Lifehacker Pack For Android: Our List Of The Best Android Apps

Whether you're a faithful Android user or you've just unboxed your first Android phone, there's a wealth of free and cheap apps in the Android Market that can turn your device into a mobile powerhouse. Our second annual Lifehacker Pack for Android is stuffed full of apps to keep you connected to home, office and friends, or just help you stay entertained on the go.

The Lifehacker Pack is a yearly snapshot of our favourite, must-have applications for each of our favourite platforms. If you're curious to see how things have changed this year, here's last year's Lifehacker Pack for Android.

Want to skip to a specific category? Use these links:

>Productivity

Evernote Evernote for Android has been regularly updated and has come a long way since it made it into our pack last year. The app scored a huge update in April that added shared notebooks, geolocation, sharing with Facebook and tighter integration on your phone, and more. Evernote says mobile is their most rapidly growing space, and it shows in their Android app.

Download Page

Springpad Springpad is another utility that allows you to take notes and snippets from the web and the things around you and save them for future reference. Where Evernote focuses on notes and web clippings, Springpad expands the idea to products, places and more. The app combines all of those clippings with a robust organiser and to-do manager that can change the way you work.

Download Page

Astrid What started as a side project of a Google engineer has turned into Android's leading to-do list organiser and manage, and is still one of our favourites. It's simply, it's easy to use, it syncs with Remember The Milk, and it'll keep you in line so you don't forget to do the things you need to do.

Download Page

Internet/Communication

Dolphin Browser HD Dolphin HD is still one of our favourite alternative Android browsers, and given the state of Android fragmentation, it's good to have a browser that'll work well on any version of Android you may have. The interface is reminiscent of desktop browsers, with tabs on top for easy access, but they slide away to save real estate. Even though we like Dolphin Browser, it's certainly not the only one out there.

Download Page

Twitter for Android There are plenty of great Android Twitter clients available, but we keep coming back to the official Twitter for Android app because it's clean, easy to use, and it gets the job done. Plus, the app was recently updated with multiple account support and push notifications, making it even better.

Download Page

Google+ Google's new social network is now the fastest growing social network ever, and just topped 25 million users. As soon as the network launched, the Google+ Android app launched with it. The app gives you access to your stream and all of your circles on your phone, can automatically upload your photos to Google+, and lets you see and join Huddles on your phone quickly. If you're in Google+, the Android app is a must-have.

Download Page

Location-Aware

Google Maps and Navigation Every Android phone comes with turn-by-turn navigation and driving directions, complete with traffic overlays, drive times, nearby petrol stations, and even restaurants on the way if you want something to eat when you're on the way. Google Maps Navigation will even route you around traffic if the path is congested, and if you prefer you can just fire up the map to get a top-down view of where you're planning to go.

Download Page

ReQall Even though it's actually a to-do list and task management suite, the ReQall app for Android can tell where you are and remind you if you have something to do in that location. You'll never again have to drive home from the office, pass the supermarket, and completely forget that you meant to buy milk and eggs on the way. Here's how to use ReQall to make your to-dos come to you.

Download Page

Utilities

Titanium Backup If you're looking for a comprehensive backup utility for your Android phone, Titanium Backup is the app for you. The app can back up your files, your SD card, your apps, your settings and configuration, and even dump all of that data to the SD card or Dropbox so you can root, tweak, and play with your phone, then restore if you need to. Titanium Backup is central to our guide to setting up an automated backup process for your Android phone.

Download Page

Dropbox Dropbox is still the go-to file syncing and storage solution for almost every major platform. There are alternatives, but we still love Dropbox for its wide availability and its ecosystem of utilities, tools, and plug-ins that are available for it. Plus, since the app doesn't take up space on your phone until you download a file, it's a great way to extend the storage of your phone without adding anything to it.

Download Page

Swype Swype is so popular that more Android phones come with it pre-installed than don't these days. If you haven't used it yet, it's worth the download. Once you start using it you won't find yourself tapping individual letters every again. You'll get so used to gliding your fingers across the screen from letter to letter that you'll miss it if you move to a new phone without it.

Download Page

Tasker If you've ever said to yourself "I wish my phone would do this and then immediately do that" without having to do it yourself, Tasker is for you. You don't have to be a power user to make the most of Tasker, but it definitely helps. Tasker is perfect for turning on Wi-Fi when you get to the office without you having to interact with your phone, or turning on Bluetooth when you get in the car.

Download Page

Voice Search Voice Search has been upgraded several times since it made the pack last year, and if you're not making use of it, you should be. The app now lets you navigate by voice command just by speaking the address, send emails and SMS messages by speaking the recipient and then the message, and of course, search the web quickly by talking to your phone. Once you get used to dictating your SMS messages while driving, you'll never feel the urge to text while driving again.

