by Al Sacco

15 Must-Have Android Apps, According to Twitter

May 15, 20129 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMobileSmall and Medium Business's Al Sacco asked his tech-savvy Twitter followers for recommendations on the best Android apps available today, and they answered with gusto. You won't want to miss any of these must-have Android downloads.

I spend a lot of time searching for, testing and eventually recommending apps for a variety of mobile platforms. Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, you name a platform and I’ve published lists of my favorite applications for it. Frankly, it’s difficult nowadays to find new and interesting mobile apps I haven’t spotlighted in the past. So I reached out to my 1,750 or so Twitter followers, most of whom are avid mobile-app users, for their recommendations. Here are the top 15 they suggested. I mostly included apps that I haven’t covered in the past, in hopes that you’ll find a gem or two that’s new to you.

Pocket for Android

Pocket for Android, formerly called Read It Later, is a digital-bookmarking app that lets you “pocket” articles, pages and videos you find on the Web so you can read or access them later. Pocket is available on your PC or tablet, too, so you can pocket an article using your Android smartphone and then access it later on your computer or tablet. And the app saves most tagged content to your device, so you can access it later without an Internet connection–a feature that is particularly valuable on long flights.

Download Pocket for free from the Google Play Store.

Watchdog Task Manager for Android

All Android app enthusiasts need a good task manager to monitor and optimize their device performance and identify apps that may be misbehaving. The Watchdog Task Manager lets you see which apps are putting the most strain on your system resources, so you can “kill” them individually if necessary. Watchdog alerts you when an app starts using too many resources, based on your own custom settings. The full version removes all ads and lets you “blacklist” and automatically kill certain apps when they reach a defined level of system strain.

Download Watchdog Task Manager Lite for free from the Google Play Store or pay $3.49 to upgrade to the full version.

Instagram for Android

For years, snooty iPhone users have held the popular—and formerly iOS exclusive—Instagram photo-sharing app over Android users’ heads. But no more; Instagram is now available for Android, and it was worth the wait. The software is simple: You snap a picture, import it into Instagram, pick a specific filter, add a frame or an effect, and then share it with your followers. You’d be amazed what you can do with an image of those boring old tacos you had for lunch. But beware: Instagram is surprisingly addictive. (Follow me on Instagram: ASacco.)

Download Instagram for free from the Google Play Store.

PicSay Photo Editor for Android

The PicSay Photo Editor application for Android is a valuable mobile image-editing tool that no smartphone photog should be without. The free version is great for basic editing, and it lets you flip and rotate pics, add text and text bubbles, place “stickers” and apply a handful of filters and effects, among other things. The Pro version packs many more features, including the ability to resize, crop and straighten images.

Download PicSay Lite for free from the Google Play Store or pay $3.99 to upgrade to the Pro version. At Bat 12 for Android’s At Bat 12 apps bring the baseball game to you, wherever you are. The free version lets you monitor scores for all games. You also get free news, standings, rosters, schedules and stats. And the software can be customized to show relevant information on your favorite team. The At Bat app adds home and away audio broadcasts, among other features. And if you’re an subscriber, the full app is free and you can watch any game whenever you want. (Blackout restrictions apply, and not all devices support Play ball!

Download At Bat Lite for free from the Google Play Store or upgrade to the full version for $14.99.

WeatherBug for Android

Thanks to WeatherBug for Android, you may never get caught in the rain—or snow, or sleet, or hail—again. The free version provides basic, real-time weather information for more than 10,000 locations throughout North America, and you can add a widget to your home screen so you never have to open the app. You get forecasts, interactive maps, severe weather alerts, access to 2,000 live weather cameras and more. The full version removes all advertisements and gives you a “My location” feature that automatically ensures you have accurate information as you move from location to location.

Download WeatherBug for free from the Google Play Store or upgrade to the Elite version for $1.99.

