In the show Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson says that there were more atoms in the tip of your pinkie finger than all the stars in the sky. The number of apps in Google Play hasn't risen quite that high, but it's still an awful lot. More than one mind, let alone one phone, could comprehend. I've spent many hours refining that unmanageable mass of apps to come up with the 100 Best Android apps, but for some that's still too many, so I've whittled the list to the just the most essential.

What's Here

Simply put, this list doesn't have everything. It doesn't even begin to touch the swirling, cosmic majesty and near infinite variety of the Google Play store. What it does cover are the apps that you should install on your Android phone or tablet as soon as it comes out of the box. With these ten apps installed, you should be able to tackle just about anything.

But these ten are just the beginning. Evernote is an enormously versatile tool, but maybe you find that it's not meeting your needs for to-do lists and you want to move to a refined organizational app like Any.do. Or maybe after reading tons of comics in Comixology, you're curious to read the massive backlog of Marvel available with Marvel Unlimited.

This list of apps is a starting point, or a baseline, that I think any Android user should consider. From there, you'll want to customize and fine-tune the list to your own most-essentials apps, of course.

How I Choose Apps

When I'm not divining the 10 best Android apps, I'm usually testing Android security apps. When I'm finished, I typically wipe the phone in preparation for the next review. That means I spend more time with fresh, empty phones than the average Android user. It also means that I have to fill that phone back up with essential apps.

My first thought goes to what apps are necessary to get work done—so I turn to Google Drive and LastPass. I also need to write quick notes and manage my email, and I need a keyboard app that helps me do that, which leads me to SwiftKey.

Next I think about what kinds of apps are popular, and how I can fill those categories. Instagram, for example, is a great app for creating miniature masterpieces out of your cell phone pictures. But there are lots of other apps that provide far more options and opportunities for expression, such as PicsArt Photo Studio. There are also innumerable apps to entertain your ears, but only a few that offer powerful management tools and clever playlists, and that's where Slacker Radio comes in.

What's Missing

First, there are no games. I hear you moan, but 10 slots is simply not enough to even scratch the surface of Android games. There are simply too many of too great a variety. If you want games (and I know you do), you should read our slightly longer guide to the 15 Best Android Games. That'll take care of all your thumb-twiddling, screen-swiping needs.

Second, there are only a few Google apps on here. It's really easy to just default to them since many are, well, default on Android devices. Regarding the Google apps that did make the list, I've carefully balanced their utility against that of competitors in the space to make sure they really are the best. For example, Google Drive doubles as an excellent mobile office suite.

Finally, even though I don't eat or drink anymore, I'm only human, and that means I am weak and fallible. If I've left out a critical tool that you use every day, let me know in the comments below.

This is just the tip of the Android iceberg here at PCMag. You'll find many, many more excellent apps in our 100 Best Android Apps, and we have many more roundups where that came from. Consider the best apps to replace text messaging or everything you need to know about digital comics. We're all about apps, you see. This list will get you started, but our other reviews and roundups can take you much deeper into the galaxy of Android apps.

Comics

Comics
 
Free
Are you tired of schlepping all the way to the comic book store? Heck, is there even a comic book store in your town anymore? Comics, the excellent app from digital comics groundbreakers Comixology, is both storefront and long box. You can browse the seemingly endless lists of titles, and then buy new books with a tap. It's wonderfully easy! Depending on the state of your wallet, it may even be a bit too easy.


Evernote

Evernote
 
Free with premium plans billed monthly
Evernote is your digital multi-tool. It's a great list keeper, note taker, voice recorder, to-do manager, and Web clipper. It's so open and powerful that it can be overwhelming at first, but you'll quickly find smart ways to use it. My favorite feature is optical character recognition (OCR), which makes text in photos searchable. Next time you get handed a business card, just snap a picture.

Be sure to read our organization expert Jill Duffy's advice on how to use Evernote better.


Feedly

Feedly
 
Free
Google Reader was the best thing to happen to the Internet since sliced blogs, but it has passed on to the big Google graveyard in the sky. If reading news and blog posts on your Android is your jam, you need Feedly. It's a versatile platform, but what I like about it is that you can do all your reading in a single app. If you're looking for something a bit more stylish, try the magazine-style Flipboard. And if you're still mourning the end of RSS as we know it, we may be able to help you find a replacement for Google Reader.


Google Drive

Google Drive
 
Free with additional costs for increased storage
Google Drive is a great cloud storage service, but it does double duty as an excellent mobile office suite. With Drive, you can access your important files from anywhere; create new spreadsheet, text, and presentation documents; and collaborate with other people, all from your Android device. It might not replace your desktop office utilities, but it comes darn close.


Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail

Free
I long ago realized that email is the worst thing on the planet, and have waited patiently for everyone else to get the memo. Thankfully, there's been a renaissance of email and Google Inbox is among the best options for Android. Instead of ignoring messages (as I used to do), Inbox lets you quickly manage your inbox. Its best feature are groups called bundles, which put all your finance, shopping, and low priority mail in their proper places.

Please note that our review is of the iPhone version, which is nearly identical to the Android app.


LastPass

LastPass
 
Free; $12 annually for the Premium version
Everyone knows they should be using a complex, unique password for each and every website and application. Oh, you didn't? Thankfully, there are password managers like LastPass. With a password manager, you let the app generate unique, complex passwords for each site or app that requires one. When you need to log in, LastPass can fill in the correct information, even into other apps. A new feature lets you safely bequeath your passwords to a trusted person in the event of your demise.

Though the app and service are free, using it on more than one type of device costs $12 per year, or $1 per month. Trust me, it's well worth the price of admission.


PicsArt Photo Studio

PicsArt Photo Studio
 
Free
When you think of mobile image editing, you probably think of a certain Facebook-owned property modeled after old timey cameras. I'm talking about Instagram, in case you couldn't tell. But where Instagram ends, PicsArt Photo Studio begins, bringing not just filters but many more powerful tools. And if you're already a fan of Insta, you can share your PicsArt creations there to the envy of all your followers.


Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts
 
$3.99 Podcast fans, rejoice. Your frustrations have been heard and your prayers have been answered. "I bring you good tidings for an, excellent podcast app has been created: Pocket Casts. With this app, you can manage all your favorite podcasts and even sync them between devices. And it was good.


Slacker Radio

Slacker Radio
 
Free with paid, ad-free plans
There are many, many ways to get music onto your phone, but we like Slacker Radio best. This service has a huge library of songs, but it also stands out for its excellent curated playlists and wide variety of streaming content. There's a little bit of something for everyone in here, but check out Spotify if you must have on-demand Led Zeppelin.


SwiftKey Keyboard

SwiftKey Keyboard
 
Free
Are you still tapping your thumbs against the screen like some kind of rube? Get with the times, grandpa, and let the words flow. With SwiftKey, you can drag you thumb or finger from letter to letter on the screen to create words, and predictive text makes shooting off short messages even faster. Since the rise of Google Keyboard and competition from the original gesture keyboard app Swype, SwiftKey has stayed ahead by packing in lots of excellent extras. You'll wonder how you ever got by without it.


Source: This article was published on me.pcmag.com

Categorized in Others

Apple's devices might get more of the spotlight, but when it comes to market share, there's no denying Android's dominance.In the third quarter of this year, Android phones made up 84.3 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, according to IDC. They offer a variety of style choices and prices and a much greater ability for users to customize their experience.

They're also loaded with several software options that aren't available to iOS users. And if you're beginning the process of loading up your new Android phone with apps, here are a few that are definitely worth considering.

Avast Mobile Security and Antivirus

Avast Mobile Security and Antivirus — The first thing you're going to want to do with an Android device is get a good antivirus program. Avast is one of the top ones on the market, and it's free. Beyond basic protection, it also keeps track of what your apps are doing and includes a web shield to help you avoid malware. There's also an antitheft component, allowing you to locate, lock or wipe your phone clear if it's lost or stolen.

Solid Explorer

Solid Explorer — File management programs are always helpful, especially if you load up your phone's hard drive. Solid Explorer not only helps you organize your files, but protect them with an additional layer of security, adding fingerprint scanning if your phone supports that. You can also transfer files between cloud storage accounts. And the app's interface is simple and intuitive.

Greenify

Greenify — Sometimes, the more apps you have open, the slower a phone will run. Greenify puts an end to that, identifying apps that are running in the background and either slowing down your phone or sucking up battery power. There are even aggressive modes that further extend battery life for those times when you're on the road or need to stretch a little bit longer before you can find a plug for your charger. 

Helium

Helium — Backup is always a good idea on phones, given how fragile they can be. Helium protects and restores lost apps and data. And for a $4.99 premium version, you can sync apps between several Android devices and restore them from cloud storage. As an added bonus, it's all done without having to root your phone (which can open you up to viruses). 

AirDroid

AirDroid — Contrary to what it may seem sometimes, most of us don't use our phones as our sole means of computer interaction. AirDroid, though, will let you bypass jumping from one device to another, giving you remote access to everything on your phone via a web browser — even text messages. That could be especially handy if you're at work and it's frowned upon for you to text with a friend. It's a feature that's so useful, you wonder why it's not a standard feature in Android. 

Pander

Pander — Don't feel like cooking? Pander not only lets you order delivery food, it does the heavy lifting of helping you decide what you're in the mood for with a series of questions about your tastes. With its restaurant locator service, it's especially useful if you're away from home. And if you're feeling extra lazy, you can order a mystery meal — as the app will choose your food for you, based on its knowledge of your preferences. 

