Episode 39: July 25, 2012
by Eric Escobar
A while back, I did an episode on some amazing apps for iOS devices. And now it’s time for some awesome Android apps!
If you don’t have an Android device, you might want to keep listening in case you’re interested in the newest Nexus 7 tablet or considering getting an Android phone sometime down the road.
Top Apps for Both Android and iOS Devices
There are a number of apps that work well for both Android and iOS devices. I’ve mentioned a few of them in an earlier episode on file syncing services. Two of these, Google Drive and Dropbox, would be great additions to your smartphone if you use them on your computer because they would allow you greater flexibility and mobile access to your files no matter where you’re located.
The next great app that works well for both Android and iOS is Pandora. This is an awesome service that allows you to listen to countless hours of internet radio for free. You simply type in your favorite songs or artists, and Pandora comes up with similar music perfectly suited for your taste. It can really take the work out of making specific playlists for any occasion.
If you’ve been listening to the Money Girl podcast, you’ve probably heard her mention Mint a few times. This app is a super secure financial aggregator. What this means is that it will keep track of all your bank accounts, loans, and credit cards all in one place, saving you countless hours of going back and forth between accounts.
Again these apps work great on both iOS and Android devices, but they are so good that I felt the need to mention them even in this Android-only podcast.
So what are the best apps for your Android smartphone or tablet? Here are my 5 picks for apps that you should definitely download to your mobile device:
Wave Control - Wave Control is an extremely useful app that may not be super flashy or an addictive game, but it will definitely make your life easier. Wave Control uses the camera on your device to perform many actions on your device with just a wave of your hand. For example, you can easily switch songs or silence the ringer on your phone simply by waving your hand over the camera. This is great if you’re driving in your car and want to change a song—you don’t have to fiddle at all with your phone and create a potentially dangerous situation. And what’s even better yet, the app is free!
Tasker - Tasker is another app that will help simplify things in your life. It automates pretty much anything on your Android device. It can set alarms, take action if your device is overheating, notify you if storage space is slow, or if a text message didn’t send. This app is pretty much limited only by your imagination.
With Tasker, you can set it to automatically play music when docked to your car or turn down the volume when you plug in a headset. The only downside about this app is that it can take a little while to grasp at first. But if you’ve been itching to set up something specific on your device, Tasker is the way to go. It isn’t free, but perhaps $6.49 isn’t too much to spend to automate all the tasks you want out of your smartphone.
Astrid - Astrid is a to-do list manager. It’s amazingly simple, yet excellent at what it does. If you have a hectic life with a ton of stuff to remember, then I would definitely recommend it. This app allows you to manage your to-do list by email, it syncs with Google tasks, and allows you to send yourself push notifications to remind you of certain tasks. The power of this app is its simplicity and effectiveness of helping you stay organized. Plus, it’s free.
Swiftkey - Swiftkey is, in my opinion, the best keyboard app for Android. It has one of the best prediction rates of any other keyboard out there. I’m sure by now you’ve seen the standard auto-correct which at best can be annoying and at worst embarrassing, especially if the auto-correct messes up that message you were texting or emailing to someone. Nothing’s worse than typing “Can we meet next Tuesday?” only to find out that auto-correct changed it to “Can we meat next Tuesday?” (I doubt the recipient would be interesting in a meating).This app is free for your device and also has a $3.99 version with extra features.
Titanium Backup - I saved this app for last because it requires you to “root” your device. This means having to gain top level access to your device—it’s synonymous with Ja|l breaking your iOS device. I’ll cover rooting in next week’s episode where I’ll go into much more detail about what it is exactly. But you can get an idea by reading my two articles on jailbreaking:
In any case, this app will back up your Android device automatically to Dropbox or Google Drive. It is a powerful tool and includes backups for your apps, encryption, and automatic restores. This app is awesome. And when I say awesome, I mean really awesome.
Well, that’s it for today. Be sure to check out all my posts on QuickandDirtyTips.com. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future podcast, post your comments on the Tech Talker Facebook page.
Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!
Also if you could take a moment to add a review for Tech Talker on iTunes, it will really help others to find the show. And I would really appreciate it!
Smartphone image courtesy of Shutterstock.