While it seems like everyone and their mom owns an iPhone, the Android is intent on dethroning it. Google and Apple are locked in a death match, and the winners are the customers. Why? Because in the process, hundreds of great Apps have been produced.
If you own an Android powered phone and are wondering what Apps you need to download, look no further. Here is an in-depth list neatly sorted for your App-finding pleasure.
Update: This post was originally written in 2010. Our original list of the best Android apps can still be found at the end of this article, and many of them are still as popular as ever. But we’ve added some new top picks for 2013. Here are some great apps that were either missed originally or that came about after our original post on the best Android apps. The picks are based on a combination of factors such as popularity and ratings, interesting elements or features, and their lack of inclusion on the original list.
Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop – This is a remote desktop app that lets you stream your whole PC or Mac screen to your Android Smartphone. It’s great for checking files and work on the go.
Invoice2Go – Create and email invoices and estimates to customers from your mobile phone. This app features over 20 templates that you can customize.
Call Blocker – Block annoying phone calls and SMS messages with black list capabilities. Back up your contacts and transfer data to a new phone. You can also erase your call history and delete SMS messages permanently to protect your privacy.
CamCard – Scan business cards into your phone by taking a picture of them. It will then read the card into your card holder or address book. You’ll never have to manage a collection of physical business cards again.
TripLog – Do you need to track your mileage for tax purposes? If so, TripLog might be for you. You can track vehicle mileage using GPS. It will auto start when moving more than 5 mph.
FXGuru – Add special effects to your movies on your phone. Several effects are free and others are available via in-app purchases.
Geocaching – Think of this as a real-life treasure hunting game. Players sign up at the app’s website and can choose a nearby geocache to find using their phone’s GPS.
SlingPlayer – If you have a Slingbox, you can now use this app to watch your TV from your Android device.
Police Scanner Radio Scanner - Listen to police scanners around the world. More are being added all of the time.
Talking Tom Cat 2 – Interact with a virtual cat named Tom. Dress him up to look like different professions. Pet his belly, pull his tail, talk to him, and more. Record videos and share them on YouTube.
Temple Run 2 – This sequel is a fun swipe game that has you helping your character get away from temple spirits after he or she robs the temple. Swipe different directions to avoid obstacles and turn and collect coins to buy upgrades. Also check out the original TempleRun, TempleRun: Brave, and TempleRun: Oz.
Candy Crush Saga – This is an addictive match-3 puzzle game.
4 Pics 1 Word – Figure out what each of four pictures have in common. This is a simple, yet highly addictive, game.
Ruzzle - Ruzzle is a word game where you and an opponent compete to find the most words out of a set by swiping your finger over the letters.
Vector – This is an arcade style game where you are running away from “Big Brother.” Vault, slide, and climb your way to freedom.
Pinterest – Pin images from the Web or your camera to share with others.
Circle – This social app helps you find and connect with people physically near you with similar interests.
Tumblr – This is a blog app that lets users post any type of media, save drafts, queue posts, and manage multiple blogs.
ooVoo Video Call – Here is an app that allows you to participate in video chats. Up to 12 people can chat at once and it’s free!
Skout – Skout is a global network for meeting new people, near you or around the world. Promote your profile and earn points to unlock premium features.
FlightTrack – Track flights and delays in more than 16,000 airports worldwide. Also find alternate flights when necessary.
GlutenFree Finder – With more and more people becoming allergic to gluten, this app will help them find gluten-free restaurants while traveling.
Restaurants and Menus – Find menus from anywhere in the world and call the restaurants from the app.
TripIt Travel organizer – Keep your travel plans in one app and access the details whenever you need them. Other features include sharing your trip plans, syncing with your calendar, and getting local weather forecasts no matter where you are.
BackCountry Navigator pro – Use your phone as an off-road GPS with topographical maps. This can be used for activities such as hiking, hunting, and backpacking.
Eurosport.com – This is an app that lets you keep up with everything going on in European sports.
My Fishing Advisor – Here is a tool for freshwater fishing that analyzes the weather, sun and moon positions, moon phase, and other things to determine where fish will be located, how active they are and what lures and baits to use.
Ski & Snow Report – Get up to date information on ski and snow conditions at more than 2000 ski areas around the world. It also includes trail maps and can locate nearby ski areas and has reports from other users.