RunKeeper for Android

Whether you’re a marathoner, casual runner, power walker, bicyclist, swimmer, snowboarder, skier or couch-potato looking for a change of scenery, you’ll find a friend in RunKeeper. It lets you track a variety of physical activities on maps to determine things like distance traveled, calories burned and pace. The app uses GPS to monitor your location. A “coaching” feature lets you set specific workout times and create your own workouts. And the app stores a detailed history of your activities so you can compare highs and lows and track your progress over time. On your mark, get set, go!

Download RunKeeper for free from the Google Play Store.

TripIt Travel Organizer for Android

TripIt Travel Organizer takes (some of) the pain out of modern day air travel by organizing all of your travel information, including airline itineraries, hotel information, rental-car reservations and related driving directions, and presenting it in one easy-to-navigate mobile app.  You just forward all your travel confirmations to TripIt, and the service adds them to the appropriate trip. The full version of TripIt removes all ads, and a $49.99-per-year subscription gets you real-time flight and travel status updates, among other features.

Download TripIt for free from the Google Play Store or upgrade to the ad-free version for $3.99.

Starbucks for Android

No Android-toting java lover should be without the Starbucks for Android application. The free software lets you display a barcode on screen that’s scanned by a Barista to pay for your venti Caffe Americano with three shots of espresso. You can also reload payment cards with a few quick clicks and track your Starbucks reward points, so you know exactly when to expect a free beverage, among other things.

Download Starbucks for free from the Google Play Store.

IMDb for Android

The IMDb (Internet Movie Database) app is, as its name suggests, an online database of information on movies, and it’s a massive one. The app also provides information on TV and celebrities, and it’s a great way to keep track of new movies and shows as they become available. You can watch countless movie trailers, and search for information on 2 million movies and TV shows and 4 million celebrities.  The app also lets you search for films and theaters near you and find movie times as well as check local TV listings. 

Download IMDB for free from the Google Play Store.

Vlingo Virtual Assistant for Android

iPhone users have Siri for mobile voice commands, and Android users have the Vlingo Virtual Assistant. You just launch the Vlingo app, tap an on-screen option to initiate a session and tell Vlingo what you want it to do. The app responds to commands to send texts and e-mail messages, dial phone numbers, get directions, launch other Android apps, search the Web, make hotel reservations or buy movie tickets. Vlingo can even answer basic questions and update Facebook or Twitter and check-in foursquare. Siri who?

Download Vlingo for free from the Google Play Store.

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TeamViewer for Remote Control for Android

If you’ve ever wanted to remotely view your PC while you’re traveling or access a friend or relative’s computer to help with tech support while you’re on the go, TeamViewer for Remote Control is the Android app for you. Simply install TeamViewer on your Android device and your PC—or anyone else’s machine—create an account, identify the PC you want to access, and you’ll be up and running. The navigation controls are a bit awkward, but you get full remote access features via mobile device—for free.

Download TeamViewer for free from the Google Play Store.

Google Currents for Android

Google’s Currents app for Android offers a variety of free online reading material in one mobile-friendly location. Currents is basically a souped-up RSS reader with a polished interface that lets you add and find articles quickly and easily. And the service offers high-quality content from a number of reputable sources, including yours truly.

Download Currents for free from the Google Play Store.

DoggCatcher Podcast Player for Android

DoggCatcher is a full-featured yet easy-to-use podcast manager and player for Android. Adding your own specific feeds is simple and the app can help you find interesting new feeds thanks to its vast content directory. You can set limits on how many episodes to download for each specific feed, among other options. A widget lets you control media from your Android home screen. The app works as a video player. And you can customize the interface.

Download DoggCatcher from the Google Play Store and get a free, seven-day trial or upgrade to the full version for $4.99.

Zedge for Android

The Zedge Android app provides a seemingly endless amount of free wallpapers, ringtones, alerts and games. It’s clean, simple interface makes it easy to browse the vast galleries. And you can search for specific terms to quickly find whatever you seek. You can also set wallpaper and assign ring tones and notifications from within the app, so you don’t need to access device settings. And Zedge for Android integrates with Google Play so you can quickly download games of interest from a reputable source.  

Download Zedge for free from the Google Play Store.