My wife has recently changed her phone. She moved from an iPhone 4 running iOS 6, to a Nexus 4 running Jelly Bean. Having fought the move to any smart phone for a while, she has now spent over two years using iOS and has become used to the variety of apps. Now that she is moving to Android, there is an obvious disadvantage that none of her current iOS apps will work on Android.
Because I have been using Android for a year now, I thought I would suggest some apps I felt she would enjoy, want or need. Fortunately, there are many app developers who build apps for both iOS and Android, so the transfer is no problem. However, some developers are staying with Apple only, which means if you have an app you used frequently, you will need to find a replacement. This is my list of apps I think are strongly recommended for any Android user (although if they have an iTunes App Store version, I have linked to this too). Bare in mind, this is only my opinion.
Apple’s iOS is often believed to not be susceptible to viruses. This is false. Although there are much fewer viruses and Trojans on iOS, they are still possible.
Android, on the other hand, is more susceptible to viruses and Trojans. As such, it is strongly recommended to use an anti-virus app, which will protect your phone. My app of choice is Avast.
I used to use Avast on my PC, and now on my Mac. There is a free option, which will keep you safe from viruses and malware, as well as a paid service, which has more options. Avast’s Android app is very similar to their desktop app in terms of functionality and protects you against viruses and malware, has a web and email shield to ensure that you don’t suffer attack and has a very handy anti-theft feature.
The anti-theft feature will install an innocuous app on your device to resemble something it isn’t, so that it doesn’t become the first thing the thief will delete. With it installed, you are able to remotely connect to it either through the Avast! Website, or send a message to it from a trusted phone number. This will allow you to lock the phone and keep track of the location.
Avast! Anti-Virus is free from the Google Play Store.
Smart WiFi Toggler:
Battery is at a premium in mobile devices. If you’re lucky enough to have a device with a replaceable battery, you have the option of getting a spare and keeping it at hand. Not all phones, however, have a replaceable battery, meaning that you either have to carry a charger around with you, or have to constantly keep an eye on your battery.
Wifi is a big drainer of battery, especially when it doesn’t have a network to connect to, as it will keep searching for something to latch on to. Smart WiFi Toggler will help you regain battery life by automatically turning your WiFi on and off depending on location. When you connect to a network you want to use (at home, work, coffee shop) you tell the app this is a priority network. When the signal is lost from a priority network, and there isn’t another one nearby, your WiFi signal will be turned off to save battery. When you arrive at the location of a priority network Smart WiFi will automatically turn your wifi signal on, allowing you to connect.
I have used the app for at least six months and have had no problems with it at all. I have never even noticed my wifi being off at home, and it’s only when you look at the settings that you can see it is on/off.
Smart WiFi Toggler is available for free in the Google Play Store.
In a similar effort to safe battery, good information on how long your battery is likely to last is important. Will you be able to squeeze one more call in before the phone dies? Will your battery last the flight if you watch a film?
Battery HD gives you this type of information allowing you to make an informed decision.
To give you the most accurate estimate of time left for various tasks (watching video, playing music, playing games, calls, internet browsing etc), the app goes through a calibration process, which takes approximately an hour. You can also use the community database of similar devices, but every device is different.
Android has a contacts app (which is called people), but it is the most basic app available, allowing you to add, edit, and delete names into your address book. There are hundreds of other contacts apps on the Play Store, and my favorite is Contacts +.
In reality, Contacts + is three apps in one: A contacts app, SMS app and Dialer. Along with a contact’s details held on your phone, this app will also allow you to connect to their Twitter, Facebook and Linked In profiles all on the same page.
In the sms tab, it will take over from the stock sms app. You won’t lose any previous messages and will receive notifications as usual. You can even reply from the popup without having to open the full app.
The dialer is useful in that it supports gesture typing, quick dial numbers, and voice typing.
In all, this is a very good app, and well maintained by the developer. I highly recommend it.
Contacts + is available from the Google Play Store.
Waze is a GPS system with traffic updates. It sounds expensive, but is 100% free. All the traffic updates are community sourced and routes are intelligent and traffic aware, meaning that they know what roads are busy when and will dynamically update on the go.
You can report traffic jams, hazards, and road closures on a very simple user interface, which will take a minimum of 3 taps to complete. You can also update fuel prices, check-in on foursquare and “map chat” with other users. You can even update the map by driving the correct route. Once sent to the developers, it will be updated to all users very quickly.
Included in all of this, is a social function, which allows users to share drives with friends on Facebook or email. Users can even request a pick up through the app, and will see a live update of the route the user is taking to come pick you up. If using Facebook, you can see when other friends are getting to an event.
Sign up is been free and very much worth it. Waze has saved me hours in the commute to work. They have just been bought-out by Google for a massive $1.3 Billion, and Google promising to keep it independent, I can’t wait to see what they do next.
I have numerous other apps I think are worthy of mention, but these are definitely my top five. To see what other apps I recommend, find my reviews on PocketDroid.