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10 Android apps every Android device needs

Since last November I'm the happy owner of an Android smart phone. Actually, I already have my second one: After the HTC Hero, which was already amazing, I now have the Motorola Milestone (aka Droid). This blog post lists and reviews the apps that I think every Android phone should have installed.

You find one or more 2D barcodes beside each app. You can either click on the image to get more information on the app or simply scan the barcode using Barcode Scanner to open it directly in the Android Market.

Advanced Task Killer

ATK (no ads)ATK (no ads)
ATK (free)ATK (free)

In contrast to the iPhone, Android allows tasks to run in the background. To take care for your battary level, this app lists all running apps and allows you to kill any of them. Quite handy, if you tend to leave apps into the background when switching to something else.

The tool is available as a free version, which shows ads, and as a non-free but ad-free version.



Astrid is an open source TODO management application. Beside the typical features of a TODO list, like reminders and tags, Astrid nicely integrates with Remember the milk. This web tool allows comfortable online management of your TODOs and can be integrated into your Google Calendar. Beside that, it offers a web API to allow integration into further tools.

Barcode Scanner

Barcode ScannerBarcode Scanner

This app allows you to scan barcodes in various formats. While this is funny to be applied to any article you can buy in a store, it is also useful: The app supports 2D barcodes like the QR code, which gets more and more common to encode URLs and vcard information.

You can try out this app directly here: Just download and start it, point it to any of the QR codes you find on this page and it will send you to the specific app in the Android Market.



Barcoo is another barcode scanner app. In contrast to the last presented, barcoo is specialized on scanning standard product barcodes and presenting useful information about the product like nutrition facts or the nearest store where you can buy the product. To realize that, barcoo is based on an open database of such facts where everyone is invited to contribute.

Barcoo seems to be specific to Germany. Anyone knows of an international version?



For Facebook users, this app is a must. It gives you convenient access to your and your friends timelines, profiles, photos and more. In addition, you can take photos with your phone and directly upload them to Facebook. This app is officially released by Facebook, in contrast to some others out there.

One thing I liked pretty much on the Hero was, that HTC integrated Facebook and Flickr with the address book. That, on the one hand, gave you the Facebook profile photos as your contact photos and, on the other hand, direct access to status changes through your address book. Would be nice to see something like that for the whole Android platform, not just HTC.



The klickTel app is specific to Germany, but I assume there are other yellow page apps. klickTel allows you to locate the nearest restaurants, gas stations, ATMs and other places you'd often search for. You can restrict the search to a specific vendor or attributes of the place you are looking for.



My favorite app is Locale. This tool realizes circumstance based settings for your phone. Based upon the Google location API (which does mostly not even need GPS), the time of the day or other conditions you can define specialized settings for the device.

For example, you can mute your business contacts when you're at home, switch bluetooth of at work or get reminded of TODOs (from Astrid) with a certain tag when you are around the shopping mall. This is basically how I keep track of my shopping list nowadays. :)

Locale offers an API for plugins to integrate with it, so you can download (and possibly buy) additional settings modules, not included in the base package. Sadly, Locale is neither open source, nor does it offer an API for condition matching. These are 2 drawbacks I'd love to see fixed. In addition, the app is not cheap with US$ 10, but still, it's worth the price.

Qype Radar

Qype RadarQype Radar

Qype is somewhat similar to the klickTel app, but international and based on a social network. People can rate and comment locations, upload photos, update the information for a place and create new places. Based on this, you can search nearby and perform the mentioned operations as you go. Additionally you can see what your friends recommend and how they rated a place.

I personally like Qype Radar quite much to find restaurants, bars, discos and such places, while I use klickTel to find gas stations and ATMs.



Did you ever hear a song which you liked, but did not get the title or artist? Shazam to the rescue. The tool recognizes songs by sound and instantly tells you the desired information. In addition, Shazam offers direct links to Youtube and Amazon for listening and buying the song. Shazam (or similar tools) is also available for other platforms.


Twidoid ProTwidoid Pro
Twidoid (free)Twidoid (free)

Who could live without Twitter on his mobile device? Twidroid is a full featured Twitter client, including support for URL shortening, tweeting photos and videos and other nifty features. There's a free version of the tool, which is convenient for most users. I personally use the pro (non-free) version of Twidroid, since I have two Twitter accounts to manage. In addition, this version brings some more features like bit.ly integration and custom color schemes.


Kore also recommends AndChat (an IRC chat app), the SSH client Connectbot and the Aldiko eBook reader app. I did not try any of these, yet, but I definitly should.

Missed an app?

Did you miss an app in this list? Do you know the most amazing Android app ever? Feel free to add a comment!

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