UFC TV – Watch UFC events on your phone. Also view fighter profiles, weigh-ins, and press conferences.
NHL Game Center – This official app features up to date information and scoring from the NHL. It also includes player profiles.
Healthcare and Fitness
Zombies, Run! – This is a cool running simulation game where you run to get away from zombies chasing you. As you run, you collect supplies automatically for use at your base when you get back home.
Noom Weight Loss Coach – Get daily tasks to help you be healthier. Track how you’re doing and log food and exercise. It even includes a built-in pedometer to track your activity automatically during the day.
Recipes by Ingredients – This lets a user search for recipes based on certain ingredients, allergies, calories, or servings. It’s a great way to find healthy recipes based on items you already have on-hand.
Workout Trainer – This features free and premium workout programs with step by step audio, photo, and video instructions.
Calorie Counter pro – Scan barcodes and track your calories, exercise, and weight.
Google Currents – This is an app from Google that delivers breaking stories and free updates from publishers such as Forbes, PBS, and TechCrunch.
News360 – This app learns what you like and don’t like and finds news articles and blog posts that are relevant to you.
Pocket – This is a bookmarking app that lets you save items from the Web that you want to view later with a simple button press.
Lotto Results – This gives you quick access to the latest state lottery results in the US so you no longer have to look them up online or sit by the TV waiting on results.
NPR News – Read or listen to the latest stories from NPR stations. Just enter your zip code to listen to your local NPR station live.
Ancestry – Interact with your Ancestry.com family trees or build a new one. Add and edit family members and perform research to find more.
Goodreads – Keep records of books you’ve read and enter them quickly by scanning their barcodes. This is basically a social network for people who like to read. You can also find book reviews and add your own.
Bible – Read different versions of the Bible with this app. Add highlights, bookmarks, and public or private notes.
Talking Translator/Dictionary – Speak a sentence and hear a translation in the language of your choice. This could be a great app for travelers.
Audiobooks – Listen to 2800 classic books, all for free.
Spotify – Listen to music and the radio anywhere. Save songs you like with a tap.
SoundHound – This identifies songs you sing or hum. Lyrics scroll while the song plays.
Smart Voice Recorder – This app features high quality, long time sound recording with silence skips. Record meetings, notes to yourself, or even overnight snoring.
VEVO – Watch music videos whenever you want on VEVO.
Magic Piano – Have fun playing songs on your phone by touching the beams of light. You can sign up to access a database of tunes to play, and feel like you’re playing the piano in seconds even if you’ve never done it before.
Original Post: Here is our original list of the best Android apps, posted in 2010.
Need an App to help you with business-related tasks? Check these out.
1. Tasker – The ultimate automation app for Android, this app allows one to set conditions (time of day, orientation of phone, use of a particular app) under which apps launch or close. You can also edit volume levels, switch sounds on or off, and more. Includes many other automatic features.
2. Documents to Go – View Word and Excel files on your Android device. For $14.99, a key can be purchased that unlocks create/edit functionality.
3. Bump – Take any two phones that have this app, bump them together, and swap contact information without a single button press. It doesn’t get any easier to share information than this.
4. Maps - The Maps app is so dead useful that it alone can be considered worth the purchase of an Android device. The new navigation feature removes the need for a GPS Unit, or subscription to your carrier’s navigation app.
5. Currency - Up-to-date exchange rate info for just about every type of currency used in international markets today. A must for anyone going international.
6. You Keep Your Money – A collection of apps that keep track of expenses. It shows them as graphs for easy analysis.
7. Fake-a-Call- Great for getting out of a meeting gone too long. Set up a call to go off at a given time, and your phone fakes the call for you to conveniently step out and answer.
8. Google Voice – The best VoIP app on Android is — surprise — from Google. This feature-packed app boasts number consolidation, text notification, voicemail transcriptions and several other bullet points.
9. Dropbox – Quickly becoming one of the new must-haves for the tech-savvy, this app allows you to store and share files through your Dropbox account from your phone.
10. It’s About Time – Track your finances from your device, if you’re a Quickbooks user. Easy integration between Quickbooks Online is one of the big draws of this app.