Download Page

File Expert There's no shortage of file management and browsing tools for Android, but File Expert gives you a tabbed interface that's easy to browse, easy to search, and lets you share those files with other computers on your network via Wi-Fi without connecting to a computer. The app even rolls in an SMB client for audio and video streaming on remote computers when you're away from home.

Download Page

Media

Kindle The Kindle app for Android gives you access to Amazon's massive ebook store and all of the books inside. You can read them on your Android phone, or you can save your place and pick up on your PC or Mac, or on your Kindle Ereader, if you have one – but with the Android app, you may not need one.

Download Page

MoboPlayer The default Android player leaves much to be desired, especially media format support. MoboPlayer crashed onto the scene with software decoding and broad format support, a smooth and clean player that supports gestures to control playback and volume, and is completely free.

Download Page

Doggcatcher Google Listen may be ubiquitous when it comes to downloading and enjoying podcasts on your Android phone, but Doggcatcher is probably the best app for the job. The app supports audio and video podcasts, variable speed playback, off-hours downloads or Wi-Fi only downloads, and even though it's pricey, many of you thought it was more than worth the money when we looked at the best mobile podcast catchers.

Download Page

Food and Entertainment

FourSquare FourSquare has come a ways from just being a way to tell the world where you are at any given moment and collect points to see outgoing you are compared to your friends. Now that the service is rolling in local deals and check-in bonuses and benefits with businesses in communities around the country, FourSquare can be a great way to have a little fun checking in and sharing your location with friends, but also a great way to save a few bucks on appetizers and drinks at your local bar.

Download Page

Art and Photography

PicPlz iOS users have Instagram, but everyone has PicPlz, another social network/photo sharing service that will remix your photos with filters and effects to add interest and then share them with your friends on the service and with your friends on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and other networks. PicPlz will even drop your photos on Dropbox so you can get to them on other devices if you want.

Download Page

Magic Hour Magic Hour, named for those first and last sunlit hours of the day where the light is perfect for shooting video and capturing gorgeous photos, offers filters and photo editing tools to tweak your photos on your Android phone. You can apply simple filters to add interest, or you can change the brightness, contrast, or build your own filters to apply, and then share the final product with friends. Check out the free version to get a feel for the app before buying filters or buying the full version.

Download Page

Camera360 Camera 360 also applies filters and effects to your photos to try and spice them up, but the focus of this app isn't just to make photos of your cat more palatable to your Twitter friends. Camera 360 has HDR effect filters, a tilt-shift and colour-shift mode for your existing photos, and the ability to share those final photos on Facebook or Twitter.

Download Page

The Extended Pack

Twidroyd, Twicca and TweetDeck Twitter clients are a point of contention for many people — everyone has their favourite. If you dislike the official Twitter client, TweetDeck gives you access to your Twitter feed and your Facebook stream in one app, and many of you have suggested Twicca to us as a beautiful client that's worth mention — so we took a look. Also, it's worth noting that Twidroyd was our App Pack selection for Best Twitter client.

Download Twidroyd, Twicca or Tweetdeck

Swiftkey and 8pen Swype is certainly the ubiquitous alternative Android keyboard, but it's not the only one out there. We've discussed some of the best Android keyboards out there based on the type of typer you are, so don't stick with Swype just because you have it. 8pen may look wacky, but once you start using it, it's remarkably intuitive, and Swiftkey's latest updates make it even more attractive and easy to use, especially for tablet users.

Download Swiftkey or 8pen

This list is hardly exclusive, and there are tons of other great Android apps we couldn't feature here. Do you have Android apps not listed that you can't live without? Share your favourites in the comments below.


Comments

    Alan you mentioned "Titanium Backup" but neglected to give us a good alternative if you don't want to root! Correct me if I'm wrong, but Titanium Backup, from what I have seen of it requires root! Is there something that will back up literally everything but the obvious hidden system folder?

      Have a look around the XDA forum's if you're really desperate - but anything you find will NEED root access (unrooted phones won't allow access to the /Data/App folder for anything other than the OS).

      Astro File Manager will also do app backups, however it needs root permissions to do so as well. I think the main reason why people seldom look past TiBU for app backups, is it does such a comprehensive job of it, there is little need for alternative apps.

      Honestly though, if you're unwilling to root your phone, don't cry fowl when you don't have the same level of usability as those who have.

        Dude I wasn't having a dig at people who root their gear, I may consider it later, I'm just not interested in doing it now! Hence the question about non root alternatives! Don't give me the bird just because I don't want to to it,...Lighten up!

          Sorry dude, the tone wasn't intended as aggro as read - was supposed to be more tongue in cheek.

            No prob's #]

        I want to root my phone, but I thought I should be on the safe side and back everything up first. But if the programme that lets you back up needs the phone to be rooted...
        ...catch 22?

