Do you have a new Android smart phone or are you thinking about getting one? You may be wondering what apps, other than Angry Birds, you should install. Well have no fear, as you know, I have an Android phone and it never leaves my side. Other than my wife and children, it is the love of my life. It has become my personal assistant, doing all the important tasks I need. It wakes me in the morning, informs me of all my appointments and duties of the day. It keeps me in contact with family and friends, gives me breaking news, weather and directions to places I have never been. It allows me to read and write documents and emails on the go, send photos to my Facebook account and follow my favorite people on Twitter. It plays my music, audio books and more. I can even get books from the library, right on the phone. When I go grocery shopping, I can scan barcodes and compare prices, check my shopping list and the phone even has all my store cards saved on it. It is a portable dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia. It tells me where the cheapest place to get gas is, who sings the song I hear on the radio and local movie times, and more. I don’t know how I lived without it. Since there is so much it can do, I thought I would share some of the many apps that I love! This is the tip of the iceberg here.
Advanced Task Killer: Did you know that many apps on your phone start and run in the background on your smartphone? Did you realize than when you leave an app, many of them do not close? This can seriously sap your battery of much needed power. Give Advanced Task Killer a try. You will truly be stunned at the apps that run on start-up without your knowledge. You will also be glad you can cturn them off.
Google Sky Map: Ever been out looking at the night sky and wonder what that star is? Do you have trouble finding the little dipper? Have you ever wanted to know what constellations are in the sky during the day? This is the app for you. I have always loved stargazing and I know a fair share of constellations and occasionally can point out a planet. But with this nifty app, it’s like having Jack Horkheimer right there with you telling you to “Keep looking Up!” Once installed, the screen reflects the night sky complete with all the important information. Just hold it up to where you are viewing and it shows you everything from names of stars and constellations, to the orbital paths of moon and planets. This app is truly a window to the night sky!
Lookout: This software is probably going to be an essential app for all Android phones. Lookout Mobil Security is free, however, you can pay for it and upgrade to a Premium version. It runs in the background and performs three vital functions. The first is security. While most people will agree that the software that runs Android phones is unable to get a virus, it doesn’t mean you can’t download a malicious app. There have been many reports of apps that steal your data. Some have actually been preinstalled on phones. Lookout scans everything you download onto the phone for safety. The second thing it does is Backup. Once a week it will take all your contacts, pictures, files, etc. and save them onto a secure website that you can log onto and access. Now if you lose the phone, you don’t lose everything on it. The last, and quite frankly the coolest feature, is the Missing Device. By logging onto the website you can turn on the GPS and see where the phone is! It will place your phone on the map to show you the location. With another click, you can have Lookout turn your volume up to maximum and plays a siren for 60 seconds. Now you can find it under the couch cushions! Pretty sweet.
Out of Milk: While there are plenty of shopping list apps, this one seems to be the best. It not only let’s you write a grocery list with ease, it also lets you scan in goods with the barcode scanner in the camera. It saves and remembers your products you buy, and even better, shares the shopping list with any smartphone in the household.
Overdrive: What better use for a smartphone than getting stuff from your local library. Overdrive is an app that lets you download ebooks and audiobooks right onto your phone from many libraries. It is really quite easy to use and takes little or no effort. However, be careful downloading audiobooks. If you don’t have unlimited mobile internet use, wait until you connect to wifi before starting the download. It may take hours to get the book and that could run you big bucks!
Pandora: Now, I don’t know if you have ever used Pandora but, you should. This is not just an awesone phone app, it is an equally awesome website. Think of it as your own personal radio station playing only the songs that you like. You teach Pandora. It is a quick learner. Then let your phone rock out for you, without the twenty minutes of ads every hour.
Shazam: Have you ever been in the car, at the store, etc. and wondered what that song was on the radio? Well have no fear, Shazam is the app for you! Start Shazam and tap the circle to have your phone listen to the song. Twenty seconds later the song artist and album is listed. There are also links to purchase the song and download it right to the phone. Try Shazam with television shows as well.
Shush: While I love my phone, there are times when I just want it to keep quiet. The problem I had was I would forget to turn the ringer back up when I left work or the movie theater, etc. Then I found Shush! This little app activates whenever I turn my ringer volume down to Zero, and asks me when I would like my ringer to turn back on! As I leave the library and my work day is done, my phone turns the ringer back up and now I won’t miss any important calls.
Where: This app was named perfectly. Ever been on the road and need something? Where is an ATM? Where is a good place to eat? Where is the cheapest gas in town? The answers are at your fingertips! This is useful at home as well as on vacation!