The best Android apps of all time are a hard bunch to pick: after all, there’s now an estimated 350,000 different Android apps and games on the Android Market alone to choose from, and that’s not even the only repository for programs that’ll run on Google’s mobile OS.
But pick them we did, and you can see them – and download them – right from our epic guide right here. Grab your Android phone, make a cuppa and read on for the best Android apps of all time: Top 100.
There’s no statistical procedure for making the cut: these our simply the 100 best Android apps as decided by Electricpig’s staff, who live and breathe Android. These are the ones we use day in, day out, and have earned a vital place on our Android phones’ all too limited internal storage.
We’ve not included core Google apps that come preloaded, like Gmail, Voice Search, Google Maps and Navigation, apart from those included in Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 but available on the Market for older devices as well. Likewise, we’ve only included Android apps that are available in the UK – so no Google Voice for now.
Where an Android app isn’t sold through the Market, we’ve linked to the developer’s download page so you can buy it just as easily. But enough talk: read on and see the best Android apps of all time!
In network speak, “unlimited” data rarely means unlimited – you’ve almost certainly got a cap for your downloads, be it 500MB, 1GB or 3GB. Just pop this in and 3G Watchdog tracks how much you’ve slurped each month so you know when to cut back on the keyboard cat clips on YouTube. You can see at a glance just by pulling down the notification bar, making it incredibly convenient: alternatively, Ice Cream Sandwich now includes a fantastic data tracker built into the Settings menu.
Look. This game is not original. This is a Doodle Jump rip off. The cow couldn’t look more fraudulent than if he was wearing a pair of Kevin Kline undies. But it is free, and Doodle Jump for Android is not. So! Go get it.
Have you ever accidentally tried to View a PDF in Gmail, and witnessed Google Docs butcher it in front of your eyes? Yeah, Google doesn’t do PDFs very well. Luckily, Adobe does: this comfortably opens PDFs you’re sent, wrapping and rezizing text and letting you get your pinch to zoom on too. Grab it now, and be grateful when the times comes and you need to use it in a jam – like you’ve forgotten to print off an e-ticket, for instance.
Adobe Photoshop Touch
One of the few Honeycomb tablet apps to make our best Android apps top 100, the newly launched Adobe Photoshop brings iPad style controls to Galaxy Tabs and the like. Use layers and filters, share it all when you’re done. You can also tap into Google Image Search to find snaps you can legally use too.
ADW.Launcher is another homescreen rejigger that really makes you wonder what the big phone makers were doing when they crafted their Android software skins. It’s fast, clean and completely customisable, letting you put what you see fit in your own dock. If you don’t like LauncherPro try this, but for Heaven’s sake, don’t put up with Motoblur on your Motorola Milestone or Defy.
Alarm Clock Extreme
Our idea of an extreme alarm clock is one that fires nails at your face if you don’t get up immediately. This? This is more like Alarm Clock Convenient. Nomenclature aside, it does the job brilliantly, with incredible customisable options. You can tinker with the volume, the songs, the sleep, the time, the days, you name it. The vanilla clock app on Android 2.3 is limited and full of bugs, so this is a blessed relief.
Aldiko Book Reader
The Kindle Android app is great if you use Amazon’s ereader platform on other devices too, but we like a bit of competition, and Aldiko certainly gives, with its own book store. Plus, you can open your own eBook files you already own, as it’s down with most formats.
The Amazon Kindle app for Android gives you access to over 500,000 ebooks through the Amazon ebook portal. If you’ve got a Kindle, you can also use WhisperSync to link up your accounts and devices so that you’ll never lose your page. Anything you buy can be read across devices, and reading is flexible, with customiseable text size, bookmarks and annotations.
Buy music on your Android phone from Amazon’s massive music library. Think of this as the Android alternative to the iPhone’s iTunes music store. OK, so there aren’t any music videos, podcasts, audiobooks or any other frippery that Apple likes to chuck in amongst the digital tunes. On the other hand, Amazon MP3 is incredibly easy to use, densely packed with musical choice, and often cheaper than Apple’s music store too!
Check out our Best Android phone Top 5 now!
It’s ChromeToPhone, but right back at ya. android2cloud simply lets you shove what you were reading on your phone straight to your desktop browser for when you get back in the door and want to carry on reading at a respectable font size.
Ever wondered what you’d look like if you were magically morphed into the same size, shape and appearance as Google’s robotic mascot Andy? Well wonder no more, because Google has given you the tool with which to fulfil this rather worrying fantasy. Androidify is an impressively slick avatar creation program which allows you modify aspects such as skin tone, size, clothing and accessories to create an Android-style likeness of your good self. You can then share this via all the usual channels.
