Cool Android Apps: Is Android’s App Market Catching up With Apple?

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Cartoon hand holding phoneWith the wealth of articles on the web covering the coolest new apps for the iPhone and Apple crowd, those who use an Android platform are often left in the dark. There are, however, a number of cool Android apps that are worth looking in to for any Android owner; below we will take a look at some of the most highly recommended of those apps.

Google Voice

The Google Voice application for Android devices is the very same Google Voice that is utilized on PC’s in a cute little app form. The Google Voice application assigns users a phone number that can ring to numerous places or on various devices. Users of the Google Voice application gain access to their voicemail and text messages directly through web access. In addition to these features, it makes phone calls from smart devices using a Google Voice number allowing users to keep their personal phone number concealed. While this feature may seem somewhat clandestine, it is a particularly useful feature for the individual that works at home but does not want the added expense of an additional business phone line.Case-Mate 10 % Off (affiliate)


The trend of note writing used to be done directly through a notepad feature on smart phone devices or – ashamedly – through texting from computer to phone with memos and shopping lists. With the Evernote application notes can now be stored directly in a users Evernote account that can be accessed anywhere! With the Evernote application, you can now bring up notes that were written on any other device and stored to an Evernote account. Simply saving a note within an account means that it can be accessed anywhere at any time and the version of the document uploaded in to Evernote will always be the most up to date version using synching across all devices.

Google Goggles

Google Goggles is a newer app that has a little more growing to do before it comes in to its own but it is definitely worth a look if you are interested in following newer search technology. The Google Goggles application allows users to take photographs and put them in to the application so that Google can attempt to tell the user what the photograph is of. To date the Google Goggles app has a pretty limited area of coverage but it is expected that as popularity of this app grows so too with its coverage radius. Perhaps the most desired function of this app is that it allows users to take photographs of foreign text and it translates that text in to English. While the Google Goggles app is currently more of a traveler’s friend, it is expected that it will have much more to contribute in the near future.


Dropbox allows users to access data from anywhere there is an internet connection. Through any free Dropbox account, users can upload files to a “cloud” location where they can be accessed anywhere. Now with the Dropbox app, accessing files uploaded to the Dropbox cloud account is easier than ever when on the go. One of the best features about Dropbox for many users is that it syncs files between various computer locations and works not only on Windows, but also with Mac and Linux. Many users of this application find it useful for storing backups of necessary files such as work presentations and important forms.


The Pandora application is available for just about every smart device out there and if you are a music lover, then the Pandora Android app is definitely worth taking a look at. Pandora is a streaming radio station service that allows users to access a custom designed radio station directly through the internet. Users simply create an account and pick their favorite artist in order to listen to a streaming radio station playing that artist and similar artists. Users have the opportunity to “thumb up” or “thumb down” songs and even skip a few songs that simply don’t appeal at a specific time. When users provide feedback to their Pandora station they begin to create a more personalized radio station that will avoid songs that have been “thumbed down.” Users have the ability to create multiple radio stations that stream directly through the Pandora app and are remembered when the Pandora account is signed in to from any location. There are two variations of Pandora accounts, the free and the premium account. A free account will have short ads interspersed between songs. The premium Pandora account means no ads whatsoever to interrupt song play.

Amazon Kindle

The Amazon Kindle app has now successfully made it to just about every mobile and computer platform. For those who love reading this is definitely a good thing. The Amazon Kindle app syncs directly with an Amazon account and allows users to access their favorite purchased (or free) books. Synchronization with an Amazon account means that anytime a new book is downloaded or purchased through the Amazon website, it can be automatically sent straight to the device with the Kindle app installed. The screen of smart phones may seem a little too small to read a novel on, many people find that they get much more reading done when they can pull out their smart phone to read a few pages anytime they have a couple of minutes available.

Watch ESPN

The Watch ESPN app for Android based phones is a must have for any sports fan. For users with certain internet or television providers, this app provides access directly to ESPN sports networks to stream programming. In order for this application to work, users must have access to cable through Time Warner Cable, Brighthouse Networks or through Verizon FIOS TV. Users that only have Verizon FIOS TV have limited access through this application and can only access ESPN3. For clients who have access to ESPN programming, this application gives users access to ESPN, ESP2, ESPN3 and ESPNU directly through their mobile device.


Gist is an Android application designed to compile contacts from every possible resource you can name. The problem with having such a mobile and technologically dependant lifestyle is that we frequently end up with a million different contact lists. The Gist application allows users to gather contact lists from online services, various computers and other smart devices to compile them in one single location. The benefit of this app is that it provides one single location for all contacts through an application that is accessible anywhere and everywhere. Forget about texting friends to get their address “one more time because it’s in Yahoo contacts,” the Gist application puts all of your contacts at your fingertips no matter where you are.

