My Top Android Apps

Having been an android user for several years now, I can comfortable list the apps I must have installed on my phone to feel comfortable and use my gadget optimally.

So here is my definitive list and is not necessarily conclusive seeing as time has not stopped and I have less than normal loyalty to any software/platform/device.

 

  • Official Twitter App

twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Twitter is my no.1 source of news, gossip, humor and a personal realtime information source that I ave relied upon many times in the past.  This has always been my default and only twitter client. Several versions ago, the functionality was rather bogus and other clients such as Uber twitter, seesmic etc but the constant advertisements and requests to buy pro versions put me off and I stuck to the regular app. They have since greatly improved even adding Instagram like filters for its photo functionality.

  • Google Maps

 

Google Maps

If there is a favorite and must have app on any smartphone anywhere it is the maps app and by far Google has the best product. Their strategy of crowd sourcing their mapping to all and sundry has yielded the most comprehensive privately funded mapping product that is freely available to the general public. I have helped map some parts of the country that I have had the fortune of having intimate information about and thus I could say I have made my mark too.

Before any trip I make it is the first app I consult to know the estimated distance I would be driving and the general route that would get me there. Granted it is not as comprehensive as in the ‘developed’ countries with turn by turn directions and traffic info but it is good enough as it is.

SoundHound Shazam

 

Ever heard an awesome track or song in a matatu or the over the radio and would almost kill to know the name or the artiste so that you find it later on youtube or buy it or something? Then you can appreciate how convenient having an app in your phone that can do that is. I remember seeing this capability first in Sony Ericsson handsets and it was called TrackID back then.

Sometimes Sound hound doesn’t find the track and I switch to Shazam and vice versa. I prefer Shazam though due to its easy integration with social media and the faster loading. Must have apps if you are an audiophile or really into music porn.

 

  • Google Reader

 

Google reader

 

I read lotsa blogs and keeping track of  new posts is impossible. Enter google reader that neatly arranges all new posts up for you to read, laugh,gawk, sneer and get inspired by. It helps sustain my reading habit(or at-least whats left of it) because otherwise I and my bookmarks bar on my browser would be overwhelmed. This I also use everyday and is possibly the first app I download whenever I get a new android phone.

  • Opera Mini

Opera mini

 

This has been a constant on the cellie since the dumb phone era of Nokias with 32mb internal storage. Used to be (and still is) the first essential apps I download after getting a data connection on a new cell phone. Incidentally the few manufacturers that bundle it with the phone software manage to lock it in an ancient version impossible to upgrade(Am looking at you Samsung) and am forced to install another alongside that remains up-to-date.

Opera mini is seamless, reliable, data saving and generally awesome.

 

  • Ma3Route

Ma3route

This is the only Kenyan made app that I use regularly. Its directions functionality when using public transport (read chaotic Matatus) is legendary and has saved my skin several times. The traffic update thing needs some more polishing but is usable as it is. I also like that it tells you how much the fare will costs thus avoiding getting swindled by touts.

 

  • Foursquare

 

Foursquare

 

I have waited with baited breath for a local recommendation app for local spots eg restaurants, hotels, clubs, fuel stations and that sort of thing based on location but I suppose this is a problematic business model. Populating the database is costly and if  crowd-sourcing is the intended method of getting the data then the motivation for using the app or service needs to be appealing.

Google latitude tried this out but Google barely marketed it and it is a ghost town todate. Foursquare has stepped in nicely and with the growing user base, maturing platform and improving aesthetics, it has garnered some semblance of reliability in terms of local recommendations. Most recommendations however are mostly middle class joints with most people checking in to posh venues and avoid tagging when they are in river road.

Thats my list, would be interested to know what others deem their must have apps.

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