There are more then millions of Android Apps available over internet. However to get the Best of the Android Apps and that too which are available without any cost involved is a tedious task to do.
Well, I take my words back !! No more it would be an issue, here you go with the Top 100 best free Android Apps for your gaming, social networking needs, productivity, business, lifestyle plus much more.
Best Free Android Apps - Seesmic
There are many Twitter apps on Android – and Twitter itself shook up the scene with the launch of its own-brand app recently – but we’re sticking with Seesmic. Offering support for multiple accounts, a home page widget showing latest tweets and an incredibly slick and professional design, it’s one of the finest examples of app development out there today.
Best Free Android Apps - Facebook for Android
Facebook for Android is lacking in features compared to Facebook itself, but a recent update added Inbox support to the Android app, finally allowing its users to communicate in almost real time. The app’s fast and stable, with a simplicity that reminds you of the old days when using Facebook used to be bearable.
Best Free Android Apps - ASTRO File Manager
ASTRO is nothing more than a Windows-style file explorer, but if you’re into tinkering and directly installing Android APK files yourself, it’s essential to stick something like this on your phone. It makes your phone feel like a computer, and makes you feel like you’re in charge of it.
Best Free Android Apps - UK Jobs
Hey, times are hard and you’ve got to pay for your oppressive monthly mobile phone contract somehow. Offering a fully searchable database of current UK job vacancies, UK Jobs, which pulls in its data from independent employment site 1job.co.uk is, a slightly cumbersome but useful and non-governmental tool.
Best Free Android Apps - Hotmail
Microsoft has teamed up with developer SEVEN to offer an official Hotmail app for Android, which gives users a simple, clean interface, push notification support and even lets you manage multiple Hotmail accounts from within the app. If your email needs haven’t yet been assimilated by Google, it’s a useful option.
Best Free Android Apps - Google Sky Map
A stunning app that renders Patrick Moore obsolete, by using your phone’s orientation tools to give you an accurate representation of the stars and planets on your screen. Point your phone at the sky, then learn what constellations are visible and if that’s a UFO or just Venus. Google Sky Map even works indoors, if you’re not keen on getting cold.
Best Free Android Apps - Layar
The stunning augmented reality app Layar has recently gone commercial, adding an online shop that allows users to buy AR content such as travel guides, local house price apps and much more. But you’re still able to use the numerous free Layers to pop data up over real-world locations, delivering a satisfying futuristic experience.
Best Free Android Apps - Foursquare
The social media darling Foursquare is represented in fine form on Android, with the Google app offering easy one-click check-ins, integrated Google Maps for a seamless Google-branded experience and home page shortcut options to all your favourite places.
Best Free Android Apps - WordPress for Android
WordPress for Android started out as independent creation wpToGo, before WordPress decided it liked it so much it bought it up – hiring the maker to develop it in-house. It’s very feature-packed, with the latest version offering full integration with other apps, letting you spin content and send it directly to the app for easy updating. It could do with more image insertion tools, though.
Best Free Android Apps - Google Goggles
A bit of a novelty, in that Google Goggles lets you take photos and have Google analyse them and come back with a search results page for what it thinks you’re looking at. However, the app’s main use is as a QR code reader, which lets you scan barcodes for quick access to apps and whatever data people choose to embed in the odd little data squares.
Best Free Android Apps - Winamp
Yes, the same Winamp from a decade ago. It’s had an Android app for some time, with recent updates adding support for iTunes, Mac syncing, plenty of music streaming options, new release lists and Shoutcast integration for radio support. It’s a fine, free media player.
Best Free Android Apps - BBC News
While the BBC’s Android iPlayer app is a bit on the disappointing side, the corporation’s BBC News app is much more refined. There’s a stylish grid-based front page, plus you’re able to swipe from left to right to switch between stories in your chosen specialist category. A recent update also added a couple of Home screen widgets, too, plus the ability to submit your own news tips, as if the BBC was a small blog clamouring for content.
