Essential Android Apps

I’m not a big app person.


As a web developer. I’m supposed to love apps and gadgets.


I don’t love them. But it was time for me to boldly enter the world of tablet and smart phones out of sheer necessity. I am a pain staking researcher (See my Blog post: “Best Tablets 2013”). After hours of exhaustive home work I found my phone:

Say hello to my little friend! The Google Nexus 4.
Check out the sweet Amazon reviews while you’re at it.


I opted for the 16 GB phone, at first. I bought another phone for the business but this time, I dared to go 8 GB (*GASP*). I choose my apps very carefully.


I don’t want lots of clutter my little screen, bogging down my device and costing me money.
Then there is the matter of security… More on this later.
Without further ado, here are the apps on my precious phone real estate.



Amazon Price Checker
From my phone I can scan, say, photograph or type the item name or bar code and find reviews and the best prices. Most of the time this app works. Most of the time. It helps to have a quality data plan (aka not TMobile) and not be standing in an underground bunker or tunnel when using the app.


I find the review feature most helpful. I’ve avoided bad personal finance software. Low quality electronics, overpriced cameras “on sale” and even spotted a counterfeit product because the bar code didn’t match.



Need to access, edit or even open a Word/Excel/Powerpoint document on the go? Don’t want to spend a small fortune for Office 365 2013 to do it? Google knows and understands. They acquired Quickoffice, a free Android app that allows you to harness Microsoft’s products without bankrolling the swirling, mass of evil in Seattle. Bill Gate’s really doesn’t need any more of your money.



Trip Advisor
Don’t leave home without it. It georeferences. It finds all kinds of treasures wherever in the world your going. I’ve found excellent dives to 5 star grandeur. Be warned, it frequently doesn’t confirm hours of operations. Now, you can even find cheap flights with it. It’s a must have for an avid traveler like me.



If you find yourself perusing your phone while waylaid in the bathroom, Kindle is a must have for you. Amazon has great cloud services for every item you purchase from them. Guaranteed your local library is synched with Amazon too. Simply choose the device you wish to download to and VOILA! Dinner Spinner
Standing in the grocery store wondering what to have for dinner? This is your app. You can choose cooking time, main ingredient and Dish ranging from soups, appetizers, side dishes and so on. It’s quick, painless and best of all free. You can upgrade to Spinner Pro if you need particularly specialized dietary guidance. Plus, it sounds like a slot machine when it gives you meal suggestions.


QR Droid
Sometimes I just need to read one of those obnoxious, black and white blocks on products or postings. For those of us without iPhones or iPads, QR Android is a lightweight,
quick loading solution that works.


Pages Manager
If you have multiple Facebook pages, including business or event pages, this app is for you. It’s quick and easy to manage our posts and likes from your phone or tablet.


Best browser ever. Mobile or desktop.


Mandatory note taking app. Not only can you take notes anywhere or anytime, it includes a timed feature. You can remind yourself every Monday to be grateful for your job…You can add notes via talk or text, even a photograph.

Exclamation 1Another significant consideration is security. Exclamation 1

If your phone were lost or stolen would you want whomever got hold of it to have full access to everything currently on your phone?


I don’t do online banking from unsecured wifi public networks. I don’t have a banking or credit card app on my phone. I don’t have my home address listed or saved on Google Maps. Remember: phones are among the most commonly stolen and lost items. I don’t use Google Wallet. I don’t want to walk around with the ability to touch my phone and drain my bank account or steal my identity.


I have a Square app to accept payments from clients on my phone and iPod. I remain logged out from Square, only logging in to take a payment.


With the exception of a Washington State Parks App or a local transit app, that is virtually every app on my phone. I’m a techie by trade and I believe a clean, minimal interface whether it be a phone or a website should be the rule. I saved myself hundreds of dollars by buying devices with smaller memory capacity.


If you use an app less than once a month, ditch it. It’s taking up too much memory for too little use.


For me, I keep it safe, simple and clean on the screen.