Does Angry Birds need an introduction? Probably not. If you still haven’t taken the plunge and started flinging feathered ammunition across your Android phone’s screen, you’re missing out on a mobile gaming phenomenon. It’s completely free on Android, with only small ads popping up now and again. Addictive, fun and fiendishly difficult at times. We can’t recommend it highly enough.
Astro File Manager
A handy, simple way to get access to the file structure on your Android phone – you’ll want to do this from time to time when you can’t find the video you want to send, or a certain ROM for your emulators. it can even zip up files to send – this really makes your Android phone a portable PC.
Auto Mount Your SD Card
This really is an elegant solution for something Google really ought to get off its bum and fix itself. Install it, and now when you plug your Android phone in to your computer (PC or Mac), it automatically mounts as external USB storage, negating the need for the laborious process of unlocking your phone and confirming this every time you want to grab some pics or sideload something.
Ever tried to use your own photo as a background for your Android phone? Bet it went horribly wrong, and got all stretched, didn’t it? That’s because Android uses an unusual resolution, to give that effect of the background moving ever so slightly when you swipe through homescreens. Backgrounds is a free app that lets you pick out plenty, and they all look just great. If you’re using an Android phone with an AMOLED screen (rather than LCD), try an all black image, and see if it gives you a battery life boost. That one’s on us.
See our Best Android phone budget Top 5 here!
BaconReader for Reddit
Reddit is awesome, you know that. And so is bacon. So it’s only logical that the best Android app for Reddit fans is called BaconReader. It’s snappy, easy to view comments, and provides a browser in-app so all those Imgur links of cats in silly positions won’t take you out of the app and jar the experience. Get it, get addicted.
We could complain about the Android Market until Google releases the next big OS update and then some, but we must admit, we like the ability to pull up a link from a QR code (Those blotch black and white squares) since it saves the hassle of hammering out a URL. Grab Barcode Scanner, point your Android phone’s camera at one and watch as it pulls up the link. As the name suggests, it’s also rather good at checking out regular barcodes for price comparison too, which is nice.
We imagine there’s a cynical reason most smartphones don’t show remaining battery on the homescreen as a percentage rather than a vague symbol, but the benevolent folks behind Battery Indicator are here to help. Install, and it’ll give you a precise percentage of juice left in the notification bar, in an icon no bigger than the default icon. If you have an Android phone with a pathetic battery, like the HTC Desire HD, you need to try this out, pronto.
We stick with the more utilitarian Widgetsoid on our own Google Nexus S, but if you’re the sort of person who lusts after HTC’s suite of Android widgets but have a different brand of phone, this is the best Android app for you. It’s stuffed full of hundreds of lavish looking homescreen applets, with lots of animations to choose from, and customisable power control bars too.
Brothers In Arms 2
Gameloft simply loves to mimic the IP of big name console franchises and stick them on mobile. This Call of Duty aping Android title however is well worth the price, with glorious graphics and a fantastic campaign to blast through. You’ll have to buy it on Gameloft’s Android portal rather than the Market, but it’s worth hunting down.
If you use the PayPal Android app, you might have used Bump’s tech before. Bump is super nifty tech that means you can share stuff with other people just by bumping your phones together, in a sort of smartphone data smooch. It works between operating systems too, so you can have an unlikely romance between an Android and an iPhone, iPad, or even an iPod touch.
A scanner! In your phone! We’re big advocates of paperless offices but for the times you do need to scan a document in, the CamScanner Android app works eerily well, even with the awful sensors Motorola still sticks on most of its phones these days. Simply take a shot, select the corners of the page in the image, and watch as it twiddles with the contrast and whatnot to give you a smooth, flat, white sheet of paper with your text on.
Google Maps Navigation is truly one of the most groundbreaking developments in software of the last decade – it’s now built in on Android, which is why we haven’t included it here. But even it has its flaws: it only caches some mapping, so you need a 3G connection, which is a no go in parts of the countryside, and abroad if you don’t want a huge bill. CoPilot Live however is full PND software for your phone at a knockdown price, with locally stored maps. Ace.
Best HTC phone Top 5: See the list!
Cut The Rope
Cut (pun absolutely intended) from the same cloth as Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds, Cut the Rope has already gained a sizeable following on the iPhone. This addictive puzzle title is focused around feeding a piece of candy to an adorable little monster by the name of Om Nom. Each level has a sweet suspended by ropes, and slashing these with your finger causes all kinds of physics-related fun. Of course it’s rarely as straightforward as that, and before long you’ll be scratching your head at the fiendish challenges. Elements such as bellows (which blow the candy in a certain direction) and bubbles (which allow the candy to float majestically upwards) are introduced, and these make things a little more complicated. It’s amazingly addictive stuff, and it’s available absolutely free. Essential.
