What Are the Top 10 Android Apps?

With over 100,000 Android Apps to choose from, working out your Top 10 Android Apps is no mean feat.

Ever since Apple introduced the concept of the easily accessible, user-friendly apps, smart phone ownership has never been such fun. But the problem with Apple is that they are a closed club. You are either an Apple fan boy (or girl) or you are not. However, with Android, Google changed all that. Now the idea of smart phone apps is no longer the exclusive domain of the Apple kingdom. In addition, with the introduction of Windows Phone 7, the Smart phone App market is burgeoning.

The beauty of Android Apps is the fact that the Android operating system is open source. Google were very astute here, allowing the creativity of bedroom developers to shine through, and although Android Apps have some way to go before they reach the 280,000 plus apps for Apple, there are plenty to choose from. So the simple question is, what are the Top 10 Android Apps you must have?

Here are my current choices, which are all free. I must add the caveat, that with new releases every week and this may well change. I have also attempted to select apps that cover a range of functions, so they are a broad selection from games, productivity, social media etc.

1. Gmail and Google Calendar

Now I know this may not be very exciting to some. This is a bit of a no-brainer for me, as I live by my Gmail account. So having instant access to this and to multiple accounts, is a must. Since Android is a Google application, Gmail works seamlessly, as one might expect.

2. Tweet Deck

I have Friend Stream, but I believe that is a HTC phone app which converges status updates from Facebook and Twitter. Tweetdeck does a similar thing, in that it allows you to see what is happening on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Buzz, all from one screen. With constant notifications when updates are made. You can also update your status to all your accounts directly with one single update.

3. Goggles

So this is one of those fun, but surprisingly practical apps from Google Labs. It searches by pictures, take a picture and then it does a Google search based on the analysis of that photograph. Also works on bar codes and QR codes (those strange black and white pattern squares you see). See a product, take a photograph, and it will give you an Amazon price for that product, or related products.

4. WordPress

This is firmly in the Productivity section. I have a number of WordPress blogs, and this superb application allows me to update my blog directly, and add posts and pages, check comments and all see your visitor statistics, all while sitting on the train. It allows for multiple blogs, and is easy to switch between them.

5. Evernote

OK, I know that it is another under the Productivity banner, but those of you familiar with what Evernote does, this is an Android App version. Evernote is like an online note pad, where you can save website clippings, notes and photos. This application allows you to take photos, write notes or even record audio notes and upload them to your Evernote account. For example, see something you want to blog about, take a photo and upload to Evernote, in one click. It does require an Evernote account, which is free to sign up to www.evernote.com

6. Tomcat

Here is a bit of sublimely ridiculous light relief. I first saw this on an iPad and thought it was hilarious. It was one of the first apps on my phone when I discovered it in the Android Apps Market. It is basically your own animated virtual cat with a big mouth. Stroke the screen where his stomach is, and he purrs. Click the milk icon and he drinks milk. There is even an icon where he appears to scratch the screen. My five year old daughter loves this, and the killer aspect is if you say something then Tomcat repeats it back in a silly voice. It is one of those things that one must play with to fully appreciate. My words here do not do it justice. Paid versions have far more animations, but the free version is a lot of fun.

7. YouTube

This is an excellently designed application. It delivers YouTube in a user-friendly and accessible way, and will link automatically with your account if you have a Gmail account, so you can access your channels and videos very easily.

8. Google Maps

Excellent navigation feature with Google Maps and Latitude, for letting people who can access you Latitude account know exactly where you are. It is like having a sat-nav in your hand. You can also download Google’s Streetview to go with it.

9. Amazon Kindle

While a phone is probably not the best device to read “War and Peace”, Amazon Kindle is brilliant for being able to buy and read books from Amazon on your Smartphone. Obviously the reading experience will differ depending upon the smart phone you have, but if you do not like carrying books around, or just want to catch up on some reading time, this is highly recommended. The pages flick past nicely, and it works well. The app takes you direct to the Amazon store, where you can search for Kindle books, buy them and then download instantly.

10. Last FM

When it comes to listening to music, I get bored with listening to the same old tracks. The beauty of Last FM is that it “learns” what you like, and creates your own personal playlist based on your tastes So listening to music stays fresh. Does use up bandwidth due to streaming, so be careful how much you use if when not connected via wi-fi.

So there you go. You may or may not agree with my choices, and I am sure I may have missed something. But right now, these are all on my HTC Wildfire, and are my Top 10 Android Apps of choice.

