You have spent loads of time researching which is the best Android smartphone that fits your budget, spoken to people in the know about gadgets and have saved accordingly. After contemplating a fair bit if this is the right time to pick a device and there is no other device you would rather have, you take a plunge into the astonishing world of Android and pick that shiny new Android device. Right now it is sitting proudly in your hands as you admire every curve, every pixel, visible or not of your new Android smartphone.
It is the time to load your Android smartphone, to make it truly yours, a device that would be with you through your thick and thin. Time to install those applications which will complete your world, if not complete, at least make your world a lot more organized and a lot more fun. So which apps do you start off with?
Like the famous Nokia commercial goes, you have our back. Here is our list of ten applications that you must download after you have just picked up a brand new Android smartphone.
Lookout Security and Antivirus
The first and foremost thing you want to do with your Android smartphone is to secure it. In my time of using Android right from the days of Android 1.6 on my HTC Tattoo right till date, I have used plenty of security apps, but safe to say, I always fall back on Lookout Security and Antivirus.
It scans your applications to make sure there are no Malware, Spyware or Viruses which could pose a threat to vast amount of data your Android smartphone would store. It also backs up the contacts of your device remotely so that in case you lose your phone, you still have your contacts intact. You can also upgrade the free application to keep a backup of Images as well your Call History. The app takes a backup everyday so that all your latest add ons are secure.
But this is not all, in case your device is stolen, or lost you can use the ‘Missing Device’ feature in the application to help you try and trace your device via Lookout’s Website. You can enable the ‘Lock Cam’ feature as well which will take the picture of anyone who enters the device pin code incorrectly thrice. The premium edition of the application allows you to remotely lock your device as well as wipe all the data from it. The application is full of features, and definitely one of the very best ways to secure your Android Smartphone.
You can create your account and log in using it on multiple devices thus securing all of them under one roof. All these features come with a UI that is extremely easy to navigate and the learning curve is close to being non existent. There is no need for rooting your device or any complications and that is why it is the number one application that you must download when you pick your Android Smartphone.
Play Store: Download Lookout Security and Antivirus
A New Launcher
Generally speaking, not too many people are big fans of customization that most of the OEM’s put their Android smartphone through. Yes, I am referring to an almost cartoonishly colorful ‘Touchwiz’ or a Memory Intensive ‘Sense UI’ or any other fancy skin that your Android smartphone might have come out of the box with.
Once you are done securing your device it’s time to change the way it looks, and give it a UI that truly reflects your personality. Given that Android is highly customizable, playing around with UI is easy. You need to install a new launcher from the Play Store. Since there are plenty of Launchers available, you are literally spoilt for choices. Some of the Launchers recommended are Nova Launcher, Buzz Launcher, Holo Launcher and Go Launcher.
They all come with their set of unique features and most of them have a free version available. However, personally I am a fan of Nova launcher as it offers the right amount of customization and is easy on memory. You can play around and change the icons of applications by downloading third party themes as well as other features such as docks, transition effects or margin length.
Play Store: Download Nova launcher
Pocket (Read It Later)
We live in an era when 4.3 inch screen size on a mobile device is considered just about an ideal size. This makes modern Android devices perfect for reading articles online. Must admit most of the browsing I do on the move is on my mammoth HTC One X and therefore a service like Pocket is very important. It basically allows you to aggregate those articles that you might feel the need to go through again at one place.
Since Pocket is available on iOS and Chrome too, it provides a wonderful cross platform integration so that you have all your articles at the back of your hand. The Android app of Pocket therefore is one of the most important apps out there. You can change the theme of the app to suit your needs as most of us do not appreciate the default white background when we inevitably open the application at night to go through all the articles we have bookmarked. You can choose between a slightly grey theme or a completely black one for those on AMOLED devices to save precious battery juice.
You can also directly store your articles in Pocket from anywhere on your Android Device by picking Pocket from the list of applications in the Share option. The app also has a fair bit of customization that you can do such as when should it download the application or change the way articles appear. You can also decide to disable or enable background sync which is a handy option.
Play Store: Download Pocket
Although most of the high end Android smartphones come preloaded with Google Chrome, I am adding it here just in case it did not with your device. Let me be first to admit some of the other browsers such as Dolphin or even Opera at times work better on most Android devices than Chrome. But if you use Chrome on desktop and have plenty of bookmarks saved and want to resume your session how you left on your desktop then Chrome for Android is a must download application.
You can also manage the bandwidth the app would use in the settings menu. It is also possible to switch from Google to the likes of Bing and Yahoo if you want as your default search engine within Chrome. The app gives you the option of saving passwords and Auto Filling of forms, and pretty much all the features of a modern day browser are present on Chrome for Android.
A word of advice though, if you intend to use Google Chrome on your Android device then instead of downloading the latest version i.e Chrome v26, you could look at downloading the v18 apk by searching on Google as performances seem to have strangely degraded in the more recent versions.
Play Store: Download Chrome for Android
Long gone are the days when nobody took Camera units on mobile phones seriously. Today, Cameras are one of the USP of smartphones and although one could argue that Nokia is still quite a way ahead of the curve when it comes to putting camera on smartphones, some of the Android OEMs such as HTC and Samsung are not too far behind. And as a result, you want an app on board that can help you edit images quickly without too much of a hassle, Snapseed does just that.