Dolphin Browser HD
Unless you’re already running Ice Cream Sandwich, Dolphin Browser HD is superior to the stock Android browser app in every way. It’s faster, packs visible tabs at the top, still supports Flash on Android 2.2 and up, and offers gestures, letting you jump straight back up to the top of a page in an instant for instance – an obvious UI feature Google has failed to figure out as of yet. Google devs, this is one of the best Android apps you could learn from.
We love the free desktop version of doubleTwist as a simple way to sync music and media to any phone that isn’t an iPhone, with an eerily similar iTunes-interface and absolutely none of the Ping. This complementary Android app adds the awesome extra feature of wireless sync. While it’s a pricier solution than WinAmp, we really like the sparse, get-the-job-done approach of the desktop software it works with.
Stashing files in the cloud is the smart way to centralise your digital documents, but in practice it can sometimes be quite fiddly. Enter, Dropbox. This neat cloud storage app hooks you up with gigs and gigs of free storage (and you can earn more by referring friends). Pay a bit of money and you can get oodles of space. Dropbox lets you tap into your files anywhere, and even better, plenty of other apps sync with Dropbox to automatically save things like photos and audio clips.
Dungeon Defenders: Second Wave
Dungeon Defenders was the first Android game to use Epic’s Unreal mobile engine, and now on version two, it looks glorious. It plays it too, offering up a heady mix of tower defence and action roleplaying that’ll please both casual gamers and World of Warcraft addicts alike. The only thing to watch out for: you’ll need a powerful Android phone with a big chunk of space free on its SD card, as it”s so graphically intensive.
One of Gameloft’s best Android apps is a port of its iOS-based Final Fantasy beater. Eternal Legacy is one of the best-looking Android games we’ve ever had the good fortune to clap eyes on, boasting the kind of detail and visual complexity you’d normally expect from a Sony PlayStation Portable release. The fact that this aesthetic brilliance is buttressed by an epic plot and hours of intense RPG gameplay is merely the icing on the cake – and all for around the same price as a pint.
EVAC plays like Pac-Man fell asleep and woke up inside The Grid. This beautiful neon puzzle game gives you plenty of mazes to beat, and makes you think about your gameplan rather than relying on twitch reactions. Those using an Android phone with a high res WVGA (800×480) screen should opt for EVAC HD, while those with HVGA screens or lower (Like the HTC Hero and HTC Legend) should go with the regular version.
Evernote is the don of mobile note taking. The Android app lets you type notes and make an audio note at the same time, then attach a file, take a photo, then file it away neatly with some appropriate tags and pinning it into one of your digital notebooks. As soon as you hit save, that note will sync with any other version of Evernote you use, be it on a tablet, PC or Mac.
Facebook needs no introduction. While it was once long the ugly older sister of the darling Facebook iPhone app, the social network now keeps both platforms in sync in launch time and feature set. Late last year, the UI was given a huge overhaul, and while we still think it could do with improved load times, the new side bar menu is a massive improvement.
Federico Carnales – a talented fellow we know well from his work on the excellent LauncherPro – has been busy with a side project that might interest those of you that like the look of Windows Phone 7′s Metro UI. FedeMusic is basically an Android-based replication of Windows Phone’s Zune music player, right down to the silky-smooth animation and transition effects. You can even search your music using the Zune Player’s cool grid-based tool. At the moment it’s only available in .APK form, so you’ll need to download it from Carnales’ site and side-load it using a file manager like Linda. We’re sure more features will be added in the future, but at the moment it should sate your desire to rush out and replace your Desire HD with a HD7, and it’s actually a lot nippier than the default Android music player to boot.
Use your GPS-enabled Android phone to check-in to places and earn badges and (possibly) discounts at selected stores, bars and restaurants. Special check-in combinations earn special badges. Do a tour of four Apple stores in a day, for instance, and you’ll unlock a special Mac-lover badge. Checking in absurdly often? You’ll get the over-shareing badge. It’s a bit like being a digital cub scout, earning badges for roaming around, rather than tying fiddly knots. Fun, too.
Find out what the five best Android apps of all time are here!
Unless you’re rocking a Motorola Milestone XT720 or Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, the chances are your Android phone’s camera is a bit awful. In which case, we suggest you spruce up your pictures by overlaying them wtih retro templates to mask this fact, while giving them a Polaroid 70s feel in the process. For now, this is the closest you’ll get to Instagram on Android, and it’s well worth a look if you’re disatisfied with the quality of your smartphone’s piccies.
Game Dev Story
Remember how in the 90s you played Theme Hospital to death? This cute sim gives off those great Bullfrog vibes, placing you in charge of a game development studio. Plan years ahead, garner rave reviews and prepare for new console releases. Seriously, weirdly addictive.
