps that are contrary to the way Android functions on a core level…

Sorobangeeks

I liked this post very much. It is an awesome collection!
Attention! There are lots of different and absolutely free Android applications at our site ! Enjoy it!:)))

Andygeog

Why you shouldn’t use a task killer:

http://www.droid-den.com/andro

Andygeog

KW Careers

Thank you for a great list. I especially love the QR code that directs us to the correct app!

timmyjohnboy

Great list, Steve. Interesting enough I was happy to see that I already use most of these. Confirmation, I guess.

Angela Alcorn

Great list – Sadly a lot of these aren’t able to be used in all countries: Movies and Last.fm for starters!

Angela Alcorn

Great list – Sadly a lot of these aren’t able to be used in all countries: Movies and Last.fm for starters!

Rev Paul

Lookout moved its backup features to a premium version

4archibald

Just bought my Android phone 2 days ago (HTC Desire HD) so am going to move this email to my keep box and come back later
bippy

4archibald

Just bought my Android phone 2 days ago (HTC Desire HD) so am going to move this email to my keep box and come back later
bippy

jeffthewhitegoose

I use Flash Card Maker Pro to teach my 6 year old daughter how to read and do math problems. This is the only flash card application that is optimized for Android pads, tablets, and mobile phones. Flash Card Maker Pro uses advanced gesturing and text-to-speech capability providing a fully interactive experience for users of all ages. This multi-sensory teaching tool uses all pathways of learning (visual, auditory, kinesthetic or seeing, hearing, touching) simultaneously, in order to enhance memory and learning. Use Flash Card Maker Pro on your Android phone or tablet to teach children how to read and do math, to help students study for exams, or to prepare for an upcoming presentation.

Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand. (Chinese Proverb)

Recycle your old paper flash cards and download the latest digital version today! Flash Card Maker Pro has the following highlighted features:

1. Create Your Own Flash Cards
2. Share Flash Cards with Other Users
3. Download Decks of Cards from Developer Website
4. Text-to-speech Audio Playback
5. Built-in Study Timer
6. Randomize or Change Order of Playback
7. Swap Question and Answer
8. Change Card Colors and Text Size
9. Navigate Between Cards using Touch Gestures
10. Backup Database to SD Card

Gizonz

Facebook app is trash. What a waste of time.

Echopatt

I downloaded Santa Booth on Android and it was awesome!! You can find it on Santabooth.net, it was similar to Chunky booth which takes a picture and make the person look like they are huge!!! I also like Harbor Boat Master which is on the Android market and is by far the best game out.

Echopatt

I downloaded Santa Booth on Android and it was awesome!! You can find it on Santabooth.net, it was similar to Chunky booth which takes a picture and make the person look like they are huge!!! I also like Harbor Boat Master which is on the Android market and is by far the best game out.

Pinkrocks86

PANDORA OWNS ALL OF THOSE APPS!!! :)

Anonymous

Check Refine Efficiency Pro: http://refineandroid.doodlekit.com/

– cache cleaner (root and non root(individually)), no sd card cache support;
– market history cleaner;
– task killer;
– start up manager (root and non root(no guarantee));
– task scheduling.
Also browser history cleaner.

Phil4

Check Refine Efficiency Pro: http://refineandroid.doodlekit

- cache cleaner (root and non root(individually)), no sd card cache support;
- market history cleaner;
- task killer;
- start up manager (root and non root(no guarantee));
- task scheduling.
Also browser history cleaner.

Jameson Software

I have developed a few android applications this year that I think everyone would enjoy. I have both free and paid versions of all my application.

Rate N Tip: a tip calculator that allows you to rate the performance of the server when determining gratuity. Also included is a basic tip calculator if you already know what percentage to leave.

Holiday Gift Ideas: a list of gift ideas for anyone and any occasion.

Insult Generator: A hilarious listing of insults played with a recorded voice. The free version contains clean insults while the paid version has explicit.

My Blackjack: a customizable blackjack game. The full version is paid but a free demo is available. Expect many updates to this games as more customizable rules are added.

Jameson Software

I have developed a few android applications this year that I think everyone would enjoy. I have both free and paid versions of all my application.

Rate N Tip: a tip calculator that allows you to rate the performance of the server when determining gratuity. Also included is a basic tip calculator if you already know what percentage to leave.

Holiday Gift Ideas: a list of gift ideas for anyone and any occasion.

Insult Generator: A hilarious listing of insults played with a recorded voice. The free version contains clean insults while the paid version has explicit.

My Blackjack: a customizable blackjack game. The full version is paid but a free demo is available. Expect many updates to this games as more customizable rules are added.

Mukor

I share this one.

VeryAndroid SMS Backup is a smart andriod sms backup software that can copy and backup sms on Android phone to computer, and can also restore sms backup file to any android phone.

It can help you:
– Copy and backup sms from Anroid phone to computer.
– Restore sms from CSV to android phone any time.
– Transfer sms to android phones from other phones.
– View sms messages in threading mode on computer.

Info: http://www.veryandroid.com/sms-backup.html