If you are not big into image editing and just want a set of basic tools such as Crop, Frames, adjusting Contrast, Brightness etc to quickly edit an image on your Android device then Snapseed is a wonderful app available for free. It may not be as feature filled as some of the other apps like the Photoshop Touch, but Snapseed gets the job done very admirably. The automatic image editing mode works well for those who do not like spending too much time tweaking images. Some of the creative enhancements include Black and White, Drama, Tilt Shift, Center Focus etc.
You can directly upload the images you have just edited within Snapseed to Google Plus which is terrific for sharing images you have just transformed, with your friends. The only potential drawback of the application is the fact that it is available for devices which are running Android 4.0 or above meaning if you are stuck on an Android device running a lower version, the app would show as unsupported.
Play Store: Download Snapseed
A Twitter Client
Social networking is pretty massive on smartphones today. I barely remember the last time I visited the likes of Twitter or even Facebook on my desktop. It is always my phone that keeps me up to paces with what’s happening on my Twitter Timeline. Just like Browsers and Launchers, you are spoilt for choices when it comes to a good Twitter Client.
The default Twitter Client for Android is a very decent application especially if you are a light user and do not like to spend money on buying applications. A recent update saw the default Twitter app receive a Holo-esque interface and a settings dedicated button on home screen among various other new tweaks which has made the app a lot more usable. However, if you want to go for the absolute best application for twitter then the app you should be looking at is Falcon Pro.
The UI on Falcon Pro is unique and in our experience there were little to no jumps in the timeline as it loaded pretty much every tweet from the time we last accessed the TL on the application. There is an option of choosing dark and light theme based on your preference and the app is fairly light on the memory too. Inline viewing of videos and images is another very handy feature which puts Falcon Pro firmly in the pole position of our recommended twitter clients. You can also check out the likes of Carbon, Tweetings, Plume and Tweetcaster as potential Twitter Clients for your Android phone.
Unless you have just landed after a long flight from planet Mars, there is no way you have not heard about Instagram. It is one of those ‘in’ things today. People refuse to eat food or buy shoes without ‘Insta-ing’ them. It definitely makes our list of ten must have applications on Android device because it makes sharing your images on Social Network a breeze.
You can edit images easily using built in filters in the the application and share it across your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr or Foursquare. Recent update added the ability to tag your friends in pictures, very similar to how it is on Facebook. You can also interact, comment or like images of the people you follow. As Instagram continues to climb up the popularity charts, you have to admire the developing team behind it given that it is one of the easiest applications to use.
It is fun and free, no wonder the teens are absolutely addicted to using Instagram. You simply have to have it on board your brand new Android device.
Play Store: Download Instagram
Google Keep is a relatively new add on to the apps developed by Google themselves. It allows you to quickly take down notes, prepare a check list of tasks you need to do or simply save voice notes. If you do not know about Google Keep, go ahead and read our full review here.
Keep just like most of the other Google apps provides a powerful sync with your Google Account, so you can read the notes you have prepared on your Android phone on web. The UI of the application is simple and neat and the app is extremely easy to use. The ability to switch colors gives a very ‘Post It’ like feeling to your notes so you can easily color code your notes for future references.
The sheer simplicity of the application and lack of many alternate note taking apps on Android means Google Keep is the standout application for the simple note taking purpose. You could try out the likes of Evernote or Catch Notes if you are looking at a little more feature filled application.
Play Store: Download Google Keep
If you do not know yet, Google has decided to kill Google Reader with effect from July 1, 2013. As a result, all power users of Google Reader are looking at alternates. Feedly has since been considered as one of the most viable options out there for reading your subscribed feeds.
Feedly announced that it would be cloning the API of Google Reader to provide a seamless transition from Reader. The UI is easy on the eye and all your feeds are displayed in a nice picturesque format. Not just your Reader account, you can also sync the likes of Twitter or Facebook feeds in Feedly. Services such as Pocket and Instapaper are integrated too so that you can save the articles and read them later.
Feedly is available on Chrome too so it provides a great way to sync your feeds from your desktop to smartphone directly. The swipe feature to mark the article as read is well done and feels very natural to use. Although there are other apps such as Feedme which work well, Feedly is without a doubt a standout substitute to Google Reader. You can catch hold of our top five suggestions for alternate RSS to reader to Reader here.
Play Store: Download Feedly
Completing our roundup of ten apps that you must install on your brand new Android device is Whatsapp, the popular cross platform IM client. Whatsapp is possibly the most used app on any smartphone. Not just text messages, whatsapp allows you to quickly send across images, voice messages as well as videos to your friends.
The app is available for free to download on Android play store but charges a very affordable $.99 per year, after one year into the service. Since Whatsapp is available on other mobile platforms such as iOS, Symbian, WP and Blackberry OS, it is the most convenient way to chat with your friends for free. It is very rare that whatsapp servers give in and periodic backups ensure that all your messages are well backed up and delivered pretty much instantly.
Whatsapp has replaced text messaging as the way modern day communication takes place and it is no surprise that the app has remained amongst the top three positions of the popular free apps on Android for months on end.
Play Store: Download Whatsapp
So those were the ten apps that we believe are absolutely must have for your new Android phone. You may argue that we have missed out on applications such as MX Player, Facebook, Eye in the Sky, Flashlight etc, but most of them can wait or have an equivalent substitute preloaded in most modern day Android smartphones.
Do you agree with our choices? Or are there any other applications you feel are more important? Let us know you views in the comments section below.