Pulse News

Pulse News is a great news headline-based application designed to keep Android users on top of all of the latest headlines through their favorite online news sources. This free application lets users select as many as thirty of their favorite online news sources and then directly pulls headlines from these sources to create a magazine type of layout of current headlines. The Pulse News app stands apart from RSS readers that pull various news headlines in that it creates an interface with clean thumbnail images to create something of a self published newspaper. The biggest draw to this app for most news lovers is the fact that it allows for the personalization of daily news headlines letting users neglect “untrustworthy” news sources and focus on those that are deemed more reliable. Also included in the Pulse News application is the ability to stay on top of current social network news. By integrating personal social network accounts, users can receive compiled updates of recent social network updates.


HopStop is an app designed to help city dwellers stay on top of bus and subway routes in big cities to ensure that incidences of getting lost are minimized. Bus and subway routes both can be very confusing particularly if you are a newcomer to a city, but this app is designed to help users find their way to a particular location through public transport facilities. The one drawback to the HopStop application is the fact that users must know their destination address in order to receive HopStop instructions for navigation. The flexibility of the HopStop app is its biggest draw – well that and the fact that it makes the snaking subways make much more sense to those of us who are not used to traveling underground! The best feature about this app is that it gives explicit public transport information including the times and names of buses and subways that should be caught in order to get to the destination location. This app is not yet available for tablets but is expected to have a tablet release soon.

IMO Chat

The IMO Chat application is designed to allow Android users to chat with friends utilizing instant messaging technology rather than text messaging. IMO Chat allows for users to conduct chats, group chats, voice IMs and it supports the transfer of multimedia attachments. Perhaps the best and most appealing feature of this Android app is that it allows for the consolidation of multiple chat and messaging programs in a single location. Through the IMO chat application users can access MSN, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, MySpace, Skype, Facebook, Jabber interfaces and a number of others as well! By far the IMO Chat application seems to be one of the highest recommended chat applications available for Android users and it certainly cuts down on a lot of app icons from the use of individual chat applications.

Weather Channel

The Weather Channel app for Android devices is an app that will soon become a basic necessity for any Android user. This free to use app allows for users to access detailed information on weather conditions including wind speed, UV index and humidity levels. This app also allows users to view ten day forecasts as well as hourly weather forecasts for the day to allow for accurate daily planning. In addition to providing the more basic weather information, this app also has advanced weather features including an animated weather radar to track current and upcoming weather conditions.

Out of Milk

Out of Milk may sound like a strange app name but it’s a pretty accurate one. This app is designed to manage tasks including list storage and to do lists. The most popular use for this accurately named app is to allow for users to store a database of foods already in stock and food items that need to be purchased on the next shopping trip. Different tasks are categorized by unique visual icons such as shopping lists and pantry lists. There are two different versions of this application available, a free version and a paid version. The paid version of the app costs $5 but comes with the ability to sync information on lists, use widgets and manage coupons making shopping trips and lists easier to create and follow. Certainly this app isn’t for everyone but for those who obsessively organize or those who simply have far too much to do to remember what is in the pantry.

Cab4Me Taxi Finder

The concept of this app makes it just too unique to overlook. While catching a cab in the big cities around the world is rarely a difficult task, catching one in less well-known areas of the world can be tricky. The Cab4Me application is designed to allow users to hail a taxi regardless of where they are with a push of a button. Calling a cab directly through the app will bring a cab directly to your location without your having to scan through search engines to find a local cab company. This app utilizes your GPS to locate you and list cab companies that service the location you are in. Not only does this application give users the option of various cab companies that service a particular area but it also provides information on how many cabs the company has available and what payment types they accept. For those who are safety conscious, there is a ratings feature on a five star platform to give opinions of other users. This is a completely free application to use.

Words with Friends

Android applications can’t all be about practicality, sometimes it’s just about fun and that is exactly what this top rated game app provides. Words with Friends is an Android application that allows users to play the Scrabble like game with friends who use either device. This game can also be played via Facebook, allowing for more cross-platform play. One of the favorite features of this portable social Scrabble game is that it allows for users to carry on a game over a period of time. Users can make a move and wait days before making another move, making it a great spare time filler for waiting in lines or filling wait times at the dentist. The Words with Friends app allows for users to connect directly to Facebook friends. This app is a free one but an ad free version can be purchased.

