Going by the numbers of smartphone manufacturers adopting the Android OS on their new phone models, it’s easy to see that the Android OS is undoubtedly the most popular mobile operating system on the planet or will be in the near future. There are more Android users than users of all other operating systems taken together, including iOS. Besides that, the Android Marketplace has more than 250,000 apps available for download, more than you can use in your lifetime. So when you go there and want to download several, the variety of these apps will just leave you confused. Until you find your must have apps, keep up with our edition of top picks of Android apps for 2011-2012:
How could you ever get to know the guy or gal next door if you were not on Facebook? Well, presently life without Facebook is not worth living at all, is it? After all, Facebook seems more real than life itself. The Facebook app for Android phones simplifies social networking. It is user friendly and allows you to update your status easily over the small screens of the phones. The chatting facility with the new video chat feature is really cool. If you have an Android phone, this is probably the first thing you will need to install on your phone.
What could be a better place than Twitter to post status updates and say ‘Hi’ to the world in 140 characters? The official Twitter app for Android is clean and simple to use. Following other users is rather easy with this app. You get notifications as soon as someone you follow tweets on anything. You also get notified when someone replies to your tweets. All these actions can be done with just a single gesture, unlike on the website.
If you like to have both Twitter and FaceBook in one single app, then Seesmic is what you need. Most users of both networks, prefer to install Seesmic, and why not? It is a slick app and seamlessly integrates both accounts. The features of this app are user friendly, and the touchscreen navigation system is simplistic enough.
For all movie buffs, Flixster is a must-have app. You will find every kind of information on your favorite movies. Whether it is a movie review, ticket availability or show timing, this app has it all. The latest movie reviews are pulled in from Rotten Tomatoes. You get all updates and information in real-time. It is one of the most popular Android apps of 2011, and it is recommended by many market experts.
The Weather Channel
This app is the best weather channel that you can find on any smartphone. It is available for many platforms like iPhone, Windows Phones and Android Phones. It automatically updates the weather and notifies you on the fly. The speed of this app is quite quick and you can be sure you won’t get stranded out in bad weather.
Angry Birds is the most popular smartphone game on the planet. It is so popular that it has been ported over to the PC and Mac. Before Angry Birds came along, who would have ever dreamed of launching funny looking birds at ugly pigs? There are many Android phone users who bought their phone just for this addictive game. If you are among regular smartphone enthusiasts, it would be very embarrassing not to have this funny little app on your Android. There is a free version to download and play, after all.
If you are really not satisfied with the stock Android keyboard, you might want to download the Swype app. After I downloaded and used it for a while, I could not go back to the stock one. I wonder why it is not installed on Android by default. Swype has much better auto correction and auto-completion features. The T9 dictionary feature is quite powerful and it makes your typing less cumbersome, even a bit of a joy.
If you are a Netflix subscriber, and you like your movies streamed to your Android on the go, the official app is what you should have. You can view your queue, or see what your friends are watching. Considering your 3G network is good enough, you will get a totally awesome movie watching experience. The interface is quite easy to use, and quick.
Google voice is functional for people living in the U.S. and Canada, and you can get it straight from the company that makes Android for your Smartphone. The app is slick and it has all the potential of replacing your regular number in the future. As it stands, it is great for making voice calls, and their call fee structure is not too expensive either. If you have yet to try it, go ahead and download it now. You are bound to find it quite helpful.
Banking with a dozen different banks may mean that you have to download as many apps as the number of banks you interact with. It is cumbersome to manage all those accounts separately. The Mint.com personal finance management app brings all your accounts together under one roof and lets you breathe easier while juggling your money.
Shazam is yet another cross platform app that is really amazing. If you hear a song and like it, but you do not know the name of the song, what can you do? Of course, you fire up Shazam and let it identify the song for you. It will also find the song lyrics for you and take you to the music store. The app is robust and is one of the best of its kind.
If you are a sports enthusiast, and one who loves to be in thick of things happening in the sports world, then the ESPN ScoreCenter is a must-have app for your Android. It lets you in on the latest news and delivers scorecards that are laid out perfectly for small screens. The real-time updating feature is the most impressive part of this app. It is great for checking scores on the go.
Adobe Photoshop Express
You no longer simply edit images, you Photoshop them. In the past, Photoshop was only available for Mac or PC. Now, Adobe has released the new Photoshop express that lets you edit the photos immediately after you snap them. You can edit and upload them to Picasa, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or just about any photo sharing site.
Checking for restaurant reviews has become easier than ever before, thanks to Yelp! It has made life easier for people who plan to have a hearty dinner and want to know about the cuisines that the restaurants serve. The official Yelp App only makes it easier. You can easily find information on all the nearest restaurants and check out their reviews. Its location mapping system makes it worth having.
Booking tables at restaurants does not have to be a fussy job anymore. The slick Open Table app lets you find hotels according to different categories and helps you locate which one has open bookings. This is the quick way to book your reservations. All information is updated in real-time, so always be accurate. You will not have to cancel your night outs because of reservation unavailability.
ASTRO File Manager
One thing that computers have but smartphones do not, is a file manager. It is quite difficult to know what files reside inside your smartphone without a proper app. This is where ASTRO File Manager comes in. It is fast and light. Your file browsing will feel as if there is nothing between you and your files at all.
If you are a location addict and use foursquare frequently to check into restaurants or hotels, you need this app. It makes checking-in a breeze. It has a crisp interface, and knowing your friends’ locations can be a lot of fun. This app is a must-have, but only if you use foursquare.
Skyfire is an alternative to the stock Android browser. It has actually been around for many years and works great on cell phones. Moreover, it works like a charm on the Android OS as well. It is heads and shoulders above the default app that comes with a new smartphone.
Firefox for Android
If you love Firefox on your PC or Mac, you will want to download Firefox for Android too. It loads websites very fast and is smooth to operate. It does have its occasional glitches, but it is much better than the default browser. You can also import your bookmark and browsing history from your PC and keep them synchronized using the built-in sync tool.
Advanced Task Killer
Android, for all its great experience, is also known to hang and crash occasionally. Most of the time, the hangs come down to some misbehaving 3rd-party app. The Task Killer lets you find out what is responsible for crashing your Android, then allows you to kill the app. It has been improved over the last two years and is advanced in functionality. At the same time, it is simple to use.
It is clear that most of the apps listed are available for iPhones and Windows Phones as well as for Android. This is because they are very popular. If your needs are not too unusual, the above apps are indeed must-haves.