Top ten Android apps

Whether it's social networking, picture-taking or plain old TV, you can probably find the app at the Android Market, which recently passed the 30,000-app mark. That's a lot of mostly-free apps, so we've pulled together this mini-guide to the ten essential apps you need for your Android phone, categorised by need.


Babbler / / $1.49
The official Facebook app for Android is pretty anemic, so check out recent release Babbler instead. It's a Facebook app that lets you check out friends' profiles and write on their walls - two things not possible with the official app. You can also comment and like posts, and share photos and video direct from phone. The Lite version is free.



Aloqa / Aloqa / Free
This GPS app sends you real-time recommendations on where to eat, shop, drink and party, based on your preferences and previous activities. It's especially useful in a new place, where it could suggest the nearest sushi bar to your hotel, or where to pick up that last-minute gift.


Camera Zoom FX / AndroidSlide / £1.99
A lot of Android phones don't have great cameras, but that won't matter with Camera Zoom FX, which takes it to iPhone-level fun with 40 unique effects you can apply to photos - including colour effects, distortions and more. Warning: takes up a lot of memory, so be sure you're kitted out with Advanced Task Manager, below.


MixZing Music Player / MixZing / Free
Android phones aren't exactly known as iPod-substitutes, but MixZing offers a beefed up music experience with recommended tunes based on the songs in your library. You can also rate songs with a '+' or '-' to fine-tune the recommendations. MixZing also stores videos, and displays album artwork.


CoPilot Live 8 / ALK Technologies / £23.47
It's a lot pricier than just using Google Maps, but if you're after a proper, full-featured navigation solution with voice directions, traffic info, speed camera locations and the ability to search for nearby landmarks, you can't beat CoPilot.


Gmote 2.0 / Marc Stogaitis & Mimi Sun / Free

Get your couch-potato on with Gmote, which lets you control movies and music from your computer at a distance. The app connects phone and computer over Wi-Fi, letting you also launch PowerPoint shows, surf the web and even use your phone as a touch-pad and keyboard for your computer. Supports Linux, Windows, Mac.


SportsTap / Mobile1Sports / Free

This is all the scores and stats you'll ever need for any mainstream sport, ever. You can follow MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA (American) football and basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, football, and futbol, and get alerts when games start/end or someone scores. You can check out stats for tons of international teams, and also select Favourite Teams, though this only covers American leagues.


Advanced Task Manager / Arron La / $0.99
Speed up your phone and save battery with ATM, whose easy to use interface shows a list of all running programs and how much memory each takes up. Simply tap one or several to end unnecessary programs. You can also add a widget to the homescreen to end all running programs with one-tap. Supports up to Android 2.1.


Note Everything / SoftXPerience / Free; EUR2.99 for Pro upgrade
This app is a notebook, voice recorder and barcode scanner in one. You can record notes as text, doodle, or voice, and save barcodes of products you want. A free GDocs add-on lets you sync notes with Google Documents, or upgrade to Pro to save photo-notes direct from camera and enable checklists. Allows export of notes from Palm PDAs, Outlook and more.


TripIt / TripIt, Inc. / Free
This mobile app from the TripIt travel organiser website pulls all your travel plans onto your Android phone. Once you've got a travel confirmation email - from an airline, hotel or travel agent, for example - just forward it to and TripIt will build you a travel itinerary. Requires registration at the website.

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