My Top 15 Android Apps

Post from August 12, 2009 (↻ May 30, 2021), filed under  (feed).

This post is partially outdated.

This is a serious post, not one of those “the 1,000 best blah” ones. I think. I’m an Android user for a bit longer than December 2008, and I love my HTC Magic as much as the HTC Dream (aka G1) which replaced my BlackBerry Curve.

Just like with iPhone apps there are gazillions of Androids apps. The vast majority of them are… ahem I reckon, yet there are of course some “you cannot live without.” Despite being an apps purist, here are my 15 favorite apps, in alphabetical order:

  1. AK Notepad: Always handy. I use it to store rather short notes; on my last U.S. trip, for instance, I used AK Notepad to maintain a list of all the towns and cities I visited (which then landed on the TripAdvisor map I cannot link directly).

  2. AppManager: Very useful to manage applications, including SD card interactions. I only pull it out every once in a while, but it proved to be good to have already.

  3. Barcode Scanner: Not that I use this one that often, either, but when I do I find it cool and fun. Beware of those QR codes. (Unless you generate them yourself… shouting out to’s code generator section.)

  4. Battery Widget: Can be a life saver for both humans and batteries. Quick access to the worst battery suckers. One of the few apps that actually made it on my phone’s home screen.

  5. ConnectBot: That probably doesn’t need any further comment.

  6. ES File Explorer: Not sure whether there aren’t any better tools for phone file management (and whether the link is actually correct), but I’m happy about ES File Explorer every time I have to make my hands dirty to clean up my phone.

  7. Finance: So much about money.

  8. Hiker: To be honest, I haven’t really used this one that often. I’m somehow sure it will prove valuable though. It combines a few great tools, some I actually installed separately in the past, like compass and pedometer.

  9. Phonalyzr: First step to get to my grand goal of being confronted with my life stats once I die. Like to see friends catch up in my call lists, or setting goals to “decrease the number of missed calls by n%.”

  10. Robo Defense: Oh gosh. This game is so addictive. Addictive as in so addictive. I’ll have to uninstall it… soon.

  11. Sky Map: Just discovered this one… and it blew me away the instant I started it, at night. I love it.

  12. SnapPhoto: I just like all the options, it seems to really enhance the system camera. Neat.

  13. Trap: Got followed by Robo Defense as my favorite Android game, but it’s still great. Addictive, too. I learned a few tricks, most likely tricks just everyone already knows, but yet I might share them, one day, maybe.

  14. Twidroid: Hah. Go tweet yourself!

  15. The Weather Channel: Useful almost every morning. Instead of firing up my Mac I’d just open this app to check for the weather. Dress accordingly, I suggest.

Update (August 17, 2014)

This was 2009. 4 of these 15 apps have survived on my phone (ES File Explorer, Finance, Phonalyzr, and Sky Map), though Sky Map I only downloaded again during my travels. In any case, I just updated all app links, where I could, to point to Google Play. And I took a mental note to write an update to this.

Toot or tweet about this?

About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on I share some of my views and experiences.

If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!

Comments (Closed)

  1. On August 12, 2009, 19:59 CEST, Dave said:

    Thanks—I’m gonna check these out (I already use AK Notepad and Trap all the time).

    You mentioned that only the very best apps get on your homescreen…could you say a little about how many apps are on homescreen and how many you’ve got total? I’ve got the left pane of my homescreen full, the center pane empty, and the right pane has my search box.

  2. On August 12, 2009, 20:59 CEST, stefan keuchel said:

    thanks, jens 😊
    really useful tips. i would add:
    - wikitude: show it to someone who has not seen wikitude before…amazing
    - shazam: everytime the music recognition works, it´s “cool and fun”
    - imeem: lets users create custom radio stations by search for specific artists… useful, if you forget your ipod

    and as a young father:
    - toddler lock: let’s your child conjure up random shapes, colors and sounds with just some taps and swipes on the touchscreen - this one made it to my homescreen 😊

  3. On August 13, 2009, 2:37 CEST, Ben Buchanan said:

    Great list, already have some (Robodefense is ludicrously addictive!); will try some of the others…

    I’d also give a nod to PDAnet - …only free for http traffic but still very easy to tether with no need to root the phone.

  4. On August 13, 2009, 9:23 CEST, Jens Oliver Meiert said:

    Dave, I’m using only the center pane, on which I’ve got 7 apps, 6 of them standard ones (with Gmail, Messaging, and Camera)… the only extra app is in fact Battery Widget 😊

    Stefan, thank you—will check them out, apart from probably Toddler Lock… that one’s scary for an adolescent single like me 😉

    Ben, yes, Robo Defense is… gah 😁 Didn’t know PDAnet, checking it out almost as we speak 😊

  5. On September 21, 2009, 3:49 CEST, Bunn said:

    I definitely agree with the weather channel app, I have it on my blackberry and use it probably every morning especially when the weather gets a little colder…to see how many layers I need to wear. It is very handy not having to turn on your computer. Some of those other ones you mentioned sound pretty cool too,

  6. On November 19, 2009, 3:20 CET, Jon Etters said:

    Hi Jens,

    Thanks for taking the time post this list. I recently picked up a Motorola Droid and I am completely in love with it. Do you have any suggestions for a home screen replacement? I like the default Android home screen but A) It doesn’t rotate and B) Things are starting to get a bit cluttered.
    The only addition I could make to your list is Locale, which has been one of the more useful/easy to use apps I have put on my Motorola.
    Thanks again for list!

  7. On December 14, 2009, 2:58 CET, Anonymous said:

    how do you transfer files

  8. On January 2, 2011, 20:56 CET, Phil4 said:

    Add K9 Mail, Root Explorer and

    Refine Efficiency Pro:

    - cache cleaner (root and non root(individually)), no sd card cache support;
    - market history cleaner;
    - task killer;
    - start up manager (root and non root(no guarantee));
    - task scheduling.
    Also browser history cleaner.