Best Free Android Apps - RAC Traffic
An official production of the motoring organisation, RAC Traffic is dead simple – it guesstimates your location via the mobile signal, then pops up the current traffic alerts for your area. It’s much better than having to listen to the radio for the odd update about arterial blockages.
Best Free Android Apps - Swype
The odd line-drawing alternate keyboard Swype is a love-it or hate-it kind of thing, with the significant amount of re-learning required to make the most of it quite offputting to some users. Once you’re familiar with the idea, though, it’s genius – with advanced prediction options further speeding your line-typing. Swype is not available through the Android Market – the only way to install is is via a direct download from the maker.
Best Free Android Apps - Evernote
After the Android version of Dropbox, the next best solution for keeping all your ‘business’ in one place is Evernote - which lets you stash and sync all your text notes, voice memos and files on your phone and access them through a desktop computer.
Best Free Android Apps - Flickr
As well as supporting Flickr uploading, this app also lets you capture photos from within the app and comes complete with a set of filters, so you can hipsterise your life with ease. It supports sharing with Twitter and Facebook as well, so your other, non-photo-nerd friends can enjoy the results of today’s snapping session.
Best Free Android Apps - Last.fm
The subscription-based thrills of Last.fm open up a world of music streaming on your mobile. You have to ‘buy in’ to the odd Last.fm way of organising things and suggesting new music, but if you’re easily led and not restricted by bandwidth it’s a superb tool.
Best Free Android Apps - Google Maps Navigation
An absolute must-get. As long as you have Android 1.6 or above, the latest update to Google Maps introduces turn-by-turn voice navigation, simultaneously devastating the satnav industry while boosting the in-car dashboard dock/charger accessory scene. Route calculations are done at the outset of your trip, minimising data transfer en route and keeping you on target even when the GPS signal drops. It’s amazing, it works, and it’s free.
Best Free Android Apps - 3banana Notes/ Catch Notes
A simple note-taking tool that lets you sync those disjointed, late night thoughts you have together into one huge, incoherent database. If you have a Snaptic account you’re able to sync the Android app with that too – or you can simply log in with your Google details for instant mobile jotting. Once written, notes may also be pinned to the home screen, creating a little post-it note-style reminder icon.
Best Free Android Apps - gvSIG Mini Maps
gvSIG Mini Maps is an incredibly comprehensive mapping tool which combines major online maps including Google, Bing, Open Street Map and more, which will win UK fans for one huge reason alone – it supports the official and recently open-sourced Ordnance Survey data. This means you’re never more than a post code search away from seeing where you are in OS-level detail, which offers much more in the way of accurate local data than other map tools provide.
Best Free Android Apps - Astrid Task / Todo list
Astrid describes itself as an “open source” task list, which includes syncing support with www.rememberthemilk.com for the ultimate in minutiae management. You set a list of tasks and are then able to order them according to their importance – also setting off a timer to see precisely how long you’ve wasted on Twitter instead of doing the job in hand. It’s basically the world’s most complex and in-depth personal to do list, which, if used correctly, will consume more time than the tasks themselves. Ideal for expert-level procrastinators.
Best Free Android Apps - Shareprice
Shareprice uses your login from financial site www.iii.co.uk to offer live share price updates on your Android phone. Watch your nest-egg lose 50 per cent in value every three weeks during the latest trans-global financial crisis, live! It’s ideal for users with share values so low they have to be checked in private, to ensure their partner doesn’t see exactly how much money has disappeared into some notional financial black hole.
Best Free Android Apps - Skifta
Skifta is the first software tool to be granted DLNA certification, meaning it turns your Android phone into an official DLNA device. This in turn means streaming all of your household media to your phone, and beaming your phone videos to your TV. Seems a little buggy at the moment, but there are plenty of updates arriving all the time. Requires Android 2.2 or higher.
