The number of apps in Google Play hasn’t risen quite that high, but it’s still an awful lot. More than one mind, let alone one phone, could comprehend. The following apps are just a beginning and filtered for the user’s convenience. These are apps that you should install on your Android phone or tablet as soon as it comes out of the box.
Are you tired of schlepping all the way to the comic book store? Heck, is there even a comic book store in your town anymore? Comics, the excellent app from digital comics groundbreakers Comixology, is both storefront and long box. You can browse the seemingly endless lists of titles, and then buy new books with a tap. It’s wonderfully easy! Depending on the state of your wallet, it may even be a bit too easy.
Evernote is your digital multi-tool. It’s a great list keeper, note taker, voice recorder, to-do manager, and Web clipper. It’s so open and powerful that it can be overwhelming at first, but you’ll quickly find smart ways to use it. My favorite feature is optical character recognition (OCR), which makes text in photos searchable. Next time you get handed a business card, just snap a picture.
Google Reader was the best thing to happen to the Internet since sliced blogs, but it has passed on to the big Google graveyard in the sky. If reading news and blog posts on your Android is your jam, you need Feedly. It’s a versatile platform, but what I like about it is that you can do all your reading in a single app. If you’re looking for something a bit more stylish, try the magazine-style Flipboard. And if you’re still mourning the end of RSS as we know it, we may be able to help you find a replacement for Google Reader.
Google Drive is a great cloud storage service, but it does double duty as an excellent mobile office suite. With Drive, you can access your important files from anywhere; create new spreadsheet, text, and presentation documents; and collaborate with other people, all from your Android device. It might not replace your desktop office utilities, but it comes darn close.
Everyone knows they should be using a complex, unique password for each and every website and application. Oh, you didn’t? Thankfully, there are password managers like LastPass. With a password manager, you let the app generate unique, complex passwords for each site or app that requires one. When you need to log in, LastPass can fill in the correct information, even into other apps. A new feature lets you safely bequeath your passwords to a trusted person in the event of your demise.
Though the app and service are free, using it on more than one type of device costs $12 per year, or $1 per month. Trust me, it’s well worth the price of admission.
PicsArt Photo Studio
When you think of mobile image editing, you probably think of a certain Facebook-owned property modeled after old timey cameras. I’m talking about Instagram, in case you couldn’t tell. But where Instagram ends, PicsArt Photo Studio begins, bringing not just filters but many more powerful tools. And if you’re already a fan of Insta, you can share your PicsArt creations there to the envy of all your followers.
There are many, many ways to get music onto your phone, but we like Slacker Radio best. This service has a huge library of songs, but it also stands out for its excellent curated playlists and wide variety of streaming content. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in here, but check out Spotify if you must have on-demand Led Zeppelin.
Are you still tapping your thumbs against the screen like some kind of rube? Get with the times, grandpa, and let the words flow. With SwiftKey, you can drag you thumb or finger from letter to letter on the screen to create words, and predictive text makes shooting off short messages even faster. Since the rise of Google Keyboard and competition from the original gesture keyboard app Swype, SwiftKey has stayed ahead by packing in lots of excellent extras. You’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.
This is just the tip of the Android iceberg here at PCMag. You’ll find many, many more excellent apps in our 100 Best Android Apps, and we have many more roundups where that came from. Consider the best apps to replace text messaging or everything you need to know about digital comics.