Six years ago, before the epic invention of the iPhone, we bought phones are were happy with the inbuilt apps that came along with them. Phone vendor apps like calendar, phone book, SMS messaging, audio and video players were what defined a phone and differentiated one vendor from the other. Well, not anymore. The introduction of the game changing experience of the Apple app store in 2008 striped phone vendors and carriers of their jealously guarded position of creating and distributing mobile phone apps and so controlling the mobile end user experience forever. So let me take a second to thank Steve jobs and his crew for leading this revolution.
Aha, while Apple led the way, Google with with its universal and open approach to operating system development are the ones who open the flood gates to a wide range of users and phone vendors like HTC, Huawei, ZTE, Samsung, LG among others through the Android market which boasts more than 400,000 apps. Out of these, am only going to discuss my top 7 Android applications that I just can’t do without. Whether you’re just unpacking your smartphone or you’re a seasoned user, this could serve as a template and in no particular order, lets get right into it.
Email is not yet dead as I have heard some people rant. I use email almost everyday for business, catching up with email news letters I subscribe to and communicating with family and friends. The experience offered by the Gmail app which supports labels, attachments among the obvious features makes it seem like a gift that fell from the skies. Did I mention notifications that enable you respond to an incoming email almost instantly if you like?
This app made me kiss my spiral bound hard notebooks goodbye. Evernote enables me take notes In a meeting, record the meeting if I like, take pictures and geographically tag the location of that meeting all In a simple and cool interface. I also use it to keep a journal of my life and also take my ideas and thoughts when I have my ‘light bulb’ moments on just about anything. It helps me organize my over 200 + notes In notebooks and tags plus It also has a search feature. Did I also mention sharing and accessing my notes anywhere, anytime on any internet connected device – phone, tablet or PC.
This app is my news stand for all my feeds from blogs and websites I subscribe to. On PC, I used to use Google reader as my feeds aggregator and there’s an android app for it, but it’s no way close to how Pulse brings articles magazine style. It stripes off the flashy Ads so you can concentrate on the content and makes sharing easy through Facebook and Twitter. More so discovering content from its pool of thousands of content sources Is easy and intuitive. And more thing and my favorite feature is that Pulse pre-fetches content from your favorite sites so that you can read the articles offline or without an internet connection. That’s important for me because I can cut off any potential disruptions and concentrate on the content.
Youversion Bible app
Yes as a Christian, I totally value this app. Youversion takes Bible reading experience to a whole new level. There’s nothing like it. It has well over 10 different versions you can pick from and enables you to download them to you phone for offline access. Some versions support audio, so you can just listen to scripture perhaps while having a quiet evening walk or bike ride. It supports highlighting for your favorite verses, bookmarks, taking notes, copy and paste and makes sharing easy through Twitter and Facebook. It also supports Bible reading plans or devotions so you can keep reading the word of God consistently in your daily schedule. To me, it makes the Bible more fluid, sharable and fan to read. Nothing like it.
Am a fun of communications and this app just took that to a whole new level. That’s beginning to sound like a cliche, but seriously IMO is a simple multi-network instant messaging app that just cut my phone bill into half and got me more productive at the same time. IMO allows you you to sign in to Skype, gtalk, Facebook, yahoo, MSN, AIM and others all the same time. No new sign ups and registration. Just choose your network and sign in, then chat with your friends or business associates like you were on your computer. I use it to communicate with friends on various networks and collaborate with my team members. It’s just brilliant.
I won’t talk much about this because it comes pre- installed on most smart phones let alone being integrated in the operating system itself. I use twitter (via @oquidave) almost everyday to connect with various people, friends, news feeds and share interesting ideas and articles.
MX video player
Yes it’s time to put that report aside and relax abit. The idea of a possibility of watching a movie on a phone has never crossed my mind until I met this wonderful app that will play just about any video format that you throw at it. It’s the VLC in the mobile space. However, video playback is hardware intensive and the experience will depend on the kind of CPU or processor your phone has. So it’s common to have some videos play without audio or with audio lagging on low end smart phones.
There’re other apps that make the smartphone experience extremely useful and pleasant. Some with the potential to completely disrupt some industries like multimedia, Newspaper industry, Telecom, Banking in favour of delivering the best value and experience to consumers. Most of these apps are cross platform meaning there’re not just android, but also iOS, Blackberry, Windows phone. So what apps can’t you just do without? Please tell me in the comments.