Best Free Android Apps - Dropbox
The Android version of the insanely popular stuff-syncing app has arrived, and while Dropbox is a little lacking in the sort of fancy auto-syncing options many were hoping for, it still works as expected. Files have to be specifically downloaded to your phone to be edited or shared, which is not quite the automated dream offered by the desktop tools, but it’s still Dropbox on Android. Six months ago that was a distant, crazy fantasy.
Best Free Android Apps - London Tube Status
Reduce the misery of being told you’ve just missed a train and it’s a 14-minute wait until the next one with London Tube Status, which combines travel status updates and live departure times. It also includes a home screen widget that shows your favourite (or at least your most used) platform departures, making it easy to check how much you’ve just missed the next one by while tearing down the escalators.
Best Free Android Apps - Amazon UK
Amazon recently launched an official Android app, replacing its reliance on a mobile web store. The app’s very simple and fast to use, and even includes full shopping cart features with Amazon’s one-click system once you’ve signed in with your usual account details.
Best Free Android Apps - Meebo IM
If you like to pass the time exchanging smiley faces and abbreviations with your friends through instant messaging apps, you ought to get a copy of Meebo IM. It’s an instant messaging aggregator, incorporating AIM, MSN, Yahoo, MySpace, Facebook, good old ICQ and more, serving everything up in one convenient interface. Typing in all your logins and passwords for everything is the only, very temporary, inconvenience.
Best Free Android Apps - Beelicious
If you’re into the slightly last-generation social networking site Delicious, you ought to get yourself organised with one of the many third-party Android apps out there that support the bookmarking tool. Such as Beelicious, which, once you’ve got through the slightly cumbersome initial set-up process, lets you simply send website links to your Delicious account via the Android browser’s ‘Share Page’ sub menu.
Best Free Android Apps - TweetDeck
The new star on the Twitter app scene, TweetDeck for Android is one amazing little tool. As well as presenting your timeline, DMs and replies in separate side-by-side panels that you swipe the screen to flip between, it can also pull in Facebook status updates. And mix it all in together. And it does Foursquare. And Buzz.
Best Free Android Apps - iPlayer
The BBC’s iPlayer app has finally arrived, and a right weird old mixed bag it is, too. On the one hand, support for streaming radio and live TV channels (Wi-Fi only) elevates this over the Android 2.2 compatible mobile website, but the requirement for Android 2.2 and Flash Player 10.1 remains. And there’s no 3G streaming, not even of radio feeds. And you can’t download shows, unlike in the sadly departed Beebplayer. And the radio requires the screen to be on at all times. Strange app, this.
Best Free Android Apps - Google Reader
Google has brought its RSS feed tool into the app era, launching its Google Reader for Android. It’s got some great functionality built in, with support for multiple Google accounts and plenty of thread customisation options. You’re also able to use the volume rocker to page up and down between messages, which is handy for extra-lazy news assimilation.
Best Free Android Apps - BT FON
BT’s incredibly clever FON network is often a lifesaver, letting you legally borrow Wi-Fi for free in many public places. And while standing outside strangers’ houses. The BT FON Android app lets you automate the sign-in process, so you can walk around towns and housing estates safe in the knowledge that your phone’s always seeking out available Wi-Fi. You need a BT FON username, though, so sort that out before you venture out into the scary internet-free world.
Best Free Android Apps - Amazon Kindle
Amazon’s Kindle app is a great e-reader, which is seamlessly linked with your Amazon account. Support for magazines and newspapers is limited at the moment, with only a handful of niche publications in Android-friendly format. But for books it’s great, with plenty of screen and text display options to get it looking a way that hurts your eyes the least. Another exciting new way to collect classic novels you’ll probably never get around to reading because there’s the internet now.
ES File Explorer
We’re officially out-of-love with previous favourite file explorer ASTRO, thanks to it now coming plastered with ads. ES File Explorer is prettier, ad-free, and comes with a much more user-friendly and functional interface. And yes, Android users have favourite file explorers.