The official Google Docs Android app is not without its flaws: you can’t edit fonts, or for some reason email documents from the app, rather than share access to them. Nonetheless, it’s a polished and fast way to get to all of those files, and most importantly, if you’re running multiple Google accounts, you can toggle between them easily. There’s also a handy home screen widget.
Google Earth serves little purpose in everyday use, other than to look absolutely amazing. Which it does. You could spend hours just zooming in and out of the world, marvelling at its beauty, and Google’s phenomenal ability to capture it all. And we have – and we advise you to do the same.
A glimpse into the future, this first party Android app shows where image search is headed. Take a photo and Google Goggles will do its darndest to work out what exactly is in the shot, and bring you details about it. Snap a painting in a gallery for instance, and you can find out who it’s by and more – the same goes for landmarks. It’ll also translate some languages for you on the fly, though if you’re using it on your jollies, watch out for pesky roaming charges.
Google’s own podcast trapper-keeper Google Listen is still in beta, but works a treat for sucking down the latest episodes of your favourite audio shows, and cleverly uses Google Reader for managing on the desktop. It’s one for casual podcast listeners rather than audiobook obsessives, but it gets the job done with litle fuss for free.
So here’s the thing: unless you’ve got a Nexus phone, the default Android music player on your phone and Google Music aren’t actually one and the same. The latter is much more polished, with beautiful cover art, and music streaming and an MP3 download the store. Now, these only work in the US, but you can sign up for the cloud streaming of your own music by heading to music.google.com through an American proxy browser. Once that’s done, it works just fine.
Google took a strangely long time to come out with a native Android app for its popular RSS reader, but now that it’s here we don’t know how we coped without it. The Google Reader Android app is just like the web version optimized for a small screen, with handy options to view video embeds and even navigate through posts up and down with the volume keys. It’s text heavy, sure, but that’s quite alright with us when it works flawlessly.
Google Sky Map
One of the best educashional Android apps: this chin stroking official Google app shows you the night sky, and all the constellations and clusters that supposedly look like an animal but clearly don’t. Or at least it shows you what you would see where it not for urban smog getting in the way. Anyway, the Google Sky Map Android app lets you look like Patrick Moore, and that’s good enough for us.
Google Translate‘s handy on a desktop, but inifnitely more so on your phone, when you’re likely to be out and about asking people Polly voo English? It translates on the fly, offering up voice input and even a scary new mode where you can chat over IM in English and Spanish, while the Google Translate iPhone app does all the translation.
It’s been a long time coming, but finally, us Brits have a movie rental service for Android. In terms of content available, it’s no match for iTunes, but once you’re put credit card details in, it’s easy to use, and there are still new Hollywood releases to be had. You can also stream movies or download them for offline viewing – handy for long flights.
GO Launcher EX
Here’s the thing many people don’t know about Android: if you don’t like your homescreen and menu system, you can change it (especially helpful if your manufacturer has crippled amazing hardware with a bloated skin, IE Motorola). While LauncherPro is best for blazing speed, we really love GO Launcher EX’s customisability. You can download all sorts of themes, rejig the grid layout, and even, GASP, resize widgets so they take up less space on your screen. It’s our launcher of choice right now, at least if your phone doesn’t run Ice Cream Sandwich yet.
Grand Theft Auto 3
For all the problems at launch, if your phone supports this graphics-heavy game, it’s one of the best Android apps ever. The full PS2 masterpiece is recreated in all its glory on your mobile, and the touchscreen controls aren’t even too bad either. It’s also a must play game if you have a Sony Ericsson Xperia Play: the controls are perfectly suited to it. Can we have Vice City next please Rockstar?
The Guardian’s app isn’t massively pretty, but it is free, and it does let you set automated downloads for offline reading. In other words, set it to download all the latest stories at 6.30am, then read up on everything on the train into work, without interruption from patchy signal. You can also watch video, stream podcasts and rejig the order of categories to your liking, making it one of the best Android apps for news.
Fresh from a successful tour of duty on the iPhone, Guerrilla Bob is now bringing his own unique brand of death and destruction to Android. The result is easily one of the most visually arresting twin-stick shooters on Google’s mobile platform, but this visual brilliance means you’ll need a powerful phone to extract the most enjoyment. Cross-platform multiplayer helps to liven things up when you’ve completed the single-player experience, and the game is configured to make use of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play’s unique control setup.
Gun Bros looks every bit as good on Android as it does on the iPhone. As two beefy brothers with guns (Hence the name), you walk around annihilating wave after wave of alien enemies, in a cross between the Duke Nukem games of the 1990s and Streets of Rage. It’s still in beta however, so expect some bugs – but at least it doesn’t cost a penny.
