The Google Play store for Android boasts of over 1.3 million apps, but what are the must-have apps on your phone?
Thanks to the humongous choice available on the Google Play store, finding the best apps that are fit for purpose might not always be the simplest task. If you are new to the world of smartphone apps, here’s a list of some of the best free apps available on the Google Play store to help get you started.
This is perhaps the most feature-rich browser on Android. It’s also one browser that lets you change the entire look of the UI with themes, just like PC browsers. Dolphin comes with a whole bunch of bookmarks right out of the APK. The pre-loaded bookmarks include most popular websites in each category. So you will find Facebook, Pinterest and the likes in social networking, and Flipkart, Amazon in shopping.
Avast provides value for money while effectively securing your phone. So you get the usual antivirus features that scan through all your apps and web URLs for malware, as well as protection against malware in incoming messages and files.
Swiftkey is a third-party keyboard app known for its superior predictive software. It lets you type quickly by swiping across keys on the on-screen keyboard instead of clicking on each key. It lets you undock and move the on-screen keyboard around or toggle between keyboard types. You can choose between compact, thumb or full keyboard modes to suit your hands and device’s screen size. Plus, it also lets you adjust the keyboard size.
It’s not often you’ll get to see starry nights in a busy city, so make the most of your outdoor trip by watching the stars in the clear night skies. Google Sky Map is an app that gives the name of stars, constellations and planets above you by pointing your smartphone or tablet to the sky. The app makes use of your smartphone’s integral GPS and compass to give the exact placement of stars and planets based on your location.
TuneIn Radio brings radio stations across the globe to one place, so you can listen to music as well as news and live radio broadcasts around the world. For music, you’ll have to pick a radio station from a genre. There are over fifty genres to choose from including soundtracks, jazz, hip-hop, folk and country, and TuneIn Radio brings together all the radio stations playing songs of that genre. This opens you to a vast collection of music without limiting you to a particular country or language.
Need to rush to the nearest ATM, petrol pump or pharmacy? This app can dig it all out for you with its intuitive interface and impressive location features. Not only does it identify nearby places, but it also gives you the directions how to get there with its built-in map. Powered by Google Maps, this app is a quick tool to find directions, phone numbers and reviews about important places in your neighbourhood.
Google Drive is a splendid cloud service, which lets you sync and create backups for files such as music, photos and office documents across different devices and platforms. Google Drive comes with 15GB of free storage space and you can save files of up to 1TB in size. You can print, delete and move files between folders from within the app. Sharing stored files is even easier – you can either choose anyone with the link to access your files, or assign specific people who can view, comment or edit photos.
The Du Battery Saver & Widget optimises your device to squeeze in some additional battery life by shutting down or lowering the intensity of some components/features. The app effectively shows how much time is left to go until your battery gives up. Du Battery gives a quick glance at how much battery life is remaining right on the homescreen. The Optimise option gives you that extra juice when you are far from a power source. It scans your device to look for ways to optimise the battery life such as by reducing the screen brightness, setting the screen timeout, disabling Bluetooth/ Wi-Fi and so on.
myMail lets you manage all your email accounts through a single app. It’s free and easy to use, incorporating features such as archiving, deleting, marking as spam and flagging options with a single swipe. It lets you set up an email account from unlisted email providers as well as popular ones such as Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, AOL, or Hotmail account. You get 50GB of space for each email account. Alternatively, you can create a free myMail account for unlimited storage for all your emails.
Snapseed includes easy gesture-based controls (mostly swipes) for editing photos. It offers plenty of editing tools to enhance your photos including a comprehensive set of fine-tuning options for brightness, shadows, warmth and ambiance. Plus, you get a variety of customisable filters to add that extra zing to your photos.
VSCO Cam adds professional photo-editing tools, while letting you take pictures from the app. You can toggle the flash, tap the screen to take pictures or change the display into a ‘line of thirds’ grid, horizon level or nothing. It also works as a social networking tool where you can share your works of art with fellow VSCO Cam users through the My Feed option. Of course, there are image filters and you can adjust the intensity of each filter.
Photo Editor by Aviary has useful photo-correction tools such as red-eye and blemish removal. You can add fun elements such as text, stickers and frames, or bring out the photographer in you by trying out various effects such as vignette, focus shift, colour splash and filters. The app has an intuitive interface, with labels for each tool sitting a the bottom of the app interface.
There are plenty of relationship apps in the market, of which, Avocado is one of the best we’ve seen. Other than sending text, photos and emoticons, Avocado lets you send kisses and hugs – the latter by placing the phone to your heart! We don’t think messages could get more personal than that.
With a variety of graphic stickers and free calling features, Viber is a great messaging app for making voice calls over the Internet and sending text messages. The interface is clean and easy to use. It’s free to download, though some features are paid-for.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps used across different age groups. Since it has been around for so long, it’s easy to find friends to talk to without having to invite them. It has an intuitive interface, while features are limited to sending text, basic emoticons, photos and other media. Anyone on your phone contacts who has downloaded the app can send you a message.