Let your hair down by creating a realistic interpretation of what you hair looks like with Androidify. It’s an avatar creator that uses the Android mascot as its base, letting you swap trousers and hats with the swipe of a finger. Results are then sharable via Twitter and the usual social tools. There aren’t enough types of beard, though. Please release a Beard Expansion Pack.
Thanks to Android’s Flash Player powers, casual gaming portal Kongregate is able to bring a huge number of its internet games to Android. They run in the browser so resolutions can be a bit all over the place, but with over 300 games to choose from there’s bound to be something there for you.
The Google-owned Blogger platform now has a presence in the current decade, thanks to the official Blogger app. It’s remarkably simple, supports image uploads and geo-tagging and imports the settings of all blogs associated with your Gmail account. There’s no fancy editing the positions of your photos, which just get chucked in at the bottom, but it works.
RD Mute serves one purpose – to turn off all phone sounds when the Android accelerometer tells it you’ve picked it up and turned it over. It’s a ‘silent mode’ shortcut for when you can’t even be bothered to press a button. Put your phone on its front to shut it up – and add any very important numbers to the app’s exceptions list, so people you don’t mind talking to can get through.
The amazingly popular iOS game moved to Android recently, earning over two million downloads during its first weekend of availability.
The Android version is free, unlike the Apple release, with maker Rovio opting to stick a few adverts on it rather than charge an upfront fee. The result is a massive and very challenging physics puzzler that’s incredibly polished and professional. For free. It defies all the laws of modern retail.
Angry Birds for Android was first available to download from app store GetJar but is now available through Android Market.
Bebbled is your standard gem-shuffling thing, only presented in a professional style you wouldn’t be surprised to see running on something featuring a Nintendo badge with an asking price of £19.99.
You only drop gems on other gems to nuke larger groups of the same colour, but with ever-tightening demands for score combos and scenes that require you to rotate your phone to flip the play field on its head, Bebbled soon morphs into an incredibly complex challenge.
There’s an awful lot of square-shuffling games on Android and Red Stone is one of the best. And one of the hardest. You start off with a big fat ‘King’ square that’s four times of the normal ‘pawn’ squares, then set about shuffling things so the fat King can get through to an exit at the top of the screen.
It’s hard to accurately describe a puzzle game in the written word, but seriously, it’s a good game.
Released a few months back in beta form, Newton is a maths/physics challenge that has you lining up shots at a target – but having to contend with the laws of nature, in the form of pushers, pullers, benders (no laughing), mirrors and traps, all deflecting your shot from its target.
The developer is still adding levels to it at the moment, so one day Newtonmight be finished and might cost money. But for now it’s free and a great indie creation.
Surprisingly free of crude representations of the male genitalia, Sketch Online is a sociable guessing game where users do little drawings then battle to correctly guess what’s being drawn first. It’s like Mavis Beacon for the Bebo generation. The version labelled “Beta” is free, and if you like it there’s the option to pay for an ad-free copy. But Google can’t make you. Yet.
Some might call Drop a game, others might classify it as a tech demo that illustrates the accuracy of the Android platform’s accelerometer, thanks to how playing it simply involves tilting your phone while making a little bouncy ball falls between gaps in the platforms. Either way it’ll amuse you for a while and inform you of the accuracy of your accelerometer – a win-win situation.
Another key theme of the independent Android gaming scene is (ports of) clones of popular titles. Like Frozen Bubble, which is based around the ancient and many-times-copied concept of firing gems up a screen to make little groups of similarly coloured clusters. That’s what you do. You’ve probably done it a million times before, so if it’s your thing get this downloaded.
Replica Island is an extremely polished platform game that pulls off the shock result of being very playable on an Android trackball. The heavy momentum of the character means you’re only switching direction with the ball or d-pad, letting you whizz about the levels with ease. Then there’s jumping, bottom-bouncing, collecting and all the other usual platform formalities.
In Gem Miner you are a sort of mole character that likes to dig things out of the ground. But that’s not important. The game itself has you micro-managing the raw materials you find, upgrading your digging powers and buying bigger and better tools and maps. Looks great, plays well on Android’s limited button array. Go on, suck the very life out of the planet.
