Apps are engrained into our everyday lives. Whether it’s checking Twitter, listening to music, doing your shopping, ordering a takeaway or checking your bank balance. Apps open up our smartphones to an endless world of potential. After living with Android for 2 and a half years now I’ve used my fair share of apps. Here’s a few interesting ones I couldn’t live without in 2015.
- Airdroid – Airdroid allows you to access and manage your Android phone from any computer. Simply install the app, then visit web.airdroid.com to login and access your device. From here you can access and transfer files, view your photos, receive notifications, respond to SMS, install applications and even locate / remotely wipe your device (much like Apple’s “Find My iPhone”). I find the file transferring infinitely useful, no longer do I need to worry about having a cable with me to transfer music or photos to my phone, just drag and drop with Airdroid – really handy! There’s also a desktop app if you don’t fancy logging in via the website every time.
- Pushbullet – Pushbullet helps link your devices together. Download the app, add the browser extension (Chrome, Firefox and Safari all supported), and follow the easy set up process. You’ll then be able to mirror all of your notifications to your PC and even act upon them. Mark emails as read, respond to SMS and Whatsapp messages, or just see a notification pop up without having to unlock your phone. It’s really handy when working. You can also push links, messages and files to your device – I find this really handy when I want to snap a quick photo and send it to my PC.
- Sunrise – Sunrise is by far the best Calendar I’ve found on Android. It plugs into your Google, Exchange or iCloud calendar then presents everything in a really clean package. It’s got an awesome widget which I’ve had on one of my homescreens for well over a year now – I couldn’t live without it! Also a nice touch, Sunrise scans for keywords in the event text and presents an icon next to each based what it finds. E.g ‘meeting’ results in a speechbubble icon, ‘birthday’ gives a little balloon icon etc – nice touch!
- Pocket Casts – After playing around with a range of Podcast apps Pocket Casts in my opinion is the best on the Play Store. It does come with a £2.49 pricetag, but it’s absolutely worth it. It makes it easy to search for a Podcast and add it to your subscriptions, download the latest episodes automatically or do it manually. Podcasts can be controlled via the notification panel, lock screen, Android Wear and even Pebble Smartwatch. You can easily sync your podcasts, something which comes in handy when switching to a new device – all of your subscriptions are carried over, and you can even resume where you left off on another device. It also has a useful ‘sleep timer’, so you don’t have to worry about a podcast going on for hours after you drift off. The app is updated constantly with new features, and was one of the first to receive a material design overhaul when Google released Android Lollipop. Well worth the asking price.
- Nova Launcher Prime – Nova Launcher Prime is downright the best launcher for Android in my opinion. What’s a launcher? The launcher lets users customise the home screen’s theme, icons, app drawer, and more. Dislike how Android app icons are of all shapes and sizes unlike iOS’ more uniform style? With a custom launcher you’re able to pick and choose from a huge range of icon packs to theme your icons to all share a common style. It’s the first thing I install on any Android device. Folders within folders, organised tabs and actions via gestures are all easy to set up and configure with Nova Launcher. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and highly customisable. Backup is also simple, so when moving from one device to another I was able to keep all my homescreen layouts and app drawer settings intact. It would be nice to see an option to backup your Nova settings automatically to the cloud, hopefully this will come in a future update. Nova Launcher Prime will set you back £3.99, but there is a fairly fully featured free version; paying the fee gets you gestures, unread counts, custom drawer groups, hiding apps, icon swipes and more visual effects.
Which do you think are the best Android apps? Leave your list of ‘must haves’ in the comments below!
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