Did you get a new Android Smartphone or Tablet for Christmas/the holiday season? Well first of all I would like to congratulate you on your new device. You have just been given a gift that keeps on giving! You might have taken it out of its box, got it set up and you might be thinking “OK, I have it set up, what’s next?”. Don’t worry, I have you covered because I would like to give you a guide on the apps that you need to have for your shiny new device!
You might already have a GMail/Google account as your way of sending and receiving emails. If you don’t then I would encourage you to create your Google account. This process will only take about 5 minutes and once you have it you are pretty much all set for downloading stuff.
For all of these apps, you will need to go to the Google Play store on your new device. This is where you will get or buy these apps. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the apps that you need to have on your new device.
If you have Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts then you have to get the apps for them. There will be times where you will need to take out your phone, snap a photo and share it to your social network of choice.
Instagram(free) – Instagram is a social network for sharing photos with others. If you have this app, you can take a photo from your phone/tablet’s camera. Once you have, you can add a filter to it which will change the colour and how the photo looks. You could make it go black and white, have black corners and the rest in colour or making it look like a photo from the 1980’s. The choice is really up to you.
Facebook(free) – If you like using Facebook, then this is a no-brainer to have. You can check in on Facebook wherever you have an internet connection. You will be able to see what other people are posting and so forth. The only real caveat is that if you want to send someone a message then you will also need to download the Facebook Messenger app. Of course, just like the Facebook website you can also post status updates from within the Facebook app. Again, an essential download for any new smartphone/tablet owners that use Facebook.
Whether you are on the way to work or you are on a plane 35,000 feet above the ground there are plenty of games for you to check out to keep you busy in your down time. With that in mind here’s my pick of the games/gaming apps that you should check out.
Fist of awesome(£2.49) – In this game the timeline has been destroyed and history has been altered. You play the role of a lumberjack called Tim Burr and your job is to try and get things back to normal by punching bears (and other creatures in the face). Hands down it’s one of my favourite games out there. It has quite an intuitive control system, it has a lot of humour in it and it really is a joy to play. It’s a also a huge throwback to a lot of the beat-’em-ups of the 1990s such as Streets of Rage, Final Fight and Golden Axe.
Some of you might want to get some work done on the go so here’s a few of my picks for the productivity apps that you should check out.
Microsoft OneNote(free) – hands down, OneNote has become my favourite note-taking app. You can create various notebooks for many different things such as work, various projects and much more. Within those books you have sections and pages inside of those sections. Needless to say, with OneNote, there is no longer an excuse for not being organised.
Microsoft Word(free), Microsoft Excel(free), Microsoft PowerPoint(free) – When Microsoft decided to make Office for Android I was super excited. These three apps allow you to create and edit documents, spreadsheets and work on those all-important presentations. There are other features that you can unlock by having an Office 365 subscription but for the vast majority of you, I think that using it as is should be just fine.
These are super handy to have because in a pinch if you need to quickly make changes to a document, then you can do so and then at the tap of a button, email that document off to a person. Of course, if you use OneDrive, then you can also edit documents that are stored online in your OneDrive and then save them back up there. You also have the option to get documents stored on your Dropbox account and then edit those. All of these four apps are free but you have to create a Microsoft account in order to use them.
Microsoft Outlook (free) – You might not prefer using the Gmail app that comes with your smartphone to get your emails and that’s fine. This is because Microsoft Outlook is a great alternative. It does all the things that the GMail app does and it plays nicely with Gmail, Yahoo Mail, outlook.com and many other services. Of course if your work place uses Exchange as their email system then you can hook up Outlook on your device to that. In fact, if your email provider supports imap then you can use it with Outlook.
Media players: There some situations where you just want to watch or listen to something to chill out. With that in mind, here’s my pick for the media consumption app that you must have.
TuneIn Radio(free) – Speaking of Media Players there’s a radio app that I really like and I highly recommend called TuneIn Radio. With this app you can listen to radio stations based in many countries around the world. I have seen a lot of different apps out there but none are as easy to use as TuneIn is. There’s all sorts of different Genres to choose from such as Talk, sports, news and so much more. In terms of countries you can listen to Radio stations here in the UK, China, Germany and many more.