Another coloured-square-based puzzle game, only ConnecToo has you joining them up. Link red to red, then blue to blue – then see if you’ve left a pathway through to link yellow to yellow. You probably haven’t, so delete it all and try again.
A brilliantly simple concept. ConnecToo used to be a paid-for game, but was recently switched to an ad-supported model – meaning it now costs you £0.00.
Once you’re successfully rewired your brain’s 25 years of playing Tetris in a certain way with certain buttons and got used to tapping the screen to rotate your blocks, it’s… Tetris.
It hinges on how much you enjoy placing things with your phone’s trackball or pad. If you’re good at it, it’s a superb Tetris clone. Let’s hope it doesn’t get sued out of existence.
Best Free Android Apps - Trap!
Not the best-looking game you’ll ever play, with its shabby brown backgrounds and rudimentary text making it look like something you’d find running on a PC in the year 1985. But Trap! is good.
You draw lines to box in moving spheres, gaining points for cordoning off chunks of the screen. That sounds rubbish, so please invest two minutes of your time having a go on it so you don’t think we’re talking nonsense.
Coloured gems again, and this time your job is to switch pairs to make larger groups which then disappear. That might also sound quite familiar. The good thing about Jewels is its size and presentation, managing to look professional while packing in more levels than should really be given away for free.
We had to put one Sudoku game in here, so we’ll go with OpenSudoku - which lives up to its open tag thanks to letting users install packs of new puzzles generated by Sudoku makers. It’s entirely possible you could use this to play new Sudoku puzzles for the rest of your life, if that’s not too terrifying a thought.
Abduction! is a sweet little platform jumping game, presented in a similarly quirky and hand-drawn style as the super-fashionable Doodle Jump. You can’t argue with cute cows and penguins with parachutes, or a game that’s easy to play with one hand thanks to its super accessible accelerometer controls.
The Great Land Grab
A cross between a map tool and Foursquare, The Great Land Grab sorts your local area into small rectangular packets of land – which you take ownership of by travelling through them in real-time and buying them up.
Then someone else nicks them off you the next day, a bit like real-world Risk. A great idea, as long as you don’t mind nuking your battery by leaving your phone sitting there on the train with its GPS radio on.
Brain Genius Deluxe
Our basic legal training tells us it’s better to use the word “homage” than to label something a “rip-off”, so we’ll recommend this as a simple “homage” to the famed Nintendo Brain Training franchise.
Clearly Brain Genius Deluxe is not going to be as slick, but there’s enough content in here to keep you “brain training” (yes, it even uses that phrase) until your battery dies. The presentation’s painfully slow, but then again that might be the game teaching you patience.
Coloroid is aery, very simple and has the look of the aftermath of an explosion in a Tetris factory, but it works. All you do is expand coloured areas, trying to fill them in with colours in as few moves as possible – like using Photoshop’s fill tool at a competitive level.
Cestos is sort of a futuristic recreation of curling, where players chuck marbles at each other to try and smash everyone else’s balls/gems down the drain and out of the zone. The best part is this all happens online against real humans, so as long as there’s a few other bored people out there at the same time you’ll have a real, devious, cheating, quitting person to play against. Great.
One of the other common themes on the Android gaming scene is clones of games based around pretending to be an air traffic controller, where you guide planes to landing strips with a swish of your finger. There are loads of them, all pretty much the same thing – we’ve chosen Air Control as it’s an ad-supported release, so is technically free.
GalaxIR is a futuristic strategy game with an abstract look, where players micro-manage an attacking alien fleet. Pick a planet, pick an attack point, then hope your troops have the balls to carry it off. There’s not much structure to the game as yet, but that’s what you get when you’re on the bleeding-edge of free, independent Android gaming development.
Graviturn is an accelerometer based maze game, where the aim is to roll a red ball out of a maze by tilting your phone around. Seems embarrassingly easy at first, until increasing numbers of green balls appear on screen. If any green balls roll off the screen you die and have to try again. It’s abstract. It’s good.
