The Five: Apps for Android


These days, even the cheapest cell phones and tablets are selling with Android, iOS or Windows Phone/RT. Android is definitely the most common, so in this article we'll be talking a look at what the Android platform has to offer. Without further ado, here are five Android apps (in no particular order) that I absolutely cannot live without.

OdinHome Launcher - Optimized for Phones
Android 2.2 and up

OdinHome makes your phone's Home Screen look like Windows Phone by placing ten tiles on the screen, each tile corresponding to an app of your choosing. The ten suggested categories (based on the symbols on each tile) are Messaging, Mail, Social, Audio, Camera, Maps, Browser, Calendar, Phone, and a text-based App Drawer. Though with my setup, my Mail tile launches Kik Messenger, my Browser tile launches Voice Search, my Phone tile launches Address book, and my Calendar tile launches Clock. The best part? The app is less than 200kb in size!

Plume for Twitter - for Phones and Tablets
Android 2.3 and up

On the PC, TweetDeck is one of the most popular Twitter clients due to its ability to sort your tweets into columns. Plume for Twitter uses a similar visual user interface to accomplish the same thing. You can sync multiple accounts to the app, assign colors to specific tweets, show or hide images, view links in the app's integrated browser, and integrate the app with other apps on your phone/tablet (such as your camera). The premium version is less than $10 and removes ads from the app. All in all, it has become my absolute favorite app because I can send tweets quickly and view new tweets even faster (usually in realtime). On Android, I have yet to find a better Twitter experience.

TuneIn Radio - for Phones and Tablets
Android 2.3 and up

Alright, so I'm not gonna lie, I still listen to FM radio. That said, the radio stations where I live are terrible while the ones in a nearby city (and by "nearby" I mean 100 miles from here) are pretty dang awesome. With TuneIn, I can access those stations through the internet on a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. I use the free version, which is ad-supported, which is my only real gripe. The station library is actually quite good, and the app features a "car mode" which shows as large controls on your screen (great for when you're driving and want to change stations easily). The downside? TuneIn uses double the data as similar apps like Pandora. While it's not that big an issue on Wi-Fi, it will absolutely destroy my 3G data limit if I'm not careful.

Codex Reader - for Phones and Tablets
Android 2.3 and up

Codex Reader is one of the best Fanfiction Browsers on the Android Market. It gives you access to Fanfiction.Net, FictionPress, and Archive of our Own, with the ability to download stories from those sites to your phone or tablet for offline viewing. It has a wide range of search filters, the ability to sort stories in your library, and the ability to make your user interface white-on-black or black-on-white. Like other free apps on this list, it is supported by ads, but they are not too intrusive.

AVG Antivirus - for Phones and Tablets
Android 2.3 and up

AVG is an antivirus commonly found on the Windows platform, but the Android version is also quite versatile. Besides allowing you to scan for malicious content, the app has a low-level app killer, a battery consumption estimator, and a storage estimator. The most useful feature, of course, is the data counter which actually keeps track of how much 3G/4G data you've used. You can set the Data counter to any parameter of your choosing, and I don't know where I'd be without it.

(Thank you for reading this segment of "The Five!" If you liked this piece, feel free to check out my other works over at WLIA: Where Life Imitates Art, a blog where I discuss various elements of fictional media and how they connect to and influence real life.)

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