          April, you can backup a non-rooted phone, however it'll only back up the apk installers, and none of the actual app or user data.

          From what I'm aware of, you can gain root access without having to wipe - but you run all the same risks as usual.

            Sam where did you go for root instructions? I found this guy "http://androidroot.mobi/asus-eee-pad-transformer-tf101-root-cwm-recovery/" but when I get around to actually doing the naughty I'm hoping it will be easier..! #]

              Unlockr (http://theunlockr.com/) has a pretty comprehensive set of model specific instructions.

              I have a HTC Legend, which is infamous for being difficult to root - and I found the instructions pretty accurate.

                Thanks for that, unfortunately it's phone based, and I'm talking about tablets. Unless I missed something! Catchya #]

    Playerpro for mp3 playback

      What about PowerAMP? it's not completely free, but I think it even kicks most PC based media players to the kerb. It does have a free trial version though.

    MyBackup Pro is a decent alternative to Titanium, if you don't want to root.

      "...What's supported on Android:
      Application install files (If phone has root access, this includes APK+Data and Market Links)..."

      Source: http://www.rerware.com/Android/

    Swiftkey FTW in terms of keyboards - the word prediction is extraordinary.

      I'm more in favour of Swype 3.x. Who needs word prediction when you can type it quicker and accurately in the first place?

    Thumb keyboard for tablets is a must

    any opinions on FlexT9? I find it easier to use than Swype, but they are the only two I've used.

      FlexT9 is the greatest keyboard available on Android, imo.

      I believe its a progression of the old Shapewriter... which was also better than Swype.

      Add in voice-to-text and handwriting recognition and you've got a winner.

      FlexT9 ftw :D

        +1 for flext9, its the best keyboard app ever!

    Why are my comments being eaten without showing up?

      ...strange how that one worked, but the last two I tried to put in didn't.

      Happens all the time, here. Horribly outdated comments system.

      Happens to me regularly too! Actually though, strange as it seems, I'm glad to see someone else having this problem. I was beginning to think it was me!! Or maybe it was? I used to be paranoid, but I think there's someone watching me now! #]

    I'm not going to claim these are the best in their class - but they're definitely the best suited for my use:

    Productivity

    - ColorNote. I don't use my phone for work, and ColorNote work's perfect small notes and to-do lists. It supports reminders if needed, but keep things incredibly basic and uncomplicated.
    - Gmail

    Internet/Communication

    - Miren browser. Elly recommended this in the comments of other articles. Took a little while to grow on me at first, but I've never looked back since, though it would be good if it stopped asking me to approve sharing my location when I've already ticked the "remember my preference" option.
    - TweetDeck. All it needs to do is intregrate G+ and it's all set. Some deeper intrgreation with Twitter (i.e. trends) and Facebook (check-ins) would be nice though.
    - 3G Watchdog. Not internet as such, but internet related. Monitors your mobile data usage, and alerts you when you're approaching your limit. Will even disable mobile data when you've hit a user set amount.

    Location-Aware

    - Google Maps + Navigation. Tends to be juice heavy (Navigation especially), but so far there is no altenatives that are even in the same league.
    - Ivona Voice text-to-speech. Yes this isn't location aware, but it is used in tandem with Navigation. It replaces the horrible stock voice and engine used by Google with a much more pleasant American or English voice.

    Utilities

    - Titanium BackUp. As I've said in other comments, no alternatives even compare to it.
    - DropSync. Allows full two way sync with DropBox, and allows you to actually put the folders where-ever you like on your SD card and sync them (everything with DropBox is stored in /sdcard/dropbox)
    - AdFree. Yes its evil; but I don't like ads.
    - Connection Checker. Monitors your mobile connection, and cycles through airplane mode to re-establish a better connection. Must have if you’re in a low coverage zone, or with Vodafone
    - JuiceDefender – Best battery saving app ever.
    - Swype. Who needs ESP level word prediction when you can type it quickly and correctly in the first place?

    Media

    - Google Music 3.0. Might not be the most feature packed, but it runs well, and supports Google Music service.
    - MoboPlayer. Agreed this is the best video player.

    Food and Entertainment

    - FourSquare. I'm addicted to it (when I remember to use it). Can't explain why.

    Art and Photography

    - Camera360. Yes it’s that good, but why does it have to be hard to use too?

    I stumbled across a little browser humorously called "Boat Browser Mini". After using basically every other one out there, I've stuck with Boat. Its simple, fast and just works so well.

      I'll give Boat a check out later on today. How does the copy and pasting work of selected text. That is the only issue I have with Sleipnir at the moment, otherwise it is pretty good. I want a browser that is really quick to use.

    What about Moon Reader Plus (Pro)? BEST ebook reader! Even has TTS!

    You also skipped Seesmic. *facepalm*

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