LastPass

LastPass — Despite the urgings of security experts, too many people don't use different passwords for different sites — or input very basic ones. LastPass is a password manager that boosts your security but saves you the bother of having to remember complicated strings of letters, numbers and symbols. It works across devices and adds a layer of security to sensitive information you might input, such as bank account numbers or insurance information. 

SwiftKey Keyboard

SwiftKey Keyboard — This is one of the most popular Android keyboard apps and it's easy to see why. It has a highly accurate predictive technology for both words and apps and learns your typing habits fairly quickly. A strong privacy policy safeguards things like your credit card or log-in information. And you can switch between 100 languages as you type.

DashClock Widget

DashClock Widget — Another old favorite, this app boosts the amount of at-a-glance information available to your phone's home screen. Whether you want to stay updated on the forecast or see how many emails you have waiting (or many other tasks), you'll easily be able to do so. 

SwipePad

 

SwipePad — If the process of clicking to the home screen, then locating an app icon and tapping it seems to take an eternity in your mind, SwipePad can be your best friend. With a single swipe, you can launch an app from within another app. Other options include heading directly to a bookmarked website or reaching someone on your contact list. Best of all, it doesn't have much of an impact on your phone's battery.

Author:  Chris Morris

Source:  http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/21/10-must-have-apps-for-your-new-android-phone.html

Categorized in Science & Tech

Many will make New Year’s resolutions, but few will actually keep them.

According to the research published in the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, 25 percent of us will give up on our goals in just one week. By midyear, over half will have shrugged off what once seemed so important. And if past performance is an indicator, only 8 percent will see those pledges all the way through.

So what does it take to be part of that 8-percent club? Motivation? Dedication? General stick-to-itiveness? Probably.

But if you’re lacking in any of those areas, a little help in the form of apps perfectly suited to your chosen resolutions certainly couldn’t hurt.

Here’s a list of six annual objectives and six oh-so-apt apps:

1. Get moving

Resolution : I’m going to focus on fitness.

App solution: C25K

C25K

If you feel like 2016 is finally the year to get fit, there are plenty of app options to help you. But few take you from completely out of the race to really running.

C25K, the smartphone version of the popular Couch to 5K workout plan, does just that with guided daily programs that alternate between short bursts of walking and running until you’re ready to go the distance. To keep the run fun, you can listen to your choice of music (from your drive or other apps) while the a digital trainer chimes in to tell your what’s next.

Free in the App Store | Google Play

2. Count your calories

Resolution: I’m going to lose weight.

App solution: MyFitnessPal

In addition to helping out with that general get-fit resolution, MyFitnessPal excels as a diet tracker and calorie counter that figures out just how many calories you require each day (given your current weight and your goal weight) to drop pounds at your chosen pace.

As you enter your meals consumed so far, MyFitnessPal updates your remaining calories available for the day so there’s never any guesswork.

Free in the App Store | Google Play

3. Make bank

Resolution: I’m going to save money.

App solution: Mint: Personal Finance and Money Manager

Intuit's INTU -0.40% Mint makes it possible to track income and expenses, sync up with your existing financial accounts, set up a budget and start saving now. It even breaks down your current spending habits by category, to make savings opportunities clear.

You can access your information from multiple mobile devices, as well as your desktop or laptop computers.

Free in the App Store | Google Play

4. Get it together

Resolution: I’m going to be more organized.

App solution: 24me

24me

Miss a bill deadline here or a meeting there? Forget all about a birthday or your kid’s softball game? Maybe it’s time for a pocket-sized personal assistant.

Getting organized gets easier with 24me, the to-do app that takes a peek at your calendars, contacts, notes and lists and manages it all with at-a-glance day plans and smart alerts.

Free in the App Store | Google Play

5. Work smarter, not harder

Resolution: I’m going to get ahead in my career.

App solution: Quip

Until Time-Turners and TARDISes are real, you can’t be in more than one place at once. But Quip, the team-player business suite, offers the next best thing.

No matter where you are, you can keep in close contact with your boss, employees or project mates. You can chat, dive into an active group document or just add a few essential points to a spreadsheet from anywhere.

Free in the App Store | Google Play

6. Be at home in your head

Resolution: I’m going to practice mindfulness and meditation.

App solution: Buddhify

Buddhify

Buddhify has over 80 guided meditations suited for just about any occasion you can think of, from waking up to sleeping to just surfing the Internet. Select the mindfulness exercise that best applies to you at any given moment, and nirvana — or a slightly less stressed moment — is just a few breathing or blinking techniques away.

But note, unlike all the freebies on this list, bliss comes at a price.

$4.99 in the App Store | $2.99 on Google Play

Author:  Ree Hines

Source:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/reehines/2015/12/30/6-iphone-and-android-apps-to-help-you-keep-your-new-years-resolutions-in-2016/#5aa391259496

Categorized in Others

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