FPse for Android
For some curious reason, this PlayStation emulator has survived the emulator cull on the Market – we’re guessing because the name gives Google no clue as to what it is. What it is a rather spiffy way to play all your old PSX games, if you’re prepared to go into the legal grey area of emulation, and can find a PSX bios to side load onto your phone – we’ve got instructions. Performance is largely smooth, and we’ve had a lot more luck with this than more recent versions of psx4droid. One of the very best Android apps for gamers.
Handcent SMS replaces the stock messaging Android app on your phone with a new look program bursting with added features. You can completely customise layout and notifications for different friends, group text people easily and change the layout as you see fit. There’s a ton of themes to download, and plenty of plug-ins on the Android Market too which give you new fonts, emoticons and more.
We really hate voicemail – not so much because the messages people leave us are never good ones, but just because ringing up the network, then pressing all the buttons to listen to it, then having to hear them all again if you missed a bit of it, then trying to delete it, is. A. Nightmare. HulloMail is a simple Visual Voicemail Android app that’s a cinch to set up, and simply gives you voicemails like they were MP3 audio files you can stop and scrub as you like.
Ice Cream Sandwich Keyboard
You don’t need Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 on your Android phone to use its vastly improved keyboard – just 2.2 or up. Activate this, and you’ll see a spruced up set of buttons, with smarter word prediction, which now bases corrections and suggestions on the words you’ve just typed as well as the one you’re typing. The only downside? No microphone button for voice input. Otherwise, it’s the new king of our best Android keyboard apps roundup.
Google’s always coming up with new ways to save power but there’s no denying that Android can slurp through your battery’s juice all too quickly. JuiceDefender is a nice solution, turning off various settings at thresholds you specify to make sure you don’t run out for an emergency, and is much more comprehensive on rooted phones, which can toggle many more. We’re recommending this over any task killers (Note their absence from our Best Android apps 100 list) as a power saving solution, as particularly on Android 2.2 and up, task killers are just a placebo, and if anything, can waste power.
Keyboard from Android 2.3
Android 2.3 comes with an amazing new touchscreen keyboard, which is almost as responsive as the iPhone’s legendary QWERTY – and adds some killer UI features on top too. For those lumbered with a Google Nexus One or older Android phone with a bobbins custom manufacturer keyboard (LG and Acer, we’re looking at you), this open source interpretation of it is free and works like a charm.
We’re big fans of WhatsApp for smartphone instant messaging, but the other program gaining traction is Kik Messenger, which works like a charm, using a more SMS style layout for your chats with friends. Really, it’s just a question of trying both out to see which more of your friends use – don’t expect any BlackBerry mates on this one though, as the developer is in the midst of a legal brawl with RIM.
Unless you own a HTC Sense Android phone, use a custom ROM or a Nexus handset, please don’t take offense when we say your Android launcher is awful – with special laginess prizes going out to Sony Ericsson and Motorola. Luckily, you can speed things up and customise your homescreen to your heart’s content by installing LauncherPro instead, which gives you a nice plain dock to tool with, and no laggy social feeds hubs cemented on. Unfortunately, development seems to have ceased on the app, but it’s still well worth investigating.
There’s a few different GPS trackers out there for Android, but this is the one we find ourselves coming back to every time we go out on a run. Just hit start and it’ll keep a track of your route, and break down the distance for you. It saves your runs to the cloud, and you can share them with your others too, but its most useful feature is the ability to read out your distance and speed at set intervals: it even lowers the volume of any music you’ve got playing while doing so.
Meridian Media Player Autonomy
Not everyone likes to keep enormous, lossless FLAC versions of their songs on their Android phone’s SD cards, but audio purists will appreciate the extra format support this smart music player offers over the bult in Android sound slinger. Meridian also lets you edit the ID3 tags of all your songs on the fly, which is handy if your CD ripping software of choice hasn’t done it already. Or you’re, er, sourcing music from, how shall we say, “elsewhere”.
MiniSquadron Special Edition
MiniSquadron is like an evil, aviation version of Micro Machines. Shoot down rival planes, perform acrobatics to dodge and generally just survive – which is much easier said than done. Add to that the frantic multiplayer versus mode over Wi-Fi and you’re looking at a winner of an Android game. The special edition version comes with eight extra levels of awesomeness.
Find out what the best Android games Top 5 are right now!
Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus
Gameloft’s Android invasion continues apiece with this Call of Duty-inspired first-person blaster. After successfully fulfilling its mission on the iPhone, Modern Combat 2 brings across its stunning visuals, addictive gameplay and hectic multiplayer mayhem to Google’s mobile OS. You’ll need a decent phone to make the most of this – T-Mobile G1 owners need not enlist – but it’s worth it. Modern Combat 2 effortlessly blows away the competition and wouldn’t look out of place on Sony’s PSP handheld.