Doodle Jump

Doodle Jump is another popular game for Android users. This fun game allows you to utilize series of platforms to shoot a character as high as possible. What is the difference between this game and other more traditional games? The main character of the Doodle Jump game is controlled by tilting the phone side to side rather than through the use of key controls! As users progress in the game they experience increasing numbers of obstacles that must be avoided as the Doodle Jump character gets higher and higher. Fail to hit a platform and the main character of the game will fall to his death and the game will be over. This application costs $0.99, but almost everyone that has downloaded it so far agrees that it’s worth the cost.


The Netflix app is a great application for anyone with an existing Netflix account. If you don’t already have a Netflix account, you will probably agree that this application is worth the $8 a month charge to access streaming content directly to your Android phone. Users that do have a Netflix account can utilize this app to access and manage their account, add new programming to the queue and to stream any programming available via the instant watch feature. The only downfall to this time killing app is that it can be difficult to stream through a lower connection rate but with WiFi or 4G streaming shouldn’t be an issue. This is an app that is generally recommended by anyone and everyone who has ever taken a long car ride or been stuck waiting for hours in the DMV.


Updated on April 12, 2012

PayPal is becoming more and more prevalent in everyone’s world. It’s not just eBay sellers who use PayPal anymore. Writers, those looking to make money through survey sites, and even those that want to quickly pay someone, use PayPal. The app is free to install and easy to use. You can even get a piece of hardware to attach to your phone so that you can accept credit and debit cards from friends or yard sale shoppers.


If you want to make a quick note or to-do list, ColorNote is the app for you. This free app allows you to quickly jot down a note or to-do list without all the bells and whistles. In other words, it’s incredibly easy to use and gets the job done. You can even change the color of the notes and lists to suit your mood.

B&N Nook

The Barnes and Noble Nook app is a must for book lovers. Much like the Kindle app, the Nook app allows you to pull up your book purchases and read them while on the go. You can also search for books to purchase and browse from over 500,000 free books.


Yet another app for those that love to read is Wattpad. Wattpad is a site devoted to sharing free books, poems, and short stories from independent authors. There are over 100,000 pieces to choose from and a really fun feature of the app is being able to have a piece randomly chosen for you. The categories range from paranormal to horror to humor and everything in between.

Amazon Appstore

There are a number of reasons to download the Amazon Appstore app. First of all, Amazon offers a free app every day. Second, you can often find the same apps as the Google Play Store (formerly known as the Android Market) for less – sometimes free. You can even search through the top 100 free apps, which gives you a chance to find apps you didn’t even know you needed, but can’t live without.


If you’re a child of the 80s, you know all about Tetris. This free app is a must for any smartphone owner that loves puzzle games. This is the same great game that’s been played for decades, but is made even better thanks to the touchscreen on Android smartphones and devices.

Days Left Widget

If you want an easy way to track an upcoming event, this free app is a must. All you do is set the date, choose a widget character as a reminder, and a title. You then add the widget to your home screen and you can track the days until the event arrives any time you turn on your smartphone.

Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990's moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Amy's personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. When she is not working Amy can be found curled up with a good book and her black Labrador, Jet.

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3 Comments on "Cool Android Apps: Is Android’s App Market Catching up With Apple?"


When I got my first Droid phone, I was immediately hooked on apps. I was checking out all the free games, music apps, and of course the first app I had to have was the Kindle app. My smartphone is a one-stop entertainment shop. I can watch movies on Netflix, read books from Amazon, play games, feed fake fish on my home screen, and listen to music on Pandora. I can also stay connected no matter where I am thanks to Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail. As a work-from-home individual, I can even keep up with payments on PayPal, research articles, make notes on article ideas, and submit posts to Blogger. It is honestly unbelievable the amount of things I can do with my phone.

When I got my first cell phone in high school, I had no idea that I would soon be able to take care of all my computing needs from a phone. What I really love about Android apps though is that many are free. In fact, I’ve never purchased an app, even though I have over 30 apps. One way I’m able to score great apps for free is through Amazon. Amazon has a free app of the day and is a great way to find some awesome apps for free.


Thanks for the great app suggestions. Nearly all of those apps should be preinstalled and standard on every phone. I would trade out Netflix for the DISH Remote Access app. It lets me stream live TV shows and DVR recordings over 3g, 4g and WIFI. Anyone interested can go check out the DISH Test Drive which lets people try out the DISH Remote Access app to stream live TV over 3g, 4g or WIFI on nearly any smart device. Working for DISH I know they are the only provider to offer live streaming out side the home and they want people to try it out!

a web rocker
a web rocker

Apps are what is needed to make your smartphone smart and unique. I’m fond of app creating and find it really helpful to use site like Snappii, where I can build apps in minutes.


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