The Google Play store hit a huge milestone last week. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, there are now 700,000 apps available to download for Android. To celebrate, some of the staff here at Android and Me figured we’d let you know what frequently used app we think deserves to grace your device.
I’d be lost without lists. Thankfully, Evernote has a beautiful Holo-themed Android app that has outperformed everything else I’ve tried. Evernote may lack the simplicity of some note-syncing apps, but the ability to reliably access and organize my content from any platform, any time, is enough for me. And it’s not like the added formatting Evernote includes doesn’t come in handy sometimes. Evernote for Android is awesome. If you’re not already using it, well, you should be.
Perfect Tool for Picasa
If you’re an avid Google+ or just instant upload user, you probably know that managing your Picasa account can be a pain. Trying to delete photos, mark albums as private, save and share images to other services is a cluttered and cumbersome experience. Perfect Tool for Picasa was my saving grace. Not only does it do everything I need it to, it’s fast, signing in is dead simple, and it looks great. Perfect Tool for Picasa has totally changed the way I use the service.
Don’t let the name fool you, this app will track basically any movement-based physical activity you can throw at it. Personally I’m a pretty avid biker and use this app every morning and afternoon to keep me honest on my commute to and from work. The interface is really simple and intuitive, which for an app like this, is ideal for me. The only thing you need to select on the main page is your activity type. Hit “Start Activity,” and you’re on your way. You can program it to give you a variety of Audio Cues while you’re exercising; I go with average speed, but there are time, distance, pace and heart rate options as well. Goals are the one other feature I make use of consistently. I have an ongoing weight loss Goal set in the app (15 lbs. down and 15 to go), and each month I set a mileage goal for myself which motivates me to ride on days when for whatever reason I may not be feeling like it. Last but not least, my Pebble smartwatch (if they ever finish it) will pair with Runkeeper, allowing me to obsess over data every second of my ride like any good nerd should.
I listen to hours of podcasts every day, so I’ve squeezed the most value out of this one by far. It’s not the most feature-rich podcast app, but I like the simple interface. Going back to my biking, it has really big buttons so it’s easy to use even if I’ve got gloves on. Beyond the ease of use it’s just a good looking app. The “album art” for each podcast is prominently displayed on most screens. My favorite little feature is being able to just hit anywhere on the right side of the screen during playback to jump ahead 30 seconds and anywhere on the left to jump back 10 seconds. Fair warning, if you are an ICS or JB purest you might be offended by what is unquestionably a somewhat iOS flavored UI.
I’ve finally gained a healthy interest in preparing my own meals, and Pepperplate has been really useful in making it easier. It’s great for cataloging recipes and keeping them nearby whether cooking at home or shopping for ingredients at the store. You can easily import recipes from most popular food sites, or manually add them (I do wish they could add some sites to their list). It has some automatic formatting for your ingredients lists (bolds amounts so they stand out) and instruction lists (adds numbers wherever there is a hard return), so your recipes are easy to scan. You can categorize them, which can be helpful once your list is more full and you want an idea for, say, a side or an entree.
Clark and I enjoy the crap out of our Sonos system, and with an app attached to it, it has been infinitely useful. It’s really handy to be able to share control of it too. And, of course, by pulling out our phone or the desktop app rather than having to walk to the speaker (as lazy as that sounds). It’s also nice to be able to use other apps within it – like Spotify, Songza or Pandora. Search is even really useful. It also hardly ever acts up. When you download it, you need to connect your device to your system, and a lot of times that process generally can be annoying, but it’s very simple within this app. It makes for a perfect party or productive work day.
Well there you have it, folks. Anything sound particularly interesting? Already using something listed? Let us know in the comments below.
For more info on the newest and most popular apps available on Google Play, be sure to check out Taylor’s recurring series of posts on the top ten most popular apps from last week, Android Rookies: top ten news apps in the Play Store worth checking out, top ten Android app updates and the Android gaming weekly, discussing the top 10 game releases of the week.