Beginner Android Apps Info

Do you want to find out more about android apps, which ones are the best, where to download them and how they can improve your experience with the android platform? If so, keep reading this article to find out the most important things you have to know about android apps.

Android apps are in a way similar to iPhone apps, meaning that they are custom developed programs, applications, games and generally software for the android platform. This means that the apps can be installed on any phone or mobile device which uses the android platform. The main way you can divide the apps is into free and paid. Unlike iPhone, Android apps are not always available only for pay. There are plenty of great apps for Android that you can download online free of charge.

Apart from mobile games, there are plenty of useful apps available for everyday use. For example, Google itself releases new Android apps from time to time. One of the latest ones is Google reader, which allows the user to browse and read RSS feeds and news items from the different sites that are subscribed to using Google Reader from the web.

Some notable android games are emerging mobile MMO’s. Indeed, it is possible to play a World of Warcraft like game in a mobile environment. One of the noteworthy games is Pocket Legends. Providing you have an internet connection to your android phone, you can play this 3D MMO, wherever you are and wherever you go. The best part is that it is free of charge and you can download this Android app on http://www.pocketlegends.com.

For security purposes on your phone, you might be interested in WaveSecure app, which is a complete mobile security service that lets users protect mobile data, ensures privacy in the event of theft and enhances the possibility of recovering the phone. A must have, if the safety of your gadget is important to you! This app also has a free trial available.

That’s it for now. Check out the websites and the apps and see if you can find new ways to enhance and improve your Android device.

Best Android Apps for Families

The Good, The Bad and The Irrelevant

We see the good and the bad, and everything in-between. Sorting through the Android Marketplace of over 300,000 apps is no small task, but we’ve been steadily working towards finding the best stuff for your family, and giving you a breakdown of the cool and the drool (our version of the good & bad) on all types of apps, not just games.

All of the apps that we review have to pass a precursory inspection before we will even consider them for our review process. This means that we only review apps that have some relevance to families, aren’t malicious, and generally meet a certain level of quality.

The Best of the Best

But even though all of the apps that we review meet these initial criteria, there is still a huge difference between an acceptable app and a truly enjoyable app that surpasses our expectations.
It’s always a treat to stumble upon an app that is really well made, entertaining, engaging and has some sort of depth to the interaction that it provides. You can always tell when there has been an extra bit of effort and love built into an app, and (coming from people who use and review a bunch of different apps) it’s definitely appreciated.

These are the apps that stand apart from the others, they are some of Famigo’s favorites, and we think that your family will absolutely love them too:

Top Paid Apps

Cut the Rope – $0.99

A beautiful game with adorable characters and a gorgeous user interface. It plays off of really interesting and intricate physics puzzles. If Pixar had made a blockbuster app, this would be it. Although this app has been popular on Apple’s app store for a while, it is new to the Android Market.

Drawing Pad – $1.99

There are a lot of drawing apps out there, and a bunch that are supposedly designed especially for kids. From what we’ve seen, they’re mainly lackluster. (Meaning they look like bad rip-offs of Paint, with design queues taken from the 1980s, not that we don’t love the 80’s, but these apps aren’t even trying to be retro!) This drawing app, however, is fantastic. It’s clean, easy to use, and has a ton of choices for different colors and materials

X Construction – $1.43

We like this one so much that we keep on playing it, practically everyday, even though we’ve already reviewed it. It’s challenging, sometimes frustratingly so, but that’s what keeps us coming back to it over and over again. There’s something about being responsible for a train completing its journey that’s oddly satisfying.

Nano Panda – $0.97

There’s one word that describes this app: adorable. It’s another physics-based puzzle game, but it manages to be delightful through its game play, user interface, and excessive use of pandas. In our eyes there’s no such thing as too many pandas, so this app gets the Famigo seal of approval.

Top Free Apps

Peggle

This is a brightly colored, easy to play app that is fun for everyone. It has the capability of being multi-user, which we love. (It’s always more fun to play together!) There’s an especially nice touch built into the game, win a level and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

Angry Birds

This one really goes without saying. When an app has its own line of kid’s toys and a movie in the works, you
know there’s got to be something to it. What is that something? Probably the great graphics, cute characters, challenging game play and wide audience appeal. We’d happily pay for a version without ads, but that isn’t an option yet.

Shift Lite Puzzle Game

A really challenging puzzle game with a deceptively simple black and white look. Each level provides new (and progressively frustrating) challenges that can all be solved with four simple actions, figuring out which of the four and in what combination is the problem.