Wow. That’s the first word that springs to mind when you see N64oid boot up for the first time. If you thought that SNESoid and FPse were impressive then you’re probably going to scream like an excitable child when you see this baby in action. Although it’s still early days for the app, it already boasts a surprising level of compatibility with N64 ROMS and runs the superlative Mario 64 like a dream. The controls work well too, with the N64’s analogue stick proving to be very forgiving when translated to a touch screen. If you have any interest in retro gaming whatsoever, then this is a no-brainer.
On Smarter Address Book
HulloMail is a good free visual voicemail choice for anyone who gets the occasional message and nothing more, but busy business types and power users would do well to check out this Android app, backed by phone network Orange. You can micro manage who gets put through to voicemail and who doesn’t when they call, pull conversations together by platform, have email transcriptions of messages delivered to you, and even automate your voicemail message based on factors like location and caller.
You might have heard of OnLive, the cloud game streaming service backed by HTC and BT. If you’ve got a decent Android phone or tablet running 2.3 or up however, you need to check it out. You can play all sorts of PC titles from Assassin’s Creed to Pro Evo over Wi-Fi, on your device. You’ll need the special Bluetooth controller for some, but others have bene optimized for touchscreens, including LA Noire.
While Dolphin Browser HD is our browser of choice when we’re on Wi-Fi and a top-end Android, it’s still not entirely stable. The Opera Mini app loads much quicker, and because of server side compression, delivers you a web page using less data: that’s not a big deal in an age of huge data tariffs, but it’s tremendously useful if you live in an area with more 2G than 3G reception. In other words, if you’re on Orange.
What did we do before PayPal? With the Paypal Android app you can check payments, transfers, balance, and even go Dutch. Every payment is confirmed with a pin or password too, so it’s secure. The best bit of the PayPal app though is the Bump tech that’s inside – knock two Android phones together and exchange details for quick and easy payments.
It’s taken longer than we would have liked, but the Android Market is finally getting some love from big-name publishers. Konami is one such company, and it has rewarded those of us that haven’t succumbed to Apple’s posturing with this blistering example of virtual footie. Granted, attempting to replicate Wayne Rooney’s spectacular overhead volley on a touch screen interface isn’t easy, but the amazing graphics help soften the blow a little. It’s also encouraging to see how much of the console’s edition’s gameplay has been replicated in this pint-sized offering, with a wide range of leagues and teams to choose from.
We’re massive fans of the original PewPew here at Electricpig. It’s unquestionably one of the finest tributes to Geometry Wars we’ve ever witnessed, and is only surpassed in its retro-tinged awesomeness by this sequel. Everything we loved about the first game is here, including amazing music, silky-smooth gameplay and terrific wire frame graphics that are a close approximation of what 1970s gamers must have imagined the future would look like. A less welcome addition is a price tag (the original was free) but when you consider that PewPew 2 boasts a more focused campaign mode and loads of content to unlock, it’s hard to grumble.
ngmoco’s charming game is like Lionhead’s Black & White parboiled down into an Android app. Decide the fate of your little islanders and rain death from the sky or bring bountious harvests. While some of the actions you can trigger are incredibly morbid, Pocket God is still an adorable Android game that for the price is a must have download.
While it is technically possible to play World of Warcraft on an Android phone, it’s not ideal, since it’s designed for a huge PC screen. The free Pocket Legends on the other hand is a gorgeous looking massively mutliplayer online RPG, played through and designed for your Android. Sure, the combat is simplified, but you can play with friends over Wi-Fi and 3G. And it’s free! Get questing.
Prey Phone Tracker
Prey is a simple app you will hopefully never have run. Just install it and set up an account on Prey’s website, then should somebody swipe your Android phone, you can simply track it, Find My iPhone style. It’s worth noting new HTC Sense Android phones have a similar feature built in, and you’ll need to have your GPS on for this to work – but you can trigger that remotely if you prefer to keep it off most of the time with Tasker, another app on our Best Android apps of all time list.
Tasker is a fantastic Android app, but there’s no denying it can be daunting to use. By contrast, Profile Valet makes setting up automated settings based on location or time of day a doddle. Want your phone on silence between midnight and 7am? Easy. Wi-Fi on when you get home? Sure thing. It’s a shame there aren’t more actions it can trigger or be set off by like Tasker, but it’s free and painless, so it’s the next best thing.
Pulse News Reader
Android doesn’t have too many visual, magazine style RSS reader apps at the moment, in the same way iOS boasts – though that may change with the advent of Android 3.0 Honeycomb for tablets. In the meantime, Pulse News Reader is the best of the bunch, presenting news feeds and blogs in a gorgeous layout – plus there’s offline caching for when you’re on the train with poor or no signal, and Facebook news feed integration. If you’ve never used RSS before and have an Android phone, we urge you to try this one out.
