I have been using Android since the original G1, and have tested most of the top phones running Google’s OS. As thoroughly as I test review phones, it’s a slightly different experience when using a phone of my very own. I snagged the Sprint EVO 4G yesterday, and have been testing free apps to make the Android experience even better. Here are the top five free apps I have settled on so far. My list will not likely match the list of other Android users as we all are after different things. I am also sure my list will grow over time to include other apps that strike my fancy.
1. Twicca. I am a big Twitter user and always look for a good client on every mobile device I use. I like the genuine Twitter app for Android, but Twicca has knocked it off my home page. Twicca has full functionality for using Twitter, and in a package that is attractive and easy to use. It’s also hard not to appreciate the magical connotation of its name. Don’t let the image fool you; Twicca works in English, too.
2. Dolphin Browser HD. The stock Android browser on the EVO is pretty good, but Dolphin brings most of the functionality of a full desktop browser to the big EVO screen. It has all the expected features, tabbed browsing, multiple windows and the like. The implementation of gestures is a nice touch for the EVO screen and add-ons are useful. Dolphin is so fast on the EVO 4G it is downright scary.
3. Toodle Droid. I use the ToodleDo task list online and on the iPad, and it keeps me on top of my to-do list each day. Toodle Droid is an app that interfaces with ToodleDo and presents my list with a very basic presentation. It is nothing fancy, just very functional. You can add new tasks using Toodle Droid, but if you need extensive interaction with your to-do list then it will not meet your needs. I use it as a reference only, and like the simplistic approach of Toodle Droid.
4. Speedtest.net. The EVO 4G has the speedy network in its favor, and the ability to dish it out as a mobile hotspot (monthly fee required) is a nice bonus. I find myself regularly keeping an eye on connection speeds to see how things are moving along, and Speed Test is a nice way to do that. If you are familiar with the online test site speedtest.net, then you are already familiar with this app. It does one thing, and well.
5. Google Voice. You would think Google would integrate Google Voice tightly with Android, and they sure did. Google Voice turns the Android phone into a full Google Voice phone. There is complete control over how the phone integrates with Voice, including letting GV take over all aspects of phone calls completely if desired.
These are the first apps that have earned a permanent place on my home screen, but they will by no means be the only ones. I am continuing to investigate offerings in the Android Market and will share my findings from time to time. If you have favorite Android apps you can’t live without, please share those in the comments. You can never have too many apps.