Some Apps are just plain fun. Here are the top 10 entertaining Apps.
1. Ringdroid – A neat little app that lets you slice mp3s on your SD card into custom ringtones. Eliminates the need for all those annoying ringtone apps clogging up the market.
2. MP3 Music Download – Don’t have the song you’re looking for? Must resort to a tone search engine? This is the one — it eliminates as much hassle and fluff from the experience as possible.
3. Movies – This is a Flixster-powered movie info app. Simple to navigate, it features what’s playing, local showtimes, reviews, and even the ability to purchase tickets through the app.
4. Solo – The first guitar app on Android to actually get it right and work well. There’s a free, limited version as well, which drops multi-touch support as well as a chunk of the chord library. $3.95.
5. IMDb – Put all those questions and disagreements about who played who in what TV show/movie to rest with this app. It creates an attractive and easy-to-use wrapper for IMDb.com, putting the site at the touch of a button.
6. DirectTV- While only useful if you have DirectTV, this app is a good proof of concept: it allows the user to control their DVR from anywhere. Forget to set up some shows to record tonight? Sudden change of plans have you out of the house? This can help.
7. Caller ID Faker – Obviously meant for prank calls, this app features the ability to spoof a different number to your target’s caller ID. The unfortunate bit about this app is its two minute limit on free calls, but it’s an excellent start to the idea.
8. Steamy Window – Talk about a fun little time waster. Blow into the mic of your phone to steam up the screen, and wipe it off by touch.
9. Backgrounds – The only background gallery app worth mentioning. If you don’t have any pictures that you’d particularly care to set as a BG, this 10,000+ background app is for you.
10. Useless Facts – Another fun time waster. Interesting, quirky, and offbeat true facts, served up at random.
1. Angry Birds – Physics based action and strategy, involving angry little birds and the pigs they came to get revenge on. Destroy the pigs’ towers using the birds’ unique abilities, logic, and force.
2. Robo Defense – The epitome of a tower defense game on Android. Large maps, achievements, great graphics, and responsive gameplay have made it one of the most popular games on the platform.
3. Fruit Ninja – Who knew that slicing up fruit could be so fun? This hit iPhone game, now available for Android, will have you asking that question repeatedly.
4. Alchemy – Combine the four basic elements (earth, air, water, fire) and their products to create more than 200 different new elements. With a sometimes logical, sometimes bent sensibility, this game will have you captivated.
5. Bubble Blast 2 – A game that involves clicking on bubbles to remove them, and setting up chain reactions. Think Bejeweled, minus all the trademarks and gems.
6. Wordfeud Free – Android’s answer to Words with Friends. A fun little multiplayer crossword app that allows you to play with friends or strangers.
7. Live Hold ‘em – The best live poker app in the Market. Allows you to play with users on Facebook or other Android devices. Just don’t bet!
8. Solitaire – What would a computing platform be without a solitaire suite? Simple and lightweight, this app has four common solitaire games to get you through whatever boring moment you’re facing.
9. Toss It- Tossing paper into trash cans. Sounds exciting, eh? You’d be surprised how addictive it gets, if you haven’t tried out a game like this already.
10. Air Control – Guide aircraft safely down to the landing strip by drawing flight patterns for them, while avoiding crashes between planes.
1. Tweetcaster – The best Twitter app currently on the Market, with all the features one would expect. Share your thoughts in about 140 characters.
2. Facebook – The world’s largest social networking site’s official app. Comes pre-installed on most Android devices.
3. Foursquare- We’re not talking about the traditional ball game. This location-based game that allows you to earn points for letting people know where you’re at in the world.
4. TweetDeck – A mobile browser that combines functionality for Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare. The standalone apps do what they do better than this one does, but if you’d prefer to have them all in one place, this is your app.
5. HeyTell- Turn any Android phone into a Push-to-Talk phone with this app. Send a short PTT message, encrypted, with the option of location, to other HeyTell users over 3G/4G/WiFi.
6. Bump- Take any two phones that have this app, bump them together, and swap contact information without a single button press. Seriously one of the coolest concepts we’ve found.
7. Myspace Mobile – the first big breakthrough of social networking may be on its way out, but if you’re still a regular user, this is the official app for mobile use of the site.