There are a few variants on Alchemy out there, each offering a similarly weird experience. In Alchemy Classic you match up elements to create their (vaguely) scientific offspring, so dumping water onto earth makes a swamp, and so on. It’s a brain teaser thing and best played by those who enjoy spending many hours in the company of the process of elimination.
In Action Potato you control three pots. Pressing on the pots makes them jump up into the air, where they harvest potatoes. See how many you can get in a row. That’s the gist of it. And don’t collect the rotten potatoes, else you die. That really is it. The Android Market stats say this is on well over 250,000 downloads, so it’s doing something right.
Scrambled Net is based around the age-old concept of lining up pipes and tubes, but has been jazzed up with images of computer terminals, high score tracking and animations. Still looks like something you’d have played on a Nokia during the last decade, but it’s free – and looking rubbish hardly stopped Snake from taking off, did it?
Dropwords is laid out like your standard Android block-based puzzle game, the difference here is we’re not dealing with gems – you make blocks disappear by spelling out words from the jumbled heap of letters. There’s not an enormous amount of point to it, but you can at least submit your scores and best words to the server, where an AI version of Susie Dent will pass her approval.
What you do in Barrr is man-manage a bar world, pointing men at the beers, games or tattoo parlour, then taking their money off them once they’re drunk and happy like a good capitalist. And make sure they go to the toilet. Things, as things do in games, soon start speeding up and it gets rather insane and difficult.
The name gives it away – this is a Tetris clone. Or rather it’s a game that uses the same sort of block-shifting rules as Tetris, only with a very nice and user friendly touchscreen area beneath the block pit to make it easy to play. We’re having trouble locating this on the Android Market at time of writing – either a glitch or the inevitable legal troubles.
UPDATE: Tetronimo seems to have been removed from the Market, but there’s now an official Tetris app available to download.
Wordfeud is a superb little clone of Scrabble, with a big, clear screen and online play options that actually work. The game’s been offered for free with some hefty advertising over it thanks to the developer being based in Norway – which only received paid-for app sales support recently. A paid version may arrive soon, but Wordfeud remains free right now.
Friction Mobile is a very odd concept that makes no sense in still images. You fire a ball into the screen, then try to hit that ball with other balls until it explodes. The catch is you’re not allowed to bounce balls backwards into your own face. Because then you die. Sounds rubbish, but works well. It’s free, so give it a no-obligation, no-commitment whirl.
Geared is a weird little thing finally converted over to Android from iPhone. It’s an embarrassingly simple concept – players slot different sized cogs into place on the screen, with the aim being to power one gear from another. Then, as is video game tradition, it gets harder and harder. Plus there are 150 levels of it all.
A stunning little retro game, Meganoid plays and looks like something that ought to be running on a Nintendo emulator. But it isn’t. It’s new and on Android. It’s a speed-based challenge, using on-screen or accelerometer controls to jump and bounce through ever-hardening levels. Developer Orange Pixel is aggressively supporting it, too, with constant map packs, characters and more regularly appearing for download.
A standard and traditional platform game. Cordy is a speed-based affair, with players running, jumping and collecting their way through its pretty green levels, using an electrical cable to jump, swing over obstacles and grab energy. Uses on-screen buttons so can be a bit tough to play, but comes with 12 free levels to get you going.
Angry Birds Rio
Yet more Angry Birds for fans of the simplistic trial and error physics game.Angry Birds Rio is another chapter-based effort as well, with developer Rovio leaving tempting empty slots on the menu screen for periodic updates of new levels. More of the same, but with a prettier, 3D look to it this time thanks to a vague association with animated movie Rio.
Grave Defense Holidays
As with Angry Birds, the maker of this superb tower defence game has spun out a separate version it fills with seasonal levels. Recently updated with an Easter map, this free version of the game also includes Valentine, Christmas and St Patrick’s Day themed maps. Currently calls itself Grave Defense Easter. Easily one of the best examples of the tactical genre.