YouTube (free) – If there is one app that you really need to have as far as watching video goes, then it would have to be YouTube. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock, YouTube is a service where people can go and watch videos online.
Cloud storage: By storing things online, you can access them from pretty much anywhere using your smartphone or tablet. I have always stated that you should have 3 copies of your data, with 1 out of the 3 copies being offsite. Think about what’s on your iPhone: It might be photos of your child when he(or she) was a baby or important business documents. If you were to lose those then you would not be happy. That’s why you need to have stuff stored online. I should acknowledge the fact that Google has their own cloud offering called Google Drive, but you may or may not want to use it. With that said here are a few of my picks.
Dropbox(free) – This is one of the most popular online storage apps out there. You get 2GB of free storage. It’s easy to use and one of the best. You can back up photos stored on your device to your Dropbox account or quickly view documents that are stored online in your Dropbox account. Dropbox is a free app. Don’t forget to sign up for a free Dropbox account before using this app.
Copy(free) – From barracuda networks, Copy is a great alternative to Dropbox that offers 15GB of storage for free (or 20GB by using my referral link). In my review, I said that it was very user friendly and that the mobile app is brilliant. It has similar functionality to Dropbox. In a pinch it’s also useful if you’re on-the-go and need to share some files with someone really quickly.
Navigation/Mapping: You will be travelling a lot and taking your smartphone or tablet with you. So, here’s my pick of all the mapping/navigation apps.
Google Maps(free) – Google have quickly become the king when it comes to mapping. They used to be in the maps app that came with the iPhone but now it has a separate app. You have super accurate maps that are updated on a regular basis. If you are travelling somewhere then you can get directions to your destination and then save the entire route for viewing offline. This can be really useful if you are on the road where you might not have internet access. I should mention that you may already have Google Maps already installed on your smartphone or tablet.
Communication: I should acknowledge that Google has their own service called Hangouts which allows you to make both audio and video calls over the internet. Sometimes a phone call might not be the right thing for the job. Either that or the phone signal in your area might not be the best. So here’s a couple of picks for those situations.
Skype(free) – This is possibly one of the most obvious choices of apps that you need to have on your smartphone or tablet. As long as the person taking the Skype call is doing so with their Skype account/Microsoft account then that call will be free. If you have an office 365 subscription then you can make calls to landlines in selected countries. Otherwise you can put some credit onto your Skype account and make calls to landlines and mobiles in any country whenever you need to.
WhatsApp Messenger(free) – There are a lot of different messaging apps out there. However Whatsapp is possibly one of the best apps out there. It has a super easy sign-up process in that there are no usernames or passwords. Simply give it your mobile phone number and you are good to go. WhatsApp Messenger is a free download and you can use it for free for the first year. After that you have to pay $0.99 (approximately £0.69) if you wish to continue using it. Unfortunately uninstalling WhatsApp and reinstalling it does not reset the free trial.
Utilities: One of the things that I really like about the Android platform is that it’s more open than the iOS platform. There is more room for customisations that can really make your device your own. There are some great utilities out there and here is one of my favourites.
Airdroid(free) – We’ve all been in that situation. We need to put a document or picture on our phone or tablet to share with other people and we have to email it to ourselves. Airdroid makes this whole process so much easier. From your computer you can then upload files to your device. If you’ve come home from a long day where you’ve taken some photos on your device, you can then go in and save those photos to your computer. You can even send text messages from Airdroid. Hands down, AirDroid has become one of my favourite apps and I highly recommend downloading it.
News: You might want to catch up on the latest news, so here’s my pick of the apps that you will need to have.
Flipboard(free) – This app has become one of the must have apps for anyone getting a new smartphone or tablet. Basically, the idea is that you can have all of your favourite sources of news in one place instead of having to open up multiple tabs in a web browser. All of your news sources are represented as square tiles and organised into a magazine-style layout. You can tap one of these tiles to then see their most recent articles. To flip to the next article, simply swipe in one direction. If you have the RSS feed for your favourite website then you can copy and paste that into Flipboard and it will put a tile on there for you.
So there you have it! That’s my list of the apps that you must install on your new Android smartphone or tablet.
Now it’s your turn: Did I miss out any apps? what are your must-have apps for your iPhone or iPad? Let me know! Better still fill out my contact form and I will take a look.