Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My favorite Android apps

It's official, I'm in love. I kicked my Blackberry Curve to the curb and bought not-matching Android phones for myself and Josh. He got the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G and I got the Samsung Galaxy S. They're both great devices, but while his boasts the exclusive "Google genius" button, mine's lighter, sleeker and overall a touch more intuitive.

Also? It looks pretty much exactly like an iPhone.

Because I'm never one to dip my toe into anything, I dove right into the Android market and read through various online forums to customize my phone with the most useful free apps. Here's my list of grown-up apps. Although I've downloaded a few games for the kidlets, I'll get to those on a future post:

American Airlines: This app lets me check in, get a virtual boarding pass and access gate information and arrival times. I can also track my miles.
Amazon Appstore for Android: Every day, a new paid app is offered for free.
Calendar: While I lost the ability to view my Lotus Notes work calendar without logging in, my Android phone seamlessly synchs my online Google calendar with the calendar on my phone. You can also set it up to synch with Yahoo! and Facebook events.
Chase and USAA: Both of my banks have well-designed mobile banking apps to make it easy to deposit the odd check and make sure a credit card refund went through.
Facebook, Yahoo Mail and Gmail: Duh, I don't think these apps need any selling. But suffice it to say they are much better experiences than I had on the Blackberry.
Groupon: Redeeming Groupons right from your phone means you don't need to print them out and remember them before heading over to, say, Blue Max for lunch on a Saturday. Groupon's mobile platform is also perfectly suited for their newer offering, GrouponNow.
Key Ring: I stored all of my shopper and membership cards, including my library card on my phone, so they'll always be with me.
Kindle for Android: I don't have a Kindle, but if I did, I could pick up my reading materials right where I'd left off. Instead, I'm using this app to download public domain children's literature like fairy tales and fables so that I can read to my children before bed when we're on the road.
Gas Buddy: Locate the closest, cheapest gas.
Google Maps: I arrived in New York late on Sunday, walked out of my hotel and fired up Google Maps. I turned on the "restaurants" layer and up popped a dozen places within two blocks' walk. I could click to read reviews and ended up enjoying a delicious meal at The Fig & Olive, just a couple of minutes' walk from the Gansevoort.
NPR News: Read or listen to NPR stories, or create a playlist to listen to later.
NY Times: Even with the paywall, you can always check out the top stories.
Skype: I kid you not, 15 minutes after I'd logged into Skype, my mom called me. From Australia. On my mobile phone. For free.
TripAdvisor: Everything you love about TripAdvisor, on the road with you when you travel. You'd better believe I'll be looking up hotel reviews when we're looking for a place to stop between Chicago and Harrisburg.
Words with Friends: It's like Facebook Scrabulous (remember that?), but always with you. My cousin Mike is kicking my ass with words I've never even heard of, but at least it will take him all week to win.