8. Picasa Tool Pro – A functional, well-built app for users of photo sharing service Picasa. And Picasa is one of the best ways to share and manage photos.
1. Maps – An absolute no-brainer, the up-to-date maps and Navigation beta feature completely obselete the concept of a GPS unit. No Android user should be without it.
2. Street View on Google Maps – A nifty add-on to Maps that lets you get Street View from anywhere on the map. Essential when you;re out in the “real world.”
3. GasBuddy – Comprehensive, up-to-date gas prices are what this app is all about, allowing you to find the cheapest fuel in your area. Very useful for the budget-conscious traveler.
4. Yelp – A massive database of reviews, info, and opinions on all the places to eat, sleep, and play. The ability to write one’s own reviews is a plus.
5. Kayak Flight and Hotel Search – Probably the best hotel/flight booker on a mobile platform, right now. Easy to use, reliable, and the rates aren’t bad.
6. Car Locator – Tag your car’s location when parking in a large lot, and find it again later with minimal hassle and GPS accuracy. Not too great in parking garages, unfortunately, but open-air parking is what this app was made for.
7. Currency – Not quite as important to the traveler as the businessman, but still dead useful. Exchange rates for nearly every currency in the world.
8. Urbanspoon- When you can’t decide where to eat, this app is here to help. It suggests places to try out, and features favorites and wishlists in order to better tailor your experience with the app.
9. Trapster – This app will alert you when you approach known police speed traps, red light cameras, and speed cameras. Throw in 5 million regular users constantly updating the database, and you’ve got a dead useful app.
10. Happy Hours – An app designed with the drink and food specials in mind. This app alerts the user to the best local deals at bars and restaurants.
1. ESPN Scorecenter – Keep updated on all the latest scores with ESPN’s incredibly comprehensive coverage of every sporting event known to man.
2. Live Scores – Much simpler and more stripped-down than ESPN’s offering, Live Scores is a just-the-facts app for those who want numbers and no flashy designs.
3. MMA News – MMA is hot. Period. This is the most popular and highest quality MMA news aggregator currently available, for those who love their fights.
4. NBA Game Time – With the 2010-2011 season gearing up, now is the perfect time to pick up the NBA’s official scores and news app.
5. Skydroid Golf GPS – This app turns your phone into a GPS based rangefinder, perfect for club selection on that next tricky shot. Golf just turned more science.
7. NFL Sunday Ticket – Another DirectTV based app with a good concept. With a subscription to DTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package, this app allows live streaming of any and every game being played at the moment.
Healthcare & Fitness
1. Instant Heart Rate – This app measures your heart rate with only a finger over the camera. Pretty nifty, and accurate enough for such a gimmicky application.
2. CardioTrainer – An app to track walking, running, biking, and other activities. Keeps track of distance, time, calories burned, and maps the route taken with GPS.
3. Lightning Bug – A sleep machine app with a decent collection of different sounds. Perfect for those who need a little white noise to sleep to—including babies.
4. Calorie Counter by FatSecret – Keeping track of your calorie intake has never been so easy. Searchable databases and a barcode scanner make it easy to quickly input your meals.
5. Sleep Bot Tracker Log – Exactly what it says on the tin – a sleep tracker. Allows you to not only track how much sleep you’re getting a night, but your total sleep debt overall.
6. Baby ESP – Being a new parent is stressful. This app allows you to track your baby’s needs. It even predicts when you can best to address those needs.
7. First Aid- Plenty of information on first aid for dozens of different situations. Easy to use, and quick — very important in certain emergency situations. Remember, no one expects accidents to happen. Be prepared.
8. Favorite Recipes – Don’t know what to cook? Search recipes by name, ingredients, keywords, and categories. An excellent pocket cookbook.
9. PillReminder – An app version of what women have been doing with their cellphone alarms already for years, this app is basically a birth control reminder. And from the looks of the comments, very effective.
10. Mindfulness Bell – Quite the interesting concept – this app rings a bell periodically during the day, at which point the user is to think about what they are doing and their current mindset. Reportedly, this is very good for mental health and de-stressing.
1. The Weather Channel – This App has a great interface with simple and low-resource widgets. Also get up-to-the-minute weather information make this app a must-have.