Words with Friends Free
The popular iPhone Scrabble-alike is now on Android, with an ad-supported version up on the Android Market for free. Words with Friends Free should actually be called Words for People Without Any Friends, as once installed it lets users play with complete strangers online – or pick specific people from your contacts list. It’s turn-based, so several ongoing games can be strung out for days.
Very similar in style and concept to Xbox and Xbox 360 retro classic Geometry Wars. In fact, one might legally be able to get away with calling it a right old rip-off. Android PewPew is a rock-hard 2D shooting game packed with alternate game modes. It’s a bit rough around the edges and requires a powerful phone to run smoothly, but when it does it’s a fantastic thing.
A nice looking little aquarium, that combines the timeless hobby of staring at goldfish with game elements based around breeding new varieties. There’s a slight sting in the tail here in that Tap Fish is one of the initial wave of “freemium” Android games brought into life thanks to Google’s launch of in-app billing. The really cool new stuff costs little bits of money.
Beats, Advanced Rhythm Game
A standard rhythm action, button pressing music game for Android. Beatsmanages to outdo the official music games by including a Download Song tab, where it’s possible to install new song files created by users. It’s very hard and very fast. Just like they should be. Runs perfectly on an HTC Desire, too, so there’s no blaming glitches for not doing very well.
Pinball Deluxe is an actually decent pinball sim for Android, and it’s free. At the moment it comes with four tables – Wild West, Carnival, Space Frontier and Diving for Treasure. Ball movement is convincing, and although a bit of the magic is lost thanks to having to use on-screen buttons, it’s a smooth enough experience. It’s ad-supported. Don’t press those. You don’t get a bonus.
Pulse deserves a place of honour on your home screen for one reason: it aggregates the web. The idea is to showing top stories from around the web, but each one shows a quick thumbnail. When you click, you can read just the basic story and view photos without the usual clutter. It’s also easy to share links.
Google Earth is free, like most Google apps, but worth the download on the Xoom because of how quickly it works on the Tegra processor. In our tests, zooming into a London street corner, the app worked smoother than anything we’ve seen on the iPad for mapping software. You can plan routes as well, see topographical info, and search for landmarks all over the world.
Google Sky Map
One of those rare apps that makes people gasp when they first use it, Sky Map shows star constellations in real-time as you move your tablet around the night sky. You can zoom in and choose to hide some objects, such as planets, to make it easier to find what you want.
Google Body lives up to the Google mission statement: you can find anything, even your femur. The interface for looking at the human body is very intuitive – you can zoom in on any body part, view just a skeleton or muscles, and search for body parts, muscles, bones, or just about any part of our anatomy.
When we picked the top Android apps many eons ago, Kindle was a top contender. On Android 3.0, it is less compelling, since the Google Books app works quite well. However, any books you have previously purchased from the Kindle Store appear here automatically.
Double Twist does not add any new twist to music playback on the Xoom. What it does provide is a desktop app that can sync all of your music, videos, photos, and podcasts. The Xoom version is obviously a re-formatting of the smartphone version, but when you okay a song the album cover appears in HD and the controls for advancing through tracks are easy to find and use on the larger screen.
Adobe Connect Mobile
For those who already use Adobe Connect, the mobile version for Xoom is a must-download. For the rest of us, this screen-sharing and webconferencing system works well on a tablet because you can instant chat with colleagues, share your screen, and host meetings. Unfortunately, the webcam did not work with the Xoom version (it did work on a BlackBerry PlayBook).
One of the few paid apps on our list, FlightTrack is a top pick because it allows you to check flight departures and arrivals quickly, see an icon of your plane during flight, and check for flight changes. The interface is also robust: you can search for flights at 4,000 airports and for 1,400 airlines.
Androidify has no practical function, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless. You can customize the green Droid character with crazy hair and paints, then share your creation on multiple services, including Picasa and Dropbox, attach the image to any contact, store in your Gallery, or send by email.
