My recommended Android apps guide (Fall 2015)

I last wrote about what Android apps I regularly use back in the spring of 2013, when I first bought my now-in-need-of-replacing Nexus 4 smartphone. Since that’s forever ago in smartphone terms, I thought it was time for an updated Android apps guide, highlighting my favorite apps.

Productivity

  • Google Docs and Sheets: Google Drive’s web based word processing and spreadsheet software comes with mobile versions. While I don’t use it for extensive writing (I’m not straining my thumbs typing full-length essays on a touchscreen), I do use it for reading a few documents while away from a computer.

Social media

My usual social networks of choice, i.e. the same ones you see linked to in the blog’s sidebar.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Tumblr

Audio

For more on my favorite music/audio services, see here.

  • Google Play Music
  • Pandora: 
  • Spotify
  • SoundCloud
  • Shazam

Video

  • VLC: VLC finally has a stand-alone Android app for playing downloaded video files. I don’t use it often, but it’s still useful to keep around.
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Instant Video
  • Plex: for streaming videos within my apartment. See here for more about Plex’s advantages.

Games

  • Angry Birds

Comics

For more on comic readers, see here.

  • Comixology
  • Perfect Viewer
  • Marvel Unlimited
  • Google Play Books

eBooks

My eBook reading’s dropped off, but here’s what apps I keep around for eBooks.

  • Google Play Books
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Aldiko: for non-DRM eBooks.
  • Overdrive: for library books.

Photos

  • Flickr
  • Google Photos

Utilities/Tools

  • Google Keep
  • Evernote
  • Google Authenticator: for sites that use two-step authentication.
  • Barcode Scanner: for the infrequent instances I need to scan a barcode or QR code.
  • Dictionary: a dictionary app tied to Dictionary.com.
  • ES File Explorer: a file manager app.
  • Feedly: an RSS reader.
  • Lastpass: a password manager.
  • Lookout: an anti-malware/security app. It works quite well, which is good given Android’s lackluster security state.
  • OneBusAway: an app that ties into transit system information, telling me how soon the next bus will arrive. Given the nature of traffic in Seattle, it’s proven quite valuable.
  • Yahoo Weather
  • WordPress: an Android app that lets me log into my WordPress site from my mobile devices. This lets me do some basic tasks and check on my site while away from home.

Miscellaneous

  • Firefox: I still like Chrome, but Chrome-for-Android doesn’t allow you to install ad blockers easily, unlike Firefox. I got tired of seeing pages start auto-playing audio/video (and interrupting my music listening) due to ads.
  • Skype: I prefer Hangouts (when forced to video chat at all), but Skype’s too popular, so I have it as well. This despite the Skype app for Android often crashing on me in the past.
  • IMDB: The app for Internet Movie Database. It’s useful for looking up film trivia, especially when I’m talking about movies with family at the holidays.
  • Yelp

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Ash Kyd (CC BY)

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