This year marks my third with Android so I thought I might start a new year’s tradition of listing my top 10 third party Android apps from the previous year. Most of these were available earlier than 2012 but they are the ones that I depend on daily on my phone and tablet. The core of the Android experience are the great first party apps Google provides but I find the usability of the platform much enhanced by the work of third party developers.
So in no particular order, here are my picks for the year (with links to the Play store in each title):
- Flipboard – A lot of my time with my Nexus 7 is spent reading and Flipboard is my top pick for catching up on what is going on. I have connected all the social networks I use to curate links but also use some of the topic-based channels. I also have this installed on my phone for those times in line at the store.
- Pocket – One of the great features of Android is the application sharing API which connects apps together. I use Flipboard, Google Reader, Zite and other apps to find articles and then share them to Pocket for reading later. I have used this app since it was called Read It Later Pro and still see no reason to switch to anything else for reading web content on a phone or tablet.
- Evernote – The only single app pinned to my dock on my Nexus 7 (the rest are folders of apps), I use Evernote frequently to save ideas, photos and code snippets across all my devices. I use it so much I’ve paid for the Premium version which unlocks a number of useful features such as OCR.
- Any.DO – Another very useful app I use across all my devices to keep track of tasks. I especially like it on my phone where I can schedule missed calls and other tasks and then take action on my computer or tablet later.
- Plume – I’ve used the official Twitter app and Hootsuite but find Plume the best app for getting the most out of Twitter on the go. I especially like the universal inbox for managing multiple accounts and ability to adjust the look and feel.
- Netflix – The Nexus 7 is the first Android device I have used that supports Netflix and it is fantastic for watching TV shows and movies when traveling or when something else is on your Netflix-connected TV.
- Kindle – As I mentioned earlier I spend a lot of time reading on my tablet and Amazon’s Kindle app is as good as it gets for ebook reading. Syncing across devices works much better than anything else I have tried and the selection of content and pricing is second to none.
- Pocket Casts – If you like to listen to podcasts Pocket Casts is the only app you need. I use it on my phone for audio podcasts and on my tablet for video podcasts. While the user interface could use some improvement the rest of the app works well for downloading and listening (or watching) podcasts. Well worth the $3 charged.
- 3M Cloud Library – A new entry released only last month, this app gives you access to the ebook selection from your public library. The interface is intuitive and the reading view is comparable to the Kindle app. The integrated user experience beats the heck out of dealing with Adobe Digital Editions and manually loading ebooks to your tablet.
- Amazon Appstore – I have almost 100 apps “purchased” from Amazon’s app store. Most of them are the free app of the day variety which is a great way to find new paid apps with no risk.