The free version of this app is a must-download if you routinely need to view Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Office documents. You can’t edit docs, and the free version does not work with Google Docs, but you can open files from the local storage on your tablet.
The main reason we like SoundHound is because it actually works. A music recognition engine, the app will “listen” to recorded music and tell you the artist name, track, and album. We identified about a dozen songs accurately. The app is not as good at recognizing a song you hum or whistle, though.
Springpad is a free app for organizing your notes and tasks for the day in one place. You can also add pictures, music, and other media. One of the best features: you can search for shops nearby and then add them to the app along with a note and a map. You can also scan barcodes and add those items in the app.
We prefer Weatherbug over AccuWeather because it’s…less buggy. (AccuWeather tends to crash or freeze on Android 3.0.) You can quickly see current conditions, alerts, and weather forecasts. The app works automatically for your current location using GPS but you can add any other city.
Next to Angry Birds Rio, Cordy is one of the better games on offer for Android 3.0. You control a tiny robot who has to make his way across a gameworld, usually by jumping over objects, pushing and pulling them, or throwing things. The graphics are amazingly detailed.
Not to be confused with a football app, Touchdown allows you to easily tap into your Microsoft Exchange email and calendar. Configuring the app is easy: you just tap in your username and password. The interface is modeled after Microsoft Outlook with tabs on the left and a preview pane at right.
A game made originally for iPhone and iPad, Gun Bros. is a top-down shooter that looks amazing on Android 3.0: crisp graphics, good sci-fi sound effects, and fast gameplay. The game is a bit buggy and the controls can be wonky, but the onslaught of enemies requires some extra strategy.
One of the only games with an online component, Dungeon Defenders is a chaotic action game with some RPG elements. You can collect items and power-ups, level-up your character, and – when playing online – compare you’re the stats of your character with others for bragging rights.
Not quite as useful as Pulse for catching up on the news, USA Today shows you the news of the day – covering global news, sports, technology, and other areas in a clean interface. Includes current weather and forecast, a photo viewer, voting, and stock market listings.
AniWorld Lite is an excellent app for kids aged one to five. It teaches kids the names of different animals and gives them a chance to feed and pet them. While the app itself is very basic, it’s the “Hey, pet me” feature that will have you and your kids rolling on the floor.
HomeWork is not a fun app, it’s a helpful one and aimed at the older kids. Using this free app they can schedule homework and lessons, set reminders, plan for exam revision, and manage their time more effectively. It works well on a tablet, supporting both screen angles, and is extremely intuitive to use.
Free books complete with voice-over, pictures and alternative languages. Fancy teaching your tot Spanish? There’s a Cinderella for that… iStory Booksis a simple but sweet app that’s good for entertaining the kids. Eleven free books are included from the get go with new ones added every two weeks.
Ant Smasher is a free app kids and adults can enjoy with vicarious murderous intent. Smash the ants with your finger, don’t smash the bees, try not to die. Sound easy? It isn’t. Addictive fun for kids aged four and up, and ideal for building their reflexes.
0-10 Numbers is all about overachiever baby having fun with numbers and it is excellent for what it does. Bright colours, anthropomorphised characters, careful enunciation, it’s a learning resource that works well for kids aged two to four.
TomnJerry Tube has gathered all the Tom and Jerry classic cartoons from 1941 to 2005 in one easily accessed library. You choose the toon and the app takes you to its location on YouTube. They play a dream on a tablet or a phone.
Steamy Window is plain daft and completely brilliant. Kids love making pictures on steamy windows so just hand them the tablet or phone and hit Steamy Window and, voila, they have steam galore to play with. By blowing into the mike you create more steam. Genius.
Talking Gina the Giraffe
Talking Gina the Giraffe is a huge hit with kids. You stroke, feed, water, and play Patty Cake with Gina to keep her happy. Reflex building, movie making, cute little rewards if you keep her happy. Watch out for in-game spending, though: some content demands cash.