We love Android, but when it comes to Android apps Google’s OS gets a bad rap compared to the iPhone. “The Android Market has less apps” say some, or “they’re not as stable” and don’t get us started on the choice of games on offer. But it’s not all bad news, there are a ton of apps that’re simply better on Android.
Before you get stuck in, search for, download and install Barcode Scanner (or click this link if you’re reading on an Android phone), then point the Barcode Scanner app at the QR codes on this page to zip straight to the Android Market to install everything listed!
1. Ocado On The Go
Want to order groceries on your phone? Then you want Ocado. More to the point, you want the Ocado Android app. Sure, there’s an iPhone app that’s broadly similar, but on Android, Ocado lets you search by voice and even scan barcodes. It’s a simple feature, but one that makes shopping by phone much more useful: open the fridge, scan the contents, and re-order regular items in a trice!
Yeah, the iPhone version of Spotify has background playback since iOS 4 debuted, but the Android version has had that from day one anyway. There’s also a homescreen widget on Android, letting you control music playback without zipping in and out of the Android app. You’ll need to be a Spotify Premium subscriber to use it, but once you do you might never go back to storing MP3s on your mobile again, and with dashboard-style controls, Android has Spotify integration sorted.
3. Google Voice
This Android app isn’t even available on iPhone, for reasons known only to Apple (and soon, the FCC since it’s the subject of an official investigation) but the Android app is a peach, letting you make free calls, divert incoming callers and pull of fancy tricks like having your landline and mobile ring at the same time, or not at all depending on the time of day. Meanwhile, the iPhone often struggles to show voicemails promptly.
4. Google Listen
This is Google’s equivalent of the iTunes Store’s Podcasts section. The iPhone lets you download podcasts, but only if they’re less than 20MB over 3G. That’s pitiful, since most podcasts clock in at 30 minutes, or around 30MB, minimum it renders the iPhone almost useless for mobile listening.
Android is different, with Google Listen letting you download as much as you like, wherever you are. It’ll also download automatically, syncing subscriptions with Google Reader, so you can manage your listening habits on a desktop computer too.
The music-identifying app is on both Android and iPhone alike, letting pub quiz entrants cheat their way to victory, no matter which model mobile they’re using. However, Android owners get a few extras, such as one-touch access to a chart of most-tagged songs and the option to buy tracks through Amazon, whereas iPhone owners are shackled to iTunes.
Side by side the Android version of Dropbox seems more evolved than its iPhone counterpart. There are options to use pictures from your Dropbox for more than simply saving to your phone’s photo library (as is the case with iPhone). You can use them as wallpapers, contact photos, or share them on using a variety of other apps, from e-mail to Picassa, as well as sharing links directly to them.
If a file can’t be opened by another app on your phone, you’re free to download it (which the iPhone simply won’t allow), and there are better options for managing your Dropbox contents too, including making folders on the go. Serious Dropbox users should always choose Android over iPhone.
7. Google Maps
One of the most-used apps on iPhones all over the world, The Google Maps Android App knocks spots off Apple’s version. Google Navigation is included on the most recent versions of Android, turns some Android phones into full blown sat navs for free. Then there’s search by voice, Google Latitude built-in, layers and Google Buzz. iPhone owners get none of those.
8. Sky News
Sky News is one of the best dedicated news apps on the iPhone, but the Android version is even sweeter. It comes bundled with widgets to slap breaking news and live updates on your home screen, so you’ll be alerted to developments on the go. Swooshing “breaking news” sound effects are, sadly, not included.
9. Bonsai Blast
It’s no Angry Birds, but this Glu-made game is free on Android while iPhone owners are forced to fork over 59p for the privilege of paying. How’s that for platform inequality? You Android naysayers can harp on as much as you like about iPhone app variety, but it seems just occasionally that it pays to be on the other side of the mobile gaming fence.
10. Opera Mini
Apple recently let Opera have a slice of iPhone action, but unlike the Android version Apple’s OS keeps the browser locked down. Meanwhile Android is open and unrestricted, letting you download files from the web and save them to your phone. From there you can, of course, do what you like with them. E-mail them on, gawp at them outside the browser, or open them with other apps. Take that, Cupertino!
QR Codes courtesy of www.cyrket.com