Useful Android Apps

Recently several of my friends have been getting the Samsung Galaxy S3, the same phone that I got back in June. One of the first questions is if I have any advice on good apps to get. So I wanted to share a few of my favourite apps.


Battery Doctor

This app helps improving the battery life on the S3, and also modify how the charging is done. I have noticed a longer battery life since I installed this app.



A social driving and navigation app. Users report traffic issues, police checkpoints, objects on road and other hazards, and you get up-to-date information that can help you avoid traffic jams, accidents, etc. A must for anyone driving.



Vowe wrote about this last summer. It is a great way to share your location on a temporary basis. Perhaps you want to let someone know where you are, but just for a short time, not allow the person to track you forever.


Google Earth

I think everyone knows about this app, so I don’t think I need to tell more about it.


Kingsoft Office

This free app let you view and edit Office documents on your phone. It can access files stored on the phone as well as on cloud storage like Dropbox and Sugarsync.


ES File Explorer

Explore and open files on your local device, on your network and even in your cloud storage. It also includes an ftp client. I often use this app to copy files (movies, music) from my network shares to my phone.


Cloud Storage

This brings us to different cloud storage services. I use several, they all work pretty much the same. Most of them not only allows you to upload/download files from your phone, but can also be connected to the camera app, so all photos you take automatically get uloaded to teh cloud storage, which is a great way to automatically backup your photos.

You need to setup accounts with each service, and it is a good idea to also download a desktop client for your regular computer(s). These services are great to let you get to certainfiles, no matter where you are.



Client download:

You get 2GB for free, and can purchase more space if you like. You also get more space if you refer someone to Dropbox, and that person also get 500MB extra. So if you are not already a Dropbox user, click here and you will get 2.5GB instead of just 2GB with your free sign up. And I will get some extra storage. 🙂



Client download:

You get 5GB for free, and the Android app can be set to automatically upload your photos to the cloud for instant backup. You can also, like on the other services, share files with friends or family directly from the phone. If you sign up here it will also give me a little bit extra storage.


Google Drive

Client download:

Google also give you 5GB of free storage. Use your regular Google account for this service.



Client download: Windows Mac

Microsoft’s cloud storage is called SkyDrive, and you get 7GB for free (the most of any of the services). If you signed up early (before April, 2012), you got 25GB for free.


Reference and Travel

A smartphone is a great tool to find information while on the go, so I always install the apps for Wikipedia and IMDb (Internet Movie Database). I use to find inexpensive airfares, and they also have a nice  app. While we are on the subject of travel, SeatGuru is a website where you can find out what the good and bad seats are on different airplanes. The app let you not only look at the seating maps for hundreds of airplanes from different airlines, you can also track flights and see if there are any delays.


Geeky Apps

Ever since I started using calculators, I have been a fan of HP and their RPN calculators. I still have my old trusty HP-48SX at home, but I now mostly use the Droid48sx app on my phone. It is a modified version of Droid48 (an HP-48GX emulator, which also has a 48SX mode). If you want a powerful technical/scientific calculator on your phone, look no further.
Another app I like is Wifi Analyer. It let you check what hotspots are around, what channels they use, and help you get better connectivity by chnaging your channel to a less crowded one.
Atooma is a very cool app, it let you program different triggers that will automate functions on your phone. For example, I created a rule that says “if charger is connected and time is between 9pm and 6am, set ringer to silent”. Another rule says “if leaving home (as defined by GPS location), turn on bluetooth and torn off wifi”.


The last two apps I want to mention are Skype, so I can use my phone to talk to friends and relatives all over the world for free (if they have Skype) or very inexpensive if I have to call a regular phone number, and Spotify, which let me listen to music everywhere. For Spotify, you need a Premium account in order to use the otherwise free app. The app lets you download the songs on your playlists to the phone while connected to wifi, so you don’t waste your data plan to stream music.  Interesting enough, both services are originally created in my native Sweden.


I use more apps than the ones I listed above, like the WordPress app to update/maintain my blog, but I wanted to list the more generic ones. I am also not listing any IBM/Lotus specific ones, like the Connections or Sametime apps. But if you have use Lotus Notes at work for email, make sure you talk to your network administrator about getting access to Traveler.


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