2. Engadget – This is the dedicated reader for Engadget. It’s the definitive source for news and reviews on gadgets and technology.
3. USA Today – The latest news, scores, and weather from USA Today. A great way to keep aware of what’s happening in the world at large.
4. CNET News – More tech news, but from the decidedly differently-flavored teams at CNET. Very slick, pretty interface on this one.
5. BBC News – The BBC’s top headlines and stories in a convenient package. It’s easy to use and read.
6. HuffingtonPost.com – Keep on top of the Huffington Post’s provocative and informative reporting with this app. Not your average news here, Ladies and Gentlemen.
7. reddit is fun – An easy to use shell for reddit.com, taking all the hassle out of using mobile web to browse the site. Just open it up, read, and vote.
8. NY Times – The New York Times in a simple, compact app. No need to explain this, right?
9. Voter Map – More of a discussion of the news than news itself, but with midterms just finishing, this app connects politically active minds to one another quite beautifully.
10. World Newspapers – Top News - An aggregator collecting news stories from all the major US news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, as well as many non-US papers/magazines, and web content. Great for an all-in-one solution to your news, though the standalone apps for each source look prettier.
1. Google Sky Map – One of the coolest things to come out of Google labs, this app overlays a map of the night sky on wherever the camera is facing, showing you what stars you’re looking at (or would be, in case of daytime).
2. Aldiko Book Reader- Currently the most successful e-reader on Android, with tens of thousands of texts to choose from. Must-have for literary types. Remember readers are leaders.
3. Kindle for Android – Bringing the Amazon Kindle’s entire library to the Android userbase. That’s like 700,000 texts.
4. Dictionary.com – An app wrapper for Dictionary.com, this turns it from a website into a pocket dictionary. Useful and quick.
5. Wikidroid- Wikipedia in a more attractive format for mobile devices, with all the functionality of the actual site ported into the menus. The best destination for any random knowledge you could ever want.
6. United States Constitution – The full text of the Constitution, for review or edification. You’d be surprised how many people have no clue what it says.
7. Wolfram Alpha – The computational knowledge engine that was a minor internet firestorm not too long ago is now available in a convenient app.
8. Audible for Android – Audible, the Internet’s leading provider of digital audiobooks, presents its library for listening pleasure in this app.
9. How to Tie a Tie – Now let’s be honest, nobody is going to need this app for more than one special occasion, or maybe their first week at a job that requires a tie. But it performs its function.
1. Pandora Radio – The absolute best music app of all time. Customizable radio stations, tailored to your tastes by you.
2. Last.fm – Between Pandora-style stations, the social networking aspect of Last.fm, and the ability to scrobble plays to your Last.fm profile, this app is a fun total package for those wanting to be more sociable with their music.
3. TuneIn Radio- Listen to radio streams that have jumped on board with TuneIn, from local to syndicated to internet broadcasts. Just download and “tune in!”
4. Ringdroid – A neat little app that lets you slice mp3s on your SD card into custom ringtones. Eliminates the need for all those annoying ringtone apps clogging up the market.
5. Shazam – An app that puts an end to wondering what song you’re hearing on the radio. The app listens to the song, analyzes it, and reports back with the title and artist, as well as links to info and places to purchase.
6. Winamp- Still in beta, Winamp’s mobile incarnation far outclasses any of the stock Music players that come packaged with Android builds. Highly recommended as a main music player.
7. TuneWiki Social Media Player – another music player that beats the stock application, with a twist: this one searches and displays the lyrics of a given song karaoke style as the song plays.
8. Album Art Grabber Free – A tool that grabs album art for the music loaded on your SD card. Not essential, but sure does make things prettier when combined with Winamp.
9. Uloops Music Composer – A loop-based music composition program with a vibrant and talented community. There’s a bit of a learning curve to using it, but this is probably the best way to make music on a mobile platform seen yet.
Which Apps have you downloaded? Are there any you think should be added to this list?
Introducing Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is the latest version of the Android platform for phones, tablets with android, and more. It builds on the things people love most about Android — easy multitasking, rich notifications, customizable home screens, resizable widgets, and deep interactivity — and adds powerful new ways of communicating and sharing.
Edit: Please also check our post on Best iPhone Apps