My favourite Android apps


My favourite Android Apps

Although long in the tooth, I was in the tech business from the age of forty and some of these apps may be a little complicated to use.

I have over 300 apps on my Samsung Galaxy S10+ but here are 29 which I use the most.

If I add an * after the title, then these may be a little difficult for non-technically minded people to master but may be worth putting in the effort.

Alcodroid

This I have used for a long time now and not only has it cut my drinking down, I try to keep to around 50% to 60% of the government limits.

Aquamail*

You get two email addresses for the free version but I have six addresses, so paid for the commercial version. You can do just about anything with this superb app, signatures in rich text, and all the email addresses can be colour coded on the opening screen. A superb email program if you have more than one email address. Well worth the effort of getting to know it.

Astra

There are many File Managers, and I have used many but always come back to this one.

Brave browser

An excellent browser, blocks apps and trackers and tells you how many. If you search for an http url and there is a safer https one available, this browser finds it and uses it instead. I’m fairly new to it, but it tells me it has blocked over 2.4k of ads, and 1k of trackers. It has also changed 45 http urls to https urls.

Business Calendar

If you use one of the main calenders on your desktop it will collect them and show them here. I have mine, and my wife’s calenders showing, and an association’s meeting dates, which I don’t show except when I need to refer to it. When I do, it is one click on the bottom of the screen and the calender appears.

Contacts (Google) like the suggestions mode

There are many contact apps, and there’s not a lot of difference between them. However, the Google one comes up with suggestions of ones to add if you have emailed them a few times but not added details to your Contact list. It also allows you to merge contacts if it finds identical ones.

DGT SODA*

This is for tasks and projects. Takes a bit of getting to know it. It is free and although in Alpha mode is extremely well behaved. This guy is the slowest, most cautious program writer I have known. His Alpha programs run better than most other people’s final programs. I use it for our household and my reminders of regular tasks and our home and lives run like clockwork. Better I’d guess than couples fifty years younger!.

Food Planner

This is a menu program that tends to need much more work on it. But it shows real promise. Download it by all means but don’t use it yet for real.

Gleeo Time Tracker

I write simple inexpensive websites for people. I do it to keep occupied so am not in it for the money - I just charge the government's minimum wage for 18 year olds in London. But even so, I like to be scrupulously fair so use this simple time tracker so I just charge for the work that I do.

Keep (Google)

A simple note program which allows me to add notes, agenda of meetings I have to attend using the fast keyboard of my computer knowing the information will be instantly available on my mobile.

Mobi Calculator

A small, ideal calculator, there’s a history button to check that you have entered your figures correctly, a memory and a button to call up an instant algebraic calculator for the maths orientated amongst you.

Navigation Pro

This comes in two parts, an app for my phone, and an applet which sits in my Samsung wrist watch. If I have to go to an area I am unsure of, I set the phone app with the address I want to go to, and start out. The directions appear on my watch as a picture and voice command. “Turn left in 300 yards” and an arrow turning left on my watch with 300 yds at the bottom of it. Very useful.

Nextdoor

An American company who have expanded to the UK and Holland so far. It sets the small area where you live and all your neighbours can talk to each other, recommend a trades person, sell items, share events. If you are mobile or can walk, you can include the four adjacent neighbours to you.

OurGroceries

This is our shopping list. Unlike many, you can have more than one shop. We have Aldi, Amazon (bulk groceries such as Cajun spice, and mixed herbs and Coconut oil) Charing X Arches (where I buy our South African spices and pickle - and their excellent Bilton). Indian shop, high street shops, Polish shop (Pickled Cucumber Slices and Rollmops), Tesco Tuesday, Tesco Thursday, and Waitrose. So when we sort out our shopping for the week, it’s all there. If my wife is out and about, the same list shows on her phone as well. We love this app.

PowerAmp

A great music app, I have used for years. I star each song, and have a section of Afrikaans songs for when I get homesick. I’ve used many but found this the best.

Use Signal for ultra security or Pulse for normal SMS

Signal is open source and I get the code, check for backdoors and compile it. If both people are on Signal, then your conversations are fully encrypted, if not, then it is just a normal SMS program. I use Pulse as well as I can use it on the web on my computer, and I can have folders for acquaintances, commercial, business, friends, family etc and save the text to one of these folders so I keep the screen empty if I have actioned all of them.

Sailform*

This is a terrific database program, a flat database is free and a relational one is about $20. I’m not saying it is good, but put it this way, I have absolutely no need for a relational database but still paid them $20 to encourage them. We have an outside food shed in the garden, and I have the items listed. We have a lot of cupboards around the house and I have a database for each cupboard listing everything stored within. I can find any item in seconds.

Simple Call Forwarding

This may not be useful for everyone, but I live in a dip at home and forward my mobile calls to my home phone for clarity. If I am going to a long meeting, I ask the receptionist to take any messages for me and forward my calls to her phone. The former is more useful as, in the latter case, I would need to have a rapport with the receptionist. Some can be quite nasty!

Speechnotes For long dictation

A lot of my articles are dictated using this app, using Swiftkey (see below) and voice. It works pretty well, and my fingers keep thanking me! I am impressed at the accuracy.

Stocard (widget)

Very useful. I have my Costa card, Tesco card, Waitrose Card, Union Jack Club card, my wife’s Boots card, Superdrug card and a few others. So much better than having a wallet or purse crammed full of plastic!

Swiftkey

This is an excellent keypad for Android. It checks your writing and makes intelligent suggestions for your next word, mostly good choices. It has arrows to move around the keypad, and some of the choices of colour pads have abbreviations above the letters - to get them just hold the key down. I’ve used this for years and it saves my fat fingers making a mistake on the keys all the time!

Telegram

A WhatsApp lookalike but much safer. Whereas WhatsApp gets cracked once a month or so, Telegram has never been cracked. They offer $200,000 to the first hacker who can break in. They’ve been going for six years and nobody has claimed it yet! There are apps for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone. They also have full programs for Windows Users, Apple Users, and even Linux users (of which I am one).

Thunder VPN

This is a free VPN and I often point it at the USA when I can’t get through from Britain. I even sent a message to President Trump, showing I was in the USA, you try doing that without VPN. Normally I use it to show I am in Italy.

URL Shortener

Does what it says on the tin, but this one gives a choice of what system you want to use. I set it to Bit.ly.

Voice Notes - for short dictation and day/time reminders

Another voice program - why do I have two? Well this one's for short notes, but after I have dictated the note, I can set a reminder to remind me at a certain time on a certain day.

Wakey

Simple program to keep the screen on. And turn it off afterwards.

WiFi Overview 360

Useful to find the best spot in a cafe or pub to sit and get the best WiFi. Will also suggest a better channel for your home WiFi and when searching, you can have sound turned on and as the signal gets stronger, the ping speed increases.

Wolfram Alpha

A technical, political, geographic and historical search engine. Not a lot more I can say about this except it is very useful if you want in-depth answers.

Zoiper

I use VoIP and this allows me to receive and make VoIP calls over my mobile phone. I have two mobile numbers, the normal 07xxx xxxxxxxx one and an 020-xxxx xxxx number for people who have to pay extra for mobile calls from their own phone. This way they get the call on their allowance.