Read It Later
Ever found yourself reading a particularly interesting website and then realising you’re late for work, and have no option but to make a mad dash for the door, leaving the aforementioned article unfinished? Or perhaps you’ve been stuck at work and spotted something that you’d love to read at a later date, but have no way of reminding yourself? Sounds like you need Read It Later, the Android edition of the web bookmarking tool that has already proven to be a massive success on the iPhone. The premise is simple – once you’ve established a Read It Later account, you can tag pages on both your phone and your web browser. Unread pages appear on both devices, so you can finish reading either on the way to work or when you return home. The best thing is that Read It Later even remembers how far you’ve gotten in a particular page, and allows you to pick up from exactly where you left off. Genius.
While mobile VNC is easy on modern smartphones, this flips things on its head by giving you access to your Android phone from your computer instead: check out the contents of its storage, get notifications on your computer screen and even send SMS messages with your keyboard. Great for office workers.
Android isn’t known for its video format support, and if this is a dealbreaker for you, we suggest you go with a Samsung Galaxy S phone – Samsung’s gone above and beyond to offer native support for usually unplayable AVI and MKV files. For the rest of us, RockPlayer does a great job of opening any clip in any format in a pinch – perfect for watching TV shows on the go.
Skype for Android gives you access to a full contacts list (and syncs with your Google contacts on your phone), lets you make in-app calls on the cheap (or for free if you call another Skyper) and has instant message support that can work one to one or with a group. Hook up to Wi-Fi if you’re going to Skype from abroad to avoid pesky roaming charges though!
As with all the puzzle flavoured best Android apps on our list, Slice It! hooks you by starting off easily, and ramping up the difficulty until you’ve drained your HTC Desire HD‘s battery by playing it for two hours continuously. You’re presented with shapes you have to plaster lines across and cut into the reuired number of segments of equal surface area. Even if you didn’t dig geometry at school, you’ll dig this ad-supported free game.
Like LauncherPro, this gets rids of the random garbage launcher your Android phone manufacturer has likely enforced upon you. Instead of paring it down however, this Android app transforms your homescreen into a beautiful, visual guide to all your notifications, with the latest from calls, text messages, email, Twitter and even RSS. Take that in your static homescreen face, iPhone.
Google’s calendar widget will take a huge chunk of screen real estate, without ever showing more than one day’s events ahead. Smooth Calendar on the other hand, is a nice thin bar with a clean visual indication of the day, and detailed descriptions of your next three upcoming events. This had pride of place on our Google Nexus S‘ homescreen – alas, it doesn’t work in Ice Cream Sandwich just yet.
SMS Backup +
Historians are going to look back at this time and curse us: SMS messages really are the most transient form of communciation humans have ever invented. Other than speech. Anyway, the point is, SMS Backup + lets you preserve your 153 character gems for posterity by backing them up to a label on your Gmail account. It keeps them as conversations, just as your Android phone does, which is handy too.
While only more recent Android phones will cope with FPSe and the PlayStation back catalogue, Snesoid is slightly less demanding, and still lets you indulge in some super retro gaming action. It plays all your SNES roms with ease, and if your Android is touchscreen only, overlays the screen with a nice array of virtual buttons. It’s no longer available on the Android Market, but it’s still available on the SlideMe store, and remains one of the very best Android apps full stop. Well worth it.
Five of the best Android GPS apps
It’s true. There are a ton of great RPGs you could play on a SNES emulator on your Android phone for a lot less than the price of Spectral Souls – but just think of how you’ll be helping the Android gaming dev scene with your contribution! Also, this is a massive, bloomin’ marvellous retro-ish adventure game which will suck your time like Dragon Quest IX does on the Nintendo DS.
As many tunes as you can stuff into your ears, with offline caching that’ll stop you blitzing that 3G data allowance too. Spotify‘s music streaming app is very nearly perfect, and a must-own for music-loving Android owners. The only downside is you’ll need to fork out cash for a monthly Spotify subscription – £9.99 in the UK. It’s worth every penny though. Note that the link above will take you through to Spotify’s mobile site for download, as AppBrain doesn’t currently list the European only app.
SwiftKey is another keyboard Android app that gets better as you use it. It tries to predict the next word you’ll use based on sentence structure, rather than just the current word you’re typing, and it learns your lingo over time, making it eerily efficient. If you’re on an Android 2.1 or lower phone, we strongly advise you to check this out – and it looks a lot like HTC’s Android keyboard, which is a tres good thing.
Swype is one of a new wave of unconventional touchscreen keyboards available on Android. Instead of poking one key at a time, you swipe (Get it?) across the screen for the word you want – it’s eerily accurate and if you give it time to learn your new words, get’s very fast. It’s worth trying on any Android phone, but if you’ve got one with an unresponsive resistive touchscreen it’s absolutely essential. You can download it simply by clicking through to the company’s site and registering.
You probably won’t need this if you’re sporting a HTC Sense or Sony Ericsson Android phone, but for the rest of us, Google’s attempts at linking Facebook profiles to those in your phonebook often falls short, with no way to manually join them. SyncMyPix makes a much more intelligent attempt at populating your contacts with Facebook profile pics, so you can see who’s calling you at a glance.
Tasker lets you create incredible, complex profiles based on everything from your location to whether the Wi-Fi is on, or your headphones are plugged in. Then they lie dormant in the background, triggering actions at your convenience: we’ve got our Google Nexus set to turn off the PIN lock when we get home and give us a list of media playing apps to launch when we plug in our cans. It’s utterly brilliant, and well worth the time to customise. In fact, it’s so good, we named it in our Best Android apps of 2010.
The smash hit iPhone game has just come to Android, without a price tag. With charming 8-bit graphics, you’re tasked with building up and managing a tower block, building flats and shops and services, all while keeping the residents happy and employed. Think Theme Park crossed with Game Dev Story and you’re not far off.
The Sims 3
If we have to explain the concept of The Sims to you at this point, honestly, where have you been for the last decade plus? We only ask, because it sounds like the sort of pop culture vacuum we could retreat to and not have to hear anything more about Peaches Geldof and Katie Price, it’s that ubiquitous. Anyway, The Sims 3 is the The Sims 3, letting you control (or maltreat) your beings as you see fit, and watch as it unfolds. Absorbing fun.
Many an Android phone comes with a media streaming app installed, to sling music, images and video to and from DLNA certified devices. But they’re hit and miss (We’ve never had much luck with HTC’s for instance), and you don’t get anything in vanilla Android. Skifta is a free app that does that for all Android devices running 2.2 Froyo and up. Oddly, it’s made by phone chip giant Qualcomm, but whatever, it works.
Power users flock to Android, and for many of them, this will be a wet dream. Textspansion is a text expander that lets you automatically drop in longer lines of text when you type a short phrase (Great for canned responses, say). iPhone owners needn’t get too jealous however: You can do much the same in the settings of iOS 5.
Instant access to the world of internet radio. Listen to rumba stations from Cuba, or country from the deep south. Over 40,000 channels, with browsing by type and genre, plus presets to save your favourites. This version is free, with banner ads, but if you fancy an ad-free version get your hands on RadioTime.
See the five best free Android games here
TweetDeck for Android might just be a better option than the official Twitter app for Android, depending on what you want to do. TweetDeck lets you pull in more than one account, plus Foursquare, Facebook and Google Buzz feeds, as well as the usual replies, mentions and retweet functions, and it looks a whole lot nicer than the desktop client.
The Twitter Android app does everything you need to keep up to date with all your tweeps on the go. Tweet, reply, retweet, share and favourite tweets, and will also let you keep on top of your lists, alter your profile. Be aware though, to use the Twitter for Android app, you’ll need to be running Android 2.1 or higher. An older version than this means you’re stuck with the mobile app.
You know how all your friends still lugging BlackBerrys around love their BlackBerry Messenger? Get them to install this cross platform alternative instead: you can holler at friends on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Symbian phones, using micro amounts of data instead of wasting valuable texts for long conversations. It’s instant messaging, but tied to your mobile number so as soon as you install it you’ll see which of your friends use it and are available to pester.
Widgetsoid lets you conjure up widgets of just about any shape for your homescreen, then stuff them full of toggles for all sorts of power controls, settings and media toggles. Want a bar that lets you toggle 2G and 3G, remove the PIN lock and toggle screen brightness? Want it vertical? Whatever, you choose.
WinAmp for Android is a great music player made even better by the addition of wireless desktop syncing and iTunes library importing. Just leave your phone lying around in the radius of your home network, and presto, all the latest songs you ripped on your computer will be there. Magic.
Free or £1.99 with ads
The board and concept are exactly the same as Zynga’s Words With Friends, but we enjoy Wordfeud more. It’s no frills Scrabble-style play, and you can run multiple games simultaneously, and take turns at your own leisure. Frankly speaking, the calibre of competition seems to be higher when you play against random opponents. Start schooling up on your two letter words.
Ever find yourself wishing you could connect to your PC or Mac and peruse all its contents (and see its desktop) on your Android phone? Wyse Pocketcloud is your go to Android app then. This RDP/VNC freebie works like a charm, and for all your Android 2.2 and up folks, can be installed on your Android phone’s SD card to save space. The free version is only limited to one computer and without 128-bit crazy encryption – but that might be enough for most!
Made it to the end? What did you think? Are there any apps you think are missing from our Best Android apps of all